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.

Italy

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.

Austria

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.  

Spain

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.