Wine Happenings. Happening Wines. Only in New York.

Happy Hallowine!

Written by W. R. Tish Sunday, 30 October 2011 20:01

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As holidays go, Halloween is low on demands, high on flexibility, and tops in opportunity for creativity—especially in New York City. On Thursday the 27th, New York Wine Salon added some vinous flava to Halloween, having gathered a set of tasty wines, ghoul-icious grub and fun-loving wine people at 28on27 Loft for HAPPY HALLOWINE, our third event of the fall.

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Below are program details for each of the featured wines, presented as “Chil-l-ler Whites,” “Killer Reds” and “Sparkling Tricks & Treats.” {We also had five M-m-mystery Wines… but you had to be there to know what they were.. beh-heh-heh-heh.} These particular wines were picked to show a range of grapes, origins and styles; best of all, they were all under $15. Scary good wines for precious little coin—it doesn’t get any better. Not surprisingly, no single wine stood out for everyone, and each wine garnered “favorite” votes. This wasn’t a competition anyway. It was a festive gathering with wines a backdrop and a focus (enhanced by delish finger food).

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With no further ado, here is our #Hallowine lineup, complete with retail (and some restaurant) outlets where the wines should be in stock (but remember they are all in the market, so any shop can order any of the wines for you). No prices… because they are all under $15, and you can even find some under $10. Now that’s something to scream about!

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CHIL-L-LER WHITES

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Domaine du Tariquet 2010 “Classic,” Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne, France. A tradition-bending blend from France, this wine hails from the heart of Armagnac country. Witness humble grapes, Ugni Blanc (70%) and Colombard (30%), make beautiful wine together. Fun fact: the founder of Tariquet was originally a bear trainer who bought the property when the vines had been decimated by phylloxera. Smart move. Find it at First Avenue Vintner, West 57 Wine & Spirits, Vintage on 2nd.

Domaine Cazes 2010 “Le Canon du Marechal,” Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, France. At once utterly French and thoroughly mod, this blend of 80% Muscat and 20% Viognier was inspired by a local Roussillon patriot and (sez the back label) aspires to pair with asparagus. On top of that, it’s been Biodynamic since 1997. Find it at Garnet, Buvette, Chelsea Wine Country, Parlor.

The Seeker 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand. New Zealand grabbed Sauvignon Blanc as its signature grape and has proceeded to run with it, often in styles that are aggressively citrusy. This one is dialed back just a bit, showing a tad more elegance than the usual Marlborough SB, setting it up for sipping or pairing. Find it at 67 Wine and Chelsea Wine Vault.

Cave de Lugny 2009 “Les Charmes,” Macon-Lugny, Burgundy. No-oak is trendy for New World Chards, but it’s old hat for “Les Charmes.” Call it the original naked Chardonnay. Not as heady as expensive Burgundy; then again, you don’t have to worry about when to drink it. Just say “Maintenant!” Made by one of France’s most successful cooperatives (which no doubt keeps its best fruit for its own label). Find it for at Sherry-Lehmann, Garnet, Mister Wright…lots of places.

KILLER REDS

André Brunel 2009 Cotes du Rhone, France. France’s quintessential bistro wine, CdR thrives when paired with all sorts of food (after all, it helped put the vin in coq au vin). The blend here is 80% Grenache and 10% each Syrah and Cinsault, all farmed for low yields. Look for red fruits and a touch of spice. Find it at City Cellar Bar and Grill, Whole Foods, Pop’s.

Jose Maria da Fonseca 2008 “Periquita,” Terras do Sado, Portugal. Created in 1850 and still going strong, Periquita is based on the native Portuguese grape Castelao. Not flashy; just a solid table wine that’s built, well, for the table. Tasty on its own, it only gets better with savory food. Look for berries and plum in the nose, with more of the same in a long, balanced palate. Find it at Astor, 67 Wine, Buy Rite, Aldea.

Casillero del Diablo 2010 Carmenere, Rapel Valley, Chile. Well established as the go-to country for value wines, Chile is starting to strut its stuff with a signature grape (à la Shiraz in Australia and Malbec in Argentina). Called the “forgotten grape,” Carmenere was originally a Bordeaux variety, now thriving in Chile. This is simply one of the best examples around. Find it at America’s Wine Shop, PJ Wine, Chelsea Wine Vault.

