Sunday, December 8, 2013

Three Italian Sparkling Wines to Ring In 2014 - New Years Italian Style

Here are 3 great choices for New Years Eve this year from the Trento D.O.C in the Trentino region of Italy.

Ferrari Brut 

All hand picked Chardonnay in early September from various communes of the Trento Province, several years maturation, color of yellow and pale green with aromas of fresh flowers, apples and hints of yeast, flavors of ripe apples, pears and bread, and long on the palate. SRP $24

Ferrari Perlé

A vintage Blanc de Blanc from hand picked Chardonnay grapes grown exclusively on Lunelli* family owned vineyards, maturation 5 years, first vintage being 1971. Pale yellow gold colors with Christmas aromas of spiced apples and freshly baked bread, on the palate crisp and dry, with more ripe apples, a spicy, nutty undertone and a smooth finish. SRP $35

Ferrari Rosé

Classic method sparkling wine from 60% Pinot Nero and 40% Chardonnay, the Pinot Nero vinified as a Rosé from the Trento Hillsides. Several years maturation. Pale red rose colors in the glass with bouquet of blossoming flowers, red berries and wild strawberries. Dry on the palate, clean, nutty with hints of damp earth, and a nice long finish. SRP $37

Ferarri got its start in 1902 when Giulio Ferrari studied in France and returned home thinking how well Chardonnay grapes would fare in the terroir of his native Trentino region of Italy. By 1906 he was already winning awards for his sparkling wines, and since he had no children, left the entire operation to his friend Bruno Lunelli*... since then Ferrari has won a record 22 Tre Bicchieri awards.
I found these wines available at the following spots in the greater NYC area:

Eight & Driggs
197 N 8th St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Bayside Liquors
4304 Bell Blvd
Bayside, NY 11361
map / phone
Windsor Bay Wines & Liquor
21518 73rd Ave
Bayside, NY 11361
map / phone
Royal Wine Merchants Ltd
25 Waterside Plz
New York, NY 10010
map / phone
Grande Harvest Wines
107 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017
map / phone
Gramercy Wine Cellars
236 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003
map / phone

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ice Age Comes to the Lower East Side via Preserve24

After a four million dollar investment, and a year an a half of hard work, venture partners Terry Goggin and his son, artist Brian Goggin opened Preserve24 last spring. The space is a wondrous work of art, and one of the most expansive concepts for a restaurant I’ve ever seen. 

Serving as a multi-disciplinary art installation, the eye-popping interior utilizes old and new implements for an upcoming 2014 expedition to Greenland. During this expedition, a two-ton iceberg will be extracted from an ice-age glacier, then brought to New York and installed in a reliquary inside the restaurant. 

The owners feel this unique installation of ancient ice is the perfect demonstration of the effect man has had on planetary change, and will serve as a reminder for all of us that the only way we can reverse the damage already done is by becoming aware, sustainable, and most importantly, accountable.

Brian Goggin, along with fellow artist Peter Cole designed the interior with amazing attention to detail, from the wall of ice-cutting tools to ceiling fans made from bakers paddles, as well as oars, and a propeller. Each room is like a three dimensional collage comprised of all sorts of repurposed items like beer tap handles made from piano foot pedals, an 1860 oyster boat reconstructed into a raw bar, and a piano bar made out guessed it…old pianos.  In the kitchen there’s a wood-burning, potbelly stove (affectionately named Pavarotti) where Chef John Parlatore uses local proprietors and purveyors in an effort to operate his kitchen with a minimal carbon footprint. There's so much to take in, that at first it's a bit of a sensory overload, but to my mind it's the perfect excuse to go back again, aside from the food, which is spectacular.

My friends and I whet our appetites with the Sea Witch, a diabolical concoction of vodka, Jalapeno Chartreuse, lime, and passion fruit puree, then shared a mix of mouth watering appetizers including such raw bar favs as oysters, spicy lobster claw and jumbo shrimp, followed by roasted bone marrow with crispy guanciale, and parsley and onion marmalade. Our main course included organic roasted chicken,  a cooked-to-perfection 40 oz porterhouse steak, truffle fries, roasted vegetables, and charred broccoli with cheese sauce, as well as local mushrooms, accompanied perfectly by a bottle of Pitch Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Washington State. Dessert was a heavenly, homemade banana and chocolate ice cream topped off with Weavers coffee.

