Dressner Fundraiser 2018

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On March 25th, Chambers Street Wines and Louis Dressner Selections held their 17th annual tasting and benefit for Partners in Health.

Partners in Health is an international medical organization “committed to improving the health of the poor and marginalized” in 12 countries.

The tasting featured 22 winemakers from France, Italy, Germany and Portugal pouring their artisanal wines grown in the most “natural” way, that is avoiding chemical treatments and with as minimal intervention as possible.

This year the tasting was held at Racines restaurant located at 94 Chambers Street in lower Manhattan. The event was in the afternoon and was crowded with people who as I, were able to taste many interesting natural wines from off the radar producers.

Some of what I sampled:

 

White

2016 Immich-Batterieberg Riesling “Ellergrub” (Mosel)

2015 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet “Clisson” (Loire)

2015 Domaine du Closel Savennieres “Clos du Papillon” (Loire)

2014 Julien & Francois Pinon Vouvrey Brut (Loire)

Red

2015 Domaine Beliviere Jasnieres Coteaux du Loir “Vielles Vignes Eparses” (Loire)

2016 Fredrik Filliatreau Samur-Champigny (Loire)

2016 Damien Coquelet Morgon “Cot de Py” (Burgundy)

2014 Kewin Descombes Morgon “Vielles Vignes” (Burgundy)

2015 Louis Benoit & Violetta Desvignes Morgon “Cotes de Py Javernieres” (Burgundy)

2014 Romeo del Castello Etna Rosso “Vigo” (Sicily)

2015 Arianna Occhipiniti Terre Siciliane Nero D’Avola “Siccagno” (Sicily)

2015 Nusserhof Sudtirol Lagrein Kretzer Rosato (Trentino-Alto Adige)

2013 Nusserhof “T” Teroldego (Trentino-Alto Adige)

2015 Foradori Vigneto delle Dolmaiti Teroldego “Granato” (Trentino-Alto Adige)

2015 Fonterenza Rosso di Montalcino “Alberello” (Tuscany)

2011 Fonterenza Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany)

2011 La Stoppa Emilia “Macchiona” (Emilia-Romagna)

2016 Vignetto Saetti Lambrusco “Il Cadetto” (Emilia-Romagna)

2016 Vignetto Saetti Lambrusco “Rosso Viola” (Emilia-Romagna)

 

 

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More Red Blends On Long Island

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Long Island wine country is about a hundred miles East of Manhattan. From my neighborhood it’s an easy drive on the Long Island expressway straight East as the crow flies to the end of the highway at exit 73. Make a quick right at the outlet mall and keep driving East until you come across the wineries. The road splits in two, main road (route 25) and sound avenue with wineries lining both roads.

On an overcast Sunday afternoon I took another drive out and sampled red blends.

 

Peconic Cellar Door  2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic

This tasting room shares the same building at the Winemakers Studio, they pour wines from wineries that don’t have their own tasting rooms.

2014 As If Wines “Persistence”. This is the first time I’ve tried wines from this producer, they buy local grapes and vinify at a local crush.

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, very dark purple with a purple rim, dark chocolate and sour cherry notes on the nose, tight, bright fruit with crisp acidity and some stemmines on the finish.

 

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Mattebella Vineyards  46005 Main Road, Southhold.

The is a small, mom and pop vineyard operation using sustainable viticultural practices for their Italian heritage influenced wines with a small, cozy tasting room.

2008 “Old World Blend”. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the owners was pouring and highly recommended that I try this wine because the wine has aged well and at its peak now. Dark red to black in color with crushed dark fruit and some mint on the nose, chewy dusty fruit and silky tannins, roast nuts and violets on the finish. If I would have tasted this wine blind I would have guessed Chianti.

 

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Lenz Vineyards  38355 Main Road, Peconic

One of the original wineries out east, established in 1978.

2014 Merlot “Estate”. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, Black and thick in color, peppermint and crushed rocks on the nose, tight, plummy fruit with tart, firm acids at the end.  

 

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Roanoke Vineyards Tasting Room, Love Lane, Mattituck.

Long Island’s only membership based vineyard, their tasting room is on Love Lane, a two block long business district with a nice deli across the street and a cheese shop next door.

2015 “Marco Tulio“. About an equal blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, dark red, damp earth and slate on the nose, chewy dark fruit, balance acidity with chocolate notes on the finish.

