Saturday, April 29, 2017

Live on the Mark Bolger Show - Book Launch Weekend

If you missed me on the Mark Bolger Show Friday, here is the interview.

Thank you Mark for having me on your show!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's Book Release Week!

I can’t believe the day has finally come. I never thought I would be a published author. There is going to be a lot going on this week.

My book Tapping the Hudson Valley is the complete guide to visiting the regions craft beverage producers and the sites along the way. It is broken down into one and three day itineraries, wineries, breweries and sightseeing with different entry points into the area. Distilleries and cideries are all mixed into the itineraries.

This book taps my knowledge of the region from growing up in Wappingers Falls and raising my family in LaGrange, working in travel industry, being involved with the local wine industry and spearheading the creation of Hudson Valley Wine Country.

Come celebrate with me on this huge accomplishment at Dutch’s Spirits on Sunday, April 30th. Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, Clinton Vineyards and Taconic Distillery will all be there pouring tastes. There will be local cheeses and Lydia will be baking for the event. If you’ve never had any of Lydia’s baked goods, that’s the second reason you need to come besides to see me. Dutch’s Spirits is located at 98 Ryan Road in Pine Plains, NY.

If you can’t make it out to the party on Sunday, I’ll be at Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery, 331 McKinstry Road in Gardiner, NY on Saturday, April 29th from 1-3pm for a book signing.

I’ll be running two specials on Amazon. I will be giving away 5 copies of my book. You will need to follow me on twitter for the instructions and link. They will be posted on Tuesday, April 25. The winner will be announced on Twitter, Tuesday, May 2. Here is the link to the giveaway. 

The entire book release weekend beginning Friday, April 28th to Monday, May 1st you can download Tapping the Hudson Valley free on Kindle.

I hope to see you at either Whitecliff Vineyards & Winery or Dutch’s Spirits!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Celebrate World Malbec Day with Achaval-Ferrer

Today is World Malbec Day and to celebrate I think we should all grab a bottle of 2015 Achaval-Ferrer Malbec. Honestly I’ve never met a Mablbec that moved me this much.

What exactly is Malbec? Malbec is a grape that originated in France. It is one of the Bordeaux 5. Today it is grown in Argentina, Chile, Napa and a few other countries. It’s in Argentina where it has seen the most growth and Argentina is known today for its Malbec.

Malbec is not as heavy as a Cabernet Sauvignon and is very food friendly. It makes for a great barbecue wine and I personally like my Malbec with burgers and ribs. What can you expect from a Malbec, purplish in color with a rim that is hot magenta. Malbec can be bold but not heavy. It is aged in oak anywhere from 6 months to 20 months. The longer it’s aged the more expensive it will be. It has a pretty big flavor profile. You’ll find red, blue and black fruit along with cocoa, mocha, coffee and black pepper.

During Winestudio two weeks ago I got to sample Achaval-Ferrer 2015 Malbec and the first words out of Paul’s mouth was “Wow, this is a really nice wine, complex and great mouth feel” and I hadn’t even taken a sip yet.

Achaval-Ferrer 2015 Malbec shows just how the quality of winemaking has developed over the years in Argentina. 2015 was a tough vintage with weather issues throughout the year. They had lower yields and had to adjust and do things differently in the vineyard and the cellar. You would never known based on the quality of this bottle. It just a testament to the knowledge and winemaking skills at Achava- Ferrer.

The grapes in this bottle come from three appellations in Mendoza, Uco Valley, Lujan de Cuyo and Medrano. All three appellations are of different altitude ranging from 2199 ft to 3478 ft. The grapes from each of these appellations all contribute different elements to this wine. The grapes from the Lujan de Cuyo area with well drained gravelly loam soil contribute elegance to the wine. The Medrano region has some heavier clay soil gives the wine structure and complexity.

The wine was fermented in cement tanks and then put directly into 2 year old French oak barrels for 9 months. What is in the glass are aromas of cherry, smoke, mushrooms and floral notes of violets and lilac. The palate is very complex and has a beautiful mouth fee. Well balanced with flavors of plum, black cherry, coffee and a nice spice finish. This wine retails for $24.99 and is a steal at that price!

This wine is available in many markets. I purchased a bottle in New York City and shared it with my cousin. Then that Friday it was on the wine list at the restaurant we went to for Paul’s birthday so I ordered a bottle and got to share it with my kids. I hope you grab a bottle and celebrate World Malbec Day or any ocassion with it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Napa by Appointment: Ehlers Estate

My first experience with Ehlers Estate was with their Rose during #winestudio Rose education and I was hooked. I ended up ordering additional bottles of the Rose because I liked it so much. When I knew I was going to Napa I made an appointment to visit.