Our conclusion: Preserve 24 truly is a feast for the eyes, for the belly, and for the soul.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ca' Momi Napa Valley Buys Historic Carneros Vineyards

Three Italians run Ca' Momi in Napa Valley - Dario De Conti, Valentina Guola-Migotto and Stefanno Migotto. After pruchasing a 9-acre vineyard growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and they just bought 10.5 acres of prime Carneros Appellation real estate from legendary winemaker Kent Rasmussen. In the early 1970's Mr Rasmussen successfully planted Pinot Noir and was pivotal in making Carneros one of the worlds premier growing regions. I can't help believing that the amalgam of old and new world winemaking techniques can only improve the quality and diversity of the wines of the region.

"The grapes from these vineyards have been a part of our Napa Valley wines for some time," says Dario De Conti, C.E.O. and Winemaker for Ca' Momi. "We love the fruit, and the wines have been very successful. We really believe in the future of Napa Carneros and are thrilled to join the fantastic family of wine producers in the region. These vineyards will secure continuity of style for our Napa Reserve Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for decades, if not generations to come."

The Pinot Noir vineyard is fully permitted for a winery and tasting room. "We are moving forward with plans for a winery on that property," says De Conti. "It will give us additional winemaking capacity, and will also give us a beautiful location for hosting visitors."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Miali Primitivo Salento 2010 IGT

Cantine Miali is a winery in Salento, Puglia, Italy producing this fantastic value primitivo, stainless steel fermentation followed by aging in bottle for 6 months. Deep ruby colors, dramatic aromas of dark red fruits, maple vinaigrette, and dark chocolate, accompanied on the palate with syrup, fig newtons, vanilla, and ripe black cherry. Nice acidity, mild tannins and a beautifully long finish. Found this for $12.99 at Enoteca DiPalo on Grand Street in Little Italy, NY.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Pick: Tangley Oaks Merlot 2010

Excellent Thanksgiving Pick!

It seems that the producers use a team philosophy in selecting the best Merlot grapes from the Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast area. They strive to stay true to the tradition of the particular varietal, separate them into lots, and choose the best.

Stainless steel tank fermented, red fruits, dark cherry, summer fruit, plum, blackberry, mocha, coffee, herbal, umami, nicely balanced. This would match very well with a Turkey dinner.

I discovered this gem at my favorite place to shop for wine, Pop's Wines & Spirits in Island Park for $14. I looked around and average price is just under $20, and IMHO Tangley Oaks Merlot drinks like a $40 bottle.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lagoalva Espirito 2011, Portugal

From the Tejo region of Portugal, this delicious red wine is made with 50% Touriga Nacional and 50% Castelao, fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in French and American oak casks for 4 to 6 months.

Dark ruby/purple colors with violet and earthy herbal aromas, concentrated flavors with red and dark fruits, vanilla, coffee, blueberries, spice, black pepper, and glycerine. I know that sounds like a lot going on at once. but... it works. Chewy fruit on the palate with smooth acidity and mild tannins. Finishes long and pretty with smoky undertones. Found this at Keuka Kafe (a Wine Bar) on Queens Blvd where it was $9 per glass, but can probably be found in wine shops for under $12 per bottle, I'll have to check into that.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Aalto 2009, Aalto Bodegas y Vinedos

Another red from Spain's Ribera del Duero, Aalto Bodegas Y Vinedos hand harvests grapes, then ages for 23 months in French and American oak barrels, followed by additional months once bottled. This gem has beautiful aromas of fresh  perfumed flowers, wood, both red and dark fruit, black cherry, contrasting with smoked meats and cigar box, beautiful flavors of blueberries, licorice, spice, cassis, dark cocoa with an herbaceous edge. With the holidays coming up, I would suggest springing for this baby at around $40.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Malleolus 2009, Bodegas Emilio Moro

