Wine Spectator’s NY Wine Experience 2018


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Wine Spectator magazine held its 38th annual New York Wine Experience on October 18-20. It was three days of sit-down seminars, wine pairing lunches, a critics’ choice Grand Tasting and a Grand Award banquet. Proceeds from the event go to support the Wine Spectator scholarship foundation.

The Grand Tastings were held on Thursday and Friday evening. They were one of the best if not the best wine tastings of the year. It was two floors of over 269 participating wineries/chateaus pouring wines that have been rated 90 points or higher on the Wine Spectator ratings scale. Many of the owners and wine makers were on hand to pour and to talk about their wines.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan at 1535 Broadway. This was a mega tasting that one day of sampling didn’t do it justice but one day was what I had, I attended on Friday night. With so many great wines available I had to narrow my focus on what to drink. I decided to forgo white wines and Champagnes and narrow the tasting to Bordeaux and Napa Valley reds for the most part. Even with that I wasn’t able to get to all but I did my best. I drank some very, very nice juice.

The #1 wine of 2017 selected by Wine Spectator was the 2014 Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms Vineyard from Napa Valley.


New World

1993 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Fay” (Napa Valley) Medium brick, dusty nose of rusted metal, dried leaf notes on the good fruit and a long finish. Holding up well.

2008 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mts) Opaque dark red to black, pretty perfume of fresh herbs, mint and red candy, chewy and chunky dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2008 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon “Jack’s Masterpiece” (Napa Valley) Black in color, roast nuts and crushed red fruit on the nose, thick, syrupy, dark chocolate on the fruit.

2009 Dominus Estate (Napa Valley) Red blend, opaque dark brick, tar, paint thinner on the nose, concentrated smoky fruit, tight, nice finish.

2010 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Vineyard “The OG” (Napa Valley) Thick black in color, crushed raspberry on the nose, thick and chewy, nice tannins.

2012 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque medium red, roast nuts on the nose, chewy with silky firm tannin on the long finish.

2013 Kerr “Reserve” (Napa Valley) Black in color, crushed back fruit and ripe plum on the nose, thick, syrupy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate finish.

2014 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley) Clear dark purple, dark fruit on the nose, dusty, chewy red licorice on the fruit, moderate finish.

2014 Dariosh Cabernet Sauvignon “Darius II” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, deep concentrated with chewy black licorice on the firm, balanced fruit, long finish.

2014 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley) Black, crushed black berries on the nose, chewy, minty with big acidity at the end.

2015 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley) Dark purple, purple rim, crushed red cherry on the nose, thick, juicy and toasty on the fruit.

2015 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley) Black in color, toasty red berries on the nose, tight and concentrated with dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2015 Peter Michael “Les Pavots” (Knights Valley) Opaque dark red, crushed red fruit and red leather on the nose, concentrated with green herb notes on the fruit, balanced.

2015 Continuum “Sage Mt Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Black in color with a purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with firm tannins at the end.

2015 Sinegal Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, very chewy and concentrated, a big wine with a lip smacking finish.

2015 Staglin Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, sweet black cherry and roast nuts on the nose, red cherry fruit.

2016 Bergström Pinot Noir “Bergström Vineyard” (Dundee Hills) Light red, toasted nuts, bacon on the nose, black cherry on the fruit, tight finish.


Old World

2003 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac) Dark amber, ripe plums, tar and leaf notes on the nose with oak notes on the balanced finish.

2005 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere (St-Emilion) Cloudy dark red, roasted tar and crushed red berries on the nose, starts juicy, tightens up at the finish.

2005 Chateau Montrose (St-Estephe) Cloudy black in color with a brick rim, herbs, roast meat and forest floor on the nose, finishes tight and hard.

2005 Chateau Pichon Longueville (Pauillac) Black with a red rim, crushed red berries and toasted nuts on the nose, very tight fruit that drops off, thought it was unbalanced.

2006 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan) Dark purple, sweet black cherry and turpentine on the nose, tight and chewy sweet fruit, firm tannins on the finish.

2008 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Pauillac) Medium red, with sediment, green herbs on the nose, tight, light. Disappointing.

