Holiday Wine Tour Of Spain

 

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The end of the year usually brings a lull to the wine/cocktail tasting events in the city, but there is still an event or two around town to attend.

Pierre Loti is a Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar with locations in Chelsea and Union Square in Manhattan. On Sundays they usually host some sort of wine tasting.

On Sunday, December16th they hosted a holiday wine tour of Spain at their Union Square location located at 53 Irving Place. It was a sit down tasting of ten interesting Spanish wines with a nice selection from sparkling to dessert. It was a cozy room filled with people there to taste some wine and to listen to commentary from Spanish winemaker April Cullom and resident wine guy, Robin Kelley O’Connor.

It was a nice way to spend a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon.

 

White

NV Caves Torllo Brut Reserve (Penedes)

30% Macebeo, 45% Xarel-Lo, 25% Parellada: Light gold, crisp and lemony

2017 Bodega Gaintza Txakolina (Tzakoli Guetaria)

85% Hondarrabi Zuri, 10% Gros Manseng, 5% Hondarrabi Beltza: White floral nose, with lime notes on the crisp finish, fresh.

2016 Casa Abril Godello (Valdeorras)

100% Godello: Orange and stinky undertones on the nose, moderate floral fruit with nice acidity on the finish.

 

Rosé

2017 Vinos Guerra Armas de Guerra (Bierzo)

100% Mencia: Very light red in color, red cherry on the nose, cooked vegetable notes on the moderate fruit, moderate to low acids.

2017 Zestos Rosado (Madrid)

100% Free Run Garnacha: Medium copper in color, dark flower and dark cherry on the nose, juicy with firm acidity on the finish, nice balance.

 

Red

2016 Bodegas Barreda Casa Abril Coupage (Tierra de Castilla)

60% Tempranillo, 20% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon: Opaque dark purple, crushed black fruit and slate on the nose, tight with cherry and roast coffee note on the firm finish with tight tannins.

2016 El Quinon Barco de Piedra (Ribero del Duero)

100% Tempranillo: Opaque dark red, dusty green herbs on the nose, dusty and tart with firm tannins.

2014 Celler Vinos Piñol Portal (Terra Alta)

50% Garnacha, 20% Carignan, 10% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 10% Tempranillo: Opaque  medium red with crushed red fruit and toast on the nose, tight moderate fruit with crisp acids.

2016 Bodegas Nekeas El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa (Navarra)

100% Old Vines Garnacha: Medium red, crushed red fruit and dark flowers on the nose, bright, tight and toasty silky red fruit, crisp finish.

2010 Bodegas Ochoa Reserva (Navarra)

55% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot: Opaque dark red, crushed dark fruit and ripe leather on the nose, tight, juicy fruit with a medium to long finish.

 

Dessert

2016 Bodegas Ochoa Moscatel Vendimia Tardia (Navarra)

100% Single Vineyard Late Harvest Moscatel: Light gold with a big perfume of lychee, thick, with melon notes on the moderate finish.

Bodegas Alvaro Domecq Oloroso Reserva 1730 (Jerez)

Palomino Fino Aged 30 years:  The color of chocolate milk with a perfume of gun metal, cut grass and raisons, thick and creamy, not a shy dessert wine.

 

 

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Italian Heritage On Long Island

 

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Italy is one of the great wine-producing countries,vacillating between itself and France as the largest wine producer in the world. With a climate ideally suited to viticulture, wine had been a part of the country’s culture and everyday life for thousands of years. With more than 350 varieties, the peninsula is one big vineyard.

With millions of Italians migrating the New World and many to the New York City area, it was only natural that some of the ancestors of those immigrants would be a part of the burgeoning wine industry on Long Island.  

With that, Italian wine varietals are very rare at the north and south fork wineries. You would think with many varietals grown in the cooler areas of the Italian peninsula, that wine makers would adapt those grapes for Long Island. Channing Daughters Winery on the south fork grows several such as tocai friulano, lagrein, teroldego and ribolla gialla but on the north fork there is practically none grown. The only winery I remember making an effort to grow Italian varieties on the north fork was Southhold Farm + Cellars but they closed down and moved on to greener pastures in Texas.

I spent one Sunday afternoon stopping at some of the wineries owned by Italian-Americans.

 

 

Macari Vineyards  150 Bergen Avenue, Mattitiuck

Owners: Joseph and Alexandra Macari

This is one of two tasting rooms they have on the north fork. As with a typical Italian-American experience, in his youth Mr. Macari made wine with his grandfather in the basement of his grandfathers home in Corona, Queens. On this Sunday, the tasting was decked out in Christmas decorations and a good crowd of people.