A very lively red from Ribera del Duero in Spain, a Bordeaux style, dark brooding colors in the glass, aromas of raw wood and torn bark, black fruits with a certain minerality, big round flavors and the raw wood is deceptively missing, intense concentration of ripe cherries, spice and a hint of sweetness. Silky tannins and long smooth finish.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Elvio Cogno Dolcetto d'Alba 2010 Vigna del Mandorlo

From Elvio Cogno, in the Northern Italian region of Piemonte, this dry red Dolcetto d'Alba shows dark brooding purple colors in the glass with violets, floral and mint aromas. Flavors of vanilla, toasted hazelnut, pungent earth tones of tar and glycerine, reminiscent of caramelized figs, marinated peppers, finish is tart with gripping tannins and very low acidity. We had this bottle at Il Poeta in Forest Hills.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

La Vendemmia Chianti DOCG 2011

OK, here's a great deal for an every day red wine, you're not going to believe the value. It's a Sangiovese aged for 3 months in French oak, with really pretty aromas of plums, and blackberry... dry but with fresh fruit flavors, mouth-watering tannins and an overall smoothness usually lacking in a wine this inexpensive. I found this at Pop's Wine & Spirits in Island Park, NY for $5.75 a bottle (mixed case price). I need to go back and buy a case myself. What a great deal!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Viña Sastre Crianza 2009, Bodegas Hermanos, Sastre

Here is another beauty from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain where the 2009 vintage was reportedly a very good one, and this Tempranillo reflects that. After initial fermentation aged for 18 months in French oak.

Deep bluish red colors with red cherry, blue fruits, violets and deep earthy aromas, mushroom or truffle-like, more flavors of red fruits, red licorice candy and exotic eucalyptus, on top an herbal mint/lavender cast. Very fruit forward, with herbaceous twist and ready to drink (but can only improve with age). This would be a great wine to bring to a holiday celebration at $33.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vina Pedrosa Crianza 2010 Bodegas Hermanos, Perez Pascuas

Ribera del Duero: Aged 18 months in oak, then 6 months in bottle before release, ruby red colors in the glass, first thing off the starting block is raw fresh wood (cedar), fresh fruit and minerality, slightly muted aromas, very dry tannins, on the palate glycerine, bacon, licorice and white pepper with floral notes. SRP $34.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bodegas Vizcarra JC Vizcarra 2011

From Ribera del Duero in Spain, this 100% Tempranillo is aged in French & American oak (half new and half two years old) for 15 months. Purple ruby colors, clean, primary aromas of raw wood, vegetal, earth and barnyard. Nice acidity, fresh flavors of chocolate and licorice, palate overpowers aromas, beautiful finish, smooth tannins. Pairs well with red meat, but would be greatly improved with a little aging. $33

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Alejandro Fernandez-Tinto Pesquera Reserva 2008

This powerful, racy Tempranillo is aged 24 months in American oak barriques and 12 months in bottle. Colored an opaque ruby in the glass with rust around the rim, lovely aromas of violets and cherry pie pervading, set against a certain minerality and hint of petroleum. Beautiful mixture of tannins and acidity showing flavors of cherry, black fruit and cocoa, with a spicy long finish. Robert Palmer labeled this the "Petrus of Spain". SRP $48. Ribera del Duero region.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sicilian Wine & Chocolate

If you are in NYC over the next couple of days there will be a few tasting events you may like to attend, see link.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Valsan 1831 Noviembre de Finca El Monegrillo 2006, Spain

From Manchuela, Spain where the popular red grape is usually Tempranillo, here is a tasty blend of 60% Shiraz with 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 14 months in French oak Allier barrels of varying cooperages, with different degrees of toast and stave sizes.

