Vintus Imports Portfolio Tasting

Many of the distributors that supply the wine and bar industry here in New York carry a wide range of wines and spirits. Not surprisingly every bar and restaurant have its particular needs. They might be looking for a good wine by the glass or something out of the ordinary or maybe they’re looking for a trophy wine.

On March 21st I attended the Spring portfolio tasting of Vintus Imports which was held at their offices at 48 West 38th Street in Manhattan.

I was not familiar with this company and was curious to check out their portfolio. They did carry a good selection of wines as well as some interesting spirits including several aquavits.

Some highlights:

2007 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Opaque medium brick with a sweet perfume of graphite and black licorice, silky red fruit with dark chocolate notes finishing with green herbs. Lovely wine.

2018 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red, sweet nose of tar and wet earth, dense and chewy black fruit. Some heat at the end.

2019 Far Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon “Fission” (Sonoma): Opaque dark red to black, nose of ripe fruit, chewy and chunky black fruit with a dusty and chewy finish and a nice balance.

2017 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Baudes”: Clear light brick with graphite and leather on the nose, juicy red fruit with earthy notes, tight acids and a long finish.

2017 Lucien Le Moine Volnay 1er Cru “Clos des Chenas”: Clear light red, toasty red fruit on the nose, silky red fruit with some earth notes, nice balance.

2018 E. Guigal Saint-Joseph “Vignes de l’Hospice”: Clear dark red with a beautiful nose fo wet earth, mint and crushed black fruit, silky red fruit with wet rock notes on the fruit, balanced and long.

2016 Chateau de Nalys Chateauneuf du Pape: Clear dark brick, closed nose of bacon fat, dusty, silky dark fruit with slate notes, balanced and long.

2008 Tommasi “De Buris” (Veneto): Clear medium brick with damp earth and prunes on the nose, pruney green herbs on the tight finish.

2017 Tommasi Amarone Classico (Veneto): Clear light brick, closed nose of dark chocolate, juicy with raison and herbs of the long finish. Great balance.

2015 Casisano Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany): Clear light red, tar and graphite on the nose, silky with earthy fruit and nicely balance.

La Paulée de NY: Verticals Tasting 2022

La Paulée de New York is Daniel Johnson’s homage to La Paulée de Meursault, a three-day long end of grape harvest festival held in Meursault, Burgundy in France. The festival itself was a revival of the end of harvest banquet that the medieval monks threw for their growers and workers.

Mr. Johnson brought that festival to New York in 2000 and after a one-year hiatus it’s back in New York City. It’s several days of tastings and wine dinners featuring the red and white wines of the Cote d’Or of Burgundy.

They threw two tastings, the Grand Tasting in which they poured 100+ wines from the current vintage release, and the Verticals Tasting in which each producer poured at least three different vintages of their wine.

I attended the Grand Tasting in March 2020 which was held just a few days before the lockdown, it was the last major tasting for me for almost two years. This year they were showcasing the 2018 and 2019 vintages to make up for the lost year. This year I didn’t attend that tasting but was able to make it to the Verticals Tasting. It was a little smaller in size than the Grand Tasting but was a great opportunity to drink Burgundy with some age to them. It was well worth the 10am start time.

The tasting took place at the event space Second in the Eventi Hotel at 849 6th Avenue in Manhattan.

Some highlights:


2011 Domaine du Duc de Magenta Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru “Clos de la Chapelle”: Light yellow, toasty nose, roasted nuts and lime on the finish.

2012 Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos “Clos des Hospices” en magnum: Dark gold in color, ripe tropical fruit on the nose, dusty, nutty on the finish.

2014 Bouchard Pere & Fils Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light yellow with honey and cinnamon on the nose, mouthful of fruit with a nice balance

2015 Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret Chablis 1er Cru “Les Butteaux”: Light yellow with a floral nose, nice balanced fruit ending with a firm finish


2006 Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru: Clear light red, tar and cigar box on the nose with earthy, tobacco fruit and a long finish.

2007 Benjamin Leroux Volnay “Clos de la Cave du Ducs” Monopole: Clear light brick, beautiful nose of earth and barnyard with tobacco and cigar box notes on the long finish.

2009 Chandon de Briailles Corton Grand Cru “Les Bressandes” en magnum: Clear light red, plummy tobacco on the nose with silky bright red fruit and green herbs on the finish.

2009 Domaine Faiveley Echezeaux Grand Cru: Light brick, crushed raspberry and earth on the nose, silky red fruit ending with silky tannins and a long finish.

