Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2015 Clos Signadore "A Mandria di Signadore" Patrimonio

Last night I attended an island wine tasting at one of my favorite wine stores here in the city, Verve.  The lovely wine director of Blue Hill led us through 5 wines from the islands of Corsica, Spain, and Greece.    

I really loved all the wines, but my favorite of the night was the 2015 A Mandria di Signadore Patrimonio from Clos Signadore.  I must be on a roll with Corsican wines!  

Founded in Corsica in 2001, the winery is a champion of native Corsican grapes and organic farming.  This wine is made from a blend of 8-50 year old vines of Nielluccio (an indigenous grape closely related to Sangiovese).  The wine is aged in stainless steel which really allows the fruit+savory notes to shine through.  The nose had a very savory, olive tapenade /shoe leather aroma while the palate was full of bright red fruits, sour cherries and a slightly herbacious/savory finish.  An easy drinker that would take you right through spring!    

Wine:  2015 Clos Signadore "A Mandria di Signadore" Patrimonio
Purchased:  Verve
Price:  $38

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2016 Clos Canarelli Rose

Pizza and wine, is there anything better for a Sunday night at home?  Well, cheese and wine also rank pretty highly in my book, and pasta and wine, and, well, pretty much wine and carbs in general!

As we patiently wait for spring to arrive for good here in NYC, I'm pretending it's patio season and busting out the rose (even if it's inside with the heat on).  I was recently gifted this bottle of 2016 Clos Canarelli Rose and decided to pair it with pizza!  

Hailing from the region of Figari in the southern tip of Corsica, Clos Canarelli is run by second generation son Yves, who in 1993 took over the family vineyard and converted to organic, natural, biodynamic farming and wine making, highlighting native Corsican varietals.  The wine is a blend of Sciaccarellu, Niellucciu, and Grenache grapes.  Yves uses only native yeasts and whole cluster fermentation, really letting the wine do it's thing!  The result is a luscious, bright wine, with a strong mineral backbone, largely from the rich red alluvial and granite soil in which the grapes are grown.  A slight hint of melon and citrus with an air of salinity on the palate make this a pretty easy-drinker. 

Wine:  2016 Clos Canarelli Rose
Purchased:  Gifted
Price:  $36

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2008 Le Vallon de Barde-Haut

This 100% Merlot from St. Emilion in Bordeaux was the other star of our Easter dinner last month.  

A quick reminder on Bordeaux wines:  the region is comprised of the "right" and "left" banks of the Gironde River.  St. Emilion is part of the right bank.  The distinction generally regulates which type of grapes are grown and the terroir comprising that area.  The right bank vineyards are predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes while the left bank is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon.  Wines from the region can be blends of the 5 typical Bordeaux varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec).

It was juicy and fruity, more red fruit driven, with a hint of vanilla and spice on the finish.  Fine tannins rounded out the palate making it a very enjoyable wine to drink now.  

Wine:  2008 Le Vallon de Barde-Haut Merlot
Purchased:  Gifted
Price:  $30

Friday, April 28, 2017

Restaurant Round Up - April Eats

I'm trying something new here and sharing highlights of restaurants I tried and dishes I ate over the past month.  In NYC there's never a shortage of new places to try (I have an Excel spreadsheet to prove it) but sometimes it's hard to resist the draw of revisiting old favorites.

King - A delicious, simple meal with showcasing outstanding quality ingredients, and great wine too!

Sauvage - one of the best salads I've ever had (bitter radicchio with toasted ras el hanout), cauliflower, and rabbit were all standouts.

Sushi West - this has been my go-to sushi spot for over 7 years but I had almost forgotten about it.  A revisit proved it's just as good as ever and fair priced which is often hard to find with sushi.

Finally tried Dizengoff in Chelsea Market - have been back several times since.  It really is that good!

For Easter Sunday, we brunched at Joseph Leonard, a West Village standby.  I've favored Jeffrey's Grocery (from the same owners) over the years but am so glad we ventured across the street.  The Bloody Cesar is made better with bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts, all tied up in a beautiful bouquet on the bar.  We splurged for the fried chicken brunch for 2 (which easily fed 4).   

Enjoyed a celebratory cocktail at The Up & Up.  The door staff makes it feel a bit like Fort Knox getting in but once you're there, settle in for some delicious drinks.  

Everyone raves about the cronut but this little PB & J bostock was one of the best pastries I've ever had from Dominique Ansel.  And you can skip the cronut line for this and other pastries (also try the Kouign Amann)!  

