Pizza & Prosecco In Bushwick

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The Prosecco DOC Consortium wrapped up Prosecco week with a Prosecco and pizza garden party held at Roberta’s restaurant at 261 Moore Street in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The consortium is an organization which coordinates and manages Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controlatta, the controlled designation of origin).

The Consortium showcased Italy’s most popular sparking wine and Roberta’s, which has been ranked as one of the best pies in the country, provided the pizza so it was a perfect match.

The industrial area of Bushwick has been one of the last neighborhoods in New York City to be homesteaded, its empty, industry rich infrastructure given new life with trendy restaurants, coffee shops and art galleries to name a few. It’s also known for its street art (a.k.a. graffiti)

It was a nice warm afternoon for a garden party and about 10 different Prosecco were poured and though the line for the pizza was long, it was pretty tasty pizza.


Some of the Prosecco served:


Villa Sandi


Carati 075 Millesimato

Ca’ di Rajo

La Marca


Castello di Roncade




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.



CiderFeast Brooklyn 2017

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Cider Week in New York was on October 20-29. It was a week of cider and cider themed events at various venues and restaurants across the city.

CiderFeast was held on Saturday afternoon on October 28th at The Brooklyn Kitchen, “a radical cooking school on a mission to teach people to cook like grown-ups”. It’s located at 100 Frost Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

CiderFeast was hosted by Edible Brooklyn magazine and presented by Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s Nº 43 restaurant who has run many food and spirit events.

It was a walk-around tasting of over 20 local and international ciders with a live band providing the music and some really excellent cheeses from Bardwell Farms, an artisan cheese producer from Vermont and from Murray’s cheese shop.


Some of what I sampled:

Angry Orchard (NY State). The usual mass-produced cider you get on tap at a bar, they also make small production unique ciders such as the trio that was served here: Understood in Motion 01, EDU and Wooden Sleeper.

Diner Brewing Co. (NY State). This guy brought a tub of bottles with no labels since they were all experimental ciders including one made with Miso. He also brought over some home-grown Sicilian figs.

Descendant Cider Co. (NY State). New York City’s first cider company located in Queens. They poured their limited reserve ciders: Descendant Dry, English Kills and Wilderness.

Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider (NY State). Some of their offerings included specialty unfiltered and bottled conditioned ciders such as The Last Blacksmith and Northern Spy.

Barrika (Spain). Basque cider, the guy who was pouring made a show of it by pouring the cider from a glass carafe while holding it high above the drinking glass. He was a hit.

Bembel With Care (Germany). In addition to straight cider they served ciders flavored with cola and cherry (kirsh). The German guy pouring liked to crush the empty cans and soon the table was full of crushed cans.

Black Duck Cidery Woody (NY State). This is their barrel fermented cider.

Others I sampled:

EZ Orchards Roman Beauty Cider (Oregon)

Urban Farm Fermentory wild fermented ciders (Maine).

Austin Eastciders (Texas)

Downeast Cider (Massachusetts)

Farnum Hill Cider Extra Dry (New Hampshire)

Aval (France)

Aspall Dry (England)

Craigies Cider Ballyhook Flyer (Ireland)



Toast Of Brooklyn

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On September 16th I Attended the 10th annual Toast of Brooklyn, “a global wine, food and art festival”.

This year the event was held at Restoration Plaza on 1360 Fulton Street, an outdoor event space in Bedford-Stuyvesant in central Brooklyn

It was an outdoor event and featured many international wines and a surprisingly huge selection of some very good high-end spirits. Aperitifs and cordials such as Campari, Aperol, Gran Marnier and many others, excellent rums such as a 21-year and a 25-year-old rum from Appleton, local whiskeys including Bourbons from Kings County Distillery, and even a watermelon infused vodka/tequila hybrid from Vodkila to name of few.

In addition to wine and spirits, there was a fashion show by Sonia Noel designs and a cooking demonstration from Vladimir Lebrun of Chef Indeed.

