1. In the mood for wine? A wine for every mood
Have Some Wine With That Tie
Online wine websites get mixed reviews
2. Liquid Economic Indicators: The Wine Debacle
3. Wine appreciation: It just takes practice
4. I was recently disappointed to learn that I had over looked celebrating National Wine Drinking Day on February 18.  In order to avoid this almost unforgivable wine sin in future, I will be placing a wine calendar of important NY wine events on my website shortly.  In the meantime, you can view/link our prototype at http://www.afund.com/wine/Calendar.html
April 16 Oregon Wine Flight to NY
April 17 World Malbec Day               
May 2 Wine&Spirits TOP OF THE LIST 2012
5. Jan 30 First-Ever Slow Wine Guide in English in New York City  
We highly applaud this quest.  One of our main tenets is that the wine lifestyle by its very nature encourages one to “slow down and smell the roses.”  Hence there is a natural marriage between the slow food and slow wine movement.  Our key disappointment, however, was this was not an event accompanied by slow food exhibitors.  Perhaps next time?
A few standouts: Damilino Barolo Lecinquevigne 2007 ($42) lovely, a tasty Nebbiolo Nino Negri Valtellina Sup Sassella le Tense 2008 ($19) and an excellent Pra Amarone Della Valpolicella 2007 ($49) (corvine, corinone rondinella).  Finally, I was delighted to reconnect with my favorite Lombardy winery- Cantrina. I especially enjoyed tasting my favorite Garda Classico Groppello 2010, Lovely.
February 2, 2012 Walla Walla
L’Ecole No 41  2009 Ese Perigee Walla Walla Valley $50
Pepper Bridge Winery Merlot $50 and their Cabernet Sauvignon $55
Most unusual Value Find was the Seven Hills Winery and its surprising 2010 Riesling Columbia Valle, which at $15 is a great bargain and quite lovely to taste.
March 8 Le Cercle Rive Droite from Barrel to Bottle
The venue, the French consulate on Fifth avenue, was first class. This  tasting was notable in two respects.
I. Almost every winery presented a 2009 and 2011 version for comparison.
II. They offered a blind tasting of 6 wines to be scored separately by press, trade and the public. This is a fun practice that I would like to see at many more ethnic tastings. 
However I am still waiting for the results to be published.  Another minor complaint: The scoring was 1-10 rather than a scale of 100 or even 1-20.  To my mind, there is a BIG difference between 80 and 85 and 88.
2011 was a tough vintage. I revisited a favorite Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe Chateau Le Prieure but found the 2011 immature. More experienced wine drinkers assured me it will be quite good in a few years; I will wait until 2013 or 2014 to give my judgment. Second, they have begun to add Malbec to some of their blends; I think this was a positive addition.
Of possible future interest were several offerings from Fronsac, the best being Chateau La Vielle Cure, a Parker favorite.
FOOD NOTE: Of course the wine appropriate hors d'oeuvres were tasty but the French pastries by Celine were truly delicious and memorable. These authentic Bordeaux caneles cannot be too highly recommended.  Afterwards, I learned that the Patissiere Céline Legros was recently described as the "new sweet addiction” by Bon Appetit - D’Accord!
TastersGuildNY events benefit from the charming elegance of the beautiful Estonia House. Everyone was interested in learning the story of each wine and several were serious collectors.
At their WineSellers Tour of Germany March 10, I found one stand out value Bollig Lehnert Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Kabinett 2009 $15 (WS: 90).
For fans of Riesling I would suggest the upcoming May 10th 360 Tribeca event. Here you will know why pre-20th century, serious wine was France AND Germany. 
With the greatest of anticipation, I looked forward to the Wines of Vega Sicilia seminar.  We tasted their latest releases of two exquisitely produced Vega Sicilia wines:
              I.      Valbuena 2006 a blend of Tempranillo and Merlot &
            II.      The iconic Unico Gran Reserva 2000 Tempranillo (approximately 80% depending on vintage) and Cabernet Sauvignon.
This was my second tasting of Unico 2000. Again, I felt it was too young and demanded serious cellaring/aging.  According to Pablo Alvarez it would peak in 20 years time, but while it would be delicious then, I suspect adding even a decade or two more would add more complexity and awe. 
