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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Newport Mansions Wine And Food Fest

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On Sunday afternoon I attended the 9th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. The event was sponsored by Food & Wine magazine and consisted of various events such as a wine makers brunch and dinner, seminars and a grand tasting of wines on Saturday and Sunday. The Grand Tasting had wines from around the world, cooking demos, a silent auction and food from various local restaurants.

The tasting was held at the Marble House which is one of many historic, Gilded-Age properties (Mansions) that the Preservation Society of Newport County administers and conduct tours of. The Marble House was built for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt between 1888-1892 as a “summer cottage”. A cottage that cost $11 million (in 19th century dollars) with $7 million of that just for the marble. Like most of the mansions in the area, it was built on the cliffs overlooking Narragansett bay. In the back yard they built a replica of a Chinese tea house. It was an opulent venue to have a wine tasting.

It was a consumer event and many of the higher end wines were poured out at the Saturday tasting and were not available the Sunday afternoon I attended. But there was still enough juice to make for an enjoyable afternoon. I did attend one of the seminars which was held in the Chinese tea room.

Seminar: Bond’s Bordeaux

Where speaker Philippe Newlin compared different appellations in Bordeaux with the appropriate James Bond.

2011 Marquis de Bordeaux (Bordeaux). The starter wine, a generic Bordeaux.

2008 Les Hauts de Smith (Pessac Leognan). Dark red to black in color with mint and graphite on the nose, tight, silky with some toast and tobacco on the balanced finish.

2008 Marquis de Mons (Margaux). Medium red with a brick robe with a big, pretty floral and tobacco nose with crisp, bright red fruit.

2008 Lacoste Borie (Pauillac). Dark red to black with crushed stone on the nose, concentrated and firm with mouth-watering tannin.

2008 Le Petit Caillou (St. Julien). Dark black in color with a pretty perfume of red fruit and tobacco with big tannin and some citrus notes at the end.

2008 Tronquoy de Sainte-Anne (St. Estephe). Black with a closed nose of dark prunes, mint and graphite with a mouth full of tannin.

2009 Chateau La Grace Dieu Des Prieurs  (St. Emillion). Dark red with smoky black cherry and cedar on the nose with a firm, long finish.

After the seminar, enjoyed the event with bites from local restaurants and more wine


2013 Pearl Pinot Gris (Lodi) 200 cases made.

2013 Chappellet Chenin Blanc (Napa Valley)

2011 Morgan “Double L Vineyard” Chardonnay (Santa Lucia Highlands)

2012 Chappellet Chardonnay (Napa Valley)

2012 Kistler Chardonnay (Sonoma Mountain) 171 barrels made.

2013 Chamisal Chardonnay (Central Coast). Unoaked.


2011 Walt “Blue Jay” Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley)

2012 Morgan Pinot Noir “Twelve Clones” (Santa Lucia Highlands)

2013 Kistler Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)

2011 Seamus Red Cuvée (California) 125 cases made.

2011 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

2011 Hall Merlot (Napa Valley)

2012 Chappellet “Mountain Cuvèe (Napa Valley)

2011 Chappellet “Prichard Hill” (Napa Valley) Cabernet Franc.

2011 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Napa Valley)

2011 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley)

2011 Tenuta Santa Maria Valpolicella Ripasso (Veneto)

2007 Tenuta Santa Maria Amarone (Veneto)


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Merlot At Lenz

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This past Saturday, September 13  I attended the 25th annual Merlot World Classic which was held at the Lenz Winery in Peconic on the north fork of Long Island. Lenz is the second oldest winery on Long Island and have some of the oldest Merlot vines in the area. They make some nice sparkling wines as well. The event gathered together Merlot from the United States, France,  Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile though most of the wines were from California and France. Of course, Long Island wines were represented as well.

It was a consumer event held outdoors at the winery. It was a rainy evening but things were kept dry under the tents.


2011 Markham Vineyards Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium to dark red in color with crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy and silky and nicely balanced. Very drinkable.

