8. VOTE!
1.  From the Finger Lakes, Seriously Good Wines
Gotham’s Grape Escapes: Copy and paste into your web browser:
2.  A Guide to the New Rules of Wine: GQ
Pairing Steak and Red Wine and Other Robust Matches
3. Nov. 4  Around the World in 80 Sips-New York - New York City
San Francisco Wine Competition at the Beacon
One the nice things about tasting gold winners is that most wines are at least good in class. There were naturally a few exceptions but no need to comment on that.  The following Double Gold winners we most liked:
Pierre-Jouet Champagne NV Blason Rose $75
Turk 2009 Gruner Veltliner Kremestal Austria $20 Best in show dry white – I agree.
Poets Leap 2008 Late Harvest Riesling Botrytis Columbia Valley $57
Kai Young Coconut Shochu Vietnam $25  Sweet and lovely.
The sponsor was Vinturi, an instant decanter (‘wine needs to breathe- all the taste- none of the wait”) $69.95 or $39.95 Travel for personal use. Save yourself hours of waiting for oxygenating your wines.  I think this could be a winner.  We did several tests at the show and several barely drinkable wines were softend to become drinkable.   In general, the white wines that had a “taste” performed best.  More on this after some extensive home testing/tastings- I took two home.
Beaujolais Golf + Gamay at  Chelsea Piers
The simple Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages 2010 ($9.95) is the classic Beaujolais we all know for its charming fruity simplicity.  Like many wine regions, the 10 Beaujolais Cru wines are now aiming higher to appeal to the premium value market.  Our evening favorite was the well structured George Descombes Regnie 2009 ($20.99).  Second was the full bodied Daniel Bouland Morgan 2009 ($23.99). However, our table agreed this obviously needed a lot more aging before we would enjoy drinking it in a non-tasting setting.
4. Loire Valley is France's longest and most diverse wine region. It's divided into 65 appellations which grow every style of wine, but, of course, the region is most famous for its whites. Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume and Muscated can be found on the wine lists and in wine stores all over the world; yet Loire Valley wines are also the most popular wines ordered in restaurants in France. Rose d'Anjou and Rose de Loire, made from Cabernet Franc and Grolleau, are very traditionally French, and yet are much sweeter than most French roses.
Among the wines I particularly liked at the tasting is Pascal Pibaleau la Perlette Sparkling Rose NV $18. It is made from Grolleau grapes and is very different from any other French sparkling rose. Much darker colored than usual, it also offers much more body and flavor with bright, fruit-forward nose, ripe red fruit on the palate with a touch of earthy flavor. The wine is very elegant and has a dry finish.
My favorite white that day was Jean-Paul Picard Sancerre '10 ($23), which stood out as a perfect example of crisp yet not too dry Sancerre, which represents the terroir perfectly. The wine has a touch of minerality and grassiness which complement the citrus fruit notes.
Domaine Couly Dutheil Chinon "La Coulee" '09 ($19) is made from Cabernet Franc grapes and yet has none of the "green" notes that many younger Cabernet Francs prominently display. The wine is aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks, so the fruit flavors are not covered up by oak. This wine is complex, yet very much drinkable, and is especially a great find considering the price.
5. New York City WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL– Eat Drink End Hunger
NYCWFF is a feel good event- imagine a crowded giant indoor block party in the meat-packing district.  I especially like that 100% of the net proceeds from the Festival benefit the non-profit NYC Food bank and Share our Strength. As you would expect, there was plenty of wine and tasty food goodies.  Alas, I found no surprise discoveries, but the usual assortment of value brands e.g. Chateau St. Michelle, Dr. Constantin Frank, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Gerand Bertrand Wines (Best Value Wine from France- Wine Spectator), Grigich Hills Estates, Ruffino, etc.
This was my first time attending and I made two beginner mistakes:
First, I was treated to a delicious press brunch at the nearby Dream Hotel - Perfect setting, perfect weather and I ate generously. Hence I could not pig out as I would have liked at the Festival. (My advice: go hungry, but end up satiated.) 
