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On Sunday evening I attended a wine tasting held at NY Vitners wine shop on 21 Warren Street. They have many, varied wine tasting events weekly with some of the tastings paired with food prepared from the kitchen they have on property. The theme of Sundays tasting was “Holiday Pairings” and they served a couple of courses of food to pair with them.
It was a sit-down tasting with approximately twenty-five people in attendance.
As we came in we were served a glass of sparking wine, Balivet Bugey-Cerdon“Methode Ancestrale” NV (France). Organic and made in the old way with the primary fermentation in the bottle instead of two (as in Champagne). Made from the Gamay grape, it was medium red with a grapey nose with hints of crushed strawberries with a touch of sweetness at the end.
We were served two whites to be paired with the starter dish which was an excellent cioppino.
2012 Mayu Sauvignon Blanc (Chile). Yellow with greenish tints and had a dusty nose of white flowers and baked bread and peaches with crisp acidity and notes of lime on the finish. The dustiness blew off with time in the glass and I thought it was the best white for the cioppino which brought out more of the Sauvignon Blanc grassy nuances.
2011 Fleuron Chardonnay (Sonoma & Lake Counties). An organic wine, medium gold with notes of over-ripe vegetables on the nose with the same over ripeness carrying over onto the fruit with a funky finish. Not my favorite.
Three red wines were paired with a braised pork belly with mashed Hawaiian yams and glazed carrots. The yams were purple which made for a very dramatic presentation on the plate and the dish was excellent. Of the three reds my favorite and the one I thought went the best with the pork was the:
2001 Calabretta Etna Rosso (Sicily). Grown on the slopes of Mount Etna, it was medium to dark red in color with an amber robe with notes of cigar-box, red roses and dark red fruits on the nose and was dusty and chunky with some barnyard and nice acids on the finish. As the wine opened up in the glass I started getting notes of dark chocolate on the nose.
2012 Bodegas Los Bermejos Maceracion (Canary Islands). In a unique bottle and made through carbonic maceration, it was dark purple with a nose of red licorice and crushed red fruit and was juicy with notes of bitter almond on the finish. Interesting.
2010 Fleuron Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma). Mostly Cabernet with some Merlot thrown in, was dark red in color with a nose of funky shellfish and mint and was velvety with a tang of sea air with firm tannins on the finish.
During the year-end Holiday Season, the wine tasting events slack off a bit. Wine shops have a tasting now and then and I attended one last weekend in Long Island. Last Saturday afternoon I stopped by another wine shop tasting at Le Du wine shop located on 600 Washington Street. I’ve been to a few tastings at this shop and they pour some good juice when they have a big tasting, though it seems they are cutting back at the quantity of wine they are pouring at these events. This time around the theme of the tasting was American wines for the Thanksgiving Day table.
I began with the whites:
2009 Au Bon Climat “Hildegard” White (Santa Maria Valley). A blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and a bit of Aligote. It was yellow with green tints with a nose of pineapple and dusty forest floor full fruit up front then tighten up at the end with notes of dried white flowers and citrus.
2009 Le Du’s “Bien Nacido” Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley). Yellow with green tints and had a beautiful nose of ripe peaches and cinnamon and was tight and dusty with spices on the finish.
2010 Demuth-Kemos “Demuth Vineyard” Chardonnay (Anderson Valley). Light yellow with green tints with a nose of ripe vegetables, tight fruit, firm with a balanced finish.
2008 Le Du’s Pinot Noir “Hirsch Vineyard” (Santa Maria Valley). Medium red with notes of spicy cola on the nose with velvet fruit with earth notes and moderate crisp acids at the end.
2011 Le Du’s Pinot Noir Santa Maria. Medium red with a nose of stinky cherries and rosemary with moderate bright cherry cola fruit on the finish.
2012 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium to dark red with a nose of crushed red berries, a little chewy and rustic with the finish dropping at the end.
2011 King’s Ridge Pinot Noir (Oregon). Medium red with a light nose of cola, very light fruit with some smokiness on the finish.