Chateau Bonnet 2007 Bordeaux Rouge, France. One of the world’s classic blends, Bordeaux tends to be less fruit-forward (earthier) than New World Cab-Merlot blends, with evident structure (tannin and acidity) that positions it to improve over time. Bonnet (which makes a great blanc as well) is a great example of Bordeaux for drinking today. Find it at 67 Wine.

The Seeker 2009 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. You can hardly walk into a wine store these days without knocking into a stack of Malbec. The Seeker is Kobrand’s new line that taps iconic grapes and regions then brings them together under one nifty conceptual umbrella—and this one makes a fresh case for Malbec’s star power. Find it at 67 Wine or Chelsea Wine Vault.

Purple Cowboy 2009 “Tenacious Red,” Paso Robles. In the Old World, tradition and practicality have long meant that only grapes that grow in the same zip code make it into the same bottle. In the New World, thanks to technology, it’s easier to inject some playfulness into blends. Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red ($14), made from Cab and Syrah is all about playful, with a little punch. Find it at Carnegie Liquor, New Ehrlich Wine & Liquor, International Wine & Spirits.

Deep Purple 2009 Zinfandel, California. Ready for a time warp? Pulling its imagery from the ’60s, its name from the ’70s and its fruit from the soulful heart of California Zin Country (Lodi), Deep Purple delivers all that berry-rrific fruit and spice without going over the top with the alcohol. Bonus: the psychedelic type on the front label is actually a tasting note. Find at Carnegie Liquor, New Ehrlich Wine & Liquor, International Wine & Spirits.

SPARKLING TRICKS & TREATS

Valdo Prosecco, Veneto, Italy. So light it’s practically ethereal, bubbly Prosecco has mild apple-y fruit and just a hint of sweetness that makes it hard to resist. Perfect for lunch, receptions and cocktails (hey, it was used to create the Bellini) and any occasion where you want to add sparkle without paying big bucks. Valdo is simply a great, balanced example. Find it at 67 Wine.

Cinzano NV Asti, Italy. The Cinzano brothers set up shop in Turin back in 1757, but this wine could not be more contemporary. Moscato is the hottest grape going these days, and this one represents its spiritual homeland of Asti admirably. Sweet? You bet. That’s Moscato’s job. A touch of sparkle and balancing acidity to boot. Sip, relax, repeat. Find it at Eataly, Adel Wine & Liquors; Da Rosini, Il Palazzo.

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Disclosure: Wines were curated for this event by New York Wine Salon as part of a cooperative promotional program. There are lots of good wines out there; we are thrilled to be able to showcase these wines tonight, as they represent especially good quality and value.

Boo? Yah! Happy Hallowine set for Oct. 27th

Written by W. R. Tish Thursday, 20 October 2011 14:57

Nothing grips New York quite like Halloween. It’s a “holiday” we can all wrap our heads around, and channel all sorts of energy into pure creative fun. And it’s one night of the year devils and angels and zombies alike can go crazy side by side...

New York Wine Salon is prepping to add some vinous flava to Halloween 2011: please join us next Thursday, October 27, at 28on27, for "HAPPY HALLOWINE Dress up or come as you are; we guarantee an eve of scary-good wines and ghouli-cious grub.

What’s to drink? Chil-l-ler Whites, Killer Reds and Bubbly Tricks & Treats. 18 wines in all, spanning the globe in terms of grapes, regions and styles. We'll be sending out teasers about the wines over coming days; see if you can decipher the wines behind the masks, so to speak...

For extra fun on Oct. 27th (no, we will not be bobbing for apples in a bucket of hard cider), we'll have three blind wines; test your pure tasting skills... three savvy palates will be going home with a bottle of vino, even if they are not dressed like James Suckling.

What's to eat? Bitesize nibbles that would satisfy vampires and ghosts alike. To wit:

Sweet potato and red onion frittata squares
Italian chicken liver pate (baked inside pumpkins) with Fiorelle pears and radicchio on crostini
Caramelized onion, goat cheese and black olive focaccia
Pumpkin and dark chocolate bites
plus, a veritable orange rainbow of cheeses and platters of salumi

Don't wait, and do save! We've set aside a dozen tickets for $10 off the $35 price; just use code NYWS when you purchase.

Local vs. Global: the Tasty Debate, set for Oct. 4

Written by Joe Janish Monday, 26 September 2011 14:51

How does one balance a drink-local mindset with a drink-global opportunity? The gathering place of all things wine in the city—New York Wine Salon—will tackle this question, guided by guest speakers Tyler Colman (a.k.a. “Dr. Vino”) and Alice Feiring (NY Wine Salon reviewer and author of Naked Wine).