A quick lunch on the Upper West Side at White Gold.  They're known for their kimchi hotdog, which was good (spicy!) but the rest of the meal felt a bit like a rip off.

They just opened a Milk Bar in the West Village, dangerously close to my apt.  I'm not a fan of the "cereal milk" flavor but love the "crack pie" - make sure you get the crunchy cornflakes (I went halfsies with chocolate chips) as a topping on whichever flavor you choose!

I'd love to know, what spots are top of your list??

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2013 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre Rouge

I'm sure I'm not the only one who regularly associates Sancerre with white wine (Sauvignon Blanc specifically) but I recently had my world expanded when I tried this Sancerre Rouge from Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy!  Made from 100% Pinot Noir, this is a great place to look for "bargain" Pinot Noir vs. better known regions in Burgundy.  

The Domaine is located in the eastern region of the Loire in the village of Verdigny with vines over 30 years old.  It was a bright, cherry red color, almost translucent in the glass.  Tart fruit notes blended with a bit of earthiness and spice made it a very food-friendly wine. 

We enjoyed this wine over dinner at the newish King restaurant on the boarder of Soho in NYC.  Our meal was delicious, despite a few service missteps.  I broke convention and paired a red wine with a beautiful halibut and radicchio dish, while stealing bites of a perfectly cooked hanger steak with bitter greens.   
Such gorgeous "Millennial Pink" radicchio!

Wine:  2013 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre Rouge
Purchased:  King, NYC
Price:  $27 retail

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2011 Wild Hog Vineyard Pinot Noir

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend!  We hit both holidays with a Passover Seder on Friday night in Connecticut and hosted Sunday night Easter dinner back at home.  Did you know that most of the world celebrates Easter with a traditional lamb dish but in America ham takes center stage?  We debated the two but went with this lamb recipe and it was absolutely delicious!  Our friends brought over one of my favorite wines, the 2011 Pinot Noir from Wild Hog Vineyards, it was a perfect pairing with the lamb. 

The lamb took center stage but we accompanied it with a spring herb salad with buttermilk dressing and roasted cauliflower with browned butter, capers and fried sage.
I was first introduced to Wild Hog by these same friends back in November for Friendsgiving (also a perfect pairing wine) and was immediately hooked.  They are a small, family owned and operated winery located in the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation of the Sonoma Coast.  The grapes are farmed organically and picked by hand, production is small and limited.  

The 2011 Pinot Noir was like the best version of bright, fresh, cherries on a warm summer day.  Light, bright, perfect acidity and balance, yet juicy and mouthwatering, making it an easy drinker.  There was a hint of spice and an earthiness on the palate which made for a nice balance with the herbs in the lamb.  These friends are invited back any time if they continue to share this wine with us!!   

It wasn't me!

Wine:  2011 Wild Hog Vineyard Pinot Noir
Purchased:  gifted by a friend
Price:  $27-$30 retail

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 "Zephyr's Block" Fogline Vineyards Chardonnay

I recently started off a Friday night with this Chardonnay from Fogline Vineyards.  The winery is located on the Sonoma Coast, with the Chardonnay growing at the fog line of 850 ft elevation.  The microclimate includes warm days and cool nights with wind and coastal fog, the perfect conditions for prime-time Chardonnay!

It was a great wine to start the night.  bright citrus on the nose and a palate bursting with crisp apple and pear notes.  It was almost a bit too tart for me as I tend to like a more creamy mouthfeel, but again as an aperitif wine, it was great.

Purchased:  At Winery
Price:  $38

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - How To Taste Wine (Like You Know What You're Doing)

This week, I was honored to share my simple tips and tricks for wine tasting 101.  I say this with one caveat:  there's a time and a place for focusing on the tasting process and there's another time and place for crushing rose to the face, I leave it to you to decide when, where, and how but at least you have these building blocks from which to lay a foundation of wine knowledge!

Head over to my friend Emily's blog for the full article

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2012 Telmo Rodriguez "Gazur" Ribera Del Duero

This might just be one of my favorite wines in recent memory.  The perfect Sunday night accompaniment to our Mediterranean feast that included this chicken recipe with fresh pita and the most insane hummus from Dizengoff (the hype is real, this s*it is so insanely good)!

100% Tempranillo that is hand-picked, fermented in stainless steel tanks with natural yeasts and aged in cement tanks for 6 months, I imagine this wine was a bit rough with so little aging but 4+ years later it's deliciously smooth with bright red fruit and hints of spice (cinnamon especially which really sang with the shawarma spices!).   

