Two Night Tastings

This week I was able to attend a couple of night tastings after work. These tasting are always fun, usually a good crowd enjoying whatever wines are being poured.

Monday night I attended a night tasting of wines from Costieres de Nîmes sponsored by StarChefs and Bethony restaurant where the event was held.


2013 Chateau de Campuget White. A blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Marsanne, medium yellow with sweet candy on the nose and was tart and lemony with some green herbs on the finish.

2013 Chateau Guiot Rosé. A blend of Grenache and Syrah, cherry red in color with bright red cherry and fresh thyme on the fruit.

2009 Chateau Guiot “Numa”. At 95% Syrah, dark red with a big nose of smoky roasted meat, concentrated with notes of mineral and bacon fat on the crisp finish. Some food toned down the acids nicely.

2011 Michel Gassier “Nostre Pais”. A Rhone blend of several varietals, dark red with a subdued nose of dried herbs with juicy sweet cherry fruit with black licorice notes on the finish.

nimes 3

On Wednesday night I attended a tasting sponsored by Wines of Portugal which was held at Corkbuzz wine bar in Union Square. I’ve attended many tastings at this venue and the nibbles they put out to accompany the wines were excellent as usual. I normally look to Portugal for good value wines, but the wines poured this evening were higher end. Many dark, concentrated and balanced wines that would have made a California wine drinker smile. Some nice juice.


2012 José Maria da Fonseca Reserva Tinto (Peninsula de Setubal). Medium red with dusty bacon and red licorice on the nose with medium to long fruit, nicely balance, very drinkable.

2008 José Maria da Fonseca Domini Plus Tinto (Douro). Dark red with violets and black cherry on the nose (reminded me of a Chianti), chewy with mint, minerals and silky tannin on the finish. Very nice.

2011 Casa Ferreirinha Quinta da Leda Tinto (Douro). Black with tar and violets on the nose, big and concentrated with dark chocolate on the balanced fruit, big wine.

2013 Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Tinto (Douro). Dark red with crushed dark berries and bacon on the nose, dark juicy fruit with chocolate on the balanced finish.

2009 Quinto de Lemos (Dão). 100% Alfrocheiro. Dark red with leathery, sweet cherry fruit, chewy with dried herbs and leather notes on the excellent finish.

2009 Quinto de Lemos (Dão). 100% Tinta Roriz. Dark red to black in color with black licorice on the nose and dark fruit, tight with manageable tannin at the end.

2009 Quinto de Lemos Dona Georgina (Dão). Dark red to black with fresh herbs on the nose, silky with creamy black fruit, balanced with a long finish.

2009 Quinto de Lemos  Dona Santana (Dão). Dark red to black with fresh herbs on the nose, chewy with concentrated bright fruit and some heat at the end.

2010 Julia Kemper Touriga Nacional (Dão). 100% Touriga Nacional, black in color with crushed stone on the nose, silky and dusty, dark fruit with great balance.

2010 Luis Pato Vinha Pan Tinto (Beiras). 100% Baga. The guy pouring this said this producer was looking to make a Barolo style wine in Portugal and it smelled and tasted like one. Dark red in color with cigar box on the nose and tar notes on the silky fruit and tannins, great balance.



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Brooklyn Crush

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On Saturday afternoon November 15,  I attended the Brooklyn Crush “Wine & Artisanal Food Festival”. It was held at Industry City, a complex of reused factory buildings at the waterfront in Sunset Park Brooklyn. It was a Spartan event space. The event was open to the consumer and consisted of a day and evening session, I attended the day session. They provided some food to accompany the wines including some excellent pizza from SottoCasa pizzeria. As with many consumer wine events, there were many inexpensive, unknown labels being poured from small importers/distributors.


2013 Alamos Torrentés

2013 La Val Albarino

2013 Manuel Manzaneque Chardonnay

2013 Piedmont Wine Project “Bianco”

2013 Santa Barbara Le Vigne Verdicchio

2013 Giacamo Vico Roero Arneis

2013 Foucher-Labrun Sancerre Blanc “LeMont”



2011 Quivira Zinfandel

2011 Michel Schlumberger Merlot

2012 Ghost Pines Merlot

2012 Ghost Pines “Red Blend”

2012 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Chateau Divon St. Georges St. Emillion

2009 Haut Buis Carlien

2013 Ampeleia Unlitro

2011 Cantin Arte Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Ode”

2013 Roeno Marzemino “La Rua”

2013 Guidobono Nebbiola

2011 La Serena Rosso di Montalcino

2013 Medici Solo Reggiano Lambrusco

2013 Kellerai Schiava

2011 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico

2012 Alamos Malbec

2012 Alamos “Seleccion”



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Somm Slam And A Seminar

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The 9th Annual International Chefs Congress, a culinary symposium, took place on October 26-28. The event was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center on 79 Franklin Street in Williamsburg.