2011 Freemark Abbey Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium red with smoky oak on the nose with tight black fruit with notes of pencil shavings on the finish.

2010 Plumpjack Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red with an amber robe, toasty black fruit on the nose and was chewy with black licorice on the firm and balanced finish.

2009 Cakebread Cellars Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium red with some vegetal notes on the nose with silky fruit upfront that droped a bit at the end.

2009 Shafer Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium red with toasty black cherry on the nose with bright black fruit and crisp acids.

2008 Grgich Hills Estate Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red with a pretty floral nose of red roses, and was tight and silky with graphite notes on the finish.

2007 Twomey Cellars Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium red with some cooked vegetal notes on the nose, chunky and dusty with graphite notes on the mouth-puckering finish. Some heat.


2009 Chateau de Sales (Pomerol). Dark red with some damp earth on the nose and was silky and chewy with mint on the finish.

2009 Chateau Nenin (Pomerol). Dark red with a ripe, floral nose and was tight and silky with a firm long finish.

2009 Chateau de Pez (St. Estephe). Medium red with a stinky floral nose and was rustic and chewy with mouth-watering tannin at the end.

2008 La Domaine de Montrose (St. Estephe). Dark red to black with pretty dusty crushed dark berries on the nose and was concentrated and silky with mouth filling tannin and dark chocolate at the finish. Very nice.

2004 Chateau Haut-Simard (St. Emillion). Medium red with an amber robe with stinky black cherry on the nose and was tight with some bitter cherry on the medium to long finish.

Long Island

2010 Lenz Merlot “Estate Selection” (North Fork). Medium red with red cherry on the nose and was tight and bright.

2007 Lenz Merlot “Old Vines” (North Fork). Medium red with dark roasted meat on the nose with tight fruit and some cooked fruit notes on the moderate to long finish.

2011 Wölffer Estate Merlot “Lambardo” (South Fork). Medium red with dusty, roasted coffee on the nose with toasty fruit.

2010 Wölffer Estate Merlot “Christian’s Cuvée” (South Fork). At a $100 a bottle, the most expensive bottle at the tasting. Dark red with toasty roast meat on the nose and was chewy with dark chocolate on the finish.



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Harvest East End

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On Saturday evening I attended the fifth annual Harvest East End food and wine event with 40 wineries and 30 East End chefs pairing local grapes with local flavors featuring locally sourced (lots of corn and tomatoes) seasonal dishes.  The event was organized by Dan’s Papers and the Long Island Wine Council to raise money for charities such as the Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Foundation and the Peconic Land Trust. It was hosted by Sommelier Josh Wesson and honored New York Times dining columnist, Florence Fabricant. Macari Vineyards was presented with the Governor’s Cup “Winery of the Year” award.

The event took place at the McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue on the North Fork. It is not only a working winery but a farm using organic and natural practices to raise grass-fed Charolais, an historic breed of cattle from France and central Europe. In fact, there was a herd of them grazing next to the Pinot Noir vines at the event. It was a beautiful evening and a good time was had by all.

All the wines served were from Long Island

Sparking Point NV “Topaz Imperial”. My starter wine, sparkling, pink salmon in color with a persistent foam, dry and crisp with hints of strawberry and apple.

2013 Anthony Nappa Wines “Anomoly”. Rosè from 100% Pinot Noir, pale pink with a pretty floral nose with tart, mouth-watering acids on the finish.

2013 Anthony Nappa Wines “Sciardonne”. 100% Chardonnay made with wild yeast, light gold in color with white flowers on the nose, floral earth on the fruit with crisp acidity. Reminded me of a nice Chablis.

2013 Channing Daughters Pinot Grigio “Ramato”. 100% Pinot Grigio, the most interesting wine of the night, an orange wine, orange-salmon in color with orange notes on the fruit with nice balance.

2013 Palmer Vineyards Pinot Blanc. Light yellow with damp earth on the nose with crisp, green apple fruit, ends with some butterines.

