Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pickling with Paniza

When one plants a garden they can expect to give up a day to pickle the bounty of cucumbers they have before they rot. That is exactly what I did one day with the help of Paniza 2015 Cariñena from Bodegas Paniza in Spain. You always need a little help from you friends.

Bodegas Paniza founded in 1953 is a cooperative venture of three hundred grape growers bringing together the bounty of their vineyards which covers 2,500 hectares of grape. The vineyards located in Northern Spain at the foothills of the Iberian Mountains are in the Denomination of Origin Cariñena. These vineyards are the highest vineyards in the area.

Cariñena is Spain’s second Designation of Origin (which is part of the regulatory classification of Spanish wines) Cariñena takes its name from Carae, a Roman settlement dating back to the year 50 BC and Cariñena which is also known as Carignan is native to this region.

The Paniza 2015 Cariñena is stainless steel fermented and makes for a great wine to serve slightly chilled. First impressions are aromas of smoke, black cherry and eucalyptus. As the wine opens up juicy ripe red raspberries show in the glass. The palate is full of dark fruit, and as it opens some red berries, plum, red raspberry jam and black raspberries come through. The wine has a nice structure and and a rounded feel on the palate.

After the pickling was over we sat down and finished the bottle some turkey burgers. At a SRP of $13 it provided great value and good drinks.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition Results

Every year the Saturday after Labor Day the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition is held at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York. This is my 9th year at the helm and I must say, every year it gets better and better.  I work with a wonderful group of judges and back room helpers. As successful as it is, it would be successful without their commitment.

This year there were 111 entries of which 94 were wines, 13 were ciders and 4 were spirits. They were all judged by a panel of 16 judges. Returning this year is Bob Brink, Fine Wines Manager, Arlington Wine & Liquor; Christopher Matthews, Wine & Spirits Columnist for New York Law Journal Magazine; Dr. Evan Goldfisher, George Drivas, Gordon Food Service, Dana H Lee, Certified Specialist of Wine; Chris Gerling, Extension Associate for Enology for New York State; John Hudleson, Assistant Professor of Global Wine Studies at Central Washington University; Diane Letulle, Wine Dine Go; Lori Budd, Dracaena Wines; Jerry Pellegrino Restauranteur and owner of Schola, Jen Redmond, Jack Robertiello, wine, food & spirits writer; Doug Croll, Deutsch Family Wines;  Certified Wine Judges: Kevin Ostrowski Annemarie Morse, JoAnn DeGaglia.

This is no easy task as the quality of the wines increase every year.  This year there were 5 Double Gold medals, 12 Gold medals, 38 Silver medals and 36 Bronze Medals. Winery of the Year was a tie between Tousey Winery and Benmarl Winery. Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery's 2016 Vidal Blanc won Best in Show as well as Best Hudson Valley Wine (made with Hudson Valley fruit). Best Red Wine was awarded to Robibero Family Vineyards for their 2013 Cabernet Franc; Best Fruit Wine was awarded to Christopher Jacobs Winery for their Appleoosa; Best Dessert Wine was awarded to Brotherhood Winery for their Late Harvest Riesling; Best Cider award Brooklyn Cider for their 2016 Half Sour and the Best Spirit was awarded Hudson Valley Distillers for their Clear Mountain Gin.

It was a long weekend for me, but so well worth it!  Here's a short video of the final round where the Best in Show is determined. Following is the complete list of winning wines.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Winephabet Street C is for Carménère

If you missed our August Winephabet Street C is for Carménère here's your chance to learn a little about the lost grape of Bordeaux.  Carménère was originally part of the Bordeaux blend.  But when phylloxera wiped out the grape vines in 1867 they replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

French ampelographer (grape botany expert) Jean-Michael Bouriquot noticed in Chile that the Merlot vine took much longer to ripen than they should. Through research he found that 50% of the vines were actually Carménère. In this video you'll learn about Carménère and some food to pair with it.

I apologize in advance as I was in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee to watch the solar eclipse so the internet was not to good.  We'll blame the eclipse.

Please join us for our next edition of Winephabet Street, Monday September 18 where we learn about Dolcetto.  To register, click here 

Boutique Wines & Spirits is the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess's wine store for Winephabet Street.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Farm-to-Table Dinner on Bannerman's Island

Every year Noah Sheetz of the Chefs’ Consortium invites me to the annual chef-prepared Farm-to-Table Bannerman’s Island Fundraiser and it always seems to be the day of the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition (September 9th this year), so I can’t attend. I’m pretty bummed about it. It’s such a great event and the chance to tour and dine on Bannerman’s Island is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is why your should take advantage of the chance to dine and tour Bannerman’s Island because I can't:

1. Experience food prepared by local chefs with local ingredients
2. It’s a fundraiser for Bannerman’s Island
3. To tour Bannerman’s Island and dine in the garden among the ruins of this historic island.

