Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2018

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Wine Spectator magazine held their 17th annual Spring Grand Tour wine tasting event. The tour travels to three cities in the Untied States and this year the tour stopped in Las Vegas, Washington DC and in New York City on April 24th. While not to be confused with the Spectator’s New York wine experience held in October which is three days of tastings, seminars and dinner, the Grand Tour still offered the opportunity to taste over 200 wines rated 90+ on the Spectator scale. Plenty of good juice to be sampled, too many for one evening but I tried my best.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the heart of Times Square at 1535 Broadway.

Some of what I tasted:

 

New World

2005 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Moderate to dark cloudy red, nice perfume of pencil shavings and tar, cherry mint on the fruit with a long finish. Tasty.

2013 Hall Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Kathryn Hall” (Napa Valley). Inky black, crushed red fruit on the nose, thick, dark cherry fruit with mint notes on the finish.

2014 Adobe Road Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, black cherry on the nose, chewy dark chocolates on the juicy fruit, moderate finish.

2013 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Georges de Latour Private Reserve” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted meat and dark chocolate on the nose, concentrated dark fruit and mint on the chewy fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Crown Point Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Happy Canyon” (Santa Barbara). Black with a purple rim, green herbs on the nose, silky tannins with juicy dark fruit and black licorice notes.

2014 Guarachi Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Inky black, vanilla and crushed black fruit on the nose, big juicy black fruit with dark chocolate on the finish.

2010 Rodney Strong Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Brothers Ridge” (Alexander Valley). Inky black, cooked meat on the nose, chunky, mint fruit ending with firm acids to balance the fruit.

2014 Round Pound Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Rutherford). Dark red, red cherry and roasted meat on the nose, bright cherry fruit, moderate finish.

2015 Fess Parker Pinot Noir “Bien Nacido Vineyard” (Santa Maria Valley). Medium red with nice earth notes on the nose, silky, chewy fruit with cola notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Domaine Della Pinot Noir “Keefer Ranch” (Russian River Valley). Medium clear red, spicy cinnamon on the nose, spicy red fruit, moderate to low acids at the end.

2009 Col Solare (Columbia Valley). Inky black, cooked fruit and mint notes on the nose, dusty and tight.

2015 Penfolds Cabernet-Shiraz “Bin 389” (South Australia). Black with a red rim, crushed ripe berry on the nose, juicy and ripe with cedar and cooked fruit notes, moderate finish.

2013 Cheval des Andes (Mendoza). Dark red with earth notes on the nose, tight with dark slate on the fruit, firm, long finish.

 

Old World

2012 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan). Medium amber in color, green peppers, sweet herbs and cherry mint on the nose, dusty, silky fruit, great balance with dark chocolate on the finish. Tasty.

2011 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan). Medium red, toasty nose, silky red fruit finishing with firm tannins.

2005 Chateau Calon-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark brick with a beautiful perfume of violets and crushed red fruit, silky fruit with green pepper and dark chocolate notes, nice balance and a long finish.

2011 Chateau Angelus (St-Emillion). Medium red, black olives on the nose, dusty dark fruit, moderate to long dusty finish.

2011 Chateau Brane-Cantenac (Margaux). Dark red in color, pretty perfume of earth and violets, chewy red fruit with firm tannins.

2009 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Paulliac). Medium brick, roasted sour pickles? on the nose, dusty black fruit with moderate tannins.

2014 Chateau Talbot (St-Julien). Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit, slate notes on the moderate finish.

2012 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Clear medium brick, pretty nose of violets, tar and leather, silky red fruit, great balance with moderate tannins and acids at the end.

2012 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino “La Casa” (Tuscany). Clear medium red, dried leaf and dark plums on the nose with chewy red leather fruit.

2011 Fattoria Dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino “Vigna del Fiore” (Tuscany). Medium brick, dried leaf and roasted meat on the nose, velvety fruit with some cinnamon notes on the finish.

2013 Mazzei “Tenuta Belguardo” (Tuscany). Clear dark red with a perfume of violets and roasted meat, big dark chocolate fruit followed by firm acids.

2004 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Bricco Ambrogio” (Piedmont). Light red in color, tar and red cherry on the nose, tight red fruit with pencil shavings on the finish, moderate acids.

2013 Pio Cesare Barolo (Piedmont). Brick in color, cherry tar on the nose, moderate chewy, red licorice fruit, moderate tannins and acids at the end.