2014 Red Blend “Dos Aquas” A blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Opaque dark red with a purple rim, roast coffee and crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with some hazelnut notes, moderate tannins and acids.

 

 

Raphael Vineyards  39390 Main Road, Peconic

Owners: Jack and Joan Petrocelli

A family built, owned and operated winery named for the owners father and that “continues a centuries old family tradition of winemaking”. There are tasting rooms in the north fork that are cozy and rustic but this is not one of them. This is a huge facility built to look like an Italian villa that often serves as a wedding venue.

2015 White Reserve “Primo” An interesting blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Riesling.  Dark gold with a honeyed nose with ripe tropical fruit though dry. The wine is starting to show its age and I think it’s past its prime.

 

 

Pugliese Vineyards  34515 Main Road, Cutchogue

Owner: The Pugliese Family

One of the original wineries out East established in 1980 and family owned and operated since. They were one of the first to make sparkling wines out East and the only winery I know on Long Island that grows Sangiovese (3-4 acres). They specialize in hand painted bottles and gift baskets which are on display in the understated tasting room.

2012 Sangiovese Clear medium red, crushed red fruit, black licorice and rosemary on the nose, soft red fruit with moderate to low tannins and some tartness at the end.

 

 

 

Brooklyn Whiskey Fest

 

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On Saturday evening, December 1st I attended the Brooklyn Whiskey Festival. The event featured over 100 styles of whiskey and craft spirits that included All-American Ryes and Bourbon and locally produced whiskey from New York State in addition to Japanese Whiskey, Irish Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Tequila, Gin and Vodka. There were also some specialty spirits that were flavored with ginger, lemon and in one case, root beer.

There were many spirits both brown and clear from New York State and New York City because of the explosion of new distilleries to open in both the state and city. That’s because in the early part of the 21st century the state of New York loosened the post Prohibition rules which made it difficult to open a new distillery. The distilleries are able to take advantage of the agricultural bounty of the state to use those local products to make the various craft spirits.

There were plenty of big name labels at the event as well as small, artisanal producers pouring. To focus my efforts I avoided clear spirits and concentrated on the whiskeys, stopping for an occasional Negroni for a change of pace.

The Festival was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center located at 72 Noble Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Lately, this venue has become increasingly popular for wine and spirit events.  

Some of what I sampled:

 

American Whiskey

Bulleit: 95 rye, bourbon

Bernheim: small batch wheat whiskey

Catoctin Creek: organic rye

Copper & Kings: reserve cask brandy, bourbon

Elijah Craig: small batch bourbon

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel: select, rye, barrel proof

Journey Man Bourbon

Jefferson’s: very small batch, ocean

Michter’s: straight rye, sour mash, American whiskey

Misunderstood: ginger spiced whiskey

Old Forester: old fine whiskey, original batch

Pine Barrens Single malt

Rough Rider: the big stick rye, bullmoose rye, straight bourbon

Rocktown Bourbon

Ragtime Rye

Taconic Distillery: straight bourbon, founders rye

Van Brunt Stillhouse: rye, bourbon

 

Others

IWAI: Japanese Mars Whisky

J. J. Corry Irish Whisky

Sexton Irish Whisky: single malt

Root Out: root beer whiskey

The Real McCoy Rum: 3yr, 5yr, 12yr

The Funk: Jamaican Pot Still Rum

Chief Gowanus Gin

 

 

Sauvignon Blanc On Long Island

 

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Sauvignon Blanc is a white varietal and the parent grape to Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s ancestral home is the Bordeaux region of France where (along with Semillon) used in Bordeaux whites. It’s also a major grape in the Loire with Sancerre and Pouilly Fume and as with most of the Bordeaux varietals, exported around the world.

Out on Long Island it plays second fiddle to Chardonnay which is the Queen of white wine out here. Most wineries out East grow and bottle a sauvignon blanc and since it’s rarely aged in oak, most versions of it are clean, crisp and herbaceous if it’s made well, if not the herbaceous notes can get robust.  I spent a Sunday afternoon in wine country sampling a few.

 

One Women Winery  5195 Old North Road, Southhold

A small winery off the main road with “Old World Roots on the North Fork”. Certified sustainable and owner/winemaker a Claudia Purita as the one women of the winery. They grow and bottle Gruner Vetliner which is not very common on the North Fork.