Sadly I think this may have been a random bottle in our local wine shop, I'm going to have to call asap and buy every last bottle they have in stock!  This wine was so delicious yet didn't break the bank, a perfect "house wine" to have at the ready!

Wine:  2012 Telmo Rodriguez "Gazur" Ribera Del Duero
Price:  $18
Purchased:  Verve Wine

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 Domaine Bergeret Christian Et Fille Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge

I can't keep up with this weather, today it's 60 degrees and last weekend might have been the coldest I've ever been in my 8 years in NYC!  On Friday night I had ambitions to finish up a leftover bottle of sub-par Pinot Noir and test out a classic Burgundian winter dish, Coq Au Vin, the epitome of cozy!  

While we used the sub-par Pinot for the cooking wine, we opened up this 2014 Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge from Domaine Bergeret Christian.  Chassagne-Montrachet is more classically know for Chardonnay, so it was interesting to try a red wine (made of Pinot Noir grapes) from the region.  Upon first opening, all I could smell and taste was alcohol.  We decanted twice before pouring back into the bottle and letting it breath a bit before trying again.  Once we sat down to dinner, the wine had completely changed.  Now instead of purely alcohol, the nose was full of bright red strawberry bandaids!  I say that in the best way as I'm a fan of Brettanomyces.  There was lots of acid but balanced fruit, it was light and bright, but it definitely had a certain "funk" to it, not bad, just different. 

Not the most appealing dish to photograph but overall flavor was delish once we got it right!

Now for the Coq Au Vin, this is the first time that Ina let me down!  Her recipes are usually a home run but this one, not quite so.  We salvaged it and the overall flavors were really good, but cooking time took twice as long as stated.  If you want to give it a try yourself I'd make the following changes:  double the amount of bacon or use pancetta, use skin-on thighs vs. a whole chicken as the dark meat was significantly better than the white, make sure you brown the chicken very well otherwise you will get grayish-purple boiled chicken, double the mushrooms, and reduce the amount of liquid (wine + chicken stock) by at least half a cup, after the recommended cooking time it was extremely watery, we ended up boiling off and reducing for an additional 45 minutes to get a thicker sauce.   

Price:  $35
Purchased:  Verve Wines

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - Riddling Widow NYC

My affinity for Champagne continues!  I recently checked out Riddling Widow, an underground Champagne parlor in Greenwich Village.  I emailed in advance for a reservation per their website, but not sure that's entirely necessary as it was rather empty the night we visited.  

They offer a range of sparklers by the glass as well as bottles and small bites.  I loved how they broke down the by the glass options into tasting profiles.  I am particularly into the yeasty, bone-dry notes of Blanc de Blancs and while they didn't have that specifically on offer, the server steered me to the "green apple" brut by Didier Grappe.  A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Savagnin, the wine is organic and natural, produced in the Jura region of France.    

It had that dry freshness and yesty-ness that I love in Champagne, tiny bubbles, and definitely hit the bright green apple notes of the description.  

While the decor could certainly use some help (I felt like I was in a mix between a private room at a strip club and an 80's living room) I would recommend stopping by to expand your knowledge of sparkling wine.

Wine:  Didier Grappe "The Clash" Brut
Purchased:  Riddling Widow, NYC
Price:  $29 retail

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2015 Wind Gap "Soif"

I'm late to the game but I just discovered the Tavern at Gramercy Tavern.  It's the perfect spot for a casual lunch at the bar or after-work drinks.  I first visited the restaurant when I was visiting NY with my family my freshman year of high school.  I really wish I appreciated food and dining back then as much as I do now!  

My dad and I have added the Tavern to our rotation of lunch spots when he's in town.  The trick is to get there by 11:50am as the bar typically fills up with those in the know as soon as they open.  Now you're in the know ;-)

On our last visit, we tasted this interesting red wine by Wind Gap that was on the by-the-glass menu.  "Soif" is the French word for "thirst".  The wine is a blend of 7 different grapes from vineyards planted between 1881 and 1975; it was served slightly chilled and would make for a great summer sipper for those red wine only drinkers out there.  It was very light in color and a bright, cherry red tint.  The nose was full of cherry and strawberry with a hint of spice.  The palate had a great acidity that was enhanced by the slight chill of the wine.  It was a great pairing with the Tavern burger.      