2010 Millbrandt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). Dark red with notes of toasted nuts and bacon on the nose and was chunky with some sweet toasty fruit on the finish.
2011 Demuth-Kemos Syrah “Bei Ranch”. (Sonoma Coast). Dark red with notes of roasted coffee and bubble-gum on the nose with dusty fruit and rosemary on the balanced finish.
2011 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel “Three Valleys” . (Sonoma County). Mostly Zinfandel with five other red grape varietals blended in, and was dark red with a nose of crushed black fruit and was tight and velvety with a dusty finish.
Sometimes I’m not able to attend one of the many trade tastings in town so I go to where the tastings happen and sometimes they happen at a wine shop. Most wine shops will have some sort of tasting, usually on a Saturday but with three or so wines to sample. At times they will have their “Grand Tastings” in the shop where the various distributors of wines and spirits will pour some of the wines in their portfolio. On Saturday I attended one of those tastings at the Post Wine & Spirits located in Syosset. After taking the wrong bus and a brisk two-mile walk, I made it to the event and threw myself into the tasting. Some cheese and crackers were served and there was a glass or two of decent juice to be had. The wines were grouped at tables by the importers who distribute the wines.
Some of what I liked:Whites:
2012 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley). Very grassy nose with moderate fruit, balanced acidity.
2011 Starmont Chardonnay (Napa Valley). Light gold with tropical fruits on the nose with toasty fruit and good balance.
2011 Le Renard Bourgogne Blanc (Burgundy). Yellow with a greenish tint with a nose of white flowers and slight tropical fruit, medium bodied with some sweetness at the finish.
2011 Naveran Brut (Spain). A nice Cava, greenish tint, dry and crisp with notes of green apple on the finish.Reds:
2011 David Bruce Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with cola, cinnamon and spices on the nose with moderate, dusty fruit, a bit tart but good mouth-feel.
2008 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with a big nose of crushed red fruit and mint and was tight and smokey with firm acids and a moderate to long finish.
2010 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red with a beautiful nose of bell pepper, slate and mint with concentrated mineral fruit with great balance on the long finish. Very nice.
2009 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon. (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with smoky dark fruits and chocolate on the nose and was chunky and dusty with gritty mouth-feel and balance. Very good.
2011 Flora Springs Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red with notes of smoke and red plums on the nose and fruit with moderate to long finish and good balance.
2009 Confidences de Prieure Lichine (Bordeaux). Black in color with stewed fruit on the nose and was chewy and minty with good balance and a long finish.
2010 St. Cosme Chateauneauf du Pape (Rhone). Dark red to black with notes of tobacco, bacon and crushed black fruit with firm and balanced finish.
2011 Errazuriz Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile). Dark red with a nose of bay leaf and bell pepper with good fruit and some mint notes on the long finish. Some heat but good budget Cab.
2011 Decero Malbec (Argentina). Black in color with a nose of ripe black fruit and was juicy and concentrated with dusty slate on the balanced finish though some heat.
2010 Argiolas Costera (Sardinia) Dark red with red cherry and smoke on the nose with firm, dusty fruit.
2009 Silvio Grasso Barolo (Piedmont). Dark amber with a brown robe and a nose of cigar-box and camphor with big dusty fruit of crushed berries with silky tannin on the finish.
2009 Felisina Chianti Classico Riserva “Rancia” (Piedmont). 100% Sangiovese, dark amber with a nose of stewed fruit and mint with tight, dusty and velvety fruit with firm acids at the finish.
This past Saturday I attended the NYC Autumn Wine Festival. It was a huge consumer event which was held at the Conrad Hotel located at 102 North End Avenue at Battery Park. The Conrad is a new hotel and one that I haven’t been to before and was a gorgeous space to have a large consumer event such as this one and certainly a much nicer venue than the Best Buy Theater in Times Square where the Winter Wine Fest was held last February. In fact not only was the venue and the food superior this time around but the wines served were definitely a step up in quality, some nice juice was to be had and they were served in a proper Reidel glass as well! There were two sessions, one in the afternoon and another later that evening. I attended the afternoon session which I think make for a more civilized drinking experience since I didn’t have to elbow my way through a mob of people every time I wanted a glass of wine.