2010 Harmony Vineyards “Harmonious Red Blend” First time I’ve seen this winery, in Stony Brook much closer to the city border than the rest of the wineries out East, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, dark red with crushed blueberries on the nose and was ripe and juicy with crushed red berries and mint on the crisp finish.

2010 Macari Vineyards Cabernet Franc. From a magnum, the award-winning wine of the year, medium red with an amber robe with slate and tobacco on the nose and was concentrated and silky with meaty and smoky notes on the long finish with nice balance.

2010 Jamesport Vineyards Cabernet Franc “MTK”. Medium to dark red with crushed blueberries on the nose, concentrated and silky with notes of dried herbs on the finish. Some heat at the end but manageable.

2009 Water’s Crest “Campania Rosso”. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, medium red with an amber robe with dried herbs and crushed stone on the nose, tight fruit and a firm finish.

2010 Channing Daughters Blaufränkisch “Mudd West Vineyard”. Medium red with a stinky nose with ripe and stinky fruit.

2010 Osprey’s Dominion Cabernet Franc. Black in color, pencil shavings and bell pepper on the nose, concentrated and chewy with black licorice on the fruit with good balance.

2010 Roanoke Vineyards “Prime Number”.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, black in color with ripe vegetal notes on the nose with very toasty and smoky fruit.

2010 Roanoke Vineyards Gabby’s Cabernet Franc. Black with an amber robe, cooked fruit on the nose with notes of mineral and crushed rocks on the sweet fruit.



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Atlantic City Italian

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On Saturday August 16th I ventured down to Atlantic City to attend the third annual         Cal-Ital Summer Winefest. The event was held at the Golden Nugget casino which is just off the boardwalk on the Marina. The fest was billed as “a celebration of California and Italian wine” or more specifically, Italian wines and California wines with Italian heritages. It was a consumer event with over 200 wines poured. Some light food was served and a very good jazz band serenaded the crowd and instead of the usual sales persons/volunteers manning the pouring stations, the event organizer decided to use a modeling agency to staff the event which made for good optics.

The event space was huge and it never got over crowded. Some of what I like:


2011 Sbragia Family Vineyards Chardonnay “Home Ranch” (Dry Creek Valley). Dark gold with tropical fruit on the nose and earth and tropical fruit on the ripe and juicy finish.

2012 Robert Mondavi Chardonnay (Napa Valley). Medium gold in color with pineapple on the nose with some oak on the juicy fruit with some nice acidity at the end.

2013 Pedroncelli Winery Rosé of Zinfandel (Sonoma County). Cherry red in color with notes of strawberry on the nose and fruit and was off dry.

2012 Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir (Napa Valley). Light red with a cherry-barnyard nose, juicy with red cherry fruit on the balanced finish.

2012 Sebastiani Vineyards Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with red licorice on the nose with some cola on the moderate fruit with good balance.

2012 Parducci Pinot Noir “Small Lot Blend” (California). Light red with spice red fruit on the nose and was juicy but nicely balanced with notes of cherry cough drops on the finish.

2011 Seghesio Vineyards Barbera (Alexander Valley). Dark purple with cigar-box on the nose with chewy and chunky red fruit and nice acidity on the finish.

2012 Ferrari-Carano Vineyards “Siena” (Sonoma County). Medium red in color with a stinky nose, nice acidity with dark cherry chocolate on the finish.

2008 Trinchero Family Estates Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley). Dark red to black in color, pencil shavings on the nose with silky and smoky ripe fruit on the nice balance.

2010 Sbragia Family Vineyards Merlot “Home Ranch” (Dry Creek Valley). Medium red with earth and pencil shavings on the nose with nice acidity and chocolate notes on the long finish.

2010 Gallo Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red with toasty black cherry on the nose, tight fruit with moderate to long finish.


2012 Pieropan Soave Classico (Veneto). Light yellow with notes of tropical fruit on the nose, moderate fruit with nice acidity.

