Wine Spectator Awards Banquet 2015

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This year was the 35th anniversary of Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience. Three days of high-end tastings and seminars ending with the Grand Award Banquet on Saturday. The grand tastings on Thursday and Friday featured some outstanding wines, unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend those but I did attend the banquet on Saturday. At that banquet the Spectator presented the 2015 Grand Award winners and the 2014 Wine of the Year award which was 2011 Dow’s vintage port. They also presented the Distinguished Service award to Bill Harlan of Harlan Estate and one of his wines was poured at the dinner. The event as usual was held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, Manhattan and the entertainment was provided by Huey Lewis and the News.

The night was started with a Champagne reception of some very nice sparklers and then followed by dinner. I was surprised they only served two wines instead of the normal three with dinner until I found out the price of the Maiden.

Champagne Reception

2002 Salon Brut Blanc de Blanc Le Mesnil

NV Tattinger Brut Rosé Prestige

NV Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée

NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve

NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier

NV Piper-Hiedsieck Brut

NV Henriot Brut Souverain

Dinner and Wines Served

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Arugula, Citrus Oil and Maldon Salt

2012 Sterling Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve (Napa Valley) Ripe green apple and oak on the nose with tropical fruit and oak on the fruit, moderate fruit. Big time oaky Chard.

Petite Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Fig-Braised Beef Short Rib Served with Bone Marrow Hedgehog Mushroom Pudding, Sweet Potato Puree and Fall Harvest Vegetables.

2012 Harlan Estate “The Maiden” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black in color, brambly, dried herbs, tight and concentrated, on the finish I was getting green olives, tobacco and dark chocolate. Started out as a fruit bomb but the finish tightened up with complex layers, still young.

Carmel and Vanilla Chocolate Bar with Brown Bread Ice Cream


A Grand Tasting & Meat On The Grill

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One of the events at the Food Network food and wine fest that I look forward to attending is the Grand Tasting. Samples from over 200 of the city’s best restaurants, chefs from the cooking channel and of course plenty of wine and spirits to sample and a lot of people enjoying it all. They had a separate “Wine Gems Collection” room that poured some extra nice juice. It was held at the aircraft hanger sized Pier 94 on 55th Street and 12th Avenue.

After the Grand Tasting, nearby was another event, Meatopia whose motto of the afternoon was “meat, drink, fire, music, the ultimate meat lover’s feast”. The event was held on the rooftop of what once was a parking lot overlooking the East River. It was a crisp Autumn afternoon of meat on the grill, smoke in the air, drink in hand and live music with a great view of the New York City skyline.

Some of what I sampled:

2012 Flowers Winery Chardonnay “Camp Meeting Ridge” (Sonoma Coast). Big nose of ripe mango and vanilla with ripe fruit and you can taste the oak on the finish.

2011 Flowers Winery Pinot Noir “Seaview Ridge” (Sonoma Coast). Light brick in color with dark cherry and turned earth on the nose, cola and red cherry notes on the balanced finish.

2013 Seaglass Vineyards Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara). Medium brick in color with smoky cola on the nose, spicy fruit on the balanced finish.

2012 Paon Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black, crushed red fruit and mint on the nose, thick, dense, silky tannin, herbs on the balanced finish. Big wine.

2011 Joseph Phelps Vineyard “Insignia” (Napa Valley). Black, closed nose of dark chocolate, dusty herbs on the fruit, firm tannin on the finish.

2011 Inglenook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Cask” (Napa Valley). Inky black, dried leaf and black pepper on the nose, dense black licorice fruit with great balance.

2010 Inglenook Estate “Rubicon” (Napa Valley). Inky black with a big nose of tar and crushed black cherry, tight silky tannin, firm finish.

2012 Emmolo Merlot (Napa Valley). Inky black, crushed black berries on the nose, with dense licorice sweet fruit. Thick.

2013 Coppola Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Directors Cut” (Alexander Valley). Black with crushed black fruit on the nose and thick and chewy black fruit.

2010 Torres “Mas La Plana” (Penedes). 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, decanted from a magnum, dark purple with leaf and dark plum on the nose, concentrated fruit.

