Friday, October 30, 2009

Chateau de Saint-Cosme Gigondas Les Claux 2006

More from last weekend's Shades of Red dinner and wine pairing, this Gigondas (100% Grenache) was paired with the first course of Pumpkin Risotto.

From the Southern Rhone and looking in the glass like it was poured from an inkwell... dark, brooding and daring, this Gigondas matches in the strength of its aromas: waves of violets, herbs, blueberry, and plum followed by a smoky minerality. Then onto the palate with big, contrasting flavors of gamey meats, black pepper, tea and black cherries. All combine to create a very complex package with a silky finish. This definitely will age well, but is very approachable now. $50 retail.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2006 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Terrasses

Back to the Shades of Red pairing at Eric Guido's... From France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux, this Ruby red, with a nose muted with red cherries, spices and a bit of barnyard, or as Eric quipped, "a hint of moo". Built with a fine integration and nicely structured, this was my pick from the first flight that was paired with the first course, a Pumpkin Risotto. At first the muted tones steered me away to the other 2 wines, but as I sipped and took bites of my risotto, then returned to the Côtes du Ventoux, its focused austerity began to appeal to me until it eventually won me over. Eureka ... I get it!

PS. Forgot to mention this is an $11 bottle retail, a huge bargain.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Trespass Zinfandel 2006 Napa Valley St Helena

This weekend I had the opportunity to try a GREAT Zinfandel at Eric & Deborah Guido’s Celebration of Autumn: Shades of Red dinner and wine pairing. I’ll go into detail in another post about the whole night, but first I’d like to tout my favorite wine of the day.

Eric and Deb found this gem on their last trip to Trespass Vineyards in Napa. The amazing aromas and flavors literally burst forward from this red wine, perfectly reminding me of autumn. Spicy ripe cherry aromatics explode followed by violets, while flavors arise full of cassis, and raspberries. Richly textured with good acidity and providing a full mouth feel, then gliding into a long silky finish that continues on and on.

This was part of a 3 wine flight that paired excellently with the 2nd course, a delicious Fettuccini topped with Hungarian Goulash with a rich brown sauce. The cut of beef that was used was slow cooked for 6 hours and melted in your mouth.

Unfortunately, by virtue of the positive word of mouth this particular vintage has been getting, it is currently sold out and I can see why.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fonterosso Chianti Classico Riserva 2004 DOCG

From Arezzo Italy, this Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon blend is aged 1 year in oak, with aromas of cherry cough drops, twizzlers, smoked meats and flavors of dried fruits on top of sour cherries. Has a confident maturity and a refreshing finish. This was beautifully paired with Tagliata di manzo con funghi e parmigiano (Grilled and sliced sirloin steak served with button mushrooms and parmesan cheese) at Il Poeta.

Friday, October 23, 2009


This week I attended Food Fete's Oregon Food and Beverage Show and was impressed with the diversity of quality that can be found coming from that bountiful state. One of the highlights for me was meeting and talking with Jack Czarnecki and his wife Heidi from Joel Palmer House (in Dayton, Oregon), a restaurant that also produces Oregon White Truffle Oil (Jack hunts for the truffles with his son, Chris).

His truffle oils are produced naturally and either Jack or Chris picks every truffle that appears on a customers’ plate.

Here’s a mini lesson in truffles.

Oregon Truffles are fungi that grow just below the duff surface (decaying vegetation) on forest floors along the roots of the Douglas Fir tree. They are similar to mushrooms except they grow underground and don’t have a root system.

Truffles emit gases that have evolved perfectly in order to attract animals that eat the truffles, pass the spores and ultimately perpetuate its kind. And it’s that same muskiness that attracts the human animal.

Truffles are traditionally harvested in Europe by pigs and dogs. Pigs are attracted to a pheromone present in the truffles and dogs are trained to find the scent.

Truffles flavor is not nearly as intense as the aroma, which is actually a released gas. Truffle oil is probably a better way to experience the sensations that truffles have to offer.

Above photo of Jack & Heidi, photo at left is delicious mushroom stuffed prosciutto with white truffle oil.

Jack gave me a sample bottle, which I used to make a delicious Tataki Mushroom Risotto, with Shallots, White Truffle Oil, Black Pepper and Shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese.

