USA Today Food & Wine Experience

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USA Today newspaper launched their 2018 Food & Wine Experience on June 16th in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 12 city tour will end on December 1st in Los Angeles, California and on Saturday September 8th, the tour arrived in New York City.

It’s an American culinary tour “showcasing the best food, wine, beer and spirits from local and national Chefs and Mixologists”. At the New York City event, Martha Steward was the featured celebrity Chef.

The festival was held at the Lefrak Center at lakeside in southeastern tip of Prospect Park in Brooklyn. This venue is an ice and roller skating ring when not used for events.

There were several themed areas, you entered through a kitchen mock-up, passing the beer tent and then passing “The Cellar” which hosted the seminars and the meet and greet with Martha Steward. This took you to  the main pavilion which is the skating ring and the pavilion was ringed with restaurants serving samples of sweet and savory dishes with an island in the middle serving wines and spirits. A two-piece string duo and a strolling saxophone player provided the musical entertainment with cooking demonstrations in the main pavilion. As is the case with many of these consumer events when general admission was let in, the lines at many of the popular food and drink stations got a bit too long for my taste but I was still able to sample several food and drink. The expected rains didn’t matterialize and everyone was able to enjoy the event.

 

Seminar: Unsung grape varietals of the world led by Sommelier A.J. Ojeda-Pons

NV Marques de Plata Cava Brut (Penedes): Light yellow with a greenish tint, sweet, funky nose, aged green apple on the finish.

2016 Jean Boisselier Bourgogne Aligote (Burgundy): Light yellow with a greenish tint, ripe honeydew on the nose, moderate, lemony, peachy fruit with moderate to low acids.

2016 Hayton Vineyards Viognier (Calif.): Light gold, canned peaches on the nose, melon and lime notes on the fruit, good acidity.

2012 Bambera Tempranillo (Valdepenas): Opaque dark red, tar, leather and black cherry on the nose, tight and lean with crisp acidity on the red leather and black pepper finish.

 

Some of what I sampled:

2016 Racine Cote de Provence Rosè

2016 Marquis de Bacalan Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Caducseus White Blend

2015 Franciscan Chardonnay

2017 Marchese Antinori “Bramito” Chardonnay

2015 Erath Winery “Resplendent” Pinot Noir

2015 Kenwood Vineyards “6 Ridges” Pinot Noir

2015 Arrowood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Girard Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Chateau Ste Michelle “Indian Wells” Merlot

2016 Michael David “6 Sense” Syrah

2015 El Portal Red Blend

2016 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon

Ommegang “Rosetta” Cherry Beer

Astral Tequila

 

 

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Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Fest 2018

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Westchester magazine held their 8th annual  Wine & Food Festival from June 5-10. It was a week of foodie events that included a burger & beer bash, an Italian wine tasting and a Chefs food and wine pairing. On Saturday the 9th they held their signature event, the grand tasting village.

The grand tasting village was an outdoor, under the tents event that featured 200+ wines and spirits and food from over 50 local restaurants. The event was held this year as in last at the Kensico Dam Plaza, a park in the village of Valhalla which is about a 40 minute train ride north from New York City.

In addition to the general admission they had a separate “connoisseur tent” which was away from the crowd and had some special wines with food to go with them.

In my opinion, this is one of the best consumer wine tastings out there for the number and variety of quantity wines that were poured with plenty of food tastings to go along with them.

Some of what I sampled:

 

NV Laurent-Perrier “Ultra Brut” (Champagne) A no-dosage champagne that was bone dry and crisp and was the recommended pairing with the raw oysters served.

2015 JP & M Auvigue Pouilly Fuisse “Soltutre” (Burgundy) Medium gold with honey and pineapple on the nose, moderate juicy with tropical fruit notes on the fruit and a nice balance.

2015 Vincent Pouilly Fuisse “Marie Antoinette” (Burgundy)  Light gold, tropical fruit on the nose, tight, sweet fruit with moderate to low acids on the finish.

2014 Vrignaud Chablis (Burgundy) Gold in color with a perfume of tropical fruits with tight, lime notes on the fruit and nice astringency on the finish.

2015 Bodega Catena Chardonnay White Stones “Adrianna Vineyard” (Mendoza) Light yellow, green herbs on the nose with floral and citrus fruit on the tight finish.