2012 Tignanello (Tuscany). Dark red, closed nose, dusty, tight dark fruit with firm graphite on the finish.

2010 Alain Voge Cornas “Vielles Vignes” (Rhone). Medium purple with dried herbs on the nose, sour cherry on the finish.

2012 Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf du Pape (Rhone). Medium purple, closed nose of slate, juicy fruit.

2012 Louis Max Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru (Burgundy). Medium red, feminine perfume of crushed plums, tight, silky, smoky fruit, firm astringentcy at the finish.

2012 Louis Max Clos Vougeot Grand Cru (Burgundy). Brick color with warm crushed red fruit on the nose, tight with moderate tannins and acid, moderate to long finish.

2005 Marquis de Riscal Gran Reserva (Rioja). Dark brick with warm cooked berries and mint on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit and nicely balanced on the long tarry finish. Nice.

2010 Marquis de Riscal “Baron de Chirel” Reserva (Rioja). They tell me this isn’t available in the States, some Cabernet added, dark red to black with dried leaf and mint on the nose, herb notes on the silky and concentrated fruit, balance.

Dan’s Harvest East End

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This past Saturday I made another trip out East to attend the Dan’s Harvest East End taste of Summer wine and food classic. The last of the trio of food and wine festivals hosted by Dan’s Paper. While the other two festivals were held on the South Fork of Long Island, this one was held on the North Fork where the majority of the wineries out East are located. It was held under the big tents on the property of McCall Winery at 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue.

Co-hosted by Food Network’s Geoffrey Zakarian, it featured food from local restaurants and purveyors and wine from the local wineries. It followed the same formula as the other festivals, big tents with the food stands on the perimeter, wines in the center, and the outlier beer and spirits booths scattered around.

It was another beautiful Summer evening tasting good food and wine with a crowd that was having fun. My drink of choice for the evening was Sparkling Point NV Brut and the 2006 Sparkling Point Brut Seduction.

Some of what I sampled:


The Frisky Oyster: Cornell Oysters Friskafella (My favorite of the night)

Smitty’s at American Grill: Homemade Meatball Sliders

First & South: Green Gazpacho

SCGP Café: Cauliflower Beignet

The Ram’s Head Inn: Spice Crusted Tuna with Grilled Local Corn

Jedediah Hawkin’s Inn: Lobster Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage

Petulant Wino: Summer Corn Gazpacho

A Mano Osteria: Local Corn Ravioli

Perabell Food Bar East: Sriracha Hoisan Glazed Duck Steamed Bun

Mirabelle: Long Island Striped Bass, Shrimp and Local Watermelon Ceviche



Dan’s Taste Of Two Forks

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This past Saturday I attended the Dan’s Taste of Two Forks food festival. Dan’s Paper is a magazine that covers all thing Hampton’s. They co-sponsor several foodie events during the Summer and this was one of them.

The Taste of Two Forks was held under the big tents at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton on the south fork of Long Island and was co-hosted by Michael Symon of ABC’s The Chew and Katie Lee of Food Network’s The Kitchen.

With food from over 40 North and South Fork restaurants, wines from the North and South Fork wineries, cocktails from Tito’s vodka, Hendrick’s gin and Casamigos tequila and a tiki bar with brewskis from Blue Moon and Corona, it was a fun evening in the Hampton’s.

I stuck with white wines, rosé and the occasional margarita, the wines I sipped on :

2014 Jamesport Vineyards Rosé

2014 Macari Vineyards Rosé (3 Liter bottle)

2014 Bedell Cellars Rosé

2014 Pelligrino Vineyards Gewürztraminer

2014 One Women Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2011 Lenz Winery Tete a Tete White Blend

Some of the nibbles I sampled:

Buoy One Seafood: Fresh Blue Crab Claw with roasted corn and black bean salad.

Nammos: Grilled octopus with tomato and olive salad.

Shuckers Lobster & Clam Bar: Dirty Lobster.

Smoking Wolf BBQ; BBQ pulled pork sliders.

South Hampton Social Club: Tuna Tacos

Bistro 72: Duck confit with soft herb cheese.

Moby’s:  Montauk Calimari with tomato, olives and Calabrian chili.

75 Main: Jerk spiced Long Island duck tacos.

Highway Restaurant & Bar: Lobster roll with lemon and tarragon.

