6. VOTE!
1. Fine wine served by the ounce in Manhattan
Earth-wise wineries set up shop on ConsciousWine.com
Doctors urge two or three-day break from alcohol
HW: My favorite government health recommendation is from down under.  Australian doctors recommend maximum daily drinking should be three glasses (for both men and women). However, this daily recommendation comes with a caveat – two days a week No Drinking! 
These wines were “interesting”, although not to my personal taste. I did like that each wine tasted was matched by food. By first sipping, then nibbling and then sipping again, one experiences the alchemy of food/wine that Italian and European wines were designed for.  It is recommended to match two key dimensions: Chemistry (acid/salt etc) and weight/ body.
I had time to talk with the president of Astor before the class. I asked “What makes Astor classes different/better?”  He answered:
1) Their facilities- there are none better in NY -  I agree and rate their classroom a 100.
2) Because they are associated with Astor wines, they know wine trends - who and what is up and coming.
He added that the goal of all their wine appreciation classes is to help one enjoy wine more. He did not need to add that all their instructors are very experienced and knowledgeable educators. We also talked a bit about BD (Biodynamic wines) as I just finished reading VOODOO VINTNERS (review in #6). Andrew is teaching a course Dec 12 The Wines You Should be Drinking which I hope to audit. A tidbit quote: “With conventional wines, the best sip is usually the first.  In BD wines, it is the last sip!”  
My notes from Robin’s Kelley seminar on Tuscany’s “hidden gem” Morellino Di Scansano DOCG.
These Tuscan wines are made from the Sangiovese grape.
Sales pitch: They offer freshness, drinkability and affordability – I agree HW.
The Story: Italian wines have been crafted for centuries to go perfectly with food – Yes they really do HW.
A good wine is one that “has soul” but most of all, you want to empty the bottle!
Food- These red wines go well with RED (tomato) sauces e.g. fish stew; however, Sardines go better with White wine.
When reviewing the DOCG “rules” (remember this is Italy), I was justifiably amused by one of the charming Italian low density exceptions for old vineyards (<2006) “Promiscuous crop calculated in relationship to the real covered surface.”  How sexy is that?
Four tasting wines to try:
Barocini Bruna Rinaldone Dell Osa Morellino De Scansano 2010 ($12) Best Value in a fresh wine.
Terre di Flori Tenute Coste Morelllino di Scansanco DOGC 2009  unique taste  $20
Santa Lucia di Scotto Lorenzo Torre del Moro  Marellino di Scansano DOCG 2008 $20
Fattoria Le Pupille Riserva Poggio Valente Morelino di Scansano DOGC 2007- lovely & substantial ($25)
As I was next off to the Lurton Du Vin tasting at Benoit, I was parsimonious in tasting post seminar.
Two potentially noteworthy discoveries:
Arancio Pinot Noir IGT was surprisingly drinkable and affordable for only $9.
PISA Liquor, a smooth blend of pistachio, almond and hazelnut liquor, is ideal for the inner child who has a nutty sweet tooth- think coffee or ice cream deserts.
Sherry-Lehman Burgundy Tour
Best Value Wine:  Domaine Aurelien Verdet Hautes-Cotes de Nuits "Le Prieure” 2008 $29.95
Best Fine Wines:
Jean Grivot Domaine Grivot Eschezeaux 2008 $174.95 My rating: 92.5
Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volney “Close des Ducs” 1er Cru 2008  $124.95  My rating:  91
Cource was a most interesting “historical winery”- stomping feet, whole cluster etc.
Domaine de Courcel Pommard “Rugiens” 2008 $99.95 Very smooth and of course very “French” My rating:  90
This young and vibrant crowd of “Fun-loving wine people or wine-loving fun people” had fun tasting table wines $15 and under.
#1 Pick: Andre Brunnell 2009 Cotes du Rhone France goes with all sorts of food 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Cinsault.
Close second: Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita Terras do Sado Portugal  Castelao grape - I could hear it screaming to accompany food. Or perhaps I was simply hungry.
Casillero del Diablo 2009 Carmenere Rapel Valley Chile Moscatto grape was also pleasant.
Cinzano Asti Italy Sweet and perky- ideal for the college student learning about wine or for the casual picnic basket.
I also took their test on identifying five mystery wines. I did not succeed; however, I did correctly judge that the first three were white, while the last two were made from red grape varieties! J
The next NY Wine Salon event is November 4 - http://nywsfromlavatowine.eventbrite.com wine, dinner and a movie, a perfect date.   
BASQUE FOOD & WINE SHOWROOM- “Enjoy the Meal, Enjoy the Wine”
Basque food is delicious. I could literally praise almost every food vendor ranging from tasty Gorrotxategi chocolates (est. 1680) to the wonderful cheeses of Artzai Gazta and Aldanondo.  I especially enjoyed the cod fish omelets as well as the canned white tuna (olive oil & salt) from Hijos de Jose Serrats.  The small size can is $7.95 but the large R0-1850 is a perfect party platter ($90).  Think BC or Alaska wild salmon: a perfect house part gift or make a home meal a small celebration.
One visitor I met had just returned his honeymoon in the Basque region of Spain. He was glowing in his praise thereof, especially recommending the nearby winery Vinedos y Bodegas de la Marquesa. Both Irene and myself award their 2005 Graciano (Red Harvest Select ($35) 100% Graciano.
Best Values? The El Coto de Rioja 2007 El Coto $9.33  100% Tempranillo and a close second was Heredad Ugarte 2007 Dominio de Ugarte $10 Red Reserva 100% Tempranillo.
Two Wonderful family owned wineries currently looking for US distributors offered great value wines under $10:
Bodegas Garcia de Olano 2010 Heredad Garcia de Olano Blanco
Bodegas Loli Casado 2010 Polus Red Young (90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo)
Txakoki Basque white wines complement seafood and salty dishes with a high acid content.  I would drink them locally as they are a unique local treasure.  Still I am not inclined to buy and drink it in New York outside of a Basque restaurant.
6. VOODOO VINTNERS Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers.
This reads a bit like SUMMER IN A GLASS, but instead of the story of Riesling and the Finger Lakes, it mostly about Oregon winemaker’s attitudes to BD (Biodynamic) and Pinot Noir.  As a reporter (the author’s profession), here are a number of interview- like discussions interspersed with history, especially Rudolph Steiner and the French Burgundy influence (Pinot Noir).
This is an enjoyable and informative read.  No real conclusions are reached, although the reader is clearly moved to be open to the value of BD (if only for their close attention to the health of the winery) as beyond organic (do no harm) vs. BD (do good).
For the next edition, I would suggest a map of the wineries mentioned with contact information in the appendix.  I would differentiate the BD wineries from the natural/organic ones by a different color codes.
Bottom line: Besides giving more appreciation of the agricultural vineyard aspects of wine, this book has made me even more eager to look forward to the next Oregon Pinot Noir Wine Flight to New York in February 2012.
BOUQUET by G B Stern
This is a beautiful limited edition reprint of a 1927 memoir of two wine loving couples motor trip to the Rhone, Provence, Bordeaux and Burgundy. I imagine this delightful book savoured slowly with appropriate French wines in hand for comparison. Unfortunately, due to the passage of time, I can only take the author’s word for the vintage classics.
A wonderful gift for the vrai (true) wine connoisseur.
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