2010 Domaine Simon Bize Savigny les Beaune 1er Cru “Aux Vergelesses”: Clear light brick, cigar box on the nose, bright red fruit ending with mouth coating tannins.

2010 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru: Clear light brick, tar and tobacco on the nose, silky, earthy fruit with firm acids and tannins at the end.

2010 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Aux Brulees” en magnum: Clear light brick, crushed blueberry on the nose, red toasty fruit with a silky finish.

2011 Domaine Faiveley Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru “Les Saint Georges“: Light brick in color, cigar box on the nose, nice balanced fruit with a long finish.

2011 Derey Freres Fixin 1er Cru “Les Hervedets”: Light brick, cinnamon, smoky tobacco and ripe fruit on the nose, chewy and nicely balanced with a long finish.

2011 Pierre Morey Pommard 1er Cru “Grand Epenots”: Clear light red, closed nose of crushed black fruit and dried herbs, silky red fruit with a nice balance.

2012 Antoine Donnedieu Clos de Tart Grand Cru monople: Clear light red, barnyard and green herbs on the nose, tight and tart.

2013 Domaine d’Eugenie Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Brulees”: Clear light red, perfume of crushed red fruit and cinnamon, bright red fruit with some earth notes on the finish.

2014 Domaine Jean Marie Fourrier Vougeot 1er Cru “Les Petits Vougeot”: Clear light brick, pumpkin spice on the nose, silky red fruit ending with silky tannins.

2014 Jerome Galeyrand Gevrey-Chambertin “En Croisette”: Clear light brick, toasty, earth nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending balanced and long.

2015 Yvon Clerget Pommard 1er Cru “Rugiens”: Clear medium red, crushed black fruit on the nose, ripe and chewy black fruit ending with silky tannins.

2015 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay 1er Cru “Chevrerz”: Clear light red, red smoke on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice balance.

Westchester Wine & Food Fest 2021

Westchester Magazine’s 10th annual Wine & Food Festival was held on September 21-25. It was five days of a couple of wine dinners, a Burger & Beer Bash, Party on the Pier and lastly, their signature event, the Grand Tasting Village on Saturday, September 25th.

Last years event, which normally took place in June was, not surprisingly, cancelled so I was happy to see that they decided to bring the event back this year.

I was worried that they might have scaled back the scope of the event but when but when I arrived, I was happily surprised to see that they did not. In fact it seemed like they had double the amount of spirits represented this year than at the last event. As usual they had a roped off Connoisseurs tent that featured high end wines not available in General Admission area. I remember being disappointed in the wine selection in that Connoisseurs tent at the last event but they made up for it this year, there was some very nice juice to sample this time.

As in the past, the event was held outdoors under the tents at Kensico Damn Plaza which is a few minutes walk from the Valhalla Metro North train station. That’s a leisurely 50-60 minute train ride from Grand Central Terminal and it was a beautiful late Summer afternoon for a ride to the country.

I think that this is one of the better consumer wine events to attend. It’s at a great venue with tasty food to sample and copious international wines to drink for the General Admission ticket holders.

Wines I sampled in the Connoisseurs tent:

NV Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Champagne2017 Vincent Giradin Chassagne-Montrachet
2018 Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay2015 Robert Mondavi Reserve Fume Blanc
2017 Tablas Creek Esprit Blanc2018 Penner-Ash Estate Pinot Noir
2015 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyard2016 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard
2018 Pahlmeyer Cabernet Sauvignon “Jayson”2018 Mt. Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
2015 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir “Machado”2017 Newton Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon
2018 Lucienne Pinot Noir2018 Orin Swift Papillon Red Blend
2017 Booker Oublie Grenache Blend2018 Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif
2018 Chateau La Gaffeliere2019 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 Castello Banfi Summus Toscana2016 Castello Banfi Excelsus Toscana
2016 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino2016 Mastroberadino Taurasi Radici
2016 Castello Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino2018 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino

International Wine Fest At The Golden Nugget 2019


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On August 24th I attended the 8th annual International WineFest held at the Golden Nugget hotel and casino.

The Golden Nugget casino along with Harrah’s and the Borgata are in the Marina district of Atlantic City in New Jersey. That’s about a couple of miles from the famous boardwalk where the bulk of the casinos are located.

Originally, seven years ago the festival began as the Cal-Ital wine festival. It had paired Italian along wines with California wineries of Italian heritage. Some of those included Sbragia, Mondavi, Sebastiani, Seghesio, Peroncelli and Louis Martini to name a few. Italian immigrants had brought over their wine culture and wine making skills to the early winemaking industry in California. It was an exciting concept and they poured some nice juice.

