Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Fest 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Brew it. Taste it. Sip it. Pork it. That’s the motto of the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival which is a pork-centric, American multi-city tour that began in New York City on January 26th.

The event was held at The Tunnel, a former railroad freight terminal turned nightclub now an event space located at 220 12th avenue at West 28th Street in Manhattan. The festival promised “60+ beer, 40+ Bourbon and lots of BBQ”, though it was an all-American whiskey list that included whiskey other than Bourbon. Beer and hard cider were also served to help wash down all the bbq. Music was spun by DJ Flava.

There were two sessions that day and I attended the “whole hog picking” session in the evening.

 

Seminars:

Bulleit hosted by Adam Geissler

Bourbon, Rye, Barrel Strength, 10yr Bourbon.

Makers Mark hosted by Alexa Amendognine

Bourbon, Makers 46, Private Select.

 

Others I sampled:

Koval (Chicago) Millet, Rye, Bourbon, Four Grain.

Virginia Distillery (Virginia) Port Cask Highland Single Malt Whisky, Chardonnay Cask Single Malt Whisky.

Deadwood (South Carolina) Rye, Straight Bourbon.

Buffalo Trace Distillery (Kentucky) Straight Bourbon, Eagle Rare Straight Bourbon.  

Balcones (Texas) Single Malt, 100°, Brimstone, Baby Blue.

Elijah Craig (Kentucky) Small Batch Bourbon.

Four Roses (Kentucky) Straight Bourbon, Small Batch, Single Barrel.

George Dickel (Tennessee) Rye, Sour Mash.

 

 

 

Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux Tour 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux is a trade organization based in Bordeaux, France that promotes the wines of its 133 member chateaux.

Every year they host a world tour showcasing the current vintage to be released, stopping in various cities in Europe and Asia with the tour arriving in North America on January 18-26.

In New York City on Monday afternoon January 21st, they held a tasting for members of the trade and a consumer event later that evening. Both events were held at the Cipriani Midtown event space located at 110 East 42nd street in heart of Manhattan, just down the street from the iconic Chrysler building. A former bank, the event space is a huge, pink marbled cathedral-like room.

The 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was a Jekyll and Hyde vintage. The first half of the year was very rainy which made the winemakers concerned that the vintage would be a bust, but the second half of the year turned out to be bone dry. 

For the most part, I thought the wines had good fruit and structure with firm tannins and manageable acids. Most of the wines were still wound tight but I think will age well. I didn’t think they had the immediate lushness of the 2015’s where I was getting a lot of California style flavor profiles, nor were they as hard-edged as the 2014 vintage. Overall some nice wines to be drunk in the future.

Vintage 2016

Saint-Julien

Chateau Beychevelle: Clear medium purple with a closed nose of crushed red berries and milk chocolate, tight with silky, firm tannins.

Chateau Talbot: Dark purple, roasted meat and sour fruit on the nose, juicy dark fruit with a firm, balanced long finish.

Chateau Gruaud Larose: Medium red, tree bark and roast meat on the nose, tight silky fruit, moderate firm finish.

Chateau Leoville Barton: Medium purple, sweet tar on the nose, chunky, sweet cherry fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Leoville Poyferre: Medium red, toasty sweet fruit on the nose, gritty tannins on the dark fruit ending with big tannins.

Chateau Branaire Ducru: Medium red, toasty crushed red fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and green herbs on the finish.

Saint- Estephe

Chateau de Pez: Medium red with a perfume of sweet red fruit, tight red fruit.

Chateau Phelan Segur: Medium red, floral, green herbs on the nose, dusty dark chocolate and slate on the firm fruit.

Paulliac

Chateau Clerc Milon: Medium red, toast and crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight, red cherry fruit with crisp acidity.

Chateau Lynch Bages: Dark red, tar, violets and green herbs on the nose, tight with mouth puckering tannins.

Chateau Pichon Baron: Medium red, crushed dark fruit and violet on the nose, light, juicy fruit with firm tannins and acids.

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtese de Lalande: Clear, dark red, roast meat notes on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with a moderate finish.

Saint-Emillion

Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere: Dark purple, tar and leather on the nose, chewy, meaty dark fruit, long finish on the balanced finish.

Clos Fourtet: Medium purple, sweet tar on the nose, sweet red fruit with firm , tongue coating tannins.