2013 Aldo Conterno Barolo “Bussia” (Piedmont). Medium amber, tar and petroleum on the nose, dusty tight fruit, firm finish.

2010 Bodegas Bilbainas “Vina Pomal Gran Reserva” (Rioja). Medium red, stinky damp earth on the nose with dusty tart fruit.

2011 CVNE “Imperial Gran Reserva” (Rioja). Dark red to black, roasted bacon on the nose, concentrated dark fruit with mint notes, firm finish.

 

 

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Brooklyn Wine Fest 2018

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On Saturday April 14th I attended the Brooklyn Wine Fest which was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center located at 72 Noble Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

The event was opened to the public and consisted of an afternoon and an evening tasting. I attended in the afternoon.

These wine fests follow pretty much the same standard template, plenty of nondescript wines, food stalls/food trucks, a few sponsored cocktail booths, a cider booth, a beer booth and live music. I would call these events more of a wine party than a serious tasting but on this warm Saturday afternoon, the venue was full of local hipsters enjoying the wine, food and dancing to the live music. None of the wines excited me so my go to drink of the afternoon was a Bombay Sapphire Negroni.

 

 

Reboule Du Rhone NYC 2017

 

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The 1st annual Reboule du Rhone wine tasting in New York City was held on Saturday November 18th. La Reboule is the traditional end of harvest celebration in the Northern Rhone Valley of France for the harvesters, winemakers and cellar staff. This event brought Northern Rhone wines and producers together with many local Somms for a weekend of wine tastings, dinners and seminars to raise funds for the No Kid Hungry organization.

The event was held in the glass lined atrium at 180 Maiden Lane, an office building in lower Manhattan next to the South Street Seaport.

In northern Rhone the only permitted red grape is syrah. Only a small amount of white wine is produce with viognier used in Condrieu and Chateau-Grillet and marsanne and roussanne for the rest. If you like to drink California wines you will like wines from the northern Rhone, generally, the viogniers are lush and the syrahs are bold, peppery and meaty.

Inside the Winning Women in Wine lounge they served a couple of tasty snacks: beef tartare, wild rice, shiso and sunchoke chips and venison sausage, turnip kraut, cranberry and rye.

Some of what I sampled:

White

2015 Domaine Pierre Gonon Saint-Joseph Blanc “Les Oliviers”. Light gold with a honey notes on the nose, nice mouthfeel of canned peaches ending with a nice balance.

2015 Domaine Faury Saint-Joseph Blanc. Light gold, floral nose, moderate body on the peachy fruit, nice balance.

2014 Andre Perret Condrieu “Clos Chanson”. Light yellow, barnyard nose, full fruit of honey and peaches, moderate finish.

2013 Louis Barruol Hermitage Blanc “La Pierrelle”. Light yellow, citrus honey on the nose, with cooked veg notes on the full fruit.

Red

2015 Laurent Betton Saint-Joseph. Dark purple, roast meat on the nose, silky red cherry fruit, balanced.

2015 Andre Perret Saint-Joseph Rouge “Les Grisieres”. Dark purple, roast meat on the nose, silky purple fruit with roast vegetable notes on the finish.

2015 Aurelien Chatagnier Saint-Joseph “La Sybarite”. Black in color, roast nuts and meat on the nose, firm, dusty fruit.

2015 Julien Cecillon Saint-Joseph “Babylone”. Dark red to black, crushed red berries on the nose with firm, tight black fruit.

2007 E. Guigal Saint-Joseph “Vignes de l’Hospice”. Dark brick, black leather and mint on the nose with chewy fruit and a long finish.

2015 Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage. Dark purple to black, closed nose, chewy, woody, dense.

2015 Domaine Rostaing Cote-Rotie “Ampidium”. Purple with chocolate covered cherries on the nose, chewy with slate notes on the fruit, nice balance.

2014 Domaine Jean-Michel Stephen Cote-Rotie “Coteaux de Tupin”. Dark purple, fresh rosemary on the nose with chewy, funky fruit.

1996 E. Guigal Cote-Rotie “La Landonne”. Brick with an amber rim, pretty perfume of red leather, smoky, meaty fruit with a moderate to long finish.

2015 Clusel-Roch Cote-Rotie “Classique”. Black, closed nose of black leather, chewy with a hit bit tannins at the end.

2012 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. Dark brick, tar and mint on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit, long finish.