Unfortunately I believe the organizers of the event found that concept too limiting for a large wine event so they segued into an international festival theme which gave them more product to bring into the fest.

The Wine Fest was a two day event with the grand tasting on Saturday evening which I attended. Over 100 wines from the wine producing countries of the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia were poured.

While there were no trophy wines present, it was a good opportunity for a neophyte wine drinker to experience a broad range of international wines and styles. The room was never overcrowded and there was never a long wait for a pour of wine.

Along with live music, a buffet and their signature attractive wine ambassadors pouring, it made for a fun evening of drinking wine before you got back to the business of gambling.


I was in a Champagne drinking mood that evening so my go to drink for the night was Champagne.

Paul Goerg: Brut reserve, blanc de blanc , brut  .

Pol Couronne’s: Brut cuvee, blanc de blanc, brut rosé.


Some others I sampled:

Robert Mondavi: Bourbon barrel aged Cabernet Sauvignon, barrel aged Chardonnay, rum barrel aged Merlot.

Rodney Strong: Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Vallery estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Merlot.

Francis Coppola: Sofia Rosé, Diamond Collection Oregon Pinot Noir.

Heavy Weight: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Knockout Red.

Smoke Tree: Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

Dancing Crow: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel.

19 Crimes: Hard Chardonnay, Shiraz, The Warden, Red Blend.

Oyster Bay: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Barossa Valley GSM.

Perrin: Cote du Rhone Rosé, Cote du Rhone Villages Rouge, Vinsobre Les Cornuds.

Louis Jadot: Macon Villages Blanc, Rosé, Beaujolais Villages.

Cavaliere D’Oro: Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva.

Laurennz V: Friendly Gruner Veltlener, Charming Gruner.

Quinta Do Crasto: Douro White, Douro Red.

Montes: Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon.



Summer Fancy Food Show 2016

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The Summer Fancy Food Show is a bi-coastal, bi-yearly event that is America’s largest specialty food and beverage show. With over 46,000 industry professionals, 2,500 exhibitors and over 180,000 products, it is the place to find the next big product, next big company and next big trend in the food and beverage industry.

The show took place on June 26-28 and was held at the Jacob Javits convention center on 655 W 34th street in Manhattan. This years partner country was Tunisia.

I attended Sunday for an afternoon of grazing on cured ham, cheese and chocolate and sampling mostly Italian wines.


NV Arunda Brut Rosé. (Alto Adige). Light salmon in color, crisp.

NV Arunda Brut. (Alto Adige). Dry and crisp with an oily finish.

2015 Ugolini Valpolicella “Pozzeto” (Veneto). The entry-level wine in a trio of excellent Valpolicella, medium to light red, red berry and tree bark on the nose, bitter cherry on the balanced finish.

2012 Ugolini Valpolicella “Rippaso” (Veneto). 100% Corvina, light brick in color, red cherry and leather on the nose, silky red cherry fruit, nice acidity and balance.

2013 Ugolini Valpolicella “Amarone” (Veneto). Dark red with black cherry and bitter almond on the nose, bitter almond notes on the fruit. Don’t taste the 16% alcohol.

2008 Tommasi “Ca Florian” Riserva Amarone (Veneto). Dark brick in color, dark leather on the nose, bitter almond/cherry and leather notes on the great balance.

2015 Francesco Malena “Bianco” (Cirò).  Calabrese wines, this one mostly Greco Bianco, medium gold with dried flower notes on the finish.

2014 Francesco Malena “Rosso” (Cirò). Mostly the Gaglioppe grape, brick in color with leather on the nose with bitter almond and red cherry on the finish.

2012 Francesco Malena “Pian Della Corte Riserva” (Cirò). Dark red with a brick robe, barnyard notes on the nose, concentrated fruit followed by big tannins at the finish.  

2012 Francesco Malena “Cutura Del Marchese” (Cirò). Dark brick, closed nose of roast meat, mouth coating tannin with bitter cherry and fuzzy tannin on the finish.

2013 Carra Di Casata “Arcòl” (Emilia-Romagna). Dark red to black, roasted coffee on the nose, concentrated, silky with roast nut notes on the balanced finish.

2011 Prima Pietra Toscana Rosso (Tuscany). Bordeaux blend, dark red with smoky, roast bacon on the nose, tight dark fruit, black licorice and bitter cherry on the finish.

Cantina Formigine Pedemontana. A co-op in Emilia-Romagna producing Lambrusco with is an excellent low alcohol red wine served  chilled for a Summer day.