It was our first appointment for the day and we pulled up to this beautiful stone building. The building says history all over it. As you step out of the car, and take a look around it’s beautiful and peaceful. When we entered the winery there was this sign just for us. Made me feel special and that was just the beginning of our tasting and tour. Elizabeth greeted us spent an hour and a half with us telling us the history of Ehlers, the winemaking techniques and the philosophy. After we walked the grounds and just took in the beauty of the land.

Founded by Bernard Ehlers in 1886, he and his wife owned and operated it until the 1920’s. After his death the winery had different owners until 1987 when Jean and Sylviane Leducq purchased it. They are a French couple who wanted to make Bordeaux wines in the United States. They did so at first in Virginia and founded Prince Michel Winery. They sold that winery and decided they wanted to make wine in California. They purchased the Ehlers Estate and it took them 14 years to put together the 42 acre estate and the last parcel was Ehlers Estate the original 10 acres that Bernard Ehlers built the building on.

Jean passed away in 2002 just a year after the original Ehlers 10 acres was purchased and his Sylviane in 2014. Winemaker Keven Morrisey took over the helm in the spirng of 2009 and is the General Manager as well as winemaker. He is carrying on the legacy of the Leducq’s in making terroir driven wines. Currently the winery is actually owned by the Trust.

Ehlers wine is all estate grown, they don’t source any of their fruit. Of their 42 acres, 39 are planted. Now let's get tasting

2015 Sauvignon Blanc - it’s Sancerre style aged in stainless steel and a few neutral oak barrels. Soft tropical fruit,some minerality, lime and soft citrus fruit round out the wine. It’s nice and crisp with soft acidity so the flavors blend together nicely for an enjoyable wine. SRP $32

2016 Sylviane Rose - What a thrill I got to taste this just after it was released! It’s 100% Cabernet Franc picked early just for the Rose. It’s picked immediately and pressed and doesn’t stay on the skins. It kind of sparkles in the glass with excitement. Nice perfume aromas with layers of watermelon, strawberry and pomegranate. Beautifully crisp on the palate with nice acidity and will make a wonderful summer porch rose. We brought this Rose to the crab feed we went to in Daneville after our stay in Napa. Went great with the crabs. SRP $36

2013 Merlot is a blend of 95% Merlot and 5 % Cabernet Franc. Aged in 50% new and 50% once used French oak. Beautiful nose with blue and black fruit. Very complex, chewy tannins with black raspberry and red currants licorice towards the finish and a nice cayenne pepper that softly lingers on the finish.

2013 Cabernet Franc 100% Cabernet Franc. Beautiful with nice strong tannins and structure. The wine that leaves your tongue dry Flavors of cranberry, red fruit and hints of vanilla.

2013 1886 Cabernet Sauvignon - This wine is going through a bottle change. Seems so many people don’t pop the cork because they want to save the bottle and they are missing out on the best part, the wine. The new bottle will be revealed soon, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, what everyone is missing out on by keeping the bottle as a discussion piece is a beautiful full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon 8% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Fragrant aromas of red fruit, red current and raspberry. The wine is elegant and complex with tannins that speak to the wine with notes of black, blue and red fruit layered throughout the taste with notes of spice throughout.

Friday, April 7, 2017

In Search of New York Merlot

All the Merlot’s I tasted happen to be from wineries in Long Island. Long Island is a prime growing area for Merlot and they have an organization Long Island Merlot Alliance to educate and promote the grape. Today there are approximately 700 acres on Long Island planted of Merlot and that accounts for 30% of the total grapes grown in the region.

Lenz, 2013 Estate Selection Merlot is a blend of 85% Merlot with 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc. The wine had a beautiful nose with aromas of dark fruit and baking spices. Flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum fill my palate with nice integrated tannins. A great everyday dinner wine. SRP $30
Winemaker Miguel Martin

Palmer Vineyards produces Merlot form 35 year old vines. Not only do they produce a Merlot, but a Merlot Rose too. When producing the Rose Merlot, Miguel use specific plot of Merlot grapes, especially grown for the Rose. Miguel pick these grapes earlier than the Merlot used for red wine because he is looking for lower alcohol, more acid and more fruit driven wines. All the vines are 35 years and older. The Merlot is harvested and whole cluster to the press and they spend 3 hours on the skins so it gets a light rose petal color and he ferments it like a white wine with a cold fermentation. 