Noah’s On the Road: BLT

Grana Tratoria Anitica: Fregola Sarda Pasta with Sardinian botarga.

668 The Gigshack: Ritz cracker crusted crab cake.

Fresh Hampton’s: Tuscan style seafood salad.

Ram’s Head Inn: Applewood smoked Crescent Farms duck breast.

Canal Café: Local Fluke ceviche.

Westchester Food & Wine Grand Tasting

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This past weekend Westchester Magazine held their annual Food & Wine Festival. A weekend of events that included a Burger Bash, and evening with Westchester’s taste makers, a seminar with Piero Incisa the winemaker at Sassicaia, and a Grand Tasting.

I attended the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon. Last year, the event was held indoors at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in White Plains, this year it was held outdoors at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla, New York which is a leisurely 40 minute train ride from Grand Central Terminal. The Grand Tasting “Village” was well laid out and spacious with the crowd of people spread throughout the venue without any food and wine booth becoming overly crowded. Mother Nature cooperated with beautiful, if a bit windy weather. There were over 35 local restaurants serving food throughout the village. Many consumer tastings serve a lot of mediocre wines but at this event the wine shop Zachey’s, a well-known Westchester wine and spirit purveyor provided the wines. It was a well-chosen list and there was plenty of good juice to keep me and the rest of the people interested all afternoon. It was a fun day.

Some of the wines I sampled:

NV Veuve Clicquot Rose

NV Ruinart Blanc de Blanc

NV Tattinger Brut La Francaise

NV Pol Roger Brut Reserve

2013 Landhaus Mayer Gruner Veltliner

2013 Masi Rosa dei Masi Rosé

2014 Chateau Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé

2014 La Spinetta Il Rosé di Casanova

2013 Flowers Chardonnay

2012 Antica Chardonnay

2013 Calera Chardonnay

2012 Acacia Chardonnay

2013 Rodney Strong Chardonnay

2012 Rochioli Russan River Valley Chardonnay

2013 JP Benoit Droin Chablis Vaillons

2013 Pio Cesare Arnais

2013 Antinori Guado Al Tasso Vermintino

2013 Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir

2013 The Calling Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir

2011 Frescobaldi Chianti Nepozzano

2010 Campo Giovanni Brunello di Montalcino

2010 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino

2010 Castiglion dei Bosco Brunello di Montalcino

2010 San Felice Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

2010 Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Stag’s Leap Cellars Artemis

2013 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva

2012 Tenuta San Guido Guidaberto

2011 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia

2011 Chimney Rock Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Gaja Ca’ Marcanda Promis

2010 Casa Lapstolle Clos Apalta Red



Best Of The West


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This past week was the 8th annual New Taste of The Upper West Side.  It was three days of food, wine, beer and cocktail events on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. On Saturday evening I attended the Best of the West event held under the tent at 76th Street and Columbus Avenue. Hosted by chefs Marc Murphy and Anne Burrell and featuring music by Joe Battaglia and his 16 piece New York Big Band. Over 30 local restaurants served tasty bites of their specialties. It was a fun evening of tasty bites, spirits and people on stilts.

My favorite dish of the night was a burger from Shake Shack upper west side. Don’t have an opportunity to try these very often since I won’t wait on line for an hour to buy a burger, these babies were tasty. Other dishes I sample:

Good Enough To Eat: Turkey Parfait

Caffe Storico: Pork Belly, Treviso & Charred Scallion vinaigrette

Porter House NYC: Bourbon Braised Short Rib Mini Bun

Cesca Enoteca & Trattoria: House-Made Straciattella

The Ribbon: Chopped Liver On Rye Toast

Calle Ocho: Ceviche Mixto

Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto: Prosciutto

Carmine’s: Eggplant Parmigiano

Jean-Georges: Strawberry Tiramisu

It was a warm night and as far as beverages were concerned, I drank a couple of Prosseco from Bottega, a couple of more Italian whites from Teruzzi & Puthod and cocktails made with Tito’s vodka.