Wine:  2015 Wind Gap "Soif"
Purchased:  Gramery Tavern 
Price:  $29 retail

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - Champagne and Lobster: Agrapart & Fils "Terroirs"

What are everyone's thoughts on Valentine's Day?  Just another day?  Something to be celebrated?  I've always liked the holiday.  I see it as an excuse to bake up sweet treats and a reminder to express my love to those around me.  In my single days it was wine, cheese, and chocolate nights with my galentines; this year, my man went all out to treat me to one of my favorite meals "lobster rolls and french fries".  This is in quotes because I'm currently on an elimination diet and can't really eat like normal so it was extra special to have an indulgent, yet clean meal!

The extra special cherry on top was the Agrapart & Fils Terroirs Extra Brut Champagne that we shared.  I've been slow to come around to understand the nuances of Champagne.  It wasn't until our trip last spring and being introduced to Blanc de Blancs that I really gained a true appreciation for what Champagne could be.   

Agrapart is considered the gold standard of grower Champagne in the Avize region.  The Agrapart family has been making Champagne since the late 1800's.  Growing and wine-making practices remain mostly natural and organic with minimal intervention both in the vineyard and in the wine. 

The "Terroirs" is a cuvee of 100% Chardonnay from 4 different Grand Cru vineyards from the 2010 and 2011 harvests.  The wine was bottled in 2012 and aged for 4 years.  The wine is full of Chardonnay characteristics:  stone fruit, white flowers with tight, tiny bubbles that perfectly coat your mouth.  Notes of toast and yeast are some of my favorite characteristics and why I love Blanc de Blancs so much.  It was a lovely pairing with the rich lobster.      

One review I read called it a "poor man's Clos du Mesnil" which I think was a great description.  A lovely Champagne that is great for special occasions but doesn't break the bank.  That's a Valentine's treat I can totally get behind!  

Wine:  Agrapart & Fils Terroirs Extra Brut Champagne 
Purchased:  Verve Wine
Price:  $70

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - Cioppino Night

I can't think of anything better than a rich, hearty, seafood stew on a cold night, unless that meal is paired with two lovely red wines, now we're talking!  Family friends treated us to homemade cioppino.  We brought an Italian Cabernet Franc and they opened a Napa Malbec and an older vintage of one of my favorite Zinfadels.  It was a feast of epic proportions!

Anyone know the origin of "cioppino"??  Supposedly this dish originated in San Francisco, the fishermen would all "chip in" from that day's catch to a big pot of tomato based stew, and the "chip in" turned into "cioppino" and there you have it!   

As for the wines:  we started with the 2013 Cabernet Franc from Le Monde.  Hailing from Fruili Grave in Italy, the wine was light, bright, and acidic which helped to cut through the rich tomato-based sauce.  The wine is also fermented and aged in stainless steel (no oak) which keeps it light and fresh.    

Next up, Hendry 2014 Malbec.  Based in Napa, Hendry will often bottle small lots of single Bordeaux varietals.  The wine was an intense dark purple color with earthy, leathery notes.  I found the tannins overpowering in this one, not my favorite of the night.  

Last but certainly not least, this 2005 Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel from Nickel & Nickel.  I had the 2009 last spring and loved it, this was even more delicious!  The vineyard was located in the Russian River Valley, so cooler climate and 80+ year old vines make way for low yields, concentrated fruit and flavors.  Even at 11 years old, it was still very fruit-forward with ripe, jammy flavors that coated the mouth in the most luxurious way!  A touch of oak and spice rounded out the finish.  It was perfect to cap off the night with Ina's brownie skillet, homemade caramel sauce (salted and rosemary flavors) and quite possibly the best ice cream out there!

2013 Le Monde Cabernet Franc - $18 retail
2014 Hendry Malbec - $29 retail
2005 Nickel & Nickel Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel - $40

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wine Wednesday - Mid-90's Christmas

Another win from the bargain bin at Benchmark Wines, we served this 1995 Bordeaux Blend from Chateau Guiraud Cheval Blanc with Christmas dinner and it was delicious!  Not to be confused with this Cheval Blanc, but still good in it's own right!  

The wine was most-likely a blend of predominantly Merlot mixed with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, typical of blends from the Cotes de Bourg region.  I'm not sure if it was the aging or this wine in general, but it was rather light, in both taste profile and color vs. a typical weightier Bordeaux (could also be attributed to the age).  The fruit was still there:  dark cherries and hints of more savory fare (black olives) but the acid was starting to fade.  This wine probably won't last much longer, so if you come across it, drink it now!  

The label may be a little worse for wear but the wine was still tasting great!