 The Palmer 2016 Rose Merlot had beautiful expression of red fruit, very well balanced and delightful. The 2013 Old Roots Merlot come from the oldest vines in the vineyard over 35 years old. Very low yield as they go in and drop the fruit so the remaining grapes have a more concentrate flavor. Yield per acre of the Merlot is .8 tons which is low. The grapes spend three weeks on the skins to extract the flavor and color and 18 months in mix of French, American and Hungarian oak barrels with medium toast. Miguel is looking to get more of the hazelnut, vanilla and chocolate flavors that comes from the wood integrated into the wine. The hazelnut and vanilla are apparent in the aromas in the glass along with cherry and plum. The wine has elegant soft tannins and the blueberry sneaks up on the finish. A very nice Merlot and I really enjoy talking with Miguel. SRP $35

Raphael Vineyard and Winery 2012 First Label Merlot is the first label they released when they opened 25 years ago. This Merlot comes from their older vines that are about 25 year old vines. They consider this their reserve wine. Aged in new French oak barrels for 18 months, the wine is unfiltered and unfined. The wine had a little stink on the nose but a little swirling and it was gone. The wine, a full bodied Merlot with flavors of plum, black cherry and blueberry. 550 cases were made - SRP $44

Paumanok 2013 Merlot is 100% Merlot is aged in neutral French oak for one year. The wine had beautiful aromas of blue and black fruit with a touch of violets. Light on the palate with boysenberry, black cherry hints of red fruit. the tannins were weathered and I felt the structure wasn’t to strong. I would drink this wine now. SRP $28

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Celebrating with Cesari

I dropped the ball on this.  I received this wine as a sample back in July and never had the opportunity to open the wine.  I feel it’s important, not just to taste the wine, but to celebrate something with a special bottle and Amarone is special.

Amarone is a special wine because of the process it takes to produce the wine.  This 2012 Cesari Amarone is 74% Corvina Veronese, 20% Rondinella and 5% Rossignola e Negrara. These grapes are picked and put on drying racks in single layers until mid January. During this drying period the grapes lose 40% of their weight and their concentration of sugar increases. The grapes will sit on the skins for about a month then placed in steel vats to complete malolactic fermentation.  The maturation process lasts three years with it aging in 12 months in large Slavonian oak barrels. The wine is then bottled and left to mature for at least 8 months. It’s this long process that makes Amarone so special.

The reason we were celebrating is because last year my son purchased a fixer upper in Philadelphia and it’s finally pretty much completed. It was a real gut job. The last time I stopped there I couldn’t even use the bathroom because there was no doors and there were a bunch of men there painting the house.  So two weekends ago I told him I was coming up to see the place and celebrate his new job and he wanted to take me to his favorite Italian restaurant. I thought this is the place for Cesari Amarone.

The evening began in his kitchen, which I must say, my husband did an awesome job designing and installing. Opening up the kitchen an making it part of the living space was brilliant!  Michael was quite the host providing cheese and crackers before heading out to dinner with us and cousins Michael and Chuck. It was super special to see items in his home that he took from my mom’s after she passed away.  I know she’s smiling down with pride knowing they have a place in her grandson’s home.

Off to dinner and I was in the mood for some good food!  We order a range of different food,chicken, fish, beef and pork. The wine went with pretty much everything (not sure on the seafood, but that didn’t stop Chuck and cousin Michael from drinking it)  The wine had layers of aromas escaping from the glass. Layers of cherry, raisin, black cherry and black raspberry.  On the palate the wine was quite complex. Flavors of warm vanilla, baking spices, cloves, bold blackberry, ripe plum and cinnamon. There was also a sweetness to the wine.

It’s such a pleasure to share wine with friends and family.  Especially when you introduce a new wine to them and they really get in the groove to understand the wine and the flavor profile.  This wine retails for around $40.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wine Review: Pizza and Chionetti

“This wine is made for food”, the first words out of Paul’s mouth with a piece of prosciutto and a sip of the 2013 Chionetti San Luigi Dogliani DOCG. The proscuitto ended up on our pizza with other Italian meats. The wine, well it was a perfect pairing.

The 2013 Chionetti is 100% Dolcetto from the Dogliani a territory of Langhe, Piedmont, Italy. The aromas escaping from the glass were that of maraschino cherries, blackberry and spice. The palate was layered with bing cherry, raspberry, black cherry, plum, blackberry pie and baking spices.

The reason why I say this wine goes so well with the pizza because the acidity of the wine really cuts into the saltiness of the Italian meats thus rounding out all the flavors in your mouth. The next time you are looking for a good red wine to have with your pizza, I suggest picking up a bottle of the 2013 Chionetti. SRP $23