2017 Sauvignon Blanc: Light yellow with a greenish tint, rosemary on the nose with tight lime and green herb notes on the crisp finish.

 

Coffee Pot Cellars  31855 Route 25, Cutchogue

A small production winery with their tasting room on the main road and who are also beekeepers so there are always some honey product available at the tasting room. You’ll find Beasley the pug on guard duty.

2014 Sauvignon Blanc: Unusual to find a SB with this bottle age and it showed, ripe mango on the nose, tight, slate and tropical fruit notes with nice acidity on the finish.

 

Suhru Wines  28735 Main Road, Cutchogue

A family run winery established in 2008 whose goal is “to make the wines we most enjoy” with a new tasting house on the main road.

2017 Sauvignon Blanc: Very light yellow with greenish tints, closed nose with some funkiness, fresh light fruit with moderate acids.

 

Clovis Point Winery  1935 Main Road, Jamesport

A relative newcomer to the North Fork established in 2001 with 10 acres under vine, the tasting room is in a renovated potato barn. One of the few tasting rooms that use a proper wine glass.

2017 Sauvignon Blanc: Light yellow, mowed grass and honeydew melon on the nose, starts with melon fruit notes followed by lime tartness with good acidity.

 

 

 

Northern Rhone Tasting NYC

 

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Le Reboule is the traditional end of harvest celebration in France’s Rhone Valley. It’s when everyone involved the wine process celebrate another successful vintage with wine, food and fun.

Sommiliers Dustin Wilson and Thomas Paustuszak brought the tradition of Reboule du Rhone to New York City on November 17th with a weekend of wine dinners and tastings with some of the best producers of the Northern Rhone who were on hand to pour their wines. The events raise money in which 100% go to the No Kid Hungry charity.

Most of the wines that were poured were from the excellent 2016 vintage. With plenty of sun and a long growing season, the whites had plenty of tropical/ melon/honey/ peach notes on the fruit. Anyone who drinks California whites would love them. With the reds I got plenty of the classic roast meat notes on the nose though at this point they’re still wound a little tight.

I attended the Northern Rhone tasting on Saturday afternoon which was held at the venue located on 180 Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan next to the South Street Seaport.

White

2012 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc “Blanche” Medium gold, big nose of honey, tropical fruit, juicy, honeyed fruit followed with a great grip, delicious.

2016 Jean-Baptise Souillard Roussanne Medium gold, honey, green herbs on the nose, tight with slate notes on the balanced finish.

2016 Domaine Andre Perret Condrieu “Chery” Light gold, honey nose, ripe peaches on the fruit, good balance.

2016 Domaine Andre Perret Condrieu “Clos Chanson” Light gold, sweet honeydew on the nose, tight honeydew melon fruit.

2017 Julien Cecillon Saint Peray Light gold, crushed peaches on the nose, juicy with some toast notes on the long finish, some

2017 Aurelien Chatagnier Condrieu Very light gold, crushed apricot on the nose, juicy, peachy, nice finish. heat.

Red

2015 Domaine Graillot Crozes-Hermtage “La Guiraude” Black, slate and crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy, chunky black fruit, nice balance

2015 Maison Tardieu-Laurent Cornas “Coteaux” Medium red, crushed black fruit and rosemary on the nose, tight with roasted meat notes on the fruit.

2016 Domaine Andre Perret Saint Joseph “Les Grisieres” Medium purple, roast meat notes on the nose, silky roasted nuts on the fruit, firm, balanced finish.

2016 Jean-Baptise Souillard Saint-Joseph “Janoune” Opaque medium purple, roasted meat on the nose, juicy red fruit, balanced.

2016 Aurelien Chatagnier Syrah “Cret Louison” 100% Syrah, Dark purple, barnyard notes on the nose, nice silky fruit, balanced.

2016 Domaine Clape Cornas “Renaissance” Dark purple to black, roast bacon and green herbs on the nose, concentrated, silky fruit, moderate balance.

2016 Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage Medium purple, roast meat on the nose, silky red fruit with moderate tannins.

2016 Domaine Monier Perreot Saint-Joseph “Chatelet” Dark purple, roast meat on the nose, silky fruit with some nice barnyard notes on the finish with a long finish.

2016 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas “Granit 60” Opaque dark purple, crushed dark nose, juicy firm tannins with roast nuts on the finish.

2016 Julien Cecillon Crozes-Hermitage “Les Marguerites” Light purple, roast meat on the nose, juicy turns tight on the long finish.