2012 Pieropan Soave Classico “La Rocca” (Veneto). A single vineyard Soave, light yellow in color with floral and sweet earth on the nose, firm acidity with lime notes on the finish.

2008 Pieropan Soave Classico “Calvarino” (Veneto). From a hillside vineyard in the Classico zone, gold in color with saffron and earth on the nose, tight with lip-smacking acidity on the finish.

2011 Jermann “Dreams” (Friuli). Chardonnay, dark gold with tropical fruit on the nose and was clean and crisp with buttery notes on the finish.

2009 Rocca della Macie “Ser Gioveto” (Tuscany). Mostly Sangiovese with some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon thrown in, very dark red in color with smoky, toasty and plum notes on the finish.

2011 Marchese Antinori Villa Antinori Rosso (Tuscany). Mostly Sangiovese, dark red with tobacco and cigar-box on the nose and was silky and chewy with nice balance.

2009 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Medium red with red licorice on the nose, delicate fruit with a floral finish.

2008 Castel Giacondo Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany).  Medium red with an amber robe, cigar-box and tobacco on the nose, firm with more of that tobacco on the finish.


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Chefs And Champagne 2014

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Last Saturday evening I attended the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne fundraiser event that had Bobby Flay as the guest honoree. The event featured more than 40 chefs who were on had to serve bites of their signature dishes. There was also a silent auction. The event was held out East under the big tents at the Wöllfer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack.

Wines were supplied by Wöllfer Estate, Champagne by Tattinger, beer from Belgium including Stella Artois, Leffe Blonde and Hoegaarden and cocktails by Tito’s vodka. Since it was a long drive back home I had to moderate the wine consumption and limited myself to glasses of Champagne and rosé

Tattinger Brut “La Francaise” NV (Champagne). My Champagne of the day.

2013 Wöllfer Estate Rosé (Long Island). Their “regular” rosé, Merlot based, light salmon pink in color with strawberry notes on the nose and fruit with moderate acids and was easy drinking.

2013 Wöllfer Estate Rosé “Grandioso” (Long Island). The base varietal Merlot was fermented in six-year old French oak barrels. Pale copper in color, earthier on the nose than the regular rose with notes of wildflowers and was tight and crisp.

Other wines from Wöllfer that were poured:

2011 Chardonnay

2012 Diosa Late Harvest Chardonnay

2011 Merlot

2011 Fatalis Fatum

2006 Grapes of Roth Merlot

Couldn’t drink a lot at the event but I could certainly eat plenty,  signature dishes that I sampled and the Chefs that created them included:

Lindsay Autry: Deviled Crab with Summer Vegetable Slaw, Melba Toast and Hot Sauce.

Steven Deveraux Greene: Watermelon Gazpacho with Peekytoe Crab, Jalepeno, Coriander and Yuzu.

Chris Jaeckle: Tuna Crudo with Kizami Wasabi, Olives and Basil.

Brian Loiacono: Lettuce-Cucumber Gazpacho with Poached Langoustines, Pink Peppercorns and Cilantro.

Chad Brauze: Apricot-Fossil Farms Quail Ballontine with Paprikash Vinaigrette.

Todd Mitgang: Seared Black Bass with Sun Gold Tomatoes, Wild Arugula, Salsa Verde and Crispy Artichoke Leaves.

David Santos: Charred Portuguese Octopus with Cured Tomatoes, Olive Petals and Almond Foam.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Homemade Riccota Crostini with Heirloom Tomatoes, Flying Pigs Farm Bacon and Ancho Chile Salt.

Jason Hall: Crispy Suckling Pig Pressé with Farofa and Stone Fruit Mostarda.

James Carpenter: House-Cured Gravlax with Black River Caviar and Aquaponic Greens.

Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth: Blue Crab Waldorf Salad, Sliced Green Apple Wrapped Pecans, Grapes, Celery, Lemon and Blue Crab with Buttermilk Yogurt.

