Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sip and Savor at Ocean Breeze Wine Festival on Diamond Beach & $5 off Admission

Cape May County's first annual premium wine festival kicks off at Bungalow No. 1 Beach Bar Saturday August 1, 2015.

Wine-Time on the beach!  You don't even have to leave the beach after spending all day sunning yourself.  My kind of wine festival!

Wine-time begins at 4:30pm and runs until 8pm.  Taste award winning wines from renowned wine brands like Masi wines from Italy, Cloudy Bay from New Zealand, Jordan Winery in Sonoma, the famous Chateau Montelena.  There will be 30+ wineries to sample from. At 5:30pm I will be giving a short seminar to learn how to taste wines like a pro.

Admission to the festival is $50 and includes wine tasting on the beautiful white sands of Diamond Beach, a keepsake glass plus two food tickets for small bites and listen to music by Next.  You can also purchase an additional VIP Grazing Station Access for $20 or a small cheese plate for $10.  Both add-ons need to be pre-purchased before the festival. 

Tickets for the festival can be purchased at   Use code WINEGODDESS5 for $5 off ticket price.

Here are some tasting tips to maximize your wine tasting experience:
  • Make sure you eat a good lunch.  There are many wines to try and the munchies provided are intended to help you try the wine with food and clear your palate
  • Drink water!  You will be in the sun.  Remember you are on the beach. So not only will the wine dehydrate you, but so will the sun.  Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!
  • Be courteous to others who wish to taste.
  • After receiving your pour, please step back from the tasting table to do your personal evaluation.  This allows others to step forward to receive their sample
  • Step to the side if you wish to speak with the winery representative.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wine Word Wednesday: Hot

Monday, July 20, 2015

Wines of Chile: Montes Wines

Founded in 1987 by Aurelio Montes and Douglas Murray, both wine professionals wanting to realize their dream of producing Chilean wines of high quality.  In 1988 they partnered with Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand and Montes Wines came to fruition.

In 2004 the winery was built that holds 2,3000,000 liters of wine.  It is a state of the art gravity flow winery that was built on the principles of feng shui to ensure harmony in a positive atmosphere.  Water flows towards the building so that prosperity will come if the water, representing energy, flows towards the center of the building.

They have always believed in caring for the environment and developing a sustainable practices throughout every phase of production. They aim to understand how all the natural ecosystems around the vineyard provide services to the vineyard.  They work with the benefits that nature provides. This is an ongoing process.

They employ a full time agronomist that studies the science and technology of producing and using the plants for food and fuel in the vineyard.  This involves all areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meterology and soil science.

I had the privilege to taste two of Montes wines and I was blown away by both of them.

Montes Spring Harvest 2015 Sauvignon Blanc At first sip three words came out of our mouth- Oh Yea, Wow! This comes from their vineyard located in the Leyda Valley where the soil is granite and clay.

The wine had a nice straw color and beautiful aromas were coming from the glass. Juicy pineapple, grapefruit, lime, hint of jasmine and peach.  The palate was crisp with balanced acidity.

Best part, this wine retails for $14.  I served it with Wasabi Salmon.

Montes Alpha 2012 Carmenére is one of the best Carmenére I've tasted, and I've tasted quite a few. The grapes for this wine are from their Colchagua Valley vineyards and they are grown under their dry farming philosophy.  That means they are farmed sustainable with less water and that challenges the grapes and generates flavor.

The wine had notes of black cherry, coffee, and dark chocolate.  There was some nice plum fruit the shined through with a black pepper finish that lingered a bit.

This wine is a steal at $20. I paired this with Peruvian Shish Kabobs.

Wasabi Glazed Grilled Salmon

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp wasabi powder (more if you really want to clean out your sinuses)
juice of 1 lime
1 lb salmon

Mix all of the above for the marinade in a bowl.  Marinade salmon for about 30 minutes before grilling.

Peruvian Shish-Kabobs

1 pound of beef cubes for shish-kabobs
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Mix all above except beef.  Then add beef and marinade for 2 hours.  Thread the beef onto skewers and grill

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room: Band Bacchanalia Both Pleasant and Festive