2016 Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay (Carneros) Medium gold with a perfume of green herbs, with juicy tropical fruit notes.

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NV Velenosi Vernaccia di Serrapetrona Secco (Marche) A fizzy red, medium brick, tar and fresh herbs on the nose, off dry with slate and herb notes on the finish.

2014 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Private Reserve” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, warm cooked berries on the nose, tight and concentrated with slate notes on the nice balance.

2014 Hewitt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Dark purple, warm crushed dark fruit on the nose, dusty dark chocolate on the fruit with crisp acids at the finish.

2014 Rombauer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Diamond Selection) (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, concentrated and juicy.

2015 Pine Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Dark red to black with plummy stones on the nose, concentrated and chewy with dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2015 Seghesio Vineyards Zinfandel “Sonoma” (Sonoma County) Dark red to black, crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy red fruit with red leather on the firm but balanced finish.

2015 Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyards Grenache (Santa Lucia Highlands) Medium red with damp earth notes on the nose, some green stem notes on the moderate fruit.

2015 Archery Summit Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley) Medium red with ripe red berry on the nose, red cherry and cola notes on the fruit with firm acids.

2016 Tua Rita Rosso dei Notri (Tuscany) Medium red with crushed rocks on the nose, tight red licorice and black cherry on the fruit, firm finish.

2012 La Togata Winery Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Medium brick, toasty tar on the nose, tight black licorice fruit with firm acids on the finish.

2013 Tenuta Helena Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso (Friuli) Medium brick with red cherry tar on the nose, leather fruit with a tight finish.

 

 

Newport Mansions Wine & Food Fest 2017

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The 12th annual Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival was held September 21-24th in Newport Rhode Island. Newport is about a three and a half hour drive northeast from New York City. The event was a fundraiser for the Preservation Society of Newport County, a cultural organization that protects and preserves Newport’s architectural heritage. Sponsors included Food & Wine magazine and Maserati.

The event was held at the Marble House, one of many gilded-age mansions in Newport at 596 Bellevue Avenue. It was built between 1888-1892 for Mr. and Mrs William K. Vanderbilt at a then cost of $11 million, $7 million of which was spent on marble. Subtle is not a word to describe the interior rooms of the mansion.

The fest was four days of wine dinners, seminars, chefs demos with grand tastings on Saturday and Sunday. I attended Sunday afternoon and the event actually took place on the back lawn of the mansion overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Local and regional Chefs provided food, a favorite of mine was a green gazpacho with jalapeno oil topped with lump crabmeat and any of the beef and pork that the Dole & Bailey meat purveyors were grilling. In the sweltering heat of the afternoon those grill masters manage to sling the meat while maintaining a borsht- belt chatter with the guests. In the authentic Chinese tea house on the lawn, it was “rosé all day” with wines from Chateau d’Esclans.

As far as consumer wine and food fests go, this is one of the nicer ones with a great venue, a good selection of wines and spirits and tasty food from the locals.

The afternoon started out hot and sweltering so I focused on rosé and sparkling wines and managed to try a few reds at the end of the day.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2016 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel, Rock Angel, Garrus

2016 Notorious Pink Grenache

2016 Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir

NV Gosset Brut Grande Reserve

2012 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino

2010 Pichon-Longueville

2014 Justin Isosceles

2014 Justin Justification

 

 

Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Fest

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The Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival; Wine & Dine for the Arts, was held January 12-14. It’s an annual three day festival funding the support and preservation of the local not-for-profit arts community. The festival featured food from local restaurants, wines, spirits and New York State craft beers. I attended the Saturday afternoon Grand Tasting which also had a bloody mary completion and a seminar on terroir in Oregon.

Albany is the sixth largest city in the state of New York and the seat of the state government. It’s about a 3 hour drive due north of New York City.

The event was held in downtown Albany at the Albany Hilton hotel located at 40 Lodge Street.

 

Seminar

“It’s Willamette Dammit! The Dirt On Oregon” An interesting tasting with Jim Bernau, founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards. 2012 Pinot Noir from five different terroir sites.

Tualatin Hills: Dark red, dusty sour cherry on the nose, tart cherry fruit.

Chehalem Mountains: Dark brick in color, crushed black fruit on the nose, tight juicy red fruit with citrus fruit notes at the end.

