Rhone Masterclass Lunch

This past March 30th, I attended a Cote du Rhone Masterclass lunch.

The luncheon was held at Aldo Sohm wine bar located at 151 West 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan.

It was a three-course lunch served with six Rhone wines that included whites, reds and rosés. These were budget friendly wines that were meant to showcase that Rhone wines can be approachable and easy drinking.

It was an excellent lunch with each of the first two courses paired with a white, a rosé and a red. With the very good cheese course we drank what we wanted. Since the cheeses were semi soft, the white wines worked very well with them.


Golden & red beet, terrine seasoned goat cheese

2020 Vignerons de l’Enclave “La Resistance” Blanc: Medium gold in color, floral, green herbs on the nose, full fruit with melon notes, moderate acids, easy drinking.

2021 Cellier des Dauphins Rosé Reserve: Light pale red with strawberry notes on the nose, easy drinking with low acids and honeydew melon notes.

2020 Joseph Castan “Tresor du Rhone” Rouge: Opaque medium red. leather and rosemary on the nose, dusty black fruit, silky tannin and crushed rock notes.

Braise short rib, spinach, fried shallots, red wine reduction

2019 Andre Brunel “La Becassonne” Blanc: Medium dark gold with honeydew on the nose, medium to full bodied, tight, juicy fruit, good balance and very drinkable.

2021 Chapoutier Belleruche Rosé: Medium pale red, cantaloup melon on the nose, firm with some tart notes.

2019 Delas Freres “St Esprit” Rouge: Opaque dark red with green notes on the nose, chewy, black licorice fruit, silky tannins and a nice grip at the end.

Cheese of the moment Chef’s selection

Cava Tasting


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I was able to squeeze in this tasting the night before the lockdown on March 15th and it was held at Corkbuzz wine bar and restaurant at 13 East 13th Street, just south of Union Square Park in Manhattan.

Cava is a sparking wine produced in Spain. It comes from the Penedès wine region in Catalonia and is not far from the city of Barcelona.

To be called Cava, the wine  must be made using the methode champenoise. The traditional grape varietals used in making Cava are the indigenous Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada varietals with the non native varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir now used as well.

It might be heresy for me to say, but if I’m looking for a budget sparkler I much rather have a glass of Cava than a glass of Prosecco.


NV Barcino Brut “Belle Epoque”

(50% Macabeo, 30% Xarel-lo, 20% Parellada)


NV Casas del Mar Brut Blanc de Blanc

(40% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, 30% Parellada)


2016 Juvé & Camps Brut “Essential Reserva”

(100% Xarel-lo)


2018 Naveran Brut “Dama”

(85% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada)


2017 Alta Alella Mirgin Reserva Brut Nature

(40% Pansa Bianca, 30% Parellada, 30% Macabeu)


2013 Agusti Torelló Mata Gran Reserva Brut Nature

(38% Macabeo, 34% Parellada, 28% Xarel-lo)


NV Eudald Massana Noya Reserva Brut Nature

(Macabeu, Xarel-lo, Parellada, Chardonnay)


NV Josep Foraster Rosat Reserva

(100% Trepat)


NV Conquilla Brut Rosé

(100% Pinot Noir)


NV Pere Mata Rosé Brut Nature “Cupada”

(70% Garnatxa, 30% Parellada)


NV Dibon Brut Rosé

(100% Garnacha)



Wine Bars Of Queens

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Queens county is one of the five  boroughs that comprise the city of New York. It has the largest area and with a population of 2.3 million, the second most populous after Brooklyn. If Queens was an independent city it would be the fourth largest city in the United States.

It is also the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world which means that there are many establishments that serve those various ethnic cuisines. Of course, wine bars are a part of that mix.

Many wine bars follow the same model of which they serve beer and ciders in addition to wine but usually no spirits. The space is usually small with a micro kitchen cranking out pannini and charcuterie. Hopefully there wont be a television in sight.


Wine Time Wine Bar: 40-15 235th Street, Douglaston.

This wine bar is in the North-Eastern fringe of Queens in a setting that’s more rural than urban and is tucked away right off the Douglaston LIRR station. It follows the formula of a small space, micro kitchen and votive candles on the tables. With an interesting wine list and someone on the guitar on the weekends. What I drank: 2014 Ca’Momi Zinfandel (Napa Valley).


BLVD: 4720 Center Boulevard, Long Island City.

This wine bar just celebrated its one year anniversary. It’s in a part of town that a few short years ago was deserted waterfront but is now full of luxury high-rise apartments. An “L” shaped bar with comfortable lighting with the usual suspects in the kitchen and a small out door terrace with a Manhattan view. In addition to their offerings on the wine list they have a quartet of wines on draught at reasonable prices. One of those is  a nice Cote du Rhone from Estezarques. This night I also had a Mont Marcal Brut Cava


Jack & Nellies: 10825 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills.

First time for me in this wine bar and on the rainy and windy weekday night I was there, the place was empty. I can’t see the wine list dark with candles on the bar and a small kitchen. What I drank: 2013 Broglia Il Doge Gavi (Piedmont), 2013 Vigna Madre Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo (Abruzzo).


Domaine Wine Bar: 5004 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.

This one has been around for a while just steps from the No. 7 subway station. Small dark space with candles on the bar and  the usual micro kitchen. Even though the subway station is in front of the place, they never seem to get a crowd. The wine by the glass list is not too extensive. They do have an oyster happy hour. I had a glass of 2014 El Grano Carmenere (Chile).