This years Somm Slam consisted of ten competitors. The Sunday I attended was the first day of the completion and the Somm’s were divided into two groups of five. Each group was given a dish prepared by Chef Josh Thomsen of Agricola restaurant in Princeton NJ . The Somm’s had to pick a wine (or beer) from what was available that they felt was the best pairing with the dish. We judges critiqued their choices. I attended a seminar as well.

First group: Horseradish-crusted Ora King Salmon, Sorrel Puree and Glazed Great Road Farm Beets.

My picks based on the Somm’s choices:

#1 Ommegang “Gnomegang” (New York). Chosen by Kyumgmoon Kim, Junskik, NY. Hate to pick a beer over wine but I thought it complemented the dish the best.

#2 2013 Chateau Guiot Rosé (Costier de Nimes). Chosen by John Filkins, Potomac Selections, Pa.

Second Group: New York Duck, Toasted Farro, Baby Escarole and Carmalized Red Onion-Blackberry Sauce.

My picks based on the Somm’s choices:

#1 2011 Chateau Beauchene Cotes du Rhone (Rhone). Chosen by Diana Roderique, Trummer’s On Main, Clifton, VA.

#2 2006 Luis Canas Reserva (Rioja). Chosen by Jose Aguirre, Klimpon Hotels, San Francisco.

Five Somm’s were eliminated this day and the remaining five participated Monday afternoon. The winners were: 1st place Erik Liedholm, 2nd place Jose Aguirre, 3rd place Michael Dolnski, 4th place Kyungmoon Kim and 5th place Diana Roderique.


Seminar: The New And Alternative Side Of California Wine

2013 Wind Gap Wines Trousseau Gris (Russian River Valley). Gold with green tints, floral nose, tight and crisp with floral notes on the fruit.

2013 Habit Wine Co. Grüner Veltliner “Rancho Arroyo Perdito” (Santa Ynez Valley). Yellow with greenish tints with a nose of turned earth an a nice mouth feel with  balanced finish.

2012 Matthiasson Winery White (Napa Valley). A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Semillon and Tocai Fruilano. Light gold in color with a closed nose of sweet earth, silky and balance with mouth filling fruit and some lime notes and good acidity on the nicely balance finish.

2012 Sandlands Vineyard Trousseau (Sonoma County). Cloudy medium red with a big stinky nose of vanilla and cinnamon, chewy and rustic.

2013 RPM Gamay (El Dorato). Carbonic maceration, cloudy dark brick in color with smoky cooked fruit notes on the nose, tight vanilla on the fruit with tongue curdling acids on the finish.

2012 Dirty & Rowdy Mouverdre (Santa Barbara Highlands). Dark purple with toasty dark fruit on the nose, dusty, chalky and juicy with a tight finish.



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NYC Craft Beer Fest

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I’m not a big beer drinker but on Saturday I attended the New York City Craft Beer Festival which took place at the Lexington Armory at 68 Lexington Avenue. It was a consumer event and I attended the evening session. I limited myself to the sour beers, stouts and ciders.


J. K.’s Cuvee Winterruption Farmhouse Hard Cider

Crispin English Cider

Dock’s Draft Pear Cider

Badass Pear Cider

The Bruery Oude Tart Flemish style red ale aged in oak barrels (Sour beer)

Old Guardian Barleywine

Allagash Black Belgian style stout

Smuttynose Robust Porter

Left Hand Brewery Milk Stout Nitro



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Food Nework Grand Tasting And A Seminar


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Food & Wine magazine and the Food Network held their annual New York City Wine & Food Festival on October 16-19. It was four days of seminars, food demonstrations, parties, food, spirits and wine events at various venues in the city.  I was able to attend a seminar on Saturday afternoon and the Grand Tasting on Sunday afternoon. The seminar which was a sit-down tasting featuring six wines took place at the Hudson Hotel on 356 West 58th Street. The Grand Tasting  which was a  casual, walk-around event to sample food,  check out new products, view culinary demonstrations and of course to try wines and spirits provided by Southern Wines and Spirits took place at Pier 94 on West 55th Street. The Pier is a 1300,000 square foot size venue and there was a lot to see and sample. After the tasting I was able to attend the meat-centric , Meatopia event at Pier 94 as well.