It was the fifth time I attempted making risotto, the first four being unsuccessful. I guess the fifth is the charm… or it could be the Truffle Oil. (Thought bubble:) hmmmm, there’s that pine forest in Forest Park in my neighborhood where the ground is covered with “duff”, I wonder if I can find any truffles there? Anybody have a pig I can rent by-the-day?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jamesport Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2005

This Cabernet Franc was part of the goodie bag I received upon leaving the Long Island Wine Challenge last week. From the North Fork of Long Island, this deep red displays husky aromas of smoky currants, and menthol paired with flavors of chocolate, ripe cherries, candied lemon rinds, and vanilla followed by a vividly spiced finish. Enjoyed this at home paired with a pasta with red sauce.

Craggy Range Merlot Gimblett Gravels Vineyard 2004

From New Zealand, this Bordeaux blend of 87% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec is fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak for 17 months. Ruby red in color, with aromas of stone fruits, dark chocolate, blackberries and oak, with flavors of glycerine, sour berries and a fine finish.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Long Island Wine Blind Challenge

This past week the Long Island Wine Council sponsored a seminar and blind tasting of its wines to compare them with others from international regions. The day started with a series of speeches about some of the history of Long Island wines, how the wines were picked for the blind tasting, followed by Q&A.

The blind tasting consisted of 20 wines, 10 from Long Island vs. 10 non Long Island. The breakdown was 5 flights of 4 each of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay (unoaked), Chardonnay (oaked), Merlot and Cabernet Franc. I just read another blogger's post about how he/she identified the Long Island wines successfully. I didn't try to idenify the wines but instead picked my favorite from each flight and 1 out of 5 were from Long Island. So, here we go.

Flight 1 Sauvignon Blanc

Osprey’s Dominion Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (LI)
Reverdy “Hippolyte” Sancerre 2007 (FR)
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (NZ)*
Palmer Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (LI)

*My blind favorite

Flight 2 Unoaked Chardonnay

Daniel Dampt Chablis 2007 (FR)
Macari Vineyards Chardonnay 2007 (LI)
Channing Daughters “Scuttlehole” Chardonnay 2008 (LI)**
Domaine Renaud Pouilly-Fuisse 2007 (FR)

**My blind favorite

Flight 3 Oaked Chardonnay

Flowers Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2007 (CA)***
Pelligrini Estate Vineyards Chardonnay 2007 (LI)
Langoureau Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “La Grerenne” 2007 (FR)
Castello Di Borghese Chardonnay 2006 (LI)

***My blind favorite

Flight 4 Merlot

Grapes of Roth Merlot 2005 (LI)
Clos L’Oratoire St. Emilion 2005 (FR)
Raphael Merlot 2005 (LI)
Craggy Range Gimblett Gravel 2004 (NZ) ****

****My blind favorite

Flight 5 Cabernet Franc

Shinn Estates Cabernet Franc 2007 (LI)
Catherine Et Pierre Breton Bourgueil Franc DE Pied 2007 (FR)
Dare By Viader Cabernet Franc 2005 (CA) *****
Bedell Cabernet Franc 2005 (LI)

*****My blind favorite

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Ten Bells

After reading Eric Asimov’s positive review of The Ten Bells near the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, I managed to stop by in the early evening for a few glasses of wine and a tapas plate. I wasn’t disappointed.

The open front, exposed brick walls, and tin ceilings create a cozy and intimate atmosphere with a warm glow. The central horseshoe-shaped white marble bar is framed by stools and counters on both sides with high tables and stools in the rear section.

The menu and wine list is up on chalkboards, but I got my recommendation from the bartender/manager who paired my wine perfectly with a spicy chorizo picante dish. The dishes are reasonably priced, to name a few: Prosciutto & goat cheese cigar $2 each, a Special Oyster Happy Hour every day from opening to 7.00 p.m at $1 each, and Duet of Salmon Tartar with Black Caviar $9. The reds by the glass range from $6-10, whites $7-11.

I will go back for sure next chance I get, the oyster dishes looked delicious, and the two red wines I tried were very good. As If that’s not enough, it's an organic wine bar, with 15 all-natural, biodynamic and sustainable wines by the glass and 50 more by the bottle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hahn Estates Meritage Central Coast 2006

From Monterey, California, a Meritage is a Bordeaux style blend using Cabernet and Merlot... this one also has Petit Verdot and Malbec in the mix. On the nose a thick and intense syrupy aroma of ripe cherries, with juicy flavors showing herbal influence, swathed in violet powder and a mild vegetal edge. Tried this at a tasting at The Wine Room of Forest Hills last weekend.