 

 

Matter of Taste New York 2018

 

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Wine critic and writer Robert Parker’s wine magazine, the Wine Advocate, hosts a series of global wine events throughout the year “bringing iconic wines of the world to Advocate’s members”. They host walk-around tastings, Master Classes and Dinners. In 2018 the journal hosted events in London, Singapore, San Francisco and on November 10th, their 40th anniversary addition of Matter of Taste New York City. The event was held this year as in last at the Conrad Hotel  located at 102 North End Avenue down the block from the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan.

This wine event is one of, if not the best consumer wine tasting of the year. The walk-around tasting featured a staggering amount (over 300) of some of the best wines from the wine producing countries of Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United States.

At these mega-tastings, there are far too many wines to try to sample in one afternoon or at least sample all and still be standing by the end of the afternoon, so I did what I usually do at these huge events and focused my tasting. That meant meandering around the Bordeaux and California tables and stopping to sample outliers at Spain and Italy. I was able to attend one of the interesting master classes as well. I tasted a lot of good juice this afternoon.

Some of what I sampled:

 

New World

2014 Kistler Vineyards Chardonnay “Kistler Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) Light gold, dusty nose with gun-metal notes on the moderate fruit.

2014 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay “Estate” (Santa Cruz Mt) Dark gold, juicy tropical nose with tropical fruit and lime notes on the finish.

1996 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mt) Dark brick with a pretty perfume of sweet fruit and dark chocolate, chewy and dusty fruit with firm acids.

2002 Joseph Phelps Vineyard “Insignia” (Napa Valley) Black in color, roasted coffee and dried leaf on the nose, chunky with some cooked fruit notes on the fruit, still has good balance.

2007 Crocker & Star Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Stone Place” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red with dark red fruit on the nose, chunky and juicy with silky, firm tannins.

2008 Ramey Cellars “Pedregal” (Napa Valley) From a 3 acre plot, black in color, dried leaf and black licorice on the nose, chewy and thick with herb notes on the finish.

2013 Continuum Estate Red (Napa Valley) Dark red, barnyard and crushed red fruit on the nose with chewy, barnyard fruit.

2013 Donelan Family Syrah “Obsidian Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) Medium red with dusty barnyard on the nose, thick and chunky with smoky, dusty fruit on the balanced finish.

2014 Opus One (Napa Valley) Opaque black, warm crushed black fruit on the nose, tight and concentrated with a silky, tight finish.

2014 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Dancing Bear Ranch” (Napa Valley) Dark red, barnyard notes on the nose, dark chocolate on the fruit, firm tannins.

2014 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark purple, floral herbs on the nose, chewy with a nice grip on the balanced finish.

2014 Brion Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Moon Mt” (Napa Valley) Deep black in color, crushed red fruit on the nose, thick dark chocolate fruit, balanced, long finish.

2014 Harlan Estate “Harlan Estate” (Napa Valley) Dark red with dusty crushed red fruit with some barnyard notes on the finish.

2014 Krupp Bros. Cabernet Sauvignon “Stagecoach Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, crushed black fruit on the nose, chunky and chewy black licorice on the fruit, balanced.

2015 Pahlmeyer “Proprietary Red” (Napa Valley) Dark red in color, toasty red fruit on the nose with dusty red fruit.

2015 Gallica Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley) 96 cases made, medium red, dusty plums on the nose with concentrated dark red fruit with a dusty finish, balanced.

2015 J. Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir “West Block” (Sonoma Valley) From old vines (1869), Medium purple with dark fruit and a touch of pine on the nose, tight, chewy fruit with some tart notes on the finish.

 

Old World

2014 Domaine Jean Chartron Chevalier Montrachet “Clos des Chevaliers” (Burgundy) Light gold, dirty nose with lime notes on the finish.

2005 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Paulliac) Dark brick with an amber rim, crushed dark fruit, mint and some barnyard on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate tannins and acids, long finish.

2005 Chateau Trotanoy (Pomerol) Dark red to black with an amber rim with a floral perfume, chewy with bell pepper notes on the tight and tannic finish.

2008 Chateau Pape-Clement (Pessac-Leognan) Black in color, dark chocolate on the nose, tight with frim tannins and acid.

2009 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou (St-Julien) Dark purple, closed nose of mint and bell pepper, silky tannins.

2010 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion) Black in color, dusty red fruit on the nose with slate notes on the fruit, silky tannins.

2010 Chateau Figeac (St-Emilion) Dark red, toasty crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose with dusty slate notes on the finish.