Aquarium Tasting

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This past Memorial Day weekend on Sunday evening, I attended the Taste The East End Food and Wine event which paired local food vendors and restaurants with locally produced beer and wine. It was a consumer event and was held at the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center at 431 East Main Street Riverhead. This is the beginning of the North Fork wine country about 80 miles east of Manhattan. It was the first time I went to a wine event in an aquarium which made for an interesting evening of wine, food and live fish swimming around. The wines served were all from Long Island.


Some of what I sampled:

2012 Lenz Gewürztraminer

2014 Raphael Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Martha Clara “Solstice” White

2013 Osprey’s Dominion Fume Blanc

2013 Osprey’s Dominion Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Osprey’s Dominion Reserve Pinot Gris

2013 OR Vineyards Chardonnay

2013 Roanoke Vineyards “Reserve” Chardonnay

2013 Suru Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Suru Winery Pinot Grigio

2014 Water’s Crest Rosé

2014 Roanoke Vineyards Rosé

2010 Suru Winery “Red Bland”

2011 Raphael “Estate” Merlot

NV Raphael Cabernet


Harvest East End

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On Saturday evening I attended the fifth annual Harvest East End food and wine event with 40 wineries and 30 East End chefs pairing local grapes with local flavors featuring locally sourced (lots of corn and tomatoes) seasonal dishes.  The event was organized by Dan’s Papers and the Long Island Wine Council to raise money for charities such as the Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Foundation and the Peconic Land Trust. It was hosted by Sommelier Josh Wesson and honored New York Times dining columnist, Florence Fabricant. Macari Vineyards was presented with the Governor’s Cup “Winery of the Year” award.

The event took place at the McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue on the North Fork. It is not only a working winery but a farm using organic and natural practices to raise grass-fed Charolais, an historic breed of cattle from France and central Europe. In fact, there was a herd of them grazing next to the Pinot Noir vines at the event. It was a beautiful evening and a good time was had by all.

All the wines served were from Long Island

Sparking Point NV “Topaz Imperial”. My starter wine, sparkling, pink salmon in color with a persistent foam, dry and crisp with hints of strawberry and apple.

2013 Anthony Nappa Wines “Anomoly”. Rosè from 100% Pinot Noir, pale pink with a pretty floral nose with tart, mouth-watering acids on the finish.

2013 Anthony Nappa Wines “Sciardonne”. 100% Chardonnay made with wild yeast, light gold in color with white flowers on the nose, floral earth on the fruit with crisp acidity. Reminded me of a nice Chablis.

2013 Channing Daughters Pinot Grigio “Ramato”. 100% Pinot Grigio, the most interesting wine of the night, an orange wine, orange-salmon in color with orange notes on the fruit with nice balance.

2013 Palmer Vineyards Pinot Blanc. Light yellow with damp earth on the nose with crisp, green apple fruit, ends with some butterines.

2010 Harmony Vineyards “Harmonious Red Blend” First time I’ve seen this winery, in Stony Brook much closer to the city border than the rest of the wineries out East, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, dark red with crushed blueberries on the nose and was ripe and juicy with crushed red berries and mint on the crisp finish.

2010 Macari Vineyards Cabernet Franc. From a magnum, the award-winning wine of the year, medium red with an amber robe with slate and tobacco on the nose and was concentrated and silky with meaty and smoky notes on the long finish with nice balance.

2010 Jamesport Vineyards Cabernet Franc “MTK”. Medium to dark red with crushed blueberries on the nose, concentrated and silky with notes of dried herbs on the finish. Some heat at the end but manageable.

2009 Water’s Crest “Campania Rosso”. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, medium red with an amber robe with dried herbs and crushed stone on the nose, tight fruit and a firm finish.

2010 Channing Daughters Blaufränkisch “Mudd West Vineyard”. Medium red with a stinky nose with ripe and stinky fruit.

2010 Osprey’s Dominion Cabernet Franc. Black in color, pencil shavings and bell pepper on the nose, concentrated and chewy with black licorice on the fruit with good balance.

2010 Roanoke Vineyards “Prime Number”.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, black in color with ripe vegetal notes on the nose with very toasty and smoky fruit.

2010 Roanoke Vineyards Gabby’s Cabernet Franc. Black with an amber robe, cooked fruit on the nose with notes of mineral and crushed rocks on the sweet fruit.