 

 

VinExpo New York 2018

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Vinexpo is a wine and spirits trade show that originated in Bordeaux France and is now held on odd-numbered years in Bordeaux and in Asia in even-numbered years. It is where trade professionals such as importers, distributors and Sommeliers can network with each other and to be exposed to new products.

Vinexpo New York took place on March 5 & 6 at the Jacob K Javits convention center located at 655 West 34th Street on the far west side of Manhattan. It’s the first time Vinexpo has hosted an event in New York City since 2002 and since then, the United States became the largest market for wines so I suppose it made business sense to host another one in this city this year.

I attended on Tuesday and the Javits Center was a beehive of activity since there were several other events other than Vinexpo being held at the Center. The expo itself was not very crowded, speaking with some of the vendors they felt the attendance was greater the day before. That might have been because of competing trade events being held that week and because I think that since the expo charged the trade a hefty entrance fee that many in the industry balked at paying and didn’t show up. I did attend a couple of very nice seminars.

 

Some interesting wines that I sampled:

2015 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir “The Beaux Freres Vineyard”

2014 Bouchard & Fils “Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus”

2014 Yangarra Vineyards Grenache

2014 Narbona Tannat

2015 Domaine de La Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape “Cuvee Les Haute Brusquieres”

2015 Chateau D’Issan

2015 Chateau Beychevelle

2015 Chateau Clarke

 

Seminars:

Comparative Tasting of the Northern Rhone AOC’s of Saint-Peray, Cornas and Saint-Joseph

2016 Eric et Joel Durano (St-Peray). A blend of Marsanne and Roussanne. Medium gold with floral notes and green herbs on the nose, juicy cantaloupe on the fruit.

2016 Maison Ferraton (St-Peray). 100% Marsanne. Medium gold, floral and honey notes on the nose with tart, kiwi flavors on the finish.

2014 Cave de Tain (St-Joseph). Syrah. Cloudy, dark red, red leather on the nose, chewy ending with tight, silky tannins.

2011 Delas (St-Joseph). 100% Syrah. Cloudy black, nice perfume of dark flowers and fresh herbs, silky red fruit and chalk notes on the balanced finish.

2014 Domainea du Tunnel (Cornas). 100% Syrah. Cloudy black with a purple rim, roasted meat and nuts on the nose, tight and tart with a long finish.

2015 Les Vins de Jean-Luc Colombo (Cornas). 100% Syrah. Cloudy black with a purple rim, sweet bacon on the nose, chewy, silky bright dark fruit with firm tannins.

 

New, Old and Different: Spanish Grapes To Know

2017 Bermejo (Lanzarote) Malvasia. Medium gold, grassy, salty nose, bright grassy fruit.

2016 Vina Goseval Cepas Vellas (Valdearras) Godello. Light gold, green, grapey nose, spicy fruit.

2015 Bodegas Arrayan La Suerte (Mentrida) Garnacha. Medium purple, salty nose, dusty red licorice fruit.

2015 Tridente Prieto Picudo (Castilla y Leon) Prieto Picudo. Cloudy black, ripe red fruit and roasted meat on the nose, cherry and dark chocolate on the chunky fruit.

2015 Descendientes de J Palocios Ville de Corullon (Biezo) Mencia. Opaque dark purple, closed nose of roast meat, tight fruit with notes of roasted nuts, firm tannins.

2014 Vivanco Coleccion Maturana Tinta (Rioja) Maturana. Cloudy black, strawberry jam on the nose, chewy, jammy fruit, moderate balance.

2011 Bodegas LAN Cuimen (Rioja) Tempranillo. Cloudy black, crushed black fruit and crushed rock on the nose, chunky, chewy, crisp finish.

2015 Finca Collado Delit Monastrell (Alicante) Monastrel. Cloudy dark purple with barnyard notes on the nose.

2015 Mustiguillo Finca Terrerazo (Vina del Pago Terreazo) Bobal. Opaque dark purple, closed nose of black licorice, sweet fruit with moderate tannins.

 

Planet Bordeaux NYC

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Planet Bordeaux is a French trade organization that represents the wineries of the Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Superieur appellations from the world’s largest fine-wine vineyards. Bordeaux is justifiably famous for its grand cru wines from the famous Chateaux. Those wines are also very expensive but these off the radar regional wines, which are over half the production of the Bordeaux appellation, are more accessible in both price and style.