There was certainly enough wine to go around, 47 tables pouring over 200 wines. With some live music in the background there was a lot of tasting to be had. Some of the wines I enjoyed:
2007 Hine Bonfils “Domaine Du Gour De Chaule Cuvee Tradition” Gigondas (Rhone). Medium red with a nose of crushed red berries with dusty, minty fruit.
2010 Chateau La Croix Romane Lalande de Pomeral (Bordeaux). Dark red to black with a nose of toasted cherry and black licorice with silky dusty fruit and good balance
2009 La Grand Enclos du Chateau De Cerons Graves (Bordeaux). Dark red to black with notes of toasted black fruit, mint and was concentrated and chewy with a firm, balanced finish.
2010 Domaine Jean-Michel Guillon Et Fils “Clos Des Portes” Marsannay (Burgundy). Dark red with notes of red cherry and earth on the nose with black licorice on the finish.
2009 Domaine Du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf Du Pape “La Crau” (Rhone). Medium red with notes of cooked fruit and black licorice and was chewy and smoky on the balanced finish.
2010 Chateau Maucoil Chateauneuf Du Pape (Rhone). Inky black with a nose of toasty barnyard and was rustic and chewy with silky tannins.
2002 Chateau Musar (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon). Very unique wine, they always release older vintages, this one was medium red with a big nose of mint and plums and moderate fruit.
2011 Cos Pithos Rosso (Sicily). Medium red with a very stinky nose with dusty, bright fruit with that stinkines coming through on the finish.
2009 Fontodi Chianti Classico (Tuscany). Medium red in color with notes of red roses and mint on the nose with full, chewy and velvety fruit.
2011 Valdicava Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany). Bright red in color with a nose of pencil shavings and mint with silky fruit on the great balance.
2007 Josetta Saffirio Barolo (Piedmont). Dark amber with a nose of toasty oak, red cigar-box with red licorice notes on the silky, balanced finish. Some heat at the end.
2011 Mount Eden Chardonnay “Wolff Vineyard” (Santa Cruz). Dark yellow with a nose of toasted oak and tropical fruit.
2011 Talbott Chardonnay “Sleepy Hollow” (Monterey). Light yellow with a floral nose of canned peaches with good fruit and acidity
2009 Mount Eden Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (Santa Cruz). Dark red with a nose of bell pepper and dried leaf with good fruit and crisp acids on the finish.
2009 Wolf Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Phaedrus” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with hints of dried mushroom and barnyard on the nose with mouth coating tannin on the finish.
2009 Demuth-Kemos Cabernet Sauvignon “Bei Ranch” (Sonoma). Dark red with a nose of cigar-box and red flowers with dusty fruit and a firm balance.
2010 Midsummer Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Haystack Peak Vineyards”. (Napa Valley). Dark red in color with toasty notes on the nose and was tight and silky with great balance.
2010 Wind Gap Syrah (Sonoma). Dark red with notes of black olive on the nose and was tight and tart.
2011 Ponzi Pinot Noir (Oregon). Medium light red with cola and wild flower notes on the nose with silky fruit
2011 Bergstrom Pinot Noir “Cumberland Reserve” (Oregon). Medium red with notes of cola and dusty earth on the nose, starts out light on the palate but turns chewy and nicely balanced.
This past week the Wine Spectator held their annual wine experience, and it was as they say “a three-day joyous celebration of great wine”. I attended the black-tie Award Banquet on Saturday night in which the 2012 wine of the year was annouched and that wine is the 2008 Shafer “Relentless” Napa Valley which is a blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah. In addition, Robert Drouhin the longtime proprietor of Maison Drouhin and the founder of Domaine Drouhin in Oregon was given the Distinguished Service Award. Drouhin’s wines were served at the banquet. The wine experience had alternated between New York City, San Francisco and Chicago but at the banquet it was announced that the event will be held in New York exclusively for the next five years. The last time I attended the event, the musical guest was Neal Sedaka, this time around they chose someone a bit more contemporary, John Legend.