2015 Chateau Canon (St-Emilion) Very dark amber, warm cooked black on the nose with tight, silky tannins.

2007 Marchesi Antinori “Solaia” (Tuscany) Black as tar with silky red fruit, tight finish goes long.

2013 Marchesi Antinori “Tignanello” (Tuscany) Dark red, green herbs on the nose with very tight fruit.

2013 Tenuta Guido “Sassicaia” (Tuscany) Medium red, warm dried leaf on the nose, tight, moderate juicy fruit with firm acids.

2004 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero) Dark red to black with dusty, dried leaf notes on the nose, dusty fruit.

2014 Pingus “Pingus” (Ribera del Duero) Dark purple to black with an amber rim, slate notes on the nose, tight with gun metal notes on the dusty finish.

 

Master Class: A Preview of the 2016 Bordeaux Reds

From what I’ve been reading, the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was weird. The first part of the year saw massive rains which worried the owners and wine makers that the vintage would be a washout, but then the rest of the year was bone dry which seems to have balanced things out and many are calling it an excellent vintage. At this seminar I was able to sample one white and thirteen reds, many of which were recently bottled. At this stage they haven’t had a chance to settle in, with that I found a lot of concentrated red fruit with robust tannins. These wines are built for aging, I would love to try this tasting again ten years from now.

Smith Haut-Lafite Blanc                Smith Haut-Lafite

Pape Clement                                   Leoville Barton

Pontet-Canet                                     Rauzan-Segla

Canon                                                 Peby Faugeres

Troplong Mondot                             Valandraud

Belair-Monage                                  La Fleur-Petrus

Trotanoy                                           La Conseillante

 

 

 

Raw Wine New York 2018

 

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The 3rd annual New York City Raw Wine Fair was held on November 4-5. This is the latest stop in an itinerary that has stopped at or will stop at London, Berlin, Montreal and Los Angeles. The New York event was held in a warehouse venue at 99 Scott Avenue in trendy Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Raw Wine is “committed to empowering wine drinkers through real informed choices” with wines that have “emotion and living presence”. The fair was an opportunity to try low intervention organic, natural and biodynamic wines from over 140 wine makers and growers.

According to Beverage Media Group, a trade publication, “green wines” are a small niche in the United States with 1% of wines by volume but has grown by 10% volume growth outpacing total wine growth which is nearly flat. When it comes to natural, organic and biodynamic wines, the rules can be a little fuzzy but basically they are wines made with minimal manipulation. I remember a time when the selection of these wines were pretty limited and the common theme through most of them was “funky”.

I attended on Sunday afternoon which was a beautiful Autumn day and the venue was packed with people. These guys are the mad scientists of the wine world which made for a lot of interesting characters at the fest, most are small producers and I wasn’t familiar with many of the labels except for a couple of California producers. Usually at a mass tasting like this I try to have a focus on what I will try but today I just wandered around the rooms stopping at tables that looked interesting (and not have a mob of people surrounding it).

 

Some of what I sampled:

Couquelicot Estate (Santa Ynez Valley) 2015 Malbec, 2015 Rose & Son Red, 2016 Rose & Son Red

Lo-Fi Wines (Santa Barbara) 2016 Grenache Noir, 2017 Cabernet Franc Couquelicot Vineyard, 2017 Malbec

Hiyu Winery (Oregon) 2016 Falcon Box, 2016 Columba, 2015 Argo Iris

Swick Winery (Oregon) 2017 Pinot Noir, 2017 Bring It, 2017 Un Oeuf

Domaine de l’Ecu (Loire) 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Rednoz, 2015 Cabernet Franc Mephisto, 2017 Syrah Noblis

La Baronne (Rousillon) 2017 Grenache Gris De Jean, 2017 Les Chemins de Traverse

Chateau Guadet (St-Emillion) 2014 Grand Cru Classe Red

Closerie Saint Roc (Bordeaux) 2015, 2016 Red

Collina del Pernione (Lombardy) 2016 Agnore, 2017 Alma

I Mandorli (Tuscany) 2012 Sangiovese, 2015 Cabernet

Castello Poggiarello (Tuscany) 2012 Collerosso

Amepeleia (Tuscany) 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2017 Carignano

Il Monte (Veneto) 2016 Valpolicella Superiore, 2015 Amarone

Paolo & Lorenzo Marchionni (Tuscany) 2016 Rossovigliano, 2015 L’Erta Poggio della Bruna