In February and March the organization held various trade and consumer tastings of its member wineries around New York City. On Sunday evening March 4th, they held a tasting for members of the trade. That tasting was held at O’Cabanon restaurant located at 245 West 29th street in Manhattan.

They poured sparkling wines, whites and several reds, many from the excellent 2015 vintage but from other vintages as well. I wasn’t familiar with many of the producers but there were some nice drinking wines that didn’t break the bank.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2010 Chateau Montlau

2012 Domaine del Ile Margaux

2014 Domaine del Ile Margaux

2012 Chateau La Rose du Pin

2014 M de Monsegur Reserve Cabernet Franc

2013 Chateau Boutinet

2014 Chateau Donjon de Bruignac

2014 Chateau de Seguin Cuvee Carpe Diem

2014 Chateau La France Cuvee Gallus

2015 Chateau Grand Jean

2015 Chateau Lauduc

2015 Chateau Lauduc Grande Cuvee

2015 Chateau Montlau

2015 Chateau de Bel

2015 Chateau Tayet Cuvee Prestige

2016 Chateau Haut Favereau

2016 Ipsum Carmenere

 

Bacon & Bourbon At Astor Center

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The Astor Center is the event space of Astor Wine & Spirits which is located at 399 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. Throughout the year they hold all sorts of spirits, cocktails and wine events and classes at the Center.

On February 17th they held their 10th annual Bacon & Bourbon event. It was a walk-around tasting of over 60 All-American whiskey that was accompanied by copious amounts of bacon and bacon infused snacks (including ice cream). Many of the well-known whiskey companies were in attendance pouring their small production (and expensive) specialty whiskey as well as smaller not as well known producers many of which produced proprietary whiskey for Astor.  The event was open to the consumer and there were two sessions. I attended the afternoon session and it was a nice way to spend a snowy afternoon.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Jim Beam Masterpiece Bourbon

Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon

Maker’s Mark Astor Private Select Bourbon

Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Cask Strength Single Barrel (121°-125°)

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Bourbon

Booker’s Sip Awhile’ Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses Astor Cask Strength Single Barrel Bourbon (122.2°)

Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon

Barrell Bourbon Batch #12 Bourbon

Barrell Bourbon Full Proof Astor Barrel (126° 174 bottles produced)

Black Dirt Bourbon

Black Dirt Single Barrel Bourbon

Charles Medley 12yr Old Kentucky Bourbon

Kings County Distillery Peated Bourbon

Balcones Brimstone Smoked Corn Whisky

Balcones Texas Old Single Malt Whisky

Pikesville Straight Rye

Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye

A.D. Laws Straight Rye

A.D. Laws Bottled In Bond Rye

 

 

Cider On Long Island

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Cider was once a staple of the early American diet. New laws promoting craft beverages is creating a cider renaissance in New York State, the second largest producers of apples in the United States.

On the north fork long island wine country, a couple of wineries bottle cider and a couple of cider houses opened showcasing cider made from local and New York State apples.

 

Lieb Cellars  13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue. The tasting room is in a converted barn.

Rumor Mill sparkling cider: Made from east end apples, yellow with tints with green apples and mowed grass on the nose.

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Woodside Orchard  729 Main Road, Aquebogue. Not only do they make hard cider but pies and doughnuts as well.

Traditional Cider: Pale yellow, fizzy when poured with greenish tints, crisp off dry with tart apple and ginger notes.

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Riverhead Cider House  2711 Sound Avenue Calverton. New place that opened recently. On a slow superbowl Sunday they had a good crowd. Large room with entertainment and a deli. Large selection of local beer and cider.

Prickly Pear Rosé Cider: I asked for the driest cider and this is what they poured me, amber in color, cotton candy on the nose, off dry with cherry candy notes on the fruit.

 

Mohegan Sun Wine & Food Fest 2018

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Mohegan Sun casino is located in Uncasville Connecticut which is about a two-hour drive as the crow flies northeast of New York City on interstate 95. It’s owned by the Mohegan tribe and is one of the largest gaming facilities the U.S with three casinos all with Native American decor. The casino has all the usual amenities of dining, shopping, hotel accommodations, a concert venue and even its own WNBA basketball and lacrosse teams.

It was a two-day event on January 26-27 kicking off with a bourbon and cigar event on Friday evening. I attended the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon with featured chef demonstrations, wines and spirits on the main floor with craft beers on the 2nd floor.