It was a glorious day, sunny and hot, with bands occupying three stages at the Pleasantville Music Festival, and several varieties of Captain Lawrence flowing. There was a little more star power on stage at this year’s affair, the 11th, and the masses turned up to see some rock icons. The award for most determined went to Eric Kristensen, who “hobbled” from his Pleasantville home, he says, on a broken ankle covered in a thick cast. “I slipped on the grass,” he explained. “Scratch that. I hurt it in a Division 3 cage match.”
Eric smiled, then revealed that he was demonstrating a soccer drill for his team of 7-year-old girls when he took a spill. But he was well enough to party with old SUNY Purchase pals Scott Pitulik and Terry Deal, who were up from Manhattan for the day. “We’ve been here before,” said Terry, mentioning seeing headliner the English Beat a few years ago. “It sounded fun and doable. It’s nice to get out of the city and be with a bunch of friends who live here, and their kids.”
As Fastball played, Terry recalled cranking the Austin band’s ubiquitous late ‘90s radio staple “The Way” while driving around in her car. Eric sipped the Captain Lawrence IPA and Terry the peppery O’de To P’Ville saison, which Captain Lawrence made just for the day. (The brewery was, of course, born two blocks from the festival on Castleton Street.) She described it as a “put-orange-in-it beer”.
Scott called himself a “philistine” in terms of beer. “I’m only having the Kolsch because there’s no Budweiser,” he admitted.
Hey, everyone was welcome on this day, whether it was the main stage, the acoustic “chill tent” or the Captain Lawrence beer garden stage. The biggest buzz of the first half of the day went to Lions on the Moon, a gang of exceptionally talented teens, except for one—the 12-year-old Hendrix-esque guitarist, Brandon Niederauer. The kid can outright shred, and the band drew a massive crowd to the beer tent to watch their soulful take on classic rock staples. Aaron Barbour of Thornwood sipped his saison, which he called “a good beer for a hot summer day.” Lions on the Moon, from Long Island, were his early favorite. “It’s only 5:30,” said Aaron, “but that may hold to the end of the night.”
Darien’s Luke Condolora, sporting a Ramones t-shirt, buys radio air time for a living, knows the sponsor Peak 107.1 FM well, and checks the upcoming lineup at the music fest every year. “This was the first year where I said, I gotta go,” said Luke, with the Gin Blossoms the band that tipped the scales in his favor.
He and wife Laura (Luke and Laura have heard their share of “General Hospital” jokes, but have at it) sampled several beers that sat atop a barrel, and could barely contain their excitement. “Our daughter is at camp and our son is at work,” said Laura. “We are out!”
“We’re on the express,” added Luke. “And it just rolled in.”
Both were enjoying the Belgian-style Liquid Gold. “It’s the first time I’ve had it,” said Luke. “It won’t be the last.”
Their pal Gina Goichman of Fairfield laughed along with the mirthful Luke and Laura. “I’m babysitting them,” she said.
Fastball gave way to G. Love and Special Sauce, who attracted a large and lively crowd in front of the stage. Even some f-bombs from G. Love didn’t dampen the boisterous vibe. (Hey G.—there are kids in attendance!) Marshall Crenshaw played a sensitive solo set under the tent, a nice break from the sun, while the Captain Lawrence beer garden continued to go strong.
“The sun has dipped down, it’s a little cooler and no one is rushing the beer line,” said Dan Townsend of Pleasantville. “It’s become chill.”
Dan enjoyed the IPA along with pals Jen Filerdi of Chappaqua and Valerie Jacobs of Pleasantville; it was the stage of the evening where they were comparing “Karate Kid” kicks. Valerie mentioned attending all 11 Pleasantville Music Festivals. Dan actually hosted the event’s after-party at his home a few years back. There was a DJ, some archery, a band from the festival and an unhappy neighbor or two.
Aaron Barbour took it all in with a happy sip of his saison. “Local beer, local music, local food, and it’s good for kids,” he said. “This is the whole package.”The headliner, the Gin Blossoms, finally took the stage near sunset, living proof that an exceptional hit song will stick in people’s consciousness a few decades after it dominates the radio. (There. Now “Hey Jealousy” is stuck in your head for the next few hours.)
—Michael Malone (
Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Wednesday through Friday (4-8 p.m.), Saturday (12-6 p.m.) and Sunday (12-5). The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in India Pale Ale. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer of Rosé: Y. Rousseau Rosé of Tannat

Born in the Gascony region of France, Yannick Rousseau was first introduced to wine at the age of 5 by his grandfather Pepé who made his own wine. In 1996 he began making wine in France working at Domaine St Lannes and then Chateau Montus and Domaine Bouscassé.  In 1998 he earned his Master's degree in Enology and Viticulture from the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France.

1999 was the year Yannick moved to the states and began working in the Napa Valley.  In 2008 he decided to go out on his own, looking for the ideal vineyards to source his fruit from and the rest is history.

His wines are hand crafted to express the terrior the grapes are grown and it really shows in his Rosé of Tannat.

Tannat is a grape that is grown in the South West of France Madiran region, which is where Yannick began his winemaking career.  Not heavily grown in California, but he found two plots grown in Saralee's Vineyard and Matthew's Station.  Both vineyards were at one time owned by the Kunde's, however, they have since sold Saralee's Vineyard.

The 2014 Rosé of Tannat is beautiful in color. Fermented in stainless steel and aged 5 months on the lees with no stirring. Some nice minerality on the nose with red fruit and a hint of roses.  The palate had a nice soft texture and crisp acidity with strawberries, red fruit and citrus flavors dancing in your mouth.

We paired this with a garden vegetable quiche and salad for a nice summer's dinner.

All for Wine, Wine for All! ~Yannick Rousseau

SRP $24

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer of Rosé: Erzetič Winery

It is always fascinating to drink wines from all over the world.  One should not limit yourself and should always keep an open mind and palate.  When I received the Erzetič Winery from Slovenia I was pretty excited.  I have only tasted Slovenia Vodka, and did so with the Chef behind it Peter Kelly and I was wowed!  I thought if the Vodka is good so must be the wine and I was correct.

Located just over the northeast Italian border, the first owner of the Erzetič Estate, Martin planted the vineyard in 1725. Staying true to the land, the wine is made to capture the charm and liveliness of the terrior.

The Erzetič Rosé is a delightful Rosé. The grapes are destemmed and gently pressed and the must sits on the skins for only a few hours. Sitting on the skins is key for color & extracting tannins & phenol properties from the skins which give the wine texture of soft and rounded.

Aromas of strawberry and soft red berries fill the glass with floral hints. On the palate red fruit shows through with some nice acidity balanced out with a bit of residual sugar and soft tannins. The finish lingers with a hint of lemon rind.

I paired the wine with a nice fresh raspberry/blackberry buttermilk cake. (Ok, no comments on how small the piece is, I'm watching my girlish figure.)

The SRP is $24. If you can't find the Rose in your wine shop you can order it from Old World Vines