Hugh Magnum: Smoked Bone-In Beef Ribs with Chimichurri and Picked Ramp Raita.

John Greeley: Cherry Smoked Fossil Farms Duck with Rocket, Sweet Corn, Pine Island Onion-Ash, Salt and Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce.

Coby Farrow: Scallop Crudo with Preserved Lemon Custard.

Shane McBride: Smoked Leg of Fossil Farms Lamb Hogie with Pickled Sweet Corn.

Rufino Rengifo: Za’atar Grilled Lamb Chops with Tabbouleh and Greek Yogurt.



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Bastille Day Wine Tasting

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Bastille Day is July 14 but in New York it was celebrated the previous day on Sunday, July 13. Sunday was also the day of the final game of the World Cup so there were plenty of reasons to have a celebration. The French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) held their annual three block street fair and festival on East 6oth Street between Lexington Ave. and 5th Ave.,”celebrating the best of France”. Of course, it was a French celebration so that included wine tastings. They had a “Grands Vins Tour de France” tasting at FIAF’s Le Skyroom and the Wine, Cheese, Cocktails and Beer tastings at FIAF’s Tinker Auditorium, both in FIAF’s flagship building on 22 East 60th Street. They were consumer events.

The “Grand Vins Tour de France” consisted of five tables of wine which were provided by Metrowine, Millesima wine shop, Aix, Ayala, Bernard Magrez, Chateau D’Esclans, Chateau La Gordonne, Dreyfus Ashby & Co., Joseph Drouhin, La Caravalle, Le Colonial, Piper-Heidsieck, Pommery, Veuve Cliquot, Wins of Alsace and Xavier Flouret.


Champagne Table

Piper-Heidsieck Brut NV. My starter wine, always like to start a tasting with a glass of sparkling.

Rosé Table

2013 Xavier Flouret “Nationale 7″ (Provence). Pale red with wildflower with strawberry cotton candy on the nose and tight cherry fruit with nice acidity.

2013 Chateau La Gordonne (Provence). Pale red with floral and light strawberry notes on the nose with some earth on the fruit.

2013 Chateau Sainte Marguerite “G.R.” Cru Classé (Provence). Pale copper color with bubble-gum and turned-dirt notes on the nose.

White Wine Table

2011 Trimbach Pinot Blanc (Alsace). Light yellow, floral on the nose with oily fruit and low acids.

2012 Domaine Weinbach Riesling “Réserve Personnelle” (Alsace). Light yellow with greenish tints with spicy cinnamon on the nose and dry and spicy fruit, good balance.

Red Wine Table

1999 Domaine G. Moulinier “Les Terrasses Grillees” (Languedoc). Black in color with an amber robe, sour dirt on the nose and was smoky and toasty.

2009 Chateau De la Selve “Serre de Berty” (Coteaux de l’Ardeche). Biodynamic and organic, black in color with a red robe with mint and barnyard on the nose, concentrated and chewy with crushed rocks on the long finish.

2000 Domaine Camus Bruchon Savigny-les-Beaune “Aux Grands Liars” (Burgundy). Dark amber with a brown robe with sour plums on the nose and ripe black cherry on the medium fruit.

Bordeaux Table

2011 Chateau LaTour Martillac (Pessac-Leognan). Dark red to black with spicy black plum on the nose, concentrated and tight with toasty oak on the finish.

2009 Chateau La Fleur Peyrabon (Pauillac). Black in color with smoky dark berries on the nose, chewy with firm tannin and acids with slate and mint on the long finish.

2003 Chateau Fombrauge (St.-Emilion). Black with a brown robe with dried leaf, mint and slate on the fruit with a big hit of fuzzy tannin on the finish.

2006 Chateau Quinault “L’Enclos” (St.-Emilion). Dark red with a light brown robe with ripe, cooked fruit on the nose, very tight with mouth coating tannin at the end.

2009 Chateau Plince (Pomeral). Black in color with rosemary and black cherry on the nose, concentrated and chunky with nice mouth-feel on the long finish.



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