Before the dinner a Champagne cocktail hour gave us the opportunity to drink wines such as:
Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee NV
Charles Heidsieck Brut NV
Delamonte Brut Blanc de Blancs NV
Dom Perignon Brut 2004
Krug Brut Grande Cuvee
Louis Roederer Brut, Brut Premier
Perrier-Jouet Brut, Grand Brut
Tattinger Brut Rose Prestige.
For our appetizer we were served an Apple and Goat Cheese Tart with celery and golden raison salad with crème fraiche dressing and mint oil. It was a pretty tasty starter and I enjoyed the celery and raison salad most of all. With it was served the 2010 Drouhin Vaudon Chablis “Secher”. On the nose, floral with honey and dried mushroom with very tight fruit and high acidity on the finish.
For the Entrée we were served a double-cut Rack of Lamb with mushroom risotto, swiss chard and a fig and mushroom ragout. The dish was excellent especially considering it was served in a mass seating. With the entrée two of Drouhin’s red wines were served:
2009 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Willamette Valley (Oregon). Started with a big nose of classic Burgundy forest floor and damp earth and was very tight with notes of red leather followed by crisp acids.
2008 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru. A nose of black cherry, cassia and herbs with tight young and dusty fruit with notes of cherry and leather with firm acids on the finish.
With dessert which was a 64% Chocolate Mousse, Luxardo Cherries, Chocolate Blackout Cake and Crème Fraiche Ice Cream, we enjoyed a performance from musical guest, John Legend and of course, more wine.
This week the Food Network held their annual food and spirits event. A four-day festival of seminars, demonstrations and food and wine tastings held at various venues around town. From Friday to Sunday they held their Grand Tasting which this year was housed at Pier 94 at 55th Street, an airplane-hanger sized venue on the westside highway. It was a consumer event with many booths with food products, spirits and wine, it was also a mob scene Saturday afternoon. Like a lot of consumer events there was plenty of wine with some of it drinkable. I cherry-picked my way around the room and began at the Simi Vineyards table.
The 2010 Simi Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) was dark red with notes of bright cherry on the fruit.
The 2009 Simi “Landslide” Cabernet Sauvignon was dark purple and concentrated with a nose of toasted oak and cherry and was tight with a mouthful of tannin.
At the Inglenook Winery table, three wines were poured. The 2011 “Edizone Pennino” Zinfandel was dark red with a nose of roasted coffee and toasted oak and was juicy with firm acids on the finish.
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley was dark red to black with notes of stewed dark fruits and roasted nuts on the nose with black licorice flavors on the fruit which ended with big tannins.
Their flagship wine, the 2009 “Rubicon” which is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and was dark red to black with notes of roasted nuts on the nose and was very concentrated and was dusty with black licorice on the fruit and was firm with a nicely balanced finish.
Kendall-Jackson 2010 “Reserve” Cabernet Sauvignon was black in color with a nose of stewed fruit and was concentrated and thick with some oak notes on the fruit with firm but manageable tannins.
At the table of Marques de Riscal from Rioja, there were a trio of nice wines poured. A new label made from young vines, the 2009 “Proximo” made from mostly Temprinillo was dark red with roasted coffee on the nose and was tight and concentrated with firm but balance finish, still a little young.
The 2007 “Reserva” was dark red with a brown robe and had notes of tar and black leather on the nose with tight and concentrated fruit with notes of roasted nuts and coffee on the fruit and ended firm and balance.
The 2001 “Gran Reserva” was dark red with a brown robe with notes of black licorice on the nose and was concentrated with great balance and a long finish. Very nice..