Yamhill-Carlton: Dark red, sweet, red cherry fruit, moderate tannin and acid. Easy drinking.

Eola-Amity Hills: Dark red, closed nose of fresh herbs, mouth watering acid and fruit.

Salem Hills: Dark red, toast and minerals on the nose, tart, crushed rocks, tart red cherry on the fruit.

 

 

A Grand Tasting, Porchetta & Mario

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The 9th annual Food Network Wine and Food festival whose motto is “eat, drink, end hunger” was held on October 13-16. It’s the largest food and wine festival in New York City with proceeds to help fight hunger benefiting no kid hungry and the food bank of New York City.  With over 100 events including dinners, seminars, hands-on classes, wine tastings and late night parties held at different venues throughout Manhattan, it’s four days of serious culinary partying.

On Saturday I attended the Porchetta, Pigs and Pints event hosted by Mario Batali. The event was held at the Standard Highline hotel Biergarten at the corner of Washington Street and Little West 12th Street in the trendy Meatpacking District of Manhattan. It was an evening of pig-centric food washed down with Italian wine, Mexican beer and cocktails with Four Roses Whiskey. Mario Batali was on hand for photos and to sign his cookbook.

Sunday afternoon was spent at the Grand Tasting at Pier 94 at 55th Street and the West Side Highway in Manhattan. An airplane hangar sized “130,000 square foot culinary wonderland” of food samples from local restaurants, wines and spirits and culinary demonstrations from culinary stars from the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. There was also the GEMS collection room presented by the Wine Spectator which featured high-end wines not available in the main hall. It was an afternoon of hundreds of people enjoying eating and drinking.

Some of the wines I sampled at the Grand Tasting:

2013 Lazy Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir “Estate” (Anderson Valley). Dark purple, brambly, dried herbs on the nose, thick and syrupy.

2012 Thomas George Pinot Noir “Bakers Ridge” (Russian River Valley). Medium brick, stewed fruit on the nose, juicy raspberry, low tannins and acids, easy drinking.

2014 Siduri Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley). Medium to dark red, closed nose of roasted meat with cola on the moderate finish.

2012 Heritance Beckstoffer Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford). Black in color, black cherry on the nose, dark and concentrated black fruit with nice balance.

2013 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Roasted nuts on the nose, chewy and chunky with dusty, mouth filling tannins with mint notes on the finish.

2012 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley).  Their flagship wine, a Bordeaux blend, dark purple to black in color, roasted meat and nuts on the nose, silky, minty fruit with a big mouthful of tannin at the finish.

2012 Stags Leap Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Fay” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, closed nose, silky, dark fruit with great balance.

2012 Ferarri-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon PreVail “Back Forty” (Alexander Valley). 100% Cab, black in color with mint and crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy, roasted meat and tobacco on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 J Lohr Cuveé “Pom” (Paso Robles). Decanted, primarily Merlot, dark red to black, crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy but framed with firm tannins, good balance.

2013 J Lohr Cuveé “St. E” (Paso Robles). Decanted, bordeaux blend, dark black, smoky, toasty, green olives on the nose, deeply concentrated black fruit, silky tannin on the firm finish.

2012 The Prisoner Wine Co. Merlot “Thorn” (Napa Valley), Dark red to black in color, strawberry jam on the nose, juicy fruit with coffee notes on the moderate finish.

2006 Bertani Amarone (Veneto). Dark brick, amber robe, red cherry and mint on the nose, silky, dark fruit, bitter cherry on the finish.

2010 Umani Ronchi Campo San Georgio Conero Riserva (Marche). Dark brick, tar, graphite on the nose, silky, concentrated, mint and tar notes on the fruit, moderate structure and a long finish.

2011 Castello D’Albola “Acciaiolo” (Tuscany). Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, black in color, strawberry jam on the nose and fruit, moderate tannins.

2010 Castello D’Albola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione “Il Solatio” (Tuscany). Medium brick, fresh herbs on the nose, concentrated, dusty fruit, finishing with a bit of astringency.

2011 Antinori “Guado al Tasso” (Tuscany). Bordeaux blend, dark red to black, roast meat on the nose, roasted nuts on the fruit, a hit of a mouthful of tannin at the end.