In this Age of Green, it’s hip to be a locavore. But this is also the Golden Age of wine, with more superior wines being made in more parts of the world than ever. And wine is arguably the most ship-worthy beverage on earth, easily secured for long journeys and sometimes long-term keeping.

Each side of the argument has valid points—though none are bulletproof. For example, although every state in the USA has at least one winery, those wineries don’t necessarily bottle from grapes grown locally; in many cases, the juice comes from out-of-state. So if you are at a BYOB in the ’boken and drinking wine from a NJ winery because you think it’s the “green” thing to do, think again—that Cabernet-Zin blend was most likely trucked across the USA from California.

But then again, that’s probably better than buying wine that's been shipped across the Atlantic—or is it? Believe it or not, a boxed wine from Portugal might have a smaller carbon footprint than a jug wine from New York. Ah, which brings up the container issue: which is best for Mother Earth—glass, box, or Tetra-pak? Cork or screwcap?

These issues only scratch the surface of the Local vs. Global wine debate—we have plenty more to discuss! And, we’re going to do just that on Tuesday, October 4th, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at 28on27 (located, conveninetly at 28 West 27th Street), with a collection of the brightest wine minds in the New York area. If you are a wine writer, blogger or content-creator, you’re invited to join the discussion and indulge in some great wines of varying carbon footprints. To request an invite, send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your name, outlet name(s) and/or blog address.

Among the vinous highlights: Marquis Phillips 2008 “Modern” Edelzwicker; Steinmetz 1990 Spatlese Kestener Paulinsberg; Torres 2005 “Mas La Plana” from magnum; Chateau Nairac 2001 Barsac. Plus: wines from Australia, Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, SpainMichigan(?!). We will also have a bevy of “Splendid Blendeds” from California and, mais oui, a selection of wine thunder from New York State.

Fun, with funny wines

Written by W. R. Tish Friday, 23 September 2011 08:27

It was a night that stimulated palates and funny bones alike at Gotham Comedy Club as NY Wine Salon staged a comedy-wine mashup. Too many jokes to fit in a blog post, but below are the wines we enjoyed, as guests chose scaled four tiers, from House Wines on up to The Sublime. At most comedy clubs there is a two-drin minimum. As you can see, we have an eight-drink minimum! And the answer is: YES, that really was 101-point Cabernet...

HOUSE WINES (pick 2)
CaliPinotGrigio. It’s good enough for penny-pinching co-eds, so it’s good enough for you too, isn’t it? From magnum, no less…
NZ SB. That would be New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for the acronym-challenged. And we are serving it from a double magnum. OK, so it’s not really a double-mag; it’s a 3-liter “Octavin” bag-in-box. (Shhh, the wine doesn’t know what package it’s in.)
Barbera. Four out of five peasants recommend Barbera to their peers. Especially when pizza is involved.
Apothic Red.This kitchen-sink blend, straight from a lab, would likely cause natural-wine-o’s like Alice Feiring to break out in hives. But it makes lots of others reach for a straw.

THE GOOD STUFF (pick 4)
Benoit Gautier 2009 Vouvray, Loire Valley, France. Vastly underappreciated, Chenin Blanc in the Loire can be made in every style from bubbly to bone-dry to demi-sec or syrupy sweet. This one would please Goldilocks with it just-right lush fruit and under-pinning of acidity.
Pacific Rim 2009 Riesling. It’s here. It’s clear. It’s Riesling. And if you drink this you’re officially considered cool by sommeliers.
Hasjzan 2008 Gemischter Satz, Austria. A total freak job, this wine is made from 11 different white grapes (Gruner Veltliner and pals) interspersed in a single vineyard within the city limits of Vienna. It’s so complex it’s komplex.
The Velvet Devil 2009 Merlot, Columbia Valley. This is what Merlot is supposed to taste like. Or at least it’s what I hear Merlot is supposed to taste like. I, of course, have not drunk a glass of Merlot since 1994. Smooth, rich,
Beaujolais-Villages 2008. Left over from our Natural Wine salon, this baby is way, way better than your average Bojo, Boo-Boo.
Bordeaux 2009. That’s ’09. Oh. My. Humble BDX from a spectacular vintage is a wonderful thing.
Zin 91. That’s 91. As in, this Zin was cooked up by a 91-year-old, Hubert Opici. Duuuude!
Bilton 2008 “Matt Black” Red Blend, South Africa. This wine has a pirate on the label, and it lives up to the promise: dark, ornery, but with a bit of swashbuckling bad-boy charm. Plus, it can cure scurvy.

