7. VOTE!
1. It's Just Wine, Naturally
Astrological Note: This event was scheduled to begin past 9pm for the Moon’s ingress into the Sign of Pisces, a fertile water sign.
Wine Without Food? The Horror of It All
We are pleased to have faxed our membership application to the Wine Century Club (WCC) appropriately on May 26, the date of the 6th Anniversary Global Tasting Challenge.  We have undoubtedly tasted many more than the submitted 101 grapes. We deliberating documented one more for a very good reason: If I made a misteak, or should I have lied, the WCC threatens to have Bacchus curse your palate! A fate NO oenophile wants.  Happily, I stopped reviewing more tasting notes after reaching the century number; for example, we had initially overlooked the one time tasting of Tempranillo Blanco at the Grand Rioja Tasting May 5th. My last tasted new grape variety was just in time on May 25, courtesy of 80 SIPS, at the energetic and flavorful Prana Restaurant on Madison Avenue.
The grape: Lladoner Pelut.  It is a traditional, but sparely grown Roussillion grape with qualities close to those of Grenache (rich, fruity, rounded).
2. For me, the May Constellation Brands (STZ) analyst day at the Time Center was an ideal afternoon: Money Talk, followed by an excellently organized wine tasting, which led to networking cocktail reception.
Constellation Brands, STZ, the world’s largest public wine company is currently trading close to fair value which is rated by us as “Accumulate after market weakness.” Buy price: $18.50 or better if reached.
The message takeaway repeated throughout the event was “Profitable organic growth.”
STZ defines positions themselves as purveyors of Premium wines and up.  As a New York wine buyer what I find surprising is their definition by price range of their wine classification, notably “premium” and “luxury”.
Premium wines: $5-$8, Super premium $8-$11, Ultra premium $11-$15, Ultra premium $11-$15 and Luxury $15-$20.
This was a perfectly organized tasting led by three winemakers (Janet Myers of Franciscan Winery, Steve Reeder of Simi Winery and Genevieve Janssens of Robert Mondavi Winery). Each gave their vineyard story and take on three wines.  Janet used wild yeast, while Steve said he would not sleep at night if he didn’t use cultivated yeasts. The point: while centralizing management and distribution, kudos to Constellation for allowing each winery substantial freedom of expression for their individual Terroir and style. While striving for a consistent style, they acknowledge Wine is a Vintage Product, not a commodity like coca-cola.
My favorite White: 08 Franciscan Curve Sauvage Chardonnay ($29.95): French oak with WILD yeast
My favorite Red:    Simi 09 Sonoma Pinot Noir ($35). I liked this the best of the 9 wines presented. This may be due to the fact that was the ONLY Pinot Noir and that is my favorite grape.
A colleague at my tasting table preferred the Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 02 ($100).  Initially my impression was somewhat lukewarm during my first fast taste.  However, after breathing for some 30 minutes, I warmed up to it and enjoyed it more.
A cute wine story:
Question to Winemaker: What wine do you drink?
A: I don’t drink wine.
Q: What?! You don’t drink wine?!
A:  I drink beer, I ENJOY Wine!
3. NYIWC Results Are Here! | New York International Wine Competition (NYIWC)
This is a Wine competition done right!  
Bronze Medal- Judges will sell it, distribute it and or import it.
Silver Medal- Judges really like it and will sell it, distribute it and or import it.
Gold Medal- Judges love it and will sell it, distribute it and or import it.
First wine we tasted was a Silver winner. Script like, my wine companion actually exclaimed: “This is something I really like”. 
De Bortoli Wines “Family, Food, Friends, Forever”
Silver: De Bortoli 2010 Pinot Grigio $8.99 SE Australia Smooth, mellow and easy to drink
Later we tried the International Winery of the Year (deservedly so) Cave de Tain l'Hermitage vin crozes-hermitage saint-joseph hermitage saint-peray cornas.
Best wine by far and gold metal winner (one of 2) was the northern Rhone Cave De Tain 2011 Hermitage AOC Vineyard Selection ($100).  Hermitage Red Gambert De Loche: WOW!  A true aristocrat and its taste lingers.
Hawk and Horse Vineyards a rocky red volcanic soil vineyard is CCOF Organic and Demeter Biodynamic certified. They aim for a true biodynamic “closed system” where biodynamic preparations are sourced primarily from the property itself.  They are a modern version of the traditional family farm.
While a bronze medalist here, their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($65) received a gold metal 2011 in the Tasters Guild International Wine Competition.
Intelligent Designs by Wesley Ashley Wines I tried these wines because I liked the name; both wines were “nice”.
