Open That Bottle Night

2006_CdBMeritageFor our first trip to the North Fork of Long Island we attended Wine Camp. With each winery, that you visit, you learn a different aspect of the wine business; from the owners or winemakers. A very personal and hands-on approach, we blended wine at one, pruned vines at another and learned alot about the region and it’s wines. It was a very special experience. And on the last night we celebrated with a wine/food pairing at Castello di Borghese.

The owners, Marco and Ann Marie Borghese were gracious hosts and true ambassadors for the wine region.

One of the rewards, of Wine Camp, is a mixed case from each of the participating wineries, including two bottles from Borghese.

Over the years we enjoyed these wines, for special occasions, and each time it brought back great memories. Continue reading

Pre-2000 Bordeaux Blind tasting

Bordeaux Pre-2000,
Blind Tasting Dinner

Restaurant 42, White Plains
December 17, 2012

Starter wines:

2011 Hamilton Russel Vineyards Chardonnay, South Africa.
Stony, Mineral, yet with full ripe citrus fruit

1991 Havens Chardonnay,
California (Magnum).

Deep golden color with no browning, good acid with flavors of caramel, almonds. An amazing non Reserve California Chardonnay, still drinking well, after 20+ years.


Flight 1

1982 Chateau-Lascombes, Margaux, France.
At first aromas of iron, earth but lacking in fruit continued to open and evolve with
very strong tobacco leaf with building fruit profile. Perfectly integrated tannins.
Drinking beautifully… probably the WINE OF THE NIGHT.

1983 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, France.
Detected aromas of mint (eucalyptus?) or cedar also drinking very well. As it sat in glass it continued to change with flavors of grilled meat and tobacco.

1989 Chateau Leoville Las Cases, St. Julien, France.
Compared to first wines, very youthful and slightly tannic- will be a beautiful wine
(has PLENTY ) of life left.

Not sure the next wines can be any better… Continue reading

Pre-2000 Bordeaux and Cali Cab Blind tasting-“Big Boy” Wines

The “theme” sounded simple enough:

You are invited to a dinner: BYO California or Bordeaux wines, vintage date before 2000, containing only “typical” Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Cabernet Franc (no Malbec, no Petit Verdot). Wine can be 100% of any, or any combination of the three.

Note: Bordeaux also allows for Carmenere in the blend, but so few use it anymore that it wasn’t even mentioned.

I planned to bring Bordeaux but as I went through the older wines that I had on hand (in the wine keeper) all of them had some Petit Verdot.

Using some knowledge and the Internet I started to dig deeper, finding that this wasn’t going to be as easy as it seemed…

I started with the “BIG BOYS”,  left bank Bordeaux, that generally have a large percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (>70%). If you like California Cabernet you should also start with this list.

The first number is their ranking (from the 1885 Classification) with the percentages of grapes that are planted in their fields. * indicates that it may have Petit Verdot in it depending on the vintage.

3rd- Château Ferrière– Cabernet Sauvignon 80 %, Merlot noir 20 %

5th- Château Grand Puy Lacoste– Cabernet Sauvignon 75 %, Merlot noir 20 %, Cabernet franc 5 %

4th- Château Saint-Pierre– Cabernet Sauvignon 75 %, Merlot noir 15 %, Cabernet franc 10 %

5th- Château Haut Bages Libéral– Cabernet Sauvignon 75 %, Merlot noir 25 %

3rd- Château Langoa Barton– Cabernet Sauvignon 74 %, Merlot noir 22 %, Cabernet franc 4 %

2nd-Château Leoville Barton– Cabernet Sauvignon 73 %, Merlot noir 23 %, Cabernet franc 4 %

5th- *Château Lynch-Bages– Cabernet Sauvignon 73 %, Merlot noir 15 %,  Cabernet franc 10 %, petit Verdot 2 %

5th- Château Lynch-Moussas– Cabernet Sauvignon 70 %, Merlot noir 30 %

2nd- Château Dufort-Vivens– Cabernet Sauvignon 70 %, Merlot noir 23 %, Cabernet franc 7 %

4th- *Château Branaire-Ducru– Cabernet Sauvignon 70 %, Merlot noir 22 %, Cabernet franc 5 %, petit Verdot 3 %

4th- Château Duhart-Milon Rothschild– Cabernet Sauvignon 70 %, Merlot noir 25 %, Cabernet franc 5 %

5th- Château Batailley– Cabernet Sauvignon 70 %, Merlot noir 25 %, Cabernet franc 5 %

5th- Château Haut Batailley– planted with Cabernet Sauvignon 70 %, Merlot noir 25 %, Cabernet franc 5 %

From here I looked at quality and price as well as my past history with these wines and chose…

 Think this was a good choice? Let me know…

Festive Wines for Holiday Gifts

A friend asked me if I would suggest a great wine that also had a nice holiday label.

Wine producers do not generally create special holiday labels (halloween, valentines day, christmas, etc) because any change to a label must be re-submitted and re-approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). And nobody wants to deal with that!

Although I DO NOT recommend buying a wine just because it has a cute or clever label there are many great wines that also have holiday packaging or look like they were made for the holidays.

I am a bit of a traditionalist. Holiday wine for me is red and sparkling. When I think of holidays I think of red, green, silver and gold (and maybe white- for snow).

Here are some of my traditional favorites…

Continue reading