Deep garnet colors in the glass with aromas of dark fruit, blackberry pie and mint along with a toasted earthy edge. Nice rounded tannins and good acidity along with flavors of caramel, underbrush, anise and pepper. A long mature finish leaves the senses satisfied and wanting more.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vinedos Errazuriz Ovalle Marchigue Carmenere Gran Reserva 2011, Chile

From Chile's Colchagua Valley comes this hefty Carmenere, laden with ripe fruit and aged in oak for 12 months. It has a deep red color and bright aromas of red fruits, white pepper, spices and berries. The fairly soft tannins and medium body bring to the palate a complex potpourri of cherry, cigar box, an exotic spiciness and dark chocolate, along with barnyard flavors and even hints of leather. This was another good find at under $10 at KH&H Liquors on Vernon Blvd in Astoria.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

End Post Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Paso Robles

Here is another red contributed by my friend Mark S. who over the years has introduced me to many interesting wines.

Dark colors of purple plum paint the glass foretelling the bold aromas of wild dark berries and animal/barnyard, with waves of blackberry and violet. On the palate is a wide range of flavors from coffee and chocolate, to licorice and dried flowers, to black cherry and nuts.

There's a nice balance here of tannins and acidity, so it's no wonder it works so well accompanied by a sampling of London Broil. This one can probably be found for around $18.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sensi Arcere Morellino di Scansano 2008 DOCG

Morellino di Scansano is basically a local (Maremma) name for the Sangiovese grape, and Sensi produces this wonderful Arcere, showing dark ruby colors with plumes of violets and dark cherry on the nose. The palate is blessed with vibrant fruit, nice acidity, black ripened plum, glycerine and a slight minerality, while also showing traces of white pepper, cassis and no trace of wood (I believe the fermentation takes place in concrete vats). The finish is long and smooth. We had this delicious "food wine" with dinner at La Bella Cucina, an Italian restaurant with an outdoor garden in Glendale, Queens.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Celliers de France Cinsault 2011 Vin De Pays d'Oc

Cinsault is a red wine grape that grows well in dry regions, has a high tolerance for heat, is hugely successful in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, and It's the 4th most widely planted grape in France. Vin de pays is a French term meaning "country wine", there are six regional Vin de Pays, the most voluminous being the 
Vin de Pays d'OC in the Languedoc-Roussillon.

This Rose is a pale pink in the glass with aromas of melon and raspberry, while the palate shows watermelon, a dry white sour cherry and mild minerality with a flinty undercurrent on the finish. 

The aromas exhibit a fruitiness that belies the dryer palate, making this Rose an excellent partner with a few cheeses, especially smoked Gouda. I believe this bottle was a great buy at under $6. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Selbach Riesling Piesporter Michelsberg 2010

From Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany, arguably the world's premier region for Riesling. Pale straw coloring with aromas of pineapple and melon, showing nice acidity and falling on the sweeter side of dry, mild hints of citrus and on the palate honey dipped green apples, caramel and ripe peach. This is a beautiful summertime white for just above $10.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Forlorn Hope "Suspriro del Moro" Alvarelho 2012 Mathew Rorick

"Three hundred forty seven cases" is how the bottom of the label of Forlorn Hope reads, so this one is probably sold out at most wine bars and restaurants, but... I had a couple of glasses of this wonderful Portuguese grape (Alvarelho) grown in California's Alta Mesa sub region at Blue Smoke in NYC
maybe 3 weeks ago... and it is amazing.

First, there are the uniquely aromatic scents from the glass, strangely exotic and tart with ripe strawberry and glycerine, rounded out with a spicy earthiness... I could NOT stop sniffing this wine!  This is a medium weight red with rich and super fresh acidity, showing smooth tannins. On the palate I found cassis, leather, smoke, and stewed fruits. I have to find some more of this. If you can find it, the SRP is around $22.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Celliers de France Cabernet Sauvignon Pays d'Oc 2011

Pays d'Oc is a traditional "country" wine, in France a step above table wine... but this Cabernet from the southwest is a good everyday wine for around $6.