Seminar: Iconic Wines of France hosted by Eric Hemer

NV Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle “La Cuvée” (Champagne). Yellow in color with a greenish tint on the nose was floral with toasted bread notes with a subtle fizz on the lemon tart fruit.

2012 Jean-Marie Berthier Coteaux du Giennois “Terre de Silex”  (Loire). Medium yellow with a green tint, very ripe nose of white flowers and toast tight with mouth puckering lemon notes on the finish.

2007 Lucien Albrecht Riesling “Clos Schild” (Alsace). Deep gold in color with honey and petroleum on the nose, medium body, silky with sweet and sour fruit on the nice balance.

2010 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Gréves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus (Burgundy). Brick color with meaty, black plums on the nose, tight with some salinity on the finish. I thought it dropped a bit at the end.-

2011 Domaine Alain Voge Cornas “Les Vielle Vignes” (Rhone).  Dark red to black with a big perfume of mint and dried herbs, tastes lighter than it looks with tart raspberry flavors on the fruit with moderate tannin.

2010 Chateau Duhart-Milon Rothschild Grand Cru Classé (Pauillac). Inky black with a closed nose of meat and red licorice, silky with toasty oak on the moderate finish, a little light at the end.

At the Grand Tasting there was a “Vip” area where some nice juice was poured. Some of what I enjoyed:

2010 Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel (Napa Valley). Dark purple with smoky dark plums on the nose, chewy with meat notes on the balanced finish.

2011 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black in color, black licorice notes on the nose with dried leaf and bell pepper on the finish.

2010 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon “Cask” (Napa Valley). Black in color with toasty dark plums on the nose, concentrated with some mint notes on the moderate finish.

2009 Inglenook “Rubicon” (Napa Valley). Dark brick in color with crushed sweet fruit and tobacco on the nose, silky with dark chocolate on the balanced moderate to long finish.

2012 Conundrum Red (California). A “non-traditional blend” of red grapes. Black in color, crushed blueberries on the nose, thick and syrupy with juicy blueberry and mint on the fruit.

2012 La Crema Winery Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley). Medium red with dried herbs on the nose, medium bodied with some cola notes on the fruit with good balance.

2010 San Pedro “Sideral” (Chile). A blend of five red varietals, dark red to black in color, very perfumed with sweet black fruit and minerals on the nose, concentrated and silky with crushed rock notes on the finish with silky tannin.

2009 San Pedro “Cabo De Hornos” (Chile).  Cabernet Sauvignon based blend. Dark red to black with dried herbs and cooked fruit on the nose, thick and fruity with moderate balance. Impressively heavy bottle.

2010 San Pedro “Altair” (Chile). Cabernet Sauvignon based blend. Black with crushed red fruit and roasted meat notes on the nose, dark and concentrated  with coffee and dark chocolate notes on the balanced finish. Big wine with a big bottle as well.

2006 Castello D’Albola Chianti Classico  (Tuscany). Dark red with dark plums on the nose, moderate fruit with tobacco notes, nice balance with a long finish.

2010 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany). Dark brick with cooked vegetable on the nose, silky with red fruit and mint notes, moderate tannin and cigar box on the finish.

2005 Fontanafredda Barolo “La Rosa” (Piedmont). Brick color with tar and cigar box on the nose with delicious silky fruit and nice mouth coating tannin at the end.

2008 Marchese di Barolo Barolo (Piedmont). Brick color with a closed nose of pencil shavings, dry and dusty with tongue coating tannin at the end.

2006 Bertani Amarone (Veneto). Brick in color with some mint notes on the nose with tight and concentrated fruit with subtle tanning on the finish with some stewed fruit notes.

2009 Chateau Lagrezette (Cahors). Decanted, 100% Malbec. Inky, dark purple with a nose of crushed, dark berries, tight, concentrated and silky with dried herb notes on the firm balanced finish.