When I go to these mega consumer events I have a certain expectation. I know they have to cater to a large range of wine drinkers so I don’t expect much high-end juice to be poured and also have an expectation that on a Saturday night, the venue will be mobbed which it was.  Fortunately there was a separate “Elite Cru” tasting room with a more manageable crowd and some nice juice poured. Some of what I sampled at that tasting:

 

Keenan Winery

2013 Merlot Napa Valley

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2013 Spring Mt Reserve

2013 Cabernet Franc

Fulcrum Winery

2013 Petite Sirah Landy

2015 Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown

2015 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley

Fullerton Winery

2014 Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard

2015 Pinot Noir Bennet Vineyard

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Fay

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23

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2015 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707

2012 Guilano Rosati Amarone

2013 Pelissero Nebbiolo

2013 Cheval des Andes

2015 The Withers Winery Mouvedre Rubin

2014 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon The Reserve

2014 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve

2013 Mt Brave Cabernet Sauvignon Mt Veeder

 

 

Grand Crus de Bordeaux New York 2018

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The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux is an organization of 135 estates of the Bordeaux wine region of France and whose mission is to promote its members to foreign countries. They do that by travelling to 15 countries and 65 cities during the year to showcase whatever current vintage has been bottled and ready to be released.

The North American tour began on January 18th in Toronto and would stop in Montreal, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. On January 22 the tour arrived in New York City for a trade tasting in the afternoon at Cipriani restaurant at 110 East 42nd street in Manhattan and for a consumer tasting that evening at Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan.

The 2015 vintage was poured. I always take vintage reports with a grain of salt but the general consensus was that the vintage was a very good one. After attending the trade tasting in the afternoon and working my way through many of the wines, I found many of them hand characteristics that I don’t normally associate with Bordeaux wines. I was getting a lot “jammy” notes both on the nose and on the fruit as well as higher alcohol notes on a few of the wines. With that fruit, many had firm silky tannins that will age well and some had softer tannins that are ready to drink soon. It was a very enjoyable tasting.

 

Saint-Emillion

Chateau Canon-La-Gaffeliere: Dark red, dried herbs on the nose, thick and chewy black licorice fruit, moderate dusty tannins, drinking nicely now.

Chateau Pavie Macquin: Dark red, sweet perfume of tar, silky fruit with tar notes on the dusty finish, firm tannins.

Clos Fourtet: Opaque dark red, toasty sweet fruit and black licorice on the nose, chewy black fruit with silky, firm tannins.

Chateau La Couspaude: Medium brick, big perfume of sweet tar with sweet tarry fruit and dusty tannins on the finish.

Chateau Canon: Opaque medium red, tar and dark cocoa on the nose, bright silky fruit with silky tannins on the finish.

Chateau Dassault: Opaque dark red, big perfume of sweet cherry, chewy cherry tar fruit with firm tannins at the end.

Chateau La Gaffeliere: Dark red, strawberry jam on the nose, dusty red fruit finishing with bitter cherry notes.

Pomerol

Chateau Clinet: Medium red, smoky tar on the nose, chewy green herbs on the fruit, moderate tannins and acid.

Chateau Gazin: Medium to dark red, crushed red fruit and tar on the nose, tight with silky tannins on the firm finish.

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur: Dark red, toasty tar on the nose, chewy and thick with firm tannins on the finish.

Saint-Julien

Chateau Leoville Poyferre: Dark red to black, black tar on the nose, chewy, tarry, silky tannins on the firm finish.

Chateau Talbot: Medium red, tar and cigar box on the nose, sweet, black berry on the fruit, moderate tannin, some heat.

Chateau Beychevelle: Clear dark red, tar notes on the nose, chewy black fruit, moderate tannins and acids, drinking nicely now.

Chateau Gruaud Larose: Clear medium red, toasty, smoky nose, bright fruit with firm acids.

Paulliac

Chateau Pichon Baron: Dark red, cherry jam and herbs on the nose, thick, chewy with firm silky tannins on the mouth coating finish.

Chateau Clerc Milon: Dark red with toast and crushed dark fruit on the nose, moderate fruit with mouth coating tannins at the finish.

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtese de LaLande: Medium red, jammy and turned earth on the nose, tight with oak notes on the firm finish.

Margaux

Chateau Lascombes: Black, toasty black fruit on the nose with chewy ,silky crushed black fruit, firm finish, nice balance.