Dry while showing a certain fruitiness with low acidity and mild tannins. Earthy underbrush aromas are at the core with flavors of cassis, fresh red fruits and rosewater, and a nice smooth surprising finish.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Achaval-Ferrer Quimera 2010 Mendoza Argentina

From Argentina's Lujan de Cayo, Mendoza region and sourced from Diamante, Bella Vista and Mirador vineyards Achaval-Ferrer produces this wonderful Bordeaux style blend of 31% Malbec, 20% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. Each variety was initially fermented separately in small tanks before aging for 12 months in new and 1 year old French oak barrels.

Dark ruby colors are a prelude to an expressive bouquet accented by spice and dried flowers, followed by a complex flavor profile showing tobacco, glycerine, red berries, cherries, cola and dried spices. This is a perfect bottle for a special event with family or good friends.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

B-Side (from the flip side of) Napa Valley 2011

This lucious Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon is an interesting blend of old and new world red wines. Attractively complex and very fruit forward with ripe tannins while revealing a smooth velvety palate. Dark ruby purple colors the glass, while aromas of blackberry permeate the air, mildly wafting a newly opened cigar box, finally the palate practically yells "ripe bing cherries!", with hints of plums, dark chocolate and coffee. The finish is long with more signs of cocoa and additional blueberries. This is an amazing buy for under $20. Thank you, Mike B. for swinging by for a taste last weekend!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Washington State

I've tried their Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot, so to round out the Chateau Ste. Michelle line, I finally got to try their Cabernet Sauvignon. My buddy Mark found this older vintage in his local wine shop, Douglaston Wine & Spirits in Little Neck, NY, at first buying a single bottle, then going back the same day to purchase a half case.
Opaque dark ruby colors with rusty brick around the rim of the glass. On the nose, this cab went wild, with candy, cranberry sauce, and even saltwater combining for a rich gamut of aromas. On the palate, I'd call it a fruit bomb, on the sweeter side of dry with healthy but rounded tannins, and a marked smoothness. Complex flavors showing blackberry and strawberry fruits, anise, tobacco and some lively smokiness. Excellent balance of nose & palate, tied together smartly in a package for under $15, although this might pass for a $40-50 bottle. This is a great value in my book. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tormaresca Neprica 2010 IGT Puglia

Here is a red wine from Puglia that I keep returning to at every new vintage. It's called Neprica, which is portmanteau of Negroamaro,Primitivo and Cabernet grapes (40%, 30% and 30% respectively). Dark, clear ruby red in color, brambly aromas complement cola and licorice while dark flavors of spice, cocoa, cola and ripe blackberries dominate. SRP $11, so makes a great everyday wine to go well with steak, veal or pasta with red sauce.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Esporao Reserva Red 2009, Portugal

What a great red blend of Aragones (Tempranillo), Trincadeira (the dark grape used in Port wine), Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante Bouschet (similar to a Garnacha)!

Fermented in stainless steel tanks, aged in French (30%) and American (70%) oak for 12 months and another 12 in bottle.

Deep red colors in the glass, rich, powerful and full bodied, spicy and herbal aromas with super ripe red berries on the palate along with wood and smoke. Good deep tannins and a wonderful balance. Really enjoyed this gem from Portugal. $25 SRP.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monterey Wine Festival

The Next Generation of Wine Festivals is coming to the Monterey County Fair & Event Center!