St Michael-Eppan Pinot Nero 2007 Alto Adige

Also appears as San Michele Appiano, hailing from the Alto Adige region of Italy, with aromas of cassis, pepper, violets and dried flowers, and concentrated flavors of blackberries and plum. Had this by the glass at Accademia di Vino.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Poggio Torselli Chianti Classico 2004 DOCG

This DOCG from Tuscany is made from Sangiovese 85%, Cabernet Sauvignon 15%, ruby red colors with full, perfumed aromas of ripe robust black cherries, tobacco, violets, and vanilla. Flavors of powdered cherries dominate with spices set against tannins that create a smooth velvety finish.

Enjoyed this wonderful wine with Tuna Tartare, and Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza at Accademia di Vino.

Arbanta Rioja "Llorens" 2008

My next selection by the glass at The Ten Bells was this Tempranillo from Spain's Rioja region which perfectly offset the saltiness of a chorizo tapas plate. A small production, (non-certified) organic wine, fermented in stainless steel, It is very balanced with aromas of dried flowers, spices, mineral and cigar box, followed by flavors of perfumed cherries, and a good solid structure.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Masserie Pisari Salento Rosso Negroamaro 2006 IGT

From the Puglia region of Italy comes this 100% Negroamaro (black/bitter in Italian), with ruby red colors, and fruity aromas but a surprising hint of citrus. On the palate: licorice, sour cherries, cocoa, and cured meats with a fresh smooth finish.

From vines ranging from 15 up to 50 years old, the grapes first macerate on the skins for approximately 12 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and then maturate in steel for another 10 months.

Had this at The Ten Bells at 247 Broome Street on the lower east Side, NYC... a great place to try new wines (more about this later).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival

The Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival is in town with events spanning from Thursday, October 8th through Sunday, October 11th. It is hosted by and benefits the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength.

Events will range from walk-around tastings and the Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite among others, to educational wine and food pairing seminars led by the industry's biggest names, to kids-oriented interactive cooking experiences, to local events incorporating the businesses in the host area, the Meatpacking District.

This year's talents include Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen, Ming Tsai, Giada De Laurentiis, Tyler Florence, Anthony Bourdain, Alton Brown, Martha Stewart, Tom Colicchio and Guy Fieri, to name just a few.
Posted by Dave Trieger at Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wine, to go?

We recently bought a bottle of wine to drink with dinner at one of the restaurants we frequent in Forest Hills. At the end of the meal, having not finished the bottle, I asked the waitress to put a cork in it and bag it for me to take home. She made a face and said, "you can't take wine to go"... to which I replied, "yes, I can, it's legal now in New York... ask your boss". So she hurried off only to return to say her boss said restaurant policy is, no wine to go. My turn to make a face.

This is the first time it's happened since the laws have changed, and I was used to being able to take home leftover wine. It was a weekday so I really didn't want to drink a whole bottle.

It takes a lot to get me angry, but this did.... am I out of line here, or what?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chateau Le Barrail Medoc 2004 2nd tasting

The last time I wrote about this red from Medoc was back in March. This time I notice more earthy tones, with leather and some barnyard on the mid-palate, ripe blackberries and some muscle flexed on the tannins balancing out the finish.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bodegas y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera Dehesa la Granja 2003

This tempranillo from Spain is dark, smoky red with bouquet of cassis, cocoa and cured meats, and an even structure, while the intense ripeness of the concentrated, spicy flavors make this a sexy, lively wine, almost zoftig in nature.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Louisa Thomas Hargrave Named Honorary Member of Long Island Merlot Alliance

Louisa Thomas Hargrave, one of the first to plant vineyards on Long Island, is now the first individual wine professional to be awarded honorary membership by the L.I.M.A. She and her ex-husband Alex Hargrave won many awards for their wines before selling the winery to Marco and Ann Marie Borghese of Castello di Borghese Vineyard and Winery in 1999.

“Louisa has done so much for the Long Island wine region and for the merlot varietal in the United States. She has always been an advocate for improving the quality of and regard for the varietal, and currently leads our research efforts into the taste and aroma profile of Long Island merlot,” said Rich Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at Raphael and a founding member of the Alliance . “We felt it was fitting to invite Louisa to join the Merlot Alliance, and we’re thrilled that she will now be an official member of our group.”

About the Long Island Merlot Alliance
Founded in 2005, the Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) joins premium wine estates committed to developing quality standards in the production of classically styled merlot. The Alliance seeks recognition for merlot as the premier grape of Long Island, whether as a single varietal or in blends, and for Long Island as the leading appellation for merlot in the New World. Its members believe that, in the tradition of other great wine regions, emphasizing our excellence in one varietal does not diminish other wines from Long Island, but will help to gain attention for all varietals grown here.