2006 Matarromera Reserva (Ribera de Duero). Cloudy brick in color with dried herbs on the nose, tight and concentrated with black olives on the finish.



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Wine Spectator Awards Banquet 2014


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Wine Spectator Magazine held their annual New York wine experience on October 16-18. It was billed as “a joyous three-day festival of great wines” and included various seminars and grand tastings on Thursday and Friday with the conclusion on Saturday evening with a black-tie awards dinner. At the banquet Saturday night, Sir Peter Michael, proprietor of Peter Michael Winery in Knights Valley, Sonoma County California, was presented with Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service Award. Three of his wines were served with dinner.

The event took place at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square beginning with a Champagne reception followed by the awards dinner. Afterwards, entertainment was provided by the band “Chicago”.

Champagne Reception:

2004 Dom Perignon Blanc de Blanc

NV Taittinger Brut La Francaise

NV Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut

NV Krug Grand Cuvée

NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve

NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier

NV Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée

Dinner Menu With Wines:

Petite kale, spinach and spice-fried quinoa with shave hard goat cheese, pickled figs, smoked bacon and apple cider vinaigrette.

2013 Peter Michael Winery “L’Apres-Midi” (Knights Valley). Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Semillon. Floral and honeydew melon on the nose, full-bodied with great balance on the grapefruit and melon finish.

Escargot and potato gnocchi with white truffle, watercress, herb crumble and bordelaise reduction.

2012 Peter Michael Winery “Ma Belle-Fille” (Knights Valley). Gold in color with a closed nose. Old school Chardonnay, oaky with buttery and ripe tropical fruit with some bubblegum notes on the juicy finish. Not my style of Chard.

Herb-crusted rack of lamb, minted fava beans, peas morel, orange-glazed carrots, creamy polenta and thyme jus.

2008 Peter Michael Winery “Les Pavots” (Knights Valley). Two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a touch of Pettit Verdot. Dark red in color with rosemary and red berries on the nose, concentrated and juicy with mint and dark chocolate on the crisp finish.



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Boardwalk Tasting In Atlantic City

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This past Sunday I took a road trip to Atlantic City to attend Food & Wine’s Boardwalk Wine Promenade. It was the wine events Fall debut and featured over 100 wines at multiple destinations along a mile long stretch of the Atlantic City boardwalk. Each destination had a theme with appropriate paird wines. There was live music, some food from local vendors and plenty of people enjoying the beautiful Autumn weather on the boardwalk. I was told that Sunday wasn’t as hectic and crowded as the Saturday event which was fine by me since I don’t like to muscle my way in the tent for a splash of wine, still, there was still plenty of folks out parading back and forth on the boardwalk enjoying the event and I had fun.

Station 1: Come & Go Vino

Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Brut (Columbia Valley)

Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Brut Rosè (Columbia Valley)

2013 Vitano Rosato (Umbria)

2013 Vivanco Blanco (Rioja)

2011 Scott Family Estate Pinot Noir “Dijon Clone” (Arroyo Secco)

2010 Ontañon Crianza (Rioja)

Station 2: Bubble Lounge (a.k.a. the party lounge)

Sponsored by Moet & Chandon, cool vibe, good DJ, Champagne, what’s not to like.

NV Brut Imperial

NV Rosé Imperial

Station 3: Sun & Sea

2013 Fontana Candida Frascati (Lazio)

2012 Kris Pinot Grigio (Veneto)

2012 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling (Washington)

2013 Artazuri Garnacha Rosado (Navarra)

Station 6: Food & Wine Plaza

2012 Clos Pegase  Chardonnay”Mitsuko’s Vineyard” (Carneros)

2012 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay “Russian River Ranches” (Sonoma)

2012 Reata Three County Pinot Noir (California)

2012 Etude Pinot Noir “Lyric”(Santa Barbara C0unty)

2012 Ferrari-Carano Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley)

2010 Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

2010 Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Alexander Valley)

2011 Jamieson Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon “Double Lariat” (Napa Valley)

Station 8: Bourbons & Bold Reds

Good band, stayed away from the spirits.

2011 Wild Oats Shiraz (Australia)

2013 Emilana Carmenere (Chile)

2011 Rewood Winery Zinfandel “Old Vines” (Amador County)

2011 Shannon Ridge Petite Sirah (Lake County)

2012 Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

2012 Ferrrari-Carano “Siena” (Sonoma County)




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