July 2013. Monterey, CA.  IntroducingWINE FEST! – a Wine Festival and an amazing party for everyone! Don’t miss this new, fun festival that celebrates the wine industry in Monterey County and throughout the globe.  WINEFEST! will be held on Saturday afternoon,  July 27, 2013 at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center.
WINE FEST! is an exciting and unique new event produced by Jeff Moses (founder of the Monterey Beer Festival), in association with the Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation (a 501(c)3 non-profit organization). It was created for the averagewine drinker; those who like wine, but aren't experts regarding wine varietals, wine styles and wine brands. WINE FEST!  will offer reasonably priced wines for tasting in the outdoor main lawn area at the Monterey Fair & Event Center and high-end wines in an indoor, 10,000-square foot VIP lounge building. Attendees are sure to discover their new favorite wines.
WINE FEST! will feature over 100 greatwines, and more than 10 craft beers including Mimosas and Fresh Fruit Sangria. There will be live music and a DJ, as well as six gourmet food trucks. During the event, six local artists will paint live graffiti and murals, followed by a People’s Choice Graffiti Art & Mural Contest. There will also be a People’s Choice Contest for favorite wine labels and favorite red and white wines, with an award going to the winning wineries.
VIP ticket holders will receive special wines, early entry and an all-day exclusive lounging area. In addition, V.I.P. goers will be able to sip orange & mango mimosas & enjoy winesnacks, beginning at 11:00 AM.
WHERE: Monterey County Fair & Event Center, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey.
Tickets are available in the online store and include all of the wine and beer for the day.
Special VIP Tickets. VIP entry is at 11:00 AM. VIP Admission Presale (through July 26, 2013) is $55 or $60 at the door and includes private access to the indoor VIP building.
Buy your tax-deductible tickets early. (Tax ID # 77-0402426). 
General Admission Presale (through July 26, 2013) is $40 or $45 at the door. 
Parking: $15 on site or nearby on Fairground Road. Green Pedal Couriers will offer free Bike Valet Service.
Age: Must be 21 and over.
Hotels/Sponsorships: Special hotel packages and sponsorships are also available at
Phone/Email: (831) 372-5863

Mimosa Wines 
Stomper Graffiti Wines
Frey Vineyards
McIntyre Vineyards
Kokopelli Winery of Arizona
Spiced Vines
Black Box
Ooh La La
Red Guitar
Simply Naked
Blair Estates
Comanche Cellars
Leal Vineyards
Chateau Julien
District 7
Holman Ranch
Cass Vineyards
Wente Vineyards
Figge Winery
Wrath Wines

Big Hurt Beer -
Peter B's -
Sierra Nevada -
Mendocino Brewing -
DJ Hanif Wondir spins EDM & Hip Hop, including rock bands, CASEY FRAZIER & DANI PAIGE, with a special appearance by hip-hop & groove, ANIMAL FARM.
Music Set:
Early VIP & First Set - DJ Hanif Wondir -       
Second Set -              Casey Fraiser Band - 
Third Set -                  Dani Paige Band -       
Fourth Set -    Hanif Wondi & Animal Farm
 Six local artists will paint live graffiti and murals during the event on 4 ft x 8 ft wooden canvases:
Amanda Burkman –
Gabe Peralez -
Lisa Haas   -
Eric Mallari -
Skan Arts -
Reggie Lee – Local Graffiti Artist
The Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation supports the functions of the Monterey County Fair (August 28-September 2, 2013) and its mission. Primarily, the Heritage Foundation funds capital improvements at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, described as one of the most beautiful Fairgrounds in the country. The Heritage Foundation also funds special projects such as School Tour Day and Special Friends Day plus a special student scholarship. The Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation benefits Monterey County through increased ag literacy by educating school children about where their food and fiber comes from, encouraging health, nutrition and fitness. The community is urged to join the Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation and receive great VIP benefits at the upcoming Monterey County Fair and other events held throughout the year. Also, honor your family and loved ones by buying a brick in the Heritage Foundation’s Brick-a-Thon Campaign. Check out the newly laid brick path outside of Gate 5. For more information, go or call(831) 372-5863.

--   054BE874-1696-4C3B-AA6E-3D9047859B9C

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Herdade do Esporao Reserva Branco 2011, Portugal

From the Alentejo region of Portugal comes this refreshing blend of Antao Vaz, Arinto, Roupeiro & Semillon grapes, fermented in stainless steel and American oak barrels where it's aged on the lees for 6 months before bottling.