Chateau Cantenac Brown: Dark purple, mint and roast meat on the nose, bright fruit with dusty dark chocolate and firm tannins on the finish.

Chateau Prieure-Lichine: Dark red, crushed red berry and roast meat on the nose, chewy and silky fruit, nicely balanced with a long finish.

Chateau Brane-Cantenac: Cloudy dark red, tar and cigar box on the nose, chunky with tar and green vegetable notes on the fruit, bitter black cherry on the finish.

Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery: Medium red, strawberry mint on the nose, chewy minty fruit with bitter red candy notes on the finish.

Haut-Medoc

Chateau Cantermerle: Dark red, cherry candy on the nose, tight, bright red fruit, balanced.

Chateau Coufran: Opaque medium red, dusty cherry on the nose, tight cherry candy on the fruit, crisp finish.

Chateau La Lagune: Opaque medium red, tar and cigar box on the nose, dusty graphite fruit with moderate tannins and acids.

Pessac-Leognan

Chateau Pape-Clement: Dark red, crushed dark fruit on the nose with chunky, silky fruit and firm tannins. Coming in at 16% alcohol.

Domaine de Chevalier: Medium red, perfume of sweet tar, moderate dusty, bright fruit.

Saint-Estephe:

Chateau Phelan Segur: Medium red, sweet tar on the nose, bright, light fruit.

 

 

 

Cochon 555 New York 2018

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Cochon 555 is a multi-city culinary tour to “further the conversation of heritage pigs on dinner tables across the nation” and whose goal is to “support family farmers and to educate influencers ultimately making them a better, more knowledgeable teacher”.

The 14 city tour kicked off in New York City on January 21 with a “friendly competition for a cause” featuring 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 winemakers.

The event was held at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi at 851 6th Avenue in Manhattan and showcased pork centric dishes from local restaurants (and the outlier steak tartare bar) and competitions that involved bartenders, sommeliers and butchers.

Of course to wash all that down were punches, Manhattans from the Manhattan Project and international wines some of which included:

 

2016 Mariotti Campi Rosato

2015 Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc

2015 Ronco dei Tassi Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Antica Chardonnay

2013 Antica Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Chateau Carbonnieux Rouge

2005 Marquis de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva

 

 

Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Fest 2018

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The 9th annual Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival was held on January 11-13. The event raised money for the arts in Albany and was three days of seminars, dinners, grand tastings and culinary and bartender competitions which included a cooking challenge and a Bloody Mary contest.

This year the event partnered with the Indonesian Diaspora Network which inspired the artwork on the poster and provided the food theme for the dinners.

The event was held at the Empire State Plaza, a 1970s era complex of monolithic state government buildings which cost around $2 billion to build at the time. I attended the grand tasting on Saturday afternoon which featured food from local restaurants, wine, spirits and craft beer as well as the chefs and bartenders competition. There was also a one seminar which I attended.  Like many consumer tastings, there was a lot of mid level wines but there was a table with some high end juice and I tasted some interesting whiskey.

Albany is the capitol of the state of New York but it’s a small town and the downtown area was pretty much a ghost town on the Saturday afternoon I was there.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Whiskey

Jack Daniels’s: single barrel rye, single barrel select, Sinatra select

Hudson: Manhattan rye, four grain bourbon

Eagle Rare bourbon 10yr

Ironweed rye

 

Wine

2015 Steele Chardonnay Cuvee

2015 Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir

2013 Twonmey Cellars Merlot

2013 Gaja “Sori Tilden”

2012 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino

2014 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape

2016 19 Crimes Red Blend

 

Seminar: Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Horizontal

The tasting room is just south of the city of Salem, Oregon and is one of the larger producing wineries in the state. I did stop by the huge tasting room when I visited Willamette Valley last Spring.

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate”. A blend of grapes from several vineyards, clear, dark red with a delicate perfume of dark cherry, some earth and petroleum, dusty fruit ending with tart black cherry.

2014 Pinot Noir “Tualatin”. Clear, medium dark red, red licorice on the nose, tight, bright delicate fruit with smoky notes on the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Elton”. Clear, dark purple, cherry and leather on the nose, tight fruit, firm acids with charred notes on the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Bernau Block”. Clear, dark red with mint, green herbs and strawberry jam on the nose, delicate and earthy notes and black licorice on the finish.