OBSCURIOSITIES (pick 1)
Gold. Yes, ladies, those are real gold flakes swimming like sea monkeys in this bizarre blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Gewürztraminer.
Fuedi di San Gregorio 2007 Falanghina. Remember reading about the Italian white wine that Donald Trumpgave away as a party favor to guests attending his daughter’s wedding? Um, probably not, because apparently he changed his mind after the winery had already done a special run of half-bottles. So they got dumped by the importer and I picked up a few cases. It was a great summer white. Two summers ago. As for now…?
Georges Dubouef Beaujolais Nouveau. What vintage, you ask? Why, 2008, mais oui. You got a problem with that? It was a very good year.
Bandit Sangria. If “old” Nouveau was not enough of a test for your nerves, try this: red wine and “natural flavors” in a glorified juice box.
Estrella “Inedit” Beer. It’s the beer that thought it was wine. Created in cooperation with the famously infamous Spanish restaurant El Bulli. Si!
Australian Sherry. Thanks to the European Union, the world will never again see the likes of this bastard. Might be a good thing. I found it on a dusty shelf near the ceiling of Park Ave. Liquors and took it home like a stray cat. Then was afraid to open it. Be brave…

THE SUBLIME (pick 1)
101 Point Cabernet. By the power vested in my by having once been a subscriber to Wine Spectator, and based on this wine’s heady combo of tongue-twisting fruit, sandpapery tannins, roasted oak and je ne sais quoi, I hereby declare this vintage red to be worthy of 101 points! Can’t fight it; you can only hope to keep it down…
Paolo Bea 1999 Sagrantino. I am having a hard time remembering how and when I got this wine. And I was having an even harder time figuring out when to open it. Until tonight. Drumroll, puh-lease.
Chateau d’Yquem. The uber-Sauternes. Yquem is in a class of its own. But don’t take my word for it. Chug-a-lug! Er, I mean: savor. Not telling you what vintage. Surely you can guess that yourself.
Volupté. We go back to the Loire, back to Chenin, for a bootylicious bouteille of honeyed liquid that many people say they actually prefer to Yquem. That is, after every beady drop of Yquem is drained. Seriously, this is as good as sweet wine gets.

Fall into the Season with NY Wine Salon

Written by Joe Janish Wednesday, 07 September 2011 22:57

September is here, which for kids means it’s back to school and for adults it’s back to wine drinking. Not that we ever stopped, but we’re ready to leave behind the featherweight delights of summer and crack open the good stuff. With good people.

The New York wine tasting season will be highlighted this fall by four NY Wine Salon events, beginning with Sips & Giggles on September 22nd at Gotham Comedy Club. This riotous evening will feature stand-up routines by M Dickson, Cathleen Rittereiser, Harrison Greenbaum, and NYWS’s own W. R. Tish, presented to you amidst the imbibement of EIGHT (count 'em!) different winesserved dim-sum style, no lessalong with edibles straight off an all-star Food Truck. Tickets are just $35 and selling faster than Malbec, so hurry up and get yours now.

After laughing our palates off, we at NY Wine Salon will be switching to more serious matters, and hosting a special, media-only event on October 4th titled Local vs. Global to discuss carbon footprints, sustainability, and other green initiatives in relation to our eating and drinking habitswhile sampling wine and food from both local and international suppliers, of course. If you are a member of the wine media, and/or publish a wine blog, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for a personal invitation.

Then on October 27th, we’re hosting the most frightening wine tasting of the year: Happy Hallowine! Whether you come costumed or not, you'll have the chance to try over a dozen new releases that any ghoul would die for. We’ll provide both the tricks and the treats at this adult celebration of Halloween, so have no fear of attending. Click here to reserve tickets, as this one will sell out quickly .

Finally, we close the wine tasting season on November 4th with a special screening of Aςores: From Lava to Wine—Ken Payton's latest documentary. Best known for his insightful and incisive blog Reign of Terroir, Payton explores the rugged Acores region in Portugal, where wine is still made by hand. It’s the perfect date night—wine, dinner, and a movie—and you can do it all in one place. Reserve your seats now.

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