Clear, pale, yellow/green colors tint the glass, with bold aromas of citrus and summer fruits, along with hints of toasted oak. The palate shows clean acidity and balance, with fruity ripeness contrasting a buttery creaminess and hints of flint and a clean fresh finish.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quinto Dos Murcas Assobio 2010

From Quinto Dos Murcas in the Douro region of Portugal comes this attractive blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz & Touriga Franca, 20% was aged for 6 months in French and American oak barrels. Dark ruby purple colors paint the glass, fragrant aromas of cherry compote, spices, and raspberry pie assault the nose, while the palate shows rich tannins, with blackberries, and white pepper accents, a very balanced red with a good finish. $12.99

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Mendoza Argentina

The Catena Family produces this tasty Cabernet Sauvignon in the Uco Valley of Argentina where its fermented and then aged in French and American oak for 6 to 9 months.

Dark purple in the glass with clear colors and earthy aromas of saddle, tobacco and dark chocolate, while the palate shows an overall softness against a backdrop of rangy spices,
red and black berries and finishing with coffee and caramel. Great value for around $10.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Vidal-Fleury Cotes Du Rhone 2010

On his trip through France in 1787 Thomas Jefferson visited Vidal-Fleury, today considered one of the most consistent producers in the Rhone Valley.

This 2010 Cotes-du-Rhone was a great vintage year and a value at the same time. It's a traditional blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% Carignan fermented separately with indigenous yeasts. They do a long and slow maceration of about 30 days with 70% aged in tank and 30% in large oak foudres* followed by a light filtration before bottling unfined for 3-6 months.

It has deep ruby colors while the expressive nose shows a dark red fruit, some strawberry, chocolate, and especially prune.

On the palate hints of plum, dark chocolate, cherry, and white pepper with dusty spices, you'll also find dried flowers, cedar, and tobacco with supple tannins and a good finish.Pairs well with meats, pizza, barbecue, pasta, burgers and cheese.

*Foudre: A large oak or chestnut cask used for aging wine (mostly in Provence and Alsace), with a capacity between 150 and 350 hectoliters (3,960 to 9,240 gallons).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fattoria Del Cerro Chianti Colli Senesi 2010 DOCG

Made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo, ruby red in the glass, light weight, dry, mild tannins and unique softness. Wild cherry bouquet, notes of licorice, floral, leather, tobacco, bramble, and earthtones, while the palate is showing black cherry, balsamic, herbal, glycerine with good finish.

This was one of the less expensive bottles of reds on the wine list at Il Poeta, very nice for under $30.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Domaines Paul Mas Estate Pinot Noir 2012 – St Hilaire Vineyard

As the new Millennium approached, the economic climate led to a decline in French wines' reputation in the US. The Languedoc region was known for bulk wines and Australia filled that gap with cheap mass produced wines. Fourth generation vintner, Jean-Claude Mas, Owner Proprietor of Domaine Paul Mas and trailblazer in the region, set out to change that. He reduced quantity in order to improve quality while crafting affordable wines, combining Languedoc tradition with New World attitude (like stainless steel tanks and sustainability). I recently had the opportunity to experience the spirit of the region with Mr. Mas at a luncheon at Hundred Acres in New York's Greenwich Village.

Mas has almost 1000 acres of vineyards with over 2000 contracted vineyards (co-ops are common in France). Languedoc's traditional varietals are GSM, Granache, Syrah, and Mourvedre but the one I am writing about here is a 100% Pinot Noir. The climate, the vital, 
fertile and living limestone soil, the 10-25 year old vines, all compose the terroir that makes for a good wine like... Domaines Paul Mas Estate Pinot Noir – St Hilaire Vineyard

Stainless steel fermentation for 7-10 days, then aged for 6 months before bottle aging for 2 months.

Garnet colors in the glass, aromas of rosewater, strawberry, cherry with some minerality, ripe cherry, and spices, while on the palate rich red berries, plum, vanilla and clove, ripe tannins and a good finish.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Macari Sauvignon Blanc 2012, North Fork of Long Island

With the Loire Valley in mind, Joseph Macari originally planted Sauvignon Blanc on the North Fork of Long Island convinced of the similarities of the terrain. I might say with good results.