Second, while exiting I discovered the fine Italian wine tasting.  However, it was already so crowded and having already tasted so many wines, I had palette fatigue.  Next year I will be better prepared and start with the fine wines!  See you there!
Japanese Food & Restaurant Show
I tasted numerous sakes. Normally I prefer nigori (unfiltered) and thus enjoyed the full body Kikusui Perfect Snow.
There were Japanese fruit wines from Choya Signature Drinks. Besides Ume-Fruit Wine, there was Ume Blanc (no sulfites); its peach flavor similar to Rieseling/Chenin Blanc would go well as a summer spritzer to accompany BBQ or spicy foods. 
Also “interesting” were the many Fruit Liquors from Sakura Muromachi, e.g.  Plum, White Peach, Tomato Sake, Red Chili Pepper & Plum to be imported at about  $10. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring their Pione Grape Sake for us to taste.
My favorite brand was naturally a traditional handcrafted one. It is Born Sake (Katoukichee Shouten).
My favorite Born sake?  Yume Wa Masayume (Dreams come True). Delish!
What I learned at the Sake Seminar:
·                                 I discovered Shochu ("burned liquor”), a Japanese beverage typically 25% alcohol and usually distilled from barley, sweet potatoes or rice.  I enjoyed Kuro Shiranami Imo Shochu much as I do brandy (“burnt wine”).
·                                 Pay close attention to Sake’s color and temperature. To find your ideal serving temperature: Start refrigerator cold and taste; then after 6 minutes taste again; keep tasting at 6 minute intervals until room temperature.
·                                 The Big NO-NO? Do NOT microwave sake as it loses too much flavor and aroma that way – Duh!
6. THE DROPS OF GOD (Kami no Shizuku ) by Tadashi Agi Shuokimoto
This Japanese comic about wine is an amazing adventure read and cultural treat.
The story line: Shizuku Kanzaki is the son of a recently deceased, world renowned wine critic named Yutaka Kanzaki. To come into his inheritance, an extensive wine collection featuring some of the most rare labels of the last 30 years, he must find 13 wines, known as the "Twelve Apostles" and the heaven sent "Drops of God" that his father described in his will. But despite being an only child, Shizuku is not alone in this unique wine hunt. He has a competitor. Issei Tomine, a renowned young wine critic is also vying for this most rare of prizes….
This is not only an influential wine book in Japan (and France) but is a gem of a find - something that is out-of-the-ordinary, yet based on serious wine understanding, i.e. that wine is a living thing and the memories that fine wines can evoke. It is a real page turner!  I highly recommend Drops of God as a unique gift in 2011 for any serious wine lover.  I can't wait for volume 2 coming this December
NAKED WINE by Alice Feiring
This is an easy read, but somewhat disappointing due to my very HIGH expectations. Alice’s first book THE BATTLE FOR WINE AND LOVE or How I saved the World from Parkerization was an important seminal work for the natural wine movement.  I had hoped for more of a summation. Instead, we have a wonderful travelogue and conversation with Alice Feiring about wine.  Now anyone who has met Alice knows she not only has a discerning palate, but also is also wonderfully engaging.  I first met her at a New York tasting.  I had a disagreement with my wine friend about which of two wines were superior. Having read her book, I felt I knew her as readers can sometimes presume. I walked up to her and asked for her tasting opinion, which she kindly obliged.  Perhaps because she agreed with me, my esteem for her was even more elevated. J
Bottom line: If you an oenophile and enjoy reading about the musing and adventures of wine critics, you will most definitely find this worthwhile.  But if you are hoping for a replacement or summation of her earlier work- This is not here.
7.  READER: wine is great, love it myself but how about a bit of astrology and finance? We need it now in these upsy-downsy times.
HW: Please read our newsletter Wall Street, Next Week for financial astrology.
READER: Sounds like you are having a fine ole time enjoying life and wine!
HW: You betcha!        
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