Factoid: The main grape variety of the Ribera region is Tempranillo, an early-ripening variety (from “Temprano” meaning “early”) is ideally suited to Ribera’s short growing season and extreme conditions.
There were so many delicious wines here; I felt I could easily have spent many more hours enjoying myself than time allowed. Wines from this region are excellent food wines. A few favorites:
              I.      The powerhouse Bodega Matarromera, and their flagship Matarromera Reserva always demonstrates depth $50,
            II.      My new find:  Hacienda Solano 2088 Hacienda Ernestina Solano Finca Cascorrales $70. With 190 years vines you can taste the age! Only 1154 bottles produced. Both intense and complex, decanting is recommended at least 30 minutes before drinking. In comparison, their baby 2009 Solano Seleccion Vinas Viejas $30, with only 70-80 year vines, seems a baby by comparison
          III.      Seleccion de Torres 2008 Celeste Crianza $19.95 I wrote it up before as a find and I find it still a great find.
Other wineries worthy of mention: Altos de Ontanon, Bodegas Pinord and Bodegas y Vinedos Ortega Fournier S.L.
March 12 New York Drinks New York Grand Tasting March 12
Unfortunately after Ribera I had mild palette fatigue, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to support local New York wineries. I encourage all wine lovers to do this whether living in New York, California or Virginia, or Ohio, Missouri or almost anywhere wine is grown.   A few well known wineries were unremarkable here, i.e. did not provide their top releases.  Four notables:
              I.      Paumanok Vineyards: Chenin Blanc 2011 $25 was up to snuff. It is the best (only) Chenin Blanc in New York but even if it weren’t the sole one, it would do well in a blind tasting with its Loire Valley cousins.
            II.      Bedell Cellars: Musee 2008 87% Merlot, 7% Cab, 6% Petit Verdot $75 was as expected “A” quality, although I believe somewhat overpriced (a “Long Island curse”}.
          III.      Millbrook Vineyards & Winery: Chardonnay, Proprietor’s special Reserve 2010 $22 was also “A” quality but reasonably priced.
         IV.      Red Newt Cellars: Riesling Sawmill Creek Vineyards 2010 $20. Very good and deserves mentioning/drinking. I will be watching/tasting them along with upstaters Anthony Road and Dr Frank. 
6. BOOK REVIEW: 2012 Ultimate Rogov’s Guide to Israeli Wines
Want to learn what to drink for Passover? Consult this detailed ranking by the late Daniel Rogov, Israel’s preeminent wine critic, of over 2000 wines and 150 wineries is essential for anyone with a serious interest in this storied wine region. Also worth perusing is the Rogov’s Guide to World Kosher Wines which describes and ranks more than 500 kosher wines.  I agreed 100% with his ranking of the barely 20 or so wineries listed that I am familiar with. I hope Toby Press continues this essential guide with future editions.
7.  Barflies: Sex-deprived male flies go for the booze
12 Creative Ways to Recycle Wine Bottles
8. READER: Indonesian Millionaire Arrested for Massive Wine Fraud in US
A step up from Indonesian money changing --- reportedly done while avoiding deportation order:
"Investigators said in court papers that Kurniawan made some simple mistakes that led to his discovery. One of those bottles of Domaine Ponsot he tried to sell at auction in 2008 was passed off as having been made in 1929, even though the winemaker didn’t begin estate bottling until 1934."
HW: There is always a risk when one strays from the “tried and true”- counterfeiting Chateau Lafite 1982  J

Doubts Grew Slowly Over a Palate Above Suspicion
“Mr. Kurniawan was suspected of consigning, through a proxy, auction lots of counterfeit Romanée-Conti wines to be sold in London. Those wines were withdrawn from the auction.”
Please feel free to forward our WEINGARTEN newsletter to your wine loving friends.
They are most welcome to subscribe by emailing wine@afund.com and then Vote for My Blog on LocalWineEvents.com!
Henry Weingarten
Voted in the top 20 blogs (16 out of 922) on Local Wine Events 


To subscribe to the WEINGARTEN wine blog just email me at wine@afund.com.
here is no charge and then please also Vote for My Blog on LocalWineEvents.com!