2008 Chateau Margaux (Margaux) Medium brick, toast and roast meat on the nose, tight with silky tannins on the finish.

2010 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion) Opaqe dark red to black, mint and red leather on the nose, chewy with firm and silky tannins.

2011 Chateau Haut-Brion (Peassac Leognan) Dark amber, crushed dark fruit on the nose with sweet, dark fruit.

2011 Chateau Cheval-Blanc (St-Emilion) Opaque dark red, toast, roasted nuts on the nose, silky red fruit, firm, long finish.

2012 Bouchard Pere & Fils “Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus”(Burgundy) Light amber, ripe red fruit and mint on the nose, light cherry fruit, balances.

2012 Chateau Angelus (St-Emilion) Moderate red, toasty and green herbs on the nose. moderate fruit, nice balance.

2014 Chateau Canon (St-Emilion) Moderate purple, roasted bacon on the nose, tight, bright fruit, crisp finish.

2015 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) Dark red with a purple rim, barnyard on the nose, chewy red fruit with a long finish, nice balance.

2015 Chateau Lynch-Bages (Pauillac) Dark red to black, closed nose of roasted nuts, starts thick and chewy then drops to tight tannins.

2015 Clos Fourtet (St-Emilion) Opaque dark purple, vanilla on the nose, thick and chewy with good balance on the dark fruit.


2006 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero) Amber in color, toasty red cherry on the sweet dusty fruit with a moderate to long balanced finish.

2009 Tenuta dell Ornellaia “Masseto” (Tuscany) Medium brick, crushed cooked berries on the nose, starts chewy, finishes tight, long finish with some heat.  

2011 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino “Tenuta Greppo Riserva” (Tuscany) Light brick in color, red cherry on the nose, cherry leather on the fruit.

2013 Gaja Barolo “Sperss” (Piedmont) Light brick, roasted nuts on the nose, dusty, roasted meat on the light fruit, balanced.

2014 Pio Cesare Barberesco “Il Bricco” (Piedmont) Medium brick, tar, cherry leather on the nose, medium dusty, dried leaf on the fruit, ending with big acids.




Wine Fest At The Golden Nugget 2018

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On August 25th I attended the 7th annual International Wine Festival hosted by the Golden Nugget hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Golden Nugget, located at 600 Huron Avenue, is one of a handful of casinos in the Marina district of Atlantic City which is about three miles from the famous boardwalk.

It was a truly international wine event featuring over 100 wines from the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, New Zealand, Germany and even some sparkling wines from England. A live band provided musical entertainment and there was a nice buffet to go with all those wines.

Unlike many consumer wine tastings, the room never became overcrowded and I didn’t have to wait very long to get a sample of wine or to speak with one of the wine representatives that were on hand to answer questions.

Some of what I sampled:


2004 Paul Goerig Blanc de Blanc

NV Paul Goerig Rosé

NV Collet Brut Rosé

NV Coppola Sofia Brut Rosé


2017 Mirabeau Classic Rosé

2017 Mirabeau Etoile Rosé

2017 Coppola Sofia Rosé


2015 Etude Chardonnay Grace Benoist Ranch

2015 Neyers Chardonnay

2017 Donati Family Chardonnay Unoaked

2014 Andre Brunel Chateauneuf du Pape White

2015 Macon Lugny Les Charmes


2016 Etude Pinot Noir Lyric

2015 Etude Pinot Noir Carneros

2014 Trione Winery Pinot Noir Russian River

2015 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir

2014 Neyers Zinfandel

2013 Trione Winery Henrey’s Blend

2014 Donati Family Claret

2012 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva

2011 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Il Solatio

2014 Ruffino Reserva Ducale Tan Label

2010 Arcanum Chianti Classico Reserva

2011 Arcanum Il Fauno

2014 Masi Campofiorin Roso

2012 Masi Costasera Amarone

2014 Andre Brunel Chateauneuf du Pape Les Cailloux Red



FIAF Bastille Day Party 2018

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July 14th is the French National Day, or Bastille Day which commemorates the storming of the Bastille during the French revolution.

In New York City on Sunday July 15th, FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise) has celebrated Bastille Day for over twenty years with a three-block long party on 60th Street in Manhattan.