2008 Trefianco Carmignano Riserva (Tuscany). Dark brick, tight tannin, bacon, roast meat noteson the medium finish.

2009 Monsanto Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany). Magnum. Medium brick, spicy cherry nose, juicy, black cherry on the fruit with nice tannins on the balanced finish.

2005 Fontanfredda Barolo “La Rosa” (Piedmont). Brown brick with a brown robe, big tar nose, moderate tar and leather notes on the fruit, firm tarry finish.

2007 Nervo Barberesco (Piedmont). Magnum. Dark brick with a brown robe, tarry, red cherry nose, moderate fruit, tar, graphite on the moderate to long finish with firm tannins at the end.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Coste di Rose” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, dark brick in color, tar, dried herbs on the nose, dusty fruit with big tannins and astringency on the finish.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Sarmassa” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, medium brick, red cherry and violet on the nose, tight with big tannin.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Cannubi” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, dark brick in color, dried leaf and camphor on the nose, smoky tobacco on the finish with firm tannin.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Barolo di Barolo” (Piedmont). Blend from various vineyards, dark purple with a brick robe, nice perfume of roses and fresh rosemary, tight with big dusty tannin at the end.

2013 Domaine Ponsot Clos del al Roche (Burgundy). Medium purple, roasted nuts on the nose, moderate red cherry fruit.

Harvest East End 2016

 

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This past Saturday, August 20th I attended the 7th annual Dan’s Harvest East End food and wine event. It is the last of the trifecta of foodie events held on Long Island presented by Dan’s Paper and the Long Island Wine Council.

The event showcased North Fork Long Island wine and food with local wineries and restaurants in attendance.  It was hosted by Iron Chef’s cookbook author and restaurateur, Geoffrey Zakaria and featuring emcee Joshua Wesson, Sommelier and founder of Best Cellars.

The event was held in Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island under the big tents at the McCall vineyard and ranch.

All of the local North Fork wineries were at the event pouring their wines along with several beer and spirit vendors. A trend that I noticed this year was that many of the wineries released a Viognier, some of which where better than others

It seemed to me that they cut back on resources than in the previous years, no live music and much less food stalls.

 

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Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Fest

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On June 8-12, Westchester Magazine held their 6th annual Wine & Food Festival . It was “five days of fun!” that included 100+ local restaurants, 200+ world class wines, dinner tastings, chefs demos and seminars.

The signature event of the festival was the Grand Tasting Village which was held on Saturday afternoon. It was an outdoor event held under tents that featured 50+ local restaurants and over 200 wines and spirits.

The event was held in the bucolic Westchester hamlet of Valhalla which is a 40 minute train ride north from Grand Central Terminal and then a ten minute walk from the train station to the Kensico Dam Plaza where the event was held.

I noticed there were more food vendors this year than last which made for some good eating to go with all the wines. I was able to get into the Connoisseur tent which was a separate area that poured some extra special juice. Unlike many other food events, the crowds were much more manageable at this event which meant that lines for food and wine were comparatively short and that made for an enjoyable experience. Overall, this is one of the best wine and food events of the year.

Some of the wines I sampled:

 

NV Ruinart Blanc de Blanc (Champagne)

2015 Chateau Minuty “Rosé et Or” Rosé (Provence)

2015 Domaine Ott “Clos Mireille” Rosé (Provence)

2015 Chateau du Ronet Rosé (Provence)

2013 Merry-Edwards Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley)

2012 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc (Knights Valley)

2014 Flowers Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)

2013 Jean-Louis Chavey Pugliny-Montrachet (Burgundy)

2011 Aurelie Verdet Morey St-Denis (Burgundy)

2012 Domaine Antonin Guyon “Les Cras” Chambolle-Musigny (Burgundy)

2012 Angela Estate Pinot Noir “Abbott Claim” (Yamhill)

2014 Angeline Estate Pinot Noir “Reserve” (California)

2013 Truchard Pinot Noir (Carneros)

2011 Pio Cesare Barberesco (Piedmont)

2010 Castigilon Del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany)

2012 Mt Brave Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder)

2010 Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignon “Audentia” (Stags Leap District)

2012 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Private Reserve” (Napa Valley)

2012 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

2011 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

2012 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford)

2013 Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

2012 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Rutherford” (Napa Valley)