Here is a wonderful 2012 Vintage, pale dusty yellow colors in the glass, high in acidity with aromas of honeydew melon, citrus and grass, while on the palate strong notes of grapefruit and lime and more melon. Paired beautifully with a pasta with shrimp dish. $23/bottle.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chateau la Chapelle Maillard Bordeaux 2010

From Bordeaux, France, this organic wine is a really good find for under $10. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot make up an amalgam of aromas showing dark cherries with brooding earthy undertones, while flavors of tobacco, olives, cloves and leather complement spice and licorice and slight hints of powdered cocoa. Good on the finish and again, a great value for an everyday red.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2008 DOCG

Made with a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 7% Canaiolo and 3% Colorino grapes, vinified in stainless steel for 20 days before aging in small wooden barrels for 18 months, then in bottle for 3 months before release. Ruby red colors in the glass, with aromas of powerful spices, cedar and dark fruit. Notes of tobacco, cedar, cinnamon and black sour cherry with healthy tannins painting the palate, and a good long finish. Wine Spectator rated this bottle a 92 and its under $20.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chateau Graville-Lacoste Graves Blanc 2011

Today, Allen, a good buddy of mine, completed a 60 day weight loss regimen after which he lost 17 pounds. The impetus of his plight was started among his office mates, who all pooled their money, and the winner would take all.  He came in 2nd place and even though he didn't win the pot, he still felt like a winner, hey, after all he did lose 17 pounds. 

So now to celebrate with a good meal, he chose to lunch at New York's famous Aquagrill, and invited me along.

The Menu:
Roasted Dayboat Maryland Monkfish with Peekytoe Crabmeat Risotto and Sugar Snap Peas in a Tomato Shellfish Emulsion 

The Wine:
Chateau Graville-Lacoste Graves Blanc... 

Graves is a sub-division of the Bordeaux wine region in Southwest France where this blend of 95% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Semillon is coaxed from the gravelly soils. On the nose aromatics of apple, honeysuckle, pear, kiwi, lemon rind, slate, grapefruit, and especially honeydew melon. The palate shows grassy tones, lime and other citrus, melon (to match the nose), mineral, and flint. Very complex with an abundance of acidity and a great, long finish.

Warm Apple Tart with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Macari Early Wine Chardonnay 2012

Not being a big fan of Chardonnay, I was shocked at how much I loved this "young wine" from Macari Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island. Macari's Austrian consultant Winemaker, Helmut Gangl made the call to try to mimic this traditional Austrian style. And it works. Ready to drink only 3 months after harvest, to me it's more like a cross between a Riesling and a Sauvignon Blanc, bright and crisp.

Clear and light straw colors in the glass, with fresh fruity aromas of pear and marzipan, while the palate gives way to green apple skins, citrus and ripe pear.  High in acidity and low in alcohol (11.4%), this worked beautifully with a mushroom risotto (I also used the wine in the risotto).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Francesco Botti Colle Del Saraceno "Montefalco" Sagrantino Passito DOCG

Sagrantino. That is the red wine grape of Montefalco. Just as Sangiovese is the red wine grape of Tuscany. Traditionally the Sagrantino grape was dried and used to make sweet passito wine until in the 1990's when the production of dry Sagrantino was introduced. Well, the Botti family carries on a tradition to keep the Passito (and the Sagrantino) alive, as it has been doing for over 100 years.

Source: it:Utente:EH101
Cantina Botti sits along a ridge overlooking the Umbrian Valley between Assisi and Spoleto, along the Old Roman Road "Flaminia" and near the archaeological site of King Frederick ii who led Saracen soldiers in his army.... thus the name, Colle Del Saraceno (Hill of the Saracen).

Because of its thick skin, Sagrantino grapes result in very tannic and dry wines, but here they are air dried on racks or trellises called Camorcanne for months, then the sweet, dried fruit is fermented and aged in oak.

The aromatics given off by this Passito astounds the senses, with nutty caramel, dried fruit, and exotic spices, combined with a palate of luscious cassis, cloves and cinnamon, and a finish redolent of a liquore. This would make a perfect gift bottle for an Easter dinner.

BTW, I tasted this gem at Eataly's La Scuola celebrating Sagrantino Month.