Saveur Holiday Social

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This past Saturday afternoon I attended Saveur magazines holiday social, “a one day fête to get you into the holiday spirit”. The event took place at the Astor Center at 399 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. The event featured one room full of foodie gifts that were available for purchase while the other room was dedicated to food tastings of which my favorites were handmade garanelli pasta with urbani mushrooms in a truffle sauce and tacos de carne asada with pomegranate guacamole. There was also a bar serving holiday inspired craft cocktails, beer and wine. The cooking and cocktail seminars of which I attended took place in the back kitchen and lecture hall.

The event was open to the public and was soon crowded with party goers for most of the afternoon. My drinks of the day were the 2011 Grgich Hills Chardonnay and The Pallini Thyme Out which was a refreshing cocktail made with lemoncello and fresh thyme.

Workshops & Seminars

The Art of Transforming Ingredients with Bethony: Beet Milk Punch

I’ve never had a Milk Punch before, milk-based cocktails with spirits and sweeteners as a way to preserve milk. The cream is curdled and strained resulting in a clear liquid. At this workshop, the Somm from Bethony restaurant made a milk punch from goats milk, beets and gin. The milk was curdled and infused with the beets and strained through a fine sieve several times. It turned out clear and bright red and didn’t taste half bad!

A Classic Reinvented: Beef Wellington by Chef Florian Wehrli of Triomphe.

The reinvention part is from the use of Bison instead of Beef tenderloin in the recipe. The Bison is leaner than the Beef and the dish was very tasty.

His and Hers Wine Tasting from the Nomad and the Breslin

A flight of six wines from the husband and wife Sommelier duo of Thomas Pastuszak and Jessica Brown.

2008 Domain e Rolet Crement du Jura (Jura) Light yellow with a greenish tint with crisp, green apple fruit.

Savart L’overture NV (Champagne) Light gold in color with bread dough on the nose and yeasty, tart finish.

2013 Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes) Light yellow with an oily and toasty nose and petroleum and shale on the fruit and a toasty, crisp and tart finish.

2013 Venica & Vencia Collio Sauvignon (Friuli) Light gold with a sweet nose of honeydew, dried flowers and earth on the fruit and nicely balanced.

2012 Tyler Winery Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara) Medium red with red dried herbs and red candy on the nose, cola and green stems on the light fruit.

2013 Tami Frappato  (Sicily) Light to medium red in color, bright nose of cherry and forest, dry and tight with mouth-watering acids at the end.



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Fest Of The Best

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This past rainy Saturday afternoon, I attended Thrillist’s  Fest of the Best event, “celebrating NYC’s finest dining establishments from 2014″. The event was held at Villian, a warehouse space at 50 N 3rd Street in Williamsburg near the river’s edge.

It was a consumer event. There was no wine poured, only beer and cocktails made with Grey Goose vodka who was one of the sponsors. The event space was smaller than I anticipated and it soon became crowded with the young  hipsters who live in the area. Things didn’t start off on the right foot when a half hour into the event, the venue ran out of the sponsored spirit. Fortunately a shipment of Grey Goose finally arrived to the relief of the patrons and I was able to indulge in my drink of the day, a Moscow Mule which was made with Grey Goose melon vodka and ginger beer. There were several local restaurants serving their signature dishes and we were to vote on our favorites.

My favorite dishes:

Crave Fishbar: Shetland Island Salmon Crudo

Bacchanal: Confit Lamb Shoulder with Mint-Olive Caper Relish

The Monarch Room: Seared Octopus with Fennel and Citrus

Other restaurants at the event

Seoul Chicken: Next day Fried Chicken with Habanero Honey

Horchata: Guacomole De Calabaza with House Made Tortilla Chips

Two Hands: Avo Toast with Smashed Avocado, Olive Oil and Sea Salt

French Louie’s: Snails Merchand De Vins

The Randolph: Warm Grain and Kale Salad

BLT Fishshack: Oysters on the half shell



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Autumn Wine Fest 2014

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On Saturday November 22 I attended the 2nd annual NYC Autumn Wine Festival. Last year I attended the first annual Autumn wine fest and had a surprisingly good time so I was looking forward to this event. For a consumer tasting some interesting and good juice were poured at a cool venue in Battery Park. This years event took place at a different venue, the Broad Street Ballroom near the Stock Exchange downtown. It’s another one of those former banks with plenty of marble and mosaics that have been reinvented as an event venue, it’s a much smaller space than the Conrad Hotel where the event was held last year. Another more important difference was the quality of the wines served at the event. Nowhere near the quality of juice served at last years event, though a bit better than last weeks Brooklyn Crush (run by the same company). I was disappointed. There were two sessions and I attended the afternoon session and they got a good crowd.


NV Juve Y Camps Reserva de la Familia Brut

2012 Alta Alella Privat Cava.

2013 Lusenti Pinot Grigio Frizzante “Fiocco di Rose”

2012 Lepage Bourg Cote St. Jacques Gris

2013 Bricco del Sole Chardonnay

2012 Pesquie Cuvee des Terrasses Blanc



2010 Pyramid Valley “Calvert Vineyard” Pinot Noir

2012 Foxglove Zinfandel Paso Robles

2013 Mortilla Frappato “Sephora”

2010 Rouge Bleu Delletent Rhone Blend (Biodynamic)

2013 Monteforche Lo Sfuso di Collina

2012 Vallana Barbera

2011 Kermit Lynch Cypress Cuvee Cotes du Rhone

2011 El Enmigo Cabernet Franc

NV Lini Rosso Lambrusco

2012 Mohua Pinot Noir

2009 Marques de Caceres Reserva

2010 Cybele Rhone Red Blend Paso Robles.



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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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