The weather was gorgeous and the venue never got overcrowded as some of these consumer events do at times. It made for nice late afternoon of strolling around the plaza grazing on wines and spirits.



The Big Glou

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This past week was Natural Wine Week in New York City and part of the festivities was the Big Glou wine fest held during the weekend. I had no idea what a glou was but apparently it’s French for gulp which is meant to say that these natural wines would be easy drinking, “gulpable” if you will.  I suppose they could have called the event “The Big Gulp” but that probably would have led to some legal issues with a certain convenience store chain.

The event was “New York’s first natural wine fair of its kind in the United States” inspired by European natural wine salons such as “Dive Boutille” in the Loire Valley and “Vini di Vignaioli” in Emilia-Romagna.  It was a two-day affair featuring over 100 natural wine producers pouring their wines and they are “artisan producers who are committed to farming sustainably and utilizing non-interventionist techniques in the cellar”. What is a natural wine is a bit murky but wines made with minimal technological intervention would be a good working definition. The event was open to the public was held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I attended the Sunday afternoon session.

The Big Glou was held at the Wythe Hotel located at 80 Wythe Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The hotel itself is an industrial waterfront area across the street from Brooklyn Brewery and Brooklyn Bowl. Nice space for a wine event, with a brick-lined rooms that gave the place a cave like atmosphere. It was  a popular event and the venue soon filled up with a decidedly young, flannel shirted wearing crowd.


Some of my highlights:

2014 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel “McFadden Farm” (Mendocino). Made with carbonic maceration, not a big Zin, medium red, cooked berries on the nose, light bodied but with good, earthy fruit, very drinkable.

2014 Dashe Cellars Carignane “Evangelho Vineyards” (Contra Costa).  From 125 year old vines, medium to dark red, Asian spices and black licorice on the nose, concentrated and silky, finished dropped a bit at the end but tasty.

2013 Dashe Cellars Ancient Vines “Bedrock Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley). From vines planted in 1888, about an equal blend of Zinfandel, Carignane and Mourvedre, medium red with dried herbs on the nose with bright earth fruit, silky finishing with big tannins.

2012 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel “Todd Bros. Ranch” (Alexander Valley). Dark red, warm cooked berries on the nose, chewy with some green stem notes at the end, firm with big fruit and big tannins.

2012 Dashe Cellars “The Comet” (Alexander Valley). Mostly Zinfandel with Petite Sirah and a dash of Carignane, dark black in color, roasted coffee on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit with slate notes, firm tannins and acids.

2014 Broc Cellars Valdiguié (Solano County). Minor variety from SouthWest France, in California used to be bottled as “Gamay”. Clear, medium red, closed nose of sweet fruit, moderate concentrating, light.

2014 Broc Cellars Zinfandel “Vine Starr” (Sonoma County). Medium red , nose of sweet dried herbs, tight with great attack at the beginning and smoothing out in the middle. Interesting wine

2014 Matassa “Romanissa Casot” (Languedoc). A Grenache blend, very light red, minty barnyard on the nose, very extracted fruit for the color, black licorice on the balanced finish.

2014 Matassa “Coume de L’Lolla” (Languedoc). A blend of Grenache and Macebeo, light red, sweet black cherry on the nose, chewy with chewy tannins at the end.

2014 Christine et Gilles Paris “Chiroubles” (Beaujolais). Medium red, crushed rocks, fresh rosemary on the nose, bright dark fruit and slate notes on the finish.

2014 Christine et Gilles Paris “Fleurie” (Beaujolais).  Cloudy dark red, black cherry, medicinal candy on the nose, black cherry on the balanced finish, good acidity.

Other producers sampled:


Domaine De L’Octaviin           Domaine Du Coulet

Monte Bernardi                     Castel Noarna

Ronchi Di Cialla                     Croci

Autour De L’Anne                  Domaine Jaulin-Plaisantin

Bodega Cauzon                     Domaine Du Moulin

Partida Creus                        Andrea Scovero

Judgement Of Brooklyn

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Saturday evening I attended the Judgement of Brooklyn social event in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The the theme of the event was to replicate the famous Judgement of Paris wine tasting event that took place in 1976 in Paris in which wines from the Napa Valley outscored their French counterparts in a blind tasting. That event put Napa Valley in particular and American wines in general on the international map. Saturdays event featured the winners of blind tastings that were held between American wines (and beer) and their French counterparts based on grape varietals.