2011 Louis Barruol Hermitage “La Pierrelle”. Dark brick in color with green bell pepper on the nose, dusty fruit.

2015 Domaine du Coulet Cornas “Brise Cailloux”. Dark purple with black licorice on the nose ending with red cherry fruit.

2013 Domaine du Coulet Cornas “Brise Cailloux”. Dark purple with a big nose of green herbs with red cherry fruit.

 

 

Raw Wine New York 2017

 

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The Raw Wine Fair was held in London and Berlin before coming to New York City on November 5-6. The festival was created and organized by Isabelle Legeron as a forum for wines that reject the industrial and over manipulated big brands for wines that are authentic, low intervention, organic and biodynamic and grown with sustainable agricultural practices.

The fair was held in a warehouse space in the industrial, graffiti-filled hipster neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn at 99 Scott Avenue. There were over 100 growers showcasing their wines.

The grey, misty weather didn’t keep people from the event and it seemed they had more wineries in attendance this year than in last.

 

Some of what I sampled:

Castagna Winery. Haven’t tried many biodynamic wines from Australia and haven’t tried many Australian wines made from Sangiovese. 2013 “Un Segreto”. a Sangiovese and Syrah blend, medium red, tar notes on the nose, starts chewy and ends with firm acidity. 2013 “La Chiave”, all Sangiovese, medium red, tar and violet notes on the nose, tight, bitter cherry fruit, medium finish.

Clos de Caveau. A winery in Vacqueyras, Rhone Valley. 2014 “Carmen Brillant”: Medium red, closed nose of red berries, concentrated, silky fruit with tobacco notes and roast nuts on the nice balance. 2015 “Fruit Savage“: Medium purple, closed nose of black licorice, chunky, crushed rocks on the fruit, balanced, moderate long finish.

2015 Sine Felle Toscana Bianca: Orange wine from the Malvasia varietal, dark orange with orange peel notes on the nose, earthy with good balance.

2009 Sine Felle  Chianti Riserva: Dark amber, bright red leather on the nose, chewy licorice fruit, nice grip at the end, long finish.

2016 Sine Felle Canaiolo: This varietal used in Chianti is not normally bottled on its own, medium red, sour cherry on the nose, sour, bitter cherry on the fruit ending with some funkiness on the fruit.

2014 Rocca di Carpeneto “Erche”: Dolcetto, dark red, violet, green herbs on the nose chewy slate on the fruit, firm tannins.

2013 Podere Borgaruccio “Rivale”: Medium red, crushed fresh rosemary and some petroleum on the nose with dusty, mouth coating tannins on the moderate finish.

2015 The Scholium Project “The prince in his cave”: An orange wine made from Sauvignon Blanc, dark orange in color, orange peel on the nose, moderate fruit with orange peel fruit, good balance.

2014 The Scholium Project “Sylph”: Chardonnay, light gold in color, damp earth on the nose, ripe fruit.

2015 Pallazzo Tronconi “Mocevo”: Sangiovese and Merlot blend, dark red to black, cooked red berry on the nose, mouth coating tannins, balanced.

2015 Pallazzo Tronconi “Donnico”: Made from indigenous grape varietal Olivella, dark purple, smoky, cooked earth on the nose, bright red fruit.

 

 

Food Network Grand Tasting & Outdoor BBQ 2017

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The 10th annual Food Network New York Food & Wine Festival was held on October 12-15. It was four days of 100+ events including dinners, wine tastings, classes, seminars and late night parties with 100% of the net proceeds going to the Food Bank for New York and the No Kid Hungry campaign.

I began the festivities on Thursday evening by attending the Tacos & Tequila late-night party held at the boutique Hudson Hotel at 237 58th Street in Manhattan. It was hosted by taco aficionado Aaron Sanchez and featured many styles of tacos and much tequila infused cocktails.

On Sunday I attended a couple of events, I began at the Grand Tasting held at Pier 94 at 55th street and the West Side highway. The event space was a 130,000 sq. foot “culinary wonderland” of food, wine, spirits and culinary demonstrations by Food Network and Cooking Channel stars.

I have covered this event in the past and was somewhat disappointed this year. In past years there was a separate room that featured higher end wines that were not available on the main floor. That was not the case this year, they omitted that room which for me took away much of the excitement of the event. It became just another large consumer event with a lot of mid-level wines.