FIAF is a private not for profit created in 1898 to “promote and enhance knowledge of French and Francophone culture” through cinema, lectures and language classes.

The fête featured live entertainment, street art, a French-themed market and a couple of wine tastings; a  jazz and Champagne event and a tasting of wines from the south of France provided by Sud de France. The tastings took place at their office at 22 East 60th Street.

As luck would have it, this year France made it to the finals of the World Cup which was played on this Sunday afternoon which added to the festivities of the day.

There was an after-party at Amali restaurant at 115 East 60th Street with free-flowing wine from the south of France , rum from Martinique and cider from Normandy.



La Nuit en Rosé 2018

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La Nuit en Rosé is the “world’s first festival dedicated exclusively to rosé wine” whose mission is to showcase the versatility and diversity of rosé. In addition to the event in New York City they have held the festival in Miami, Los Angeles and the Hamptons.

In New York the event was held on May 18 & 19 on the Hornblower yacht which is docked at Pier 40 on the west side of Manhattan.  They featured 100+ rosé plus food stations. Most of the wines poured were French with other countries thrown in here and there.

To me, rosé are like the sweatpants of the wine world, casual and comfortable and nothing to make a fuss about, if it’s dry I’ll drink it. On this Saturday afternoon Mother Nature did not cooperate as is was cold and rainy, but with a boatload of all you can drink rosé, a DJ and a dancefloor, the weather didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves.

Some of what I sampled:



NV Veuve Ambal Brut

NV De Chanceny Cremont de Loire Brut

NV GH Mumm Brut Rosé

NV Veuve du Vernay

NV Leoube

2017 AIX (Methuselah)

2017 Remy Pannier Rosé de Loire

2017 Listel Grain de Gris

2017 Domaine D’Hondrant Elle & Lui

2017 Diving Into Hampton Water

2017 Triennes

2017 La Chapelle Gordonne

2016 Mouton Cadet

2017 Romance du Loire Saumur

2017 Cantarelle Riviera Bistro

2017 Domaine Montrose

2017 Aime Roquesante

2017 Lurton Fumees Blanches


2017 Day Owl

2017 Bonterra

2017 Frescobaldi Alie

2017 Danzante



Brooklyn Crush Spring 2018

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Brooklyn Crush is a biannual wine fest presented by NY Wine Events which hosts several wine-themed events throughout the year. The event showcased global wines and samplings of foods from local vendors.

The fest was held at Industry City, a large complex of reconverted warehouses located on 36th Street on the far west side in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The complex has a mix of commercial businesses where you could spend the day eating, drinking and shopping. It’s a destination venue in itself.

The event was held on May 12th and was open to the consumer for an afternoon and evening session. I attended that afternoon and this consumer event had more interesting wines than many of the similar wine fests I’ve attended so far this year.


Some of what I sampled:

Some nice Brazilian wines:

NV Cave Amadeu Rosé Brut

2013 Cave Geisse Nature

2016 Cave Geisse Brut

2013 Salton Winery Cabernet Franc

2015 Casa Perini Tannat


2015 Sparkling Point Brut

2015 Sparkling Point Topaz Imperial Brut Rosé

2017 90+ Cellars Lot 33 Rosé

2015 Ironside Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Ferreira Carpenter Winery Montelpulciano

2016 Piazza Brothers Wine Room Amerone

2014 Jamesport Vineyards East End Cabernet Franc

2013 Dancing Coyote Petite Syrah

2017 Rhonea Vacqueyras White

2015 Atha Ruju Cannonau di Sardegna

2015 Castelucci Miano Perricone

2014 Don Tony Perez Petit Verdot

2014 Don Tony Perez Syrah

2015 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2015 Ruffino Il Ducale Red

2016 Roberto Ferraris Barbera d’Asti


Brooklyn Kura #14 Ginjo Nama Genshu (locally made saki)

Pallini Lemoncello

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur

Taconic Distillery Founders Rye

Taconic Distillery Private Reserve Bourbon

Interesting Nibbles:

Ends Meat (charcuterie made in Industry City)

Buli Olive Oil (from Tuscany)

Les Trois Petits Conchon (paté)



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.



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.