NV Rosso Fosco. Made from the Grasparossa clone, purple, dry, crisp black berry fruit, balanced.

NV Sorbara. Sorbara is another clone for Lambrusco I don’t see often, pink in color, crisp and refreshing with some tannin coming through at the finish.


NV Harkamp Rosé Brut. Light pink with a strawberry nose, crisp with light strawberry flavors on the finish.

NV Harkamp Sauvignon Blanc Extra Brut. Don’t have a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc very often, light yellow in color with roast nuts on the nose, grassy finish.  


2014 Habla Winery “De la Tierra”. Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon blend, dark purple with dried red fruit and herbs on the nose, tight, firm red leather and earth on the finish.

2014 Habla Winery “Del Silencio”. A blend of three grapes, dark red with crushed red fruit and violets on the nose, tight with firm tannin and dried herbs on the finish.

2012 Habla Winery “N° 14”. 100% Syrah, dark red to black with a purple robe, closed nose of berries and leather, tight and concentrated with dried herbs on the firm finish.

2011 Habla Winery “N° 13”. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, dark red with a closed nose of roasted meat, tight with big tannin and herbs on the finish.




Wine On The High Seas

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Just got back from a cruise vacation. I took a week off and ended up at the port of Miami boarding the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship the “Escape” for a week long cruise that took me to the  U. S. and British Virgin Island and Nassau, Bahamas.  The Escape is a state of the art mega-ship launched last year, at over a 1,000 feet long with 4,000+ passengers and a 1,700+ crew, it’s a mini city on water. To accommodate all of those guests are 28 Bars and Restaurants including a wine bar. That wine bar is  “The Cellars” a Michael Mondavi family wine bar. It’s a small nook on the bar floor of the ship where I spent some time chatting with Rodrigo, the Wine Steward while drinking some juice. They also had one of those wine pouring machines in the café if you wanted a glass of wine with your buffet.


Some of what I drank during my cruise:

2014 Marques de Riscal Verdejo (Rueda)

2010 Godelia Mencia (Bierzo). Dark red with a purple robe, roasted meat and bacon with camphor on the end, concentrated with slate notes on the fruit and chewy tannin.

2013 Estancia Pinot Noir (Monterey). Medium red, strawberry jam and black cherry on the nose with some earth notes, strawberry fruit with crisp acidity.

2013 Estancia Meritage (Paso Robles). A Bordeaux blend, dark red to amber with a perfume of crushed dark berries and camphor, silky mint notes on the fruit with firm acidity.


I attended a seminar on Riedel glasses and how wines are enhanced with the proper glass.

Pinot Noir glass served with the 2012 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir (Burgundy)

Syrah glass served with the 2013 Spellbound Petite Sirah (California)

Cabernet Sauvignon glass served with the 2013 Wente Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Southern Hills” . (Livermore Valley).




Bad-Ass Reds

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New York Vintners is a wine shop on 21 Warren Street in downtown Manhattan, a stones throw away from the Trade Center memorial. It’s a very small wine shop that has an event space and kitchen in the back room. They put that back room to good use hosting many wine and food themed events. On Sunday I attended the Bad-Ass Reds wine class which was a sit down tasting of seven wines. The house Sommelier was on hand to discuss the wines.

2015 Manique Rosé of Pinot Noir (Argentina). Not one of the bad-ass reds but the aperitif wine, salmon in color with green herbs and damp earth on the nose, tart red cherry fruit.

2014 Castello di Verduno “Basadone” (Piedmont). Made from the obscure Pelaverga grape varietal, red amber, closed nose of tree bark with more fruit than the color would suggest, silky fruit with earth notes with silky tannin and moderate acids at the end. Different but tasty.

2014 Sean Minor Pinot Noir (Central Coast). Dark red, red cherry jam on the nose, juicy with mint and toast notes on the nose, crisp and balanced finish.

2006 Chateau Clairefont (Margaux). Black with an amber robe, violets, dried leaf on the nose, chunky, mint notes, balanced tannin and acids on the finish.

2005 Calabretta “Nerello Masalese” (Sicily). Dark red with an amber robe, crushed red fruit and slate on the nose, stewed fruit notes, silky tannin and black licorice on the finish.

2013 My Essential Red Blend (Santa Ynez). Black with a purple robe, crushed dark fruit and crushed rocks on the nose, chunky, chewy with dill notes on the juicy and jammy finish.

2013 Tikal “Patriota” (Argentina). A blend of Malbec and Bonarda, black with a purple robe, dark chocolate and anise on the nose, chunky and chewy with firm tannin and acids at the finish.