Afterwards I walked next door to the Coca-Cola Backyard BBQ event held at the top floor of an unused multilevel parking garage. The event was hosted by Andrew Zimmern, Chef and host to the Travel Channel show, Bizarre Foods, and by Pat LaFrieda of Pat LaFrieda Meats. The event had pit masters grilling all sorts of meat, and even squid which was washed down with cold beer, wine and cocktails. An excellent live band provided the music and as this years event was “family friendly”, there were plenty of kids enjoying the event as well.

 

Some of what I sampled at the Grand Tasting:

Tablas Creek Winery. Winery in Paso Robles California that specializes in Rhone varietals.

2012 Esprit de Tablas Blanc: Gold in color, honey notes on the nose, kiwi, melon on the fruit, nice balance.

2014 Esprit de Tablas Noir: black in color, black olives on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit, nice grip, good balance.

2014 Patelin de Tablas: Dark amber, closed nose of crushed herbs, tight with firm acids and tannin on the bitter red cherry finish.

Kendall-Jackson Winery

2015 Pinot Gris: Medium yellow with cantaloupe on the nose, dried herb on the finish with nice acidity.

2015 Grand Reserve Chardonnay : Medium gold, toasty nose, with big oak notes on the fruit.

2013 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark black, slightly closed nose of crushed dark berries, very concentrated with dusty, silky tannins and good balance.

2014 Ferrari-Carano Siena: Dark red to black, closed nose, juicy and concentrated, tree bark on the fruit, good, firm finish.

2014 Ferrari-Carano  Cabernet Sauvignon: Black, crushed ripe plums on the nose, thick and concentrated with some mint notes, balanced.

2014 Cambia Winery Pinot Noir “Benchbreak”: Medium amber, crushed blueberry and mint on the nose, tight, smoky finish.

 

 

Newport Mansions Wine & Food Fest 2017

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The 12th annual Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival was held September 21-24th in Newport Rhode Island. Newport is about a three and a half hour drive northeast from New York City. The event was a fundraiser for the Preservation Society of Newport County, a cultural organization that protects and preserves Newport’s architectural heritage. Sponsors included Food & Wine magazine and Maserati.

The event was held at the Marble House, one of many gilded-age mansions in Newport at 596 Bellevue Avenue. It was built between 1888-1892 for Mr. and Mrs William K. Vanderbilt at a then cost of $11 million, $7 million of which was spent on marble. Subtle is not a word to describe the interior rooms of the mansion.

The fest was four days of wine dinners, seminars, chefs demos with grand tastings on Saturday and Sunday. I attended Sunday afternoon and the event actually took place on the back lawn of the mansion overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Local and regional Chefs provided food, a favorite of mine was a green gazpacho with jalapeno oil topped with lump crabmeat and any of the beef and pork that the Dole & Bailey meat purveyors were grilling. In the sweltering heat of the afternoon those grill masters manage to sling the meat while maintaining a borsht- belt chatter with the guests. In the authentic Chinese tea house on the lawn, it was “rosé all day” with wines from Chateau d’Esclans.

As far as consumer wine and food fests go, this is one of the nicer ones with a great venue, a good selection of wines and spirits and tasty food from the locals.

The afternoon started out hot and sweltering so I focused on rosé and sparkling wines and managed to try a few reds at the end of the day.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2016 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel, Rock Angel, Garrus

2016 Notorious Pink Grenache

2016 Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir

NV Gosset Brut Grande Reserve

2012 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino

2010 Pichon-Longueville

2014 Justin Isosceles

2014 Justin Justification

 

 

Toast Of Brooklyn

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On September 16th I Attended the 10th annual Toast of Brooklyn, “a global wine, food and art festival”.

This year the event was held at Restoration Plaza on 1360 Fulton Street, an outdoor event space in Bedford-Stuyvesant in central Brooklyn

It was an outdoor event and featured many international wines and a surprisingly huge selection of some very good high-end spirits. Aperitifs and cordials such as Campari, Aperol, Gran Marnier and many others, excellent rums such as a 21-year and a 25-year-old rum from Appleton, local whiskeys including Bourbons from Kings County Distillery, and even a watermelon infused vodka/tequila hybrid from Vodkila to name of few.

In addition to wine and spirits, there was a fashion show by Sonia Noel designs and a cooking demonstration from Vladimir Lebrun of Chef Indeed.

The weather was gorgeous and the venue never got overcrowded as some of these consumer events do at times. It made for nice late afternoon of strolling around the plaza grazing on wines and spirits.