Bronze: 2009 Intelligent Design Cuvée Blanc ($34)
Bronze 2007 Intelligent Design Cuvée ($38)
“The Best Value of the Year” award I strongly disagree with: Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato ($4.99) is soda pop.
Instead it should have been awarded: “Cheapest wine that is drinkable if you have a sweet tooth.”
NYWIC had an excellent beginning and I predict a successful future for it. Ideally, I would like to see the same or even stricter judging standards next year, so wine buyers and the wine public will view NYWIC awards as really meaningful.
4. TastersGuild NY Pomerol Tasting featuring Chateau Le Gay, a recent re-invigorated Pomerol estate neighboring Chateau Petrus and Chateau La Fleur.This long-forgotten vineyard is beginning to make headlines now that it is owned by Catherine Pere-Verge.”-Robert Parker
This was my first visit to Tasters Guild New York, whose members range from novice to professional but all of whom share of love of food and wine.  At my table I was flanked by one very sophisticated wine collector, (he owned half a case of the evening’s star attraction 2007 Chateau La Violette of which only 200 cases were produced) and a “regular” wine lover.
While waiting for the tasting to start, I appreciated the self-serve Aperitif offerings: Deep Sea Viognier and Deep Sea Pinot Noir Central Coast. Deep Sea wines “represent our ongoing search for maritime influenced vineyards of merit and singularity.”  I found the Pinot Noir pleasant but was somewhat indifferent to the Viognier. Coincidentally, the next day I went to another tasting which featured Conway Family wines (Deep Sea) and enjoyed their Chardonnay.
I was impressed by the comfortable venue, The Estonia House. I have often passed it on East 34th street, but this my first visit to this lovely Beaux Arts midtown private club.  The TastersGuild members voted on the best wine(s) of each flight.  Our table always voted 100% “correctly”- that is choosing the most expensive (and clearly best) wines of each of the 3 flights (10 wines).  The Speaker was Emilie Dombey Riebel, director of North America for La Ferme de Rougefort, and offered us the full selection of her wonderful portfolio of Pomerol wines (80% Merlot, 20% Cab Franc).
While she was obviously very knowledgeable, unfortunately her communications were limited by a very heavy French accent, a problem she acknowledged.  I also found her pace unnecessarily too fast for portfolio tasting.  However, as one attendee commented- The wines were “amazing” and that is all that really counts.
Best way to aerate a wine: “Put it in a carafe, shake it and then wait 5 minutes.”
Her comment engendered a small discussion with one table saying- “This can make the wine flat” (as per an experiment done at a California winery to test this hypothesis.)  Our table, as well as the speaker, felt it depended more on the quality of the specific wine.  One clarifying note: If any older vintage (pre-1982) do NOT shake vigorously, where if newer (than 1982), it does not seem to matter whether shaken hard or soft.
Three Points:
1)      Tasting the 2005 & 2006 Chateau Montviel side by side- it was CLEAR and OBVIOUS that 2005, was as we all know, is a Superior Vintage.
2)      There is an obvious difference in quality between wines of the Chateau Montviel 2005 priced at $45 and the 2007 Chateau la Violette for $225. Originally, the tasting order would have presented the better wines first. Fortunately, Emilie reversed that.
3)      The star of the evening was the magnificent 2007 Chateau La Violette. Unlike the other estate wines, it is made from 100% old Merlot vines located on the Pomerol plateau.
Bottom line: Le Gay & Violette are must buy wines for any Pomerol fan!
I look forward to attending the TastersGuildNY Argentina Monteviejo Portfolio tasting Tuesday, October 18, 2011.
Bodega Monteviejo in Mendoza is owned by Catherine Pere-Verge who also owns Chateau le Gay & Chateau la Violette in Pomerol.
See you there?
5. June 6 2011: Sud de France Festival Launch Party Frying Pan, Pier 66
June 14, 2011: Wines of Chile: A World of Taste, 2011 New York City Grand Tasting
June 18-19, 2011: 18th Annual Around the World in 80 Miles
"Alcohol is not the answer to life's question," Vijay Mallya, India’s billionaire liquor king once responded, but it "At least it helps you forget the question."
Alternate Version:
Ai Weiwei - Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads until July 15 a dozen monumental (800lb) cast bronze animal heads by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei can be viewed Pulitzer Fountain at Grand Army Plaza, Corner of 58th St. & 5th Ave.
I recently attended the first meeting of Indie Foreign Film & Wine Club of NYC screening "Babette's Feast", a story about pietism and the sensuality of food set in rural Denmark.  Meet up members were tasked to bring an appropriate food or wine.  I had never seen the movie