Chateau Grand Mayne: Opaque medium red, dark chocolate and cigarette smoke on the nose, tight and tannic.

Chateau Pavie Macquin: Medium clear purple, tar and violets on the nose, dusty, red cherry fruit, moderate to long finish with moderate tannins and acids.

Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle: Medium to light red in color with a perfume of tar, tight, silky red fruit with crisp acidity at the end.

Pomerol

Chateau Clinet: Medium purple with a pretty perfume of violets and tar, juicy dark red fruit with moderate tannins and acids on the long finish. Drinkable.

Chateau Gazin: Clear medium purple, toast notes on the nose, juicy red fruit with some earth on the firm finish, tight.

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur: Medium red, cooked berries on the nose, leather notes on the fruit, firm and nicely balanced.

Chateau La Pointe: Medium red, strawberry and graphite on the nose, toasty sweet fruit on the firm finish.

Margaux

Chateau Brane-Cantenac: Clear medium red, tree bark on the nose, dark chocolate and gritty tannins on the fruit.

Chateau Giscours: Medium red, sweet red fruit on the nose with tight sweet fruit and a firm finish.

Chateau Lascombes: Opaque dark red with a perfume of sweet cherry, tar and mint, chewy dark fruit and silky tannins with moderate acids.

Chateau Prieure-Lichine: Dark red with green herbs and red cherry on the nose, juicy followed by big tannins and moderate acid.

Chateau Dauzac: Clear medium red, pixie stick notes on the nose, juicy red fruit ending tart.

Pessac-Leognan

Domaine de Chevalier: Opaque medium red, some barnyard notes on the nose with chunky red fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere: Medium opaque red, sweet black fruit on the nose with silky black, ends tart, moderate tannins and acids.

Moulis En Medoc

Chateau Maucaillou: Medium red with a perfume of turned earth, chunky and rustic, with the fruit dropping a bit but still nice balance.

Haut-Medoc

Chateau La Lagune: Medium red with dark chocolate on the nose, juicy bright red fruit ends with tart notes.

 

 

Winter Wine Crawl On Long Island

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

It’s that time of year, after the holiday rush when things slow down a bit including social events, but not completely this is New York City after all. I decided to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon in wine country. Usually I have a theme that guides me in tasting decisions but this time around I had none. When I got to wine country I decided on Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

Mattebella Vineyards  46005 Main Road, Southold

Mattebella is a small, family farm whose motto is “wine, passion, craftmanship”and who make “old world style wines” using sustainable winemaking practices. To get to the tiny tasting room you walk through a garage-sale motif yard.

NV Famiglia Red Blend: 932 cases produced, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Dark purple to black in color with slate and crushed blueberries on the nose, thick and juicy with gun-metal and  dark chocolate on the balanced fruit with soft and silky tannins.

 

Lenz Winery  38355 Main Road, Peconic

Lenz winery was established in 1978 making it one of the founding fathers of the industry out east, the tasting room is an old barn. They are known for their old vine Merlot but today I sampled a Cabernet Sauvignon.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”: 2014 was an excellent year on Long Island. The wine is black in color with dark chocolate and slate on the nose, thick and chunky with moderate tannins, red cherry and slate notes on the finish, an enjoyable glass of wine.

 

Pellegrini Vineyards  23005 Main Road, Cutchogue

Winery with an Italian cloister design courtyard and building with a cellar and barrel room that you can take a self tour of. You sample the wines in a two-story, cherub strewn, wood-beamed tasting room.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”: Dark red to black with a purple rim, roasted coffee and ripe red fruit on the nose, thick and chunky with ripe red leather notes on the fruit with moderate tannins and acids.

 

Sherwood House/Hound’s Tree Vineyards  1291 Main Road, Jamesport

Finally, a tasting room with a proper wine glass and a nice one at that. I wish that tasting rooms would realize that their wines would show better in a wine glass that wasn’t thimble sized. The cozy tasting room is in a 1870’s farm-house with a fireplace and is attached to an antique/art store so there’s always some funky artwork on the property. They serve wines from two wineries.

2016 Hound’s Tree Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark red with an amber rim, roast bacon and hazelnuts on the nose, clean, fairly neutral fruit with moderate to light tannin and acids, easy drinking.

 

 

Holiday Wine Tour Of Spain

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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.

 

 

Italian Heritage On Long Island

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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.