The event was held at Skylight One Hanson building. The event space is the former Williamsburg Savings Bank, once the tallest building in the borough. I grew up not too far from there and when I was a kid I would tell time by the clock which towered over the neighborhood. The building itself is a spectacular event space with vaulted ceilings and beautiful mosaics. It was built “to be regarded as a cathedral dedicated to the furtherance of thrift and prosperity”. That’s how they did things back in the day.

The wines (and beer) were paired off between an American bottle and a French one which made for a fun tasting. It was a consumer event with a nice crowd, some cool jazz and plenty of juice to keep things flowing.

Some of what I sampled:

2011 Schramsburg Blanc du Noir Serge / Mathieu Cuvée Prestige NV 

I picked the French, it was crisp with some RS and more rounded than the Schramsburg which was grapey.

 2012 Domaine Felix St. Bris Sauvignon Blanc  (Burgundy) /  2012 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc  (Sonoma)

I picked American wine, the St. bris was grassy and floral on the nose with moderate, citrus fruit on the firm finish while the Matanzas Creek had a big grassy nose with canned peaches with mushrooms on the moderate fruit with good balance and a lingering finish.

2011 Domaine de La Chezate Cuvée Prestige Sancerre (Loire)  / 2012 Peirson Meyer Sauvignon Blanc “Ryan’s Vineyard”  (Napa Valley).  

I picked the American wine, the Chezate had a toasty and oily nose with full, rich and ripe fruit of flowers with lime notes on the finish while the Meyer had a nose of cotton candy and cinnamon with moderate fruit with notes of lemon custard with some toast notes on the finish.

2011 Kuentz-Bas Riesling (Alsace) / 2011 Dunham Cellars Riesling “Lewis Vineyard” (Walla-Walla).

I picked the American wine. The Kuentz had yeasty notes on the nose while the Dunham had the classic Riesling nose of petroleum with some rs balancing the wine out, very drinkable.

2012 Red Tail Ridge Winery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (Finger Lakes) /  2011 Domaine Cornin Macon-Chaintré (Burgundy).

I picked France on this one. The Red Tail had mango and oak on the nose with the vanilla and cinnamon from the oak coming through on the fruit while the Cornin had a floral nose with good grip, nicely balanced with moderate to long finish.

 2009 Chateau LaRoche Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon (Burgundy) / 2012 Keenan Chardonnay (Napa Valley).

A tie, both ripe Chardonnay, the Chablis had a pretty nose of ripe kiwi with unusually ripe fruit while the Keenan had a ton of oak notes on the nose and toasted oak on the tight finish.

2011 Simon Bize  Savigny Les Beaune “Les Bourgeots” (Burgundy) / 2010 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Isabelle” (California).

A tie, both nice Pinot. The Savigny had notes of earth and dark cherry on the nose with crushed fruit flavors and a nice grip while the Climat had more new world notes of cola and black cherry on the nose and was chunky but balanced with some earth notes on the fruit.

2011 Rotie Cellars”Southern Blend” (Walla-Walla) / 2011 Domaine Du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape 1er Cru Reserve (Rhone).

The Rhone was the best red of the night, a big nose of violets and damp earth with silky fruit with mint and crushed black fruit on the balanced and long finish while the Rhone blend Rotie was juicy and ripe.

2012 Pont de Gassac Pays de L’Herault (Languedoc-Roussillon) / 2010 Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla-Walla).

Both nice wines, the Gassac had a toasty and smoky berry nose with crushed rocks and slate on the firm finish while the Canoe Ridge had dusty blueberries on the nose with tight, mint and dusty fruit on the mineraly finish.