I was in the mood for a glass of white so I had the 2011 William Fevre Chablis which was light gold with a nose of white flowers and was dry and crisp with nice balance. A nice glass of white. Another table with some nice juice was at Duckhorn and their second label Decoy.
2010 Goldeneye Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley) was medium red with notes of leather on the nose with bright cherry fruit.
2010 Duckhorn Merlot (Napa Valley) was dark red with ripe plum on the nose with ripe red fruit.
2010 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) was dark red with dusty plum on the nose with dusty fruit with oak notes and good balance. Tasty.
2009 Paraduxx “C” Blend was dark red with a nose of black licorice and had concentrated, dusty fruit with good balance.
2011 Jordan Vineyards Chardonnay (Russian River) was light gold in color with notes of honey and ripe tropical fruit and was big and juicy with firm acids at the end. Old school Cali Chard.
2009 Jordan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley) was dark red with a nose of stewed fruit and roasted coffee was young and dusty and I thought a little unbalanced.
I ended the tasting with a glass of the 2010 Artesa Pinot Noir (Carneros) which was dark red with a closed nose of black cherry and leather and was nicely balanced with a long finish.
From the Grand Tasting me and my fellow wine drinkers hopped on a cab and headed to the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District to attend a sit-down tasting presented by Wine Spectator. Called “California Dreaming” it was a tasting of two whites and five reds to showcase the diverse terroir of the state.
Girard 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley). Gold in color with a nose of white flowers with moderate fruit and a floral finish. I thought it was a nice glass.
Ferrari-Carano 2012 Chardonnay (Sonoma County). Gold in color with toast notes on the nose and was medium to full body with toastiness on the fruit and crisp acidity on the finish. Mouth filling.
Robert Mondavi 2011 Pinot Noir (Carneros). Black in color with a nose of dried herbs and bacon with chunky big fruit at the beginning but dropping near the end with big acids at the finish.
Napa Cellars 2011 Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red with dried rosemary and cooked vegetable on the nose with some cigar box on the full fruit, some unbalance.
Robert Mondavi 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black with a red robe with notes of green bell pepper on the nose and was very tight with a mouthful of tannin.
Mount Veeder 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Inky black with a beautiful nose of fresh herbs, black cherry and slate and was concentrated and tight with a firm and balanced finish. The star of the tasting.
On Saturday evening I attended a wine tasting benefit for Wheeling Forward for the upcoming NYC Marathon. Wheeling Forward is a non-profit organization that provides guidance and resources to disabled individuals. The event was held at the Renaissance Hotel 57 at 130 East 57th Street. The event was supposed to be held at the rooftop but the windy conditions forced us to hold the event in the indoor lounge. It was a casual event with several wines being popped open to drink.
It was a varied group of white and red wines and I began the tasting with a glass of Deutz Champagne. Some whites poured included the 2011 Raats Chenin Blanc (South Africa) which had a nose of funky petroleum and over-ripe flowers. the 2009 Auxey Duresser ”De Montille” had a stinky nose with crisp acids on the finish. The 2010 Milleseme Samur had a nose of petroleum and dried mushroom while the 2011 Monte Alpha Chardonnay (Chile) was big and ripe with notes of mango and honey
With the reds I started with a couple of PInot Noir. From California, the 2009 Donatella “Middle Ranch” was dark red with notes of cherry cola and leather on the nose with cola spices on the fruit. In a different style was the From New York State, the 2011 Element Pinot Noir (Finger Lakes). It was light red in color with a stinky nose with moderate fruit but with great balance and a long finish. From Italy, the 2009 Latium Valpolicella had a nose of roasted coffee and was concentrated with toasted nuts on the firm and balanced finish. From Bordeaux, the 2004 Chateau Massereau had a beautiful nose of ripe cherries, licorice and Asian spices and was silky and dusty with earth notes on the finish. The 2002 Les Fiefs de Lagrange was black in color with smoky black cherry on the nose and was dusty and velvety but dropped a bit at the end.