There are 5 chefs, all members of the Chefs’ Consortium preparing a different course for event. This year the chefs are:
Dan Spitz - preparing soup
Jillian Naveh preparing salad
Jereme Keough preparing the main course
Michael Lapi preparing the cheese course
Joan Dembinski preparing dessert

The dinner takes place in the most picturesque setting on the Hudson River in Helen Bannerman’s garden with views of the mountains. You will feel like you are in a 5 star restaurant complete with linens and service.

The Chefs’ Consortium are local New York chefs that are committed to promoting locally grown farm fresh food. The are chefs are from “all walks of life” and they travel around New York state to share their love of cooking with local ingredients. Just read the bios from the above chefs. They are pretty amazing.

Bannerman’s Island is a site not to be missed. Purchased by the Bannerman’s in 1900 to be used as a safe storage site for the surplus stock they had acquired. The family constructed a Scottish castle on the property in 1901. Equipment and ammunition were stored there until sold. Mrs Bannerman (Helen) loved gardening and is responsible for the beautiful paths, terraces, flowers and shrubs that still exist today.

If you are able to attend this wonderful event on Saturday, September, 9th I want to hear all about it. The event has two seatings. The earlier seating will be served family style and the later one is a formal five course meal. Last year the seatings were at 3:30pm and 5:00pm. Tickets are $130 per person.

To purchase tickets go to http://www.chefsconsortium.com/event/dinner-bannermans-island or call 845.831.6346 to request your seating.

September 1, 2017 – just announced is the menu for this wonderful event!  Get your tickets now.

Salmorejo – Spanish tomato and bread soup with fried jamon iberico or Serrano, hard cooked egg, parsley sauce and almonds
Mixed spicy greens, cherry tomato confit, buffalo mozzarella mousse, olive oil and herb cracker
Main entree
Fire Roasted Pork Loin
-Ground Cherry Mustarda, Braised Greens with House Cured Bacon and Caramelized Onions, Warm Potato and Late Harvest Corn Salad
Goats milk blue cheese with French melons and Fermented Rhubarb
Walnuts three ways:
– Carrot walnut cake with traditional cream cheese frosting and candied carrots (featuring local carrots)
– Baklava roulades
– Candied walnuts

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival Wine Seminars

I can’t believe the summer has flown by so fast and September is right around the corner. You know what that means? It’s time for the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival the weekend after Labor Day. It’s a big weekend for me with lots going on.

We start Saturday morning at 9am with the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition held at the wine festival. If you attend the festival on Saturday you can watch the final round of judging where all the top winners are determined. Just come on over to the building with the garage doors and watch how the best wines, cider and spirits of the Hudson Valley are determined.

Following the competition I will be giving 2 seminars on Saturday and 2 seminars on Sunday. Join me on the demo stage in the building with the garage doors (I know it has a letter to go with it but it’s the small building, last building on the left on your way to the bathrooms)

Saturday at 3pm join me for a Cake Ball and Wine Pairing with three delicious cake balls from Auntie Liana’s paired with local Hudson Valley Wines. You will be tasting the following:

Dark Chocolate Rose - A dark chocolate rose cake mixed with chocolate fudge rose icing, dipped in dark chocolate and topped with an edible rose petal paired with Robibero Winery’s Stray.
Persian Love Cake - Cake is baked iwth hints of lemon and cardamom, mixed in a saffron and rose icing, dipped in white chocolate and topped with roasted pistachios paired with Whitecliff Vineyard’s Vidal.
Lemon Dream - Lemon cake mixed with lemon icing, dipped in white chocolate paired with Tousey Winery’s Chardonnay

I’m back on the stage again at 5pm on Saturday to talk about Sparkling Wine. We’ll talk and taste Champagne, Nino Franco Prosecco and Cava, discuss how they are produced, the grapes used and what makes them each special.