I revisited a favorite dessert recipe, this red-wine pear tarte tatin which was a huge hit.  Seriously, make it, serve with a delicious red wine, and your guests will be singing your praises!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 Hibou Pinot Noir

They say your tastes change as you age, and I can say I'm starting to appreciate more lighter-style reds vs. the bold Cabernets I favored in my "youth".  Pinot Noir has become a go-to, it's food friendly and crowd-pleasing; a win-win.  

I recently tried this 2014 Hibou Pinot Noir; a small production Pinot from the the Russian River Valley.  It was absolutely delicious.  Maybe I liked it so much because it had darker-fruit tones (blackberries, black cherries) vs. typically lighter red fruits of most Pinots.  There was a touch of spice but mostly fruit, which I prefer.  It was smooth and velvety and perfectly balanced in every way with little tannin and a clean finish.  I'm literally still dreaming about this wine; it left a lasting impression on me!  Unfortunately we started our night with this wine and everything else paled in comparison from then on!  

Wine:  2014 Hibou "Soulajule" Pinot Noir
Purchased:  Lucky recipient of a gift
Price:  $59 retail but looks to be sold out, 2015 is now released to their mailing list only

Monday, January 23, 2017

Travelogue - Offseason Overnight in Sag Harbor, NY

After 8 years (8 years?!?!) in NYC, I've been lucky to explore much of the east end of Long Island.  I realized late this fall that this past summer was my first summer with no trip out East and I missed it!  My mom came to visit so I used that as a perfect excuse to pop out for a quick 24 hour trip to hit all of my favorite places.  

So unlike me, but I left this trip up to spontaneity, we knew we wanted to escape the city for a night but didn't have a set plan or agenda.  I woke up on Sunday morning and started calling places for availability.  It happened to be Columbus Weekend and was the Film Festival in East Hampton so prices weren't as much of a bargain as I was hoping for in the off season.  We found the last room at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor, a reasonable deal at $200 for the night.  I had also considered Baron's Cove and the Sag Harbor Inn but I'm so glad fate would have us at The American Hotel, it was much more central in town and had a charming, old-world feel.  The restaurant also came in handy as we were there in the midst of hurricane Matthew and we were able to practically wear our slippers downstairs to the dining room for a lovely dinner.       

We rented a car and made the drive out east.  I drove us straight to The Lobster Roll, I needed my fix of a perfect lobster roll and sweet potato fries!!  This restaurant is now prominently featured in the show The Affair, and they've certainly exploited their newfound fame, with show paraphernalia all over the restaurant!  My mom's heard me talk about this place for years so was fun to finally show her.  We split one hot and one cold lobster roll and those perfect fries!  

After lunch, we explored the shops in Amagansett, East Hampton, and finally made our way back to Sag Harbor.  After a day of rain that would.not.stop. we were thrilled to see our cozy attic room.  While the hotel is certainly old, the bed was extremely comfortable and the bathroom was nicely updated.  The stairs to the attic were quirky but fun.   


I was considering dinner at The Beacon or Dopo La Spiaggia but due to the rain we decided to take advantage of the restaurant downstairs.  I'd been for lunch before but never for dinner.  It was charmingly old-school (from service to the food).  They have an incredibly extensive winelist.  We enjoyed a lovely Chablis alongside our shared entrees of scallops with truffled risotto and blackfish with lobster in a tomato vinaigrette.  

Dessert was not to be missed!  Bananas foster for 2!

The next morning we woke up to clear sunny skies and took a walk around the village of Sag Harbor.  We ended with a stop at Grindstone Donuts, I'm a shameless fan of Michael Symon and when I heard his son opened this coffee and doughnut shop I knew I had to visit.  As luck would have it, the very minute that I was in line he was there with his wife and parents!  I was too shy to ask for a picture, but I've now seen in person 3/5 hosts of The Chew! (Nerd alert).  

We tried the lemon poppyseed and cinnamon sugar doughnut holes!
We returned to the hotel for breakfast in the atrium.  The continental options were minimal but sufficient alongside our doughnut haul :-)

We spent the day strolling through Sag Harbor, which in my opinion has the best selection of reasonably priced shops both old and new.  

We had one last lobster roll lunch overlooking the water at The Dock House followed by a final scoop of my favorite ice cream at Big Olaf's (their cookie dough topper is unreal). 

All in all a successful overnight getaway from the city.  Word of warning, while many places in the Hamptons are open year-round, some were starting to close for the winter season so if you plan to head out double check opening dates and times!


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