Vino 2017 Superbowl Party

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On Monday the 6th annual Italian wine trade show event known as Vino 2017 was held in Manhattan. The event was organized by the Italian Trade Commission which is a government agency that promotes trade between Italian companies and foreign markets. The Grand Tasting showcased “extraordinary Italian wines” from 120 producers serving 600+ wines in addition to several seminars.

On the previous Sunday evening I attended the Superbowl viewing party they held for journalists and venders at the same venue. That event featured over forty Italian wines and not so typical Superbowl snacks such as risotto with porcini mushrooms, orecchiette with broccoli rabe, manicotti and assorted salamis and cheeses.

Both events were held at the Spring Studios event space at 50 Varick Street in the SoHo district of Manhattan.

There were sparking, white and red wines from all over the Italian peninsula from small producers and labels. Some of what I sampled:


2015 La Sclusa Ribolla Gialla: Light yellow with green tints, white flowers on the nose, good acidity.

2015 Castel Sallegg Pinot Bianco: Light green tint, fresh flowers on the nose, moderate fruit with nice acidity.


2014 Grillo Iole Schioppettino: Medium to light red, tarry cigar box on the nose, sour cherry notes on the firm fruit.

2013 Torleanzi Primitivo Di Manduria “Tyrannus”: Medium red, sweet cherry earth on the nose, tight leather fruit, firm finish.

2013 Agricola Brigha “Ambèli”: Medium red, cooked fruit, pencil shavings on the nose, bitter leather on the fruit.

2012 L’Astemia Pentita Barolo “Cannubi”: Brick in color, pencil shavings on the nose, silky red fruit and leather, feminine and delicate, moderate finish.

2011 Le Ginestre Barolo: Medium brick, classic nose of tar and cigar box, moderate chewy fruit, firm finish.

2009 Fattoria Lavacchio Chianti Rufina “Ludié”: Medium red, cooked vegetable and bitter cherry on the nose, tight sweet cherry fruit, dusty finish.

2012 Casale Dello Sparviero Chianti Classico Gran Selezione “Vigna Paronza”: Medium red, sweet tar and pencil shavings on the nose, sweet bitter cherry and leather on the balanced finish. One of my favorites of the night.

2012 Villa Mattielli Amarone: Medium red, ripe red fruit on the nose, chewy red fruit, licorice and bitter cherry on the finish, low acids.

2014 Villa Mattielli Valpolicella “Rippaso”: Medium red, sweet cherry on the nose with cherry red leather on the balanced fruit.

2014 Marchese Antinori Guado Al Tasso “Il Bruciato”: Medium to dark red, crushed dark flowers on the nose, cherry red leather on the fruit, bitter cherry notes on the balanced finish.

2013 Torrevento Primitivo “Since 1913”: Medium to dark red, warm earthy nose, chunky and thick with juicy black fruit, moderate tannins.



Union Des Grands Cru De Bordeaux 2017: Philadelphia

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The Union des Grands Cru des Bordeaux is a French organization established in 1973 to promote and introduce the Cru wines of Bordeaux. These are the top-tier of the wine hierarchy of the 10,000 Chateau in the 57 appellations of the Bordeaux wine region. Every January they travel to the United States to various cities conducting tastings for the trade and consumer showcasing the current vintage that’s being released. This year that would be the 2014 vintage. While the wines are still young at this stage, it’s a great opportunity to taste how the that particular vintage was.

In New York City they hold their trade and consumer tastings on the third Monday in January. The last year I was able to attend was in 2014 and I would not have been able to attend the event this year. Fortunately for me this year, for the first time they held a tasting on Sunday afternoon, January 22 in Philadelphia. I did not want to miss this opportunity so it was time for a road trip to Philadelphia to visit historical sites such as the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, eat a cheesesteak for lunch then spend the rest of the afternoon with some good Bordeaux. The tasting was held at The Rittenhouse hotel located at 210 West Rittenhouse Square.

I didn’t do research on the 2014 to influence my tasting. No one would have confused this tasting with a tasting of Napa Valley Cabernet. After trying most of the wines, I would have guessed that 2014 was a very cool and wet vintage for Bordeaux. In general the wines had pretty aromas but tight fruit with sour cherry notes, crisp acids and mouth coating tannins. I know the wines are way too young now and would love to sample in ten years but they are hard as nails now.



Chateau La Cabanne: Medium red with a brick rim, sweet red candy and cooked asparagus on the nose, tight and dusty, finish drops.

Chateau Clinet: Dark red, perfume of sweet fruit and fresh herbs, crisp acid, finish drops a bit.

Chateau Gazin: Dark red, sweet fruit with barnyard notes on the nose, silky, moderate fruit, moderate finish.


Chateau Clerc Milon: Dark red with a purple rim, pretty perfume of violets, tight with oak notes on the fruit with firm tannins and acids at the end.

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste: Dark red, turpentine on the nose, tight.

Chateau Lynch-Bages: Black red, purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, tight, firm finish, some heat at the end.

Chateau D’Armailhac: Dark red to black, warm fresh herbs on the nose, silky red cherry fruit, nice balance. One of my favorites of the night.


Chateau Cantenac Brown: Dark red, crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight and tart.

Chateau Desmirail: Dark red with a sweet perfume with notes of tree bark, tight, tannin with citrus acids.


Chateau Beychevelle: Dark red with a perfume of sandalwood, tight, with oak notes on the silky fruit, smooth tannins on the moderate finish.

Chateau Gruaud Larose: Medium red, smoky dark fruit on the nose with oak notes on the fruit.

Chateau Talbot: Black in color, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, nice balance.

Chateau Leoville Poyferre: Dark red to black, nice perfume of violets, silky red cherry fruit followed by a mouthful of tannin.

Chateau Gloria: Dark red to black, toasted notes on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit.


Chateau Phelan Segur: Dark purple, burnt wood notes on the nose, tight, tart.

Chateau Cos Lobory: Dark purple, dusty, crushed black fruit on the nose, dusty, oak notes on the fruit and finish.


Clos Fourtet: Dark red to black with a purple rim, closed nose of tree bark, red cherry fruit, moderate finish, crisp acids.

Chateau Canon La Gaffellier: Dark red, perfume of violets and Asian spices, silky toasty fruit, moderate to long finish.

Chateau Canon: Dark red, purple rim, closed nose, tight, moderate fruit, balanced finish.


Chateau Haut-Bailly: Medium red, tar and pencil shavings on the nose, tar notes on the tight fruit.

Chateau Malartic: Black with a purple rim, smoky cooked vegetables on the nose.

Chateau Pape Clement: Dark red to black, perfume of sweet fruit with concentrated red fruit, moderate finish.

Chateau Olivier: Dark red with red melon and tea notes on the nose, red cherry and earth on the moderate finish.


Chateau Coufran: Dark red, closed nose, sour cherry fruit, tannic.

Chateau La Lagune: Dark red, red cherry, pencil shavings on the nose, tart red cherry fruit, mouth coating tannin.

Chateau Cantemerle: Dark red, purple rim, chocolate on the nose, tight fruit, big tannins on the finish.

Chateau de Camensac: Dark purple, sweet perfume of cigar box, moderate fruit, nice grip.


Chateau Clarke: Dark red to black, barnyard notes on the nose, dense, silky fruit, nice grip at the end finishing with mouth coating tannin.



Chianti In Chelsea

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This year is the 300th anniversary of what is considered the first wine region in the world. In 1716, the Grand Duke Cosimo III set the borders of the Black Rooster production zone for Chianti Classico. The “Classico” zone is one of the eight sub-zones of Chianti in Tuscany.

This past Sunday, Pierre Loti wine bar on 258 West 15th Street in Manhattan held a Chianti fundraiser/tasting for the Wheeling Forward organization. It was a sit-down tasting of nine Chianti Classico and Riserva with commentary by wine educator, Robin Kelly O’Connor.


2014 Castellare Chianti Classico

Medium red with a purple rim, toast and a sweet perfume of violets on the nose, tight with light fruit and low tannins and acids.

2014 Santo Stefano Chianti Classico

Dark red with a light brick rim, crushed black fruit and wood notes on the nose, dusty black cherry fruit with moderate tannins and acid.

2013 Lorano Chianti Classico

Medium red, purple rim, big perfume of red cherry and baking spices, moderate red cherry fruit, balanced tannin and acids on the finish. Very drinkable.

2012 Fattoria La Ripa Chianti Classico

Medium red, big perfume of tar and sweet cherry, moderate red cherry fruit upfront and finishes with lip smacking tannins.

2013 Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva “Montonello”

Dark red with a pretty perfume of tar and violets, big black cherry fruit with firm tannins on the finish.

2013 Castello di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva

Medium red with a brick rim with tar, leather and pencil shavings on the nose, moderate juicy fruit, sour cherry notes on the finish, moderate tannin and acid.

2013 Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Riserva “Agostino Petri”

Medium red, toasty oak notes on the nose with red and black cherry notes on the fruit, good balance.

2012 Rocca Della Macie Chianti Classico Riserva “Famiglia Zingarelli”

Dark red with a slightly closed nose of black fruit and spice, chunky red fruit with bitter cherry notes and a nice balance of tannins and acids on the finish.

2012 Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico Riserva

Medium red with a perfume of tar, graphite, tight fruit finishing with firm tannins and tart fruit.




Syrah On Long Island

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Syrah (Shiraz in Australia), is a varietal found to be indigenous to France. It’s used as a backbone grape for many big and bold wines from the Cote du Rhone and Australia as well as grown in other regions. I remember at one time it was thought it would be the next standout varietal in California but that never panned out and there was a lot of Cali Syrah being sold on those discount mail-order wine sites these past few years. Out East it’s not a big player but there are a few acres of it planted and on this Sunday afternoon I sampled a few. In the cooler growing season in this wine region, I wasn’t expecting big and bold wines.


2014 Pindar Vineyards Syrah  37645 Route 25, Peconic.

Pindar Vineyards which opened in the 1980’s is the largest vineyard on Long Island with over 500 acres with 17 varietals planted. It’s one of the more popular stops on the east end wine route and the tasting room was crowded even on this quiet, post holiday Sunday afternoon. It had been awhile since I stopped by this tasting room.

Black in color with roast meat and black licorice on the nose, medium body with sour black fruit and crisp acids. Felt a bit unfinished.



2014 Bedell Cellars Syrah  36225 Main Road, Cutchogue.

Winery with vines planted in the 1980’s and now owned by film executive Michael Lynne.

Dark red to black in color with a purple rim, roasted meat, dirt on the nose, tight, tart, concentrated dark fruit, neutral flavors with firm tannin at the end.



2014 Clovis Point Winery Syrah  1935 Main Road, Jamesport.

One of the newer wineries out east with 10 acres of farm land, named after pre-historic native arrow and spear points found on Long Island. One of the wineries that serve their wines in proper wine glasses.

Dark red with a purple rim, notes of asparagus and roast meat on the nose, concentrated and dusty ending with a mouth tightening tannin.



Pinot Noir On Long Island

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Of all the classic grape varieties, Pinot Noir is one of the most difficult to grow. There was never much hope that Pinot Noir would be the stand out varietal out on the East end but that hasn’t stopped winemakers from trying. Several wineries on the North Fork bottle Pinot Noir and on this sunny Sunday afternoon I tried a few.


2014 Martha Clara Vineyard Pinot Noir  6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead.

Medium to dark red in the glass, sweet cherry on the nose, crisp acids up front with red cherry and smoke notes on the light fruit.


2013 McCall Winery Pinot Noir “HIllside”  22600 Main Road, Cutchogue.

A real working farm as the earthy scent in the air attests to, the tasting room is in an old potato barn. This wine is the middle of a trio of Pinot Noir they pour, medium red, black cherry and tobacco on the nose with tight, smokey black cherry on the fruit ending with some tartness.


2012 Castello di Borghese Vineyard Pinot Noir “Estate”  17150 County Road 48, Cutchogue.

This is the site of the first vineyard (Hargrave) on Long Island in 1973. Medium red, sour cherry on the nose with sour red fruit and some earth on the fruit with some tartness at the end.


My pet peeve again.

I don’t mind when the tasting rooms charge wine bar prices for a glass of wine, after all they have a business to run, but I feel that their wines would be better showcased and the wine drinker have a better wine drinking experience if they served their wines in proper glasses instead of the thimble-sized glasses that many of the tasting rooms on the North Fork do.



Red Blends On Long Island


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Last Sunday was a miserable, rainy afternoon. Why not a drive to wine country? This time around I met a few friends out there to help me sample the local wines.

I had planned on having Sauvignon Blanc tasting but circumstances dictated that I modify my plans. I ended drinking red blends. We stopped at three wine tasting rooms this afternoon.

The first stop of the day was at the Winemakers Studio by Anthony Nappa Wines at 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic on the north fork of Long Island. It’s a cooperative tasting room featuring the wines of Anthony Nappa and some local wineries that don’t have a tasting room.

2014 Anthony Nappa “Ripasso”. This is the first wine made in this style that I have seen made in Long Island Normally it’s done with Valpolicela in Italy. Ripasso which means repassed in Italian, is when Valpolicela is made using the left over pomace from the fermentation of grapes used to make Amarone. Is usually adds some body and complexity to the wine. In this case Merlot was repassed over the leftover skins of Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes.

Dark red to black with a purple robe, dark chocolate and black cherry on the nose, concentrated, mint notes, tight and dusty with some astringency on the finish. Interesting wine.


2010 Osprey’s Dominion Meritage “Flight”. 44075 Main Road, Peconic. Whereas the Winemakers Studio was a sedate drinking experience, this large tasting room was mobbed with plenty of people out enjoying the holiday weekend.

A blend of Merlot, Carmenere and Cabernet Franc. It was nice to try a red with some bottle aging, black in color, crushed blueberries on the nose, chewy fruit with some bell pepper notes, dark chocolate and bell pepper on the moderate finish. Tasty.


2010 Pugliese Vineyards Meritage “Sunset”. 34515 Main Road, Cutchogue. Established in 1980 which makes it one of the founding fathers of the wine industry out East, family owned and operated.

A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Black in color, closed nose of dark chocolate, chewy and chunky with licorice and coffee notes on the balanced finish. A fine effort.



Chardonnay With Some Oak On Long Island

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This past Sunday afternoon I took a drive out to the  wineries on the North Fork of Long Island. It was a beautiful day with moderate temperatures and no humidity, the perfect day to be at a winery sitting on the deck with a glass of wine in hand while looking at a sea of vines with a blue sky above.

Chardonnays are the star of the whites out on the island and my focus this afternoon was to sample Chardonnay that had saw some oak treatment to it whether during fermentation or aging. .


2013 Laurel Lake Vineyards Chardonnay “Reserve” (North Fork)  3165 Main Road, Laurel, NY

Estate bottled and 100% fermented and aged in oak. Old school Chard, gold in color, honey-peach on the nose, spicy cinnamon and mouth filling buttery fruit, oak notes throughout the finish.


2014 Bedell Cellars Chardonnay (North Fork)   36225 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY

Barrel fermented and steel aged, yellow with greenish tints, lemon-lime custard on the nose, medium fruit with clean, tart lime notes on the finish.


2012 Lieb Cellars “No Label” Chardonnay (North Fork)  13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue, NY

Only available at the tasting room, partially barrel fermented, yellow with greenish tints, bubblegum and tropical fruits on the nose, mango notes followed by toast on the fruit with firm acids on the finish.