Sunday at 1pm the two Debbie’s take the stage. I have partnered with the Hudson Valley Cheese Lady Debbie Decker who is so knowledgeable in Hudson Valley cheeses. We spent a day together touring the Hudson Valley wineries just to pair the cheeses. Here is what you will taste:

Old Chatham Camembert with Fjord Merlot
Sprout Creek Toussaint with Benmarl Village White
McCadam Hot Pepper Cheese with FREEFALL Sangria
5 Spoke Creamery Harvest Moon with TBD IPA

Back by popular demand for Sunday at 4pm is Auntie Liana’s Cake Balls paired with Hudson Valley wines. If you are at the festival both days, you do want to come to each of the cake balls seminars, because the cake balls are different each day. Here is Sunday’s pairing:

Black Forest Cake - A chocolate cherry cake mixed with chocolate fudge icing, dipped in white chocolate and topped with both chocolate sprinkles and a Very Cherry Jelly Belly® paired with Tousey Winery’s Riot
Green Tea - Matcha Green Tea cake mixed with Matcha Green Tea icing, dipped in white chocolate and topped with green sprinkles paired with Whitecliff Vineyard’s Bourbon Barrel Blonde
Red Velvet - Red Velvet cake mixed with cream cheese flavored icing dipped in white chocolate paired with Benmarl’s Rosé

In between all the seminars you can find me at my table autographing copies of my book Tapping the Hudson Valley.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Amalaya - Hope for a Miracle

Amalaya like it’s brother Colomé is part of the Hess Family Wine Estates. Amalaya is fairly new, founded in 2010 the word means ‘Hope for a Miracle’ at what began from an experiment at Colomé.

That experiment was to find alternative sourcing and varieties for Malbec and Torrontés to produce new wines. The land where the vineyards are located were virgin to grape vines. The land located in the northern Calchaqui Valley in the eastern foothills of the Andes at an altitude between 5,250 and 5,580 feet above sea level. The high altitude provides intense sun during the day and cool evenings that enables the grapes to retain their acidity and fruit characteristics.

Amalaya wines are based on the varieties known through-out Argentina, Malbec and Torrontés that are blended with other varieties to reach their full expression. This totally shines through on their Amalaya Blanco and Amalaya Malbec.

2016 Amalaya Blanco is a bled of 85% Torrontés and 15% Riesling aged in stainless steel for between 90 and 120 days. The wine had a very floral nose with lemon shining through. The palate was elegant with a mineral notes, hint of grapefruit and lemon. Crisp and refreshing on a hot summers night! This paired very well with Mexican food. Note: my friend Jen said this wine reminded her of a Sauvignon Blanc. Think of this wine as an alternative. SRP $12

2016 Amalaya Malbec is a blend of 85% Malbec, 10% Tannat and 5% Petit Verdot. Twenty five percent of this wine spent 8 months in French oak. This is the perfect burger wine!! Deep purple in color, the wine showed aromas of black cherry, chocolate, mocha and allspice when first opened. As the wine was able to breath, soft aromas of strawberries and raspberries began to show. On the palate red fruit with a hint of plum, tree bark, licorice and rounded out with soft tannins. SRP $16

Friday, August 18, 2017

Liquid Altitude FREEFALL Sangria

In preparing for the seminars I do at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival I came across a brand called Liquid Altitude that produces FREEFALL Sangria in the Hudson Valley. For my seminars I prefer to use businesses that are at the festival, so when during my seminars, they see how well a wine pairs with food, they will want to take a bottle and the food item home with them.

I met up with Christine this past Saturday at Ribibero Winery 2 hours before my book signing and her tasting at a liquor store. We sat down and chatted like we were friends that hadn’t seen each other for a long time. Christine story begins at The Ranch, Skydiving Center where she was the manager of the Cafe, serving the skydivers her Sangria after their jumps. The skydivers loved the Sangria so much she expanded to other skydiving operations where it was very well received and people began to ask here where they could purchase a bottle. This past May her baby FREEFALL Sangria was born.

What’s in the Sangria? Don’t expect your normal run of the mill Sangria. In fact her tag line is “Dare To Drink Different.” The Sangria is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Baco Noir all sourced from the Hudson Valley infused with 4 kinds of berries and stone fruit from the Hudson Valley and orange which isn’t sourced locally.

I tasted the Sangria and was impressed on how the flavors of the wine all had a unique presence. A lot of black and red cherry, plum fruit and blackberry finishing with a hint of citrus. It was dry yet sweet so it would pair well with spicy food. It’s a big Sangria. In fact Debbie the cheese lady I was working with said “this is how Sangria is should taste. It’s real Sangria!” With that I left her the Sangria and she is going to pair it with a big bold cheese at for the wine and cheese for Sunday’s seminar at the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival.

If you want to pick up a bottle of FREEFALL  Sangria it’s sold in just under 100 liquor stores in 6 counties in the Hudson Valley and it retails for $17.99.

If you want to experiment with the Sangria you can check out some creative recipes for cocktails to make with FREEFALL at https://liquidaltitude.com/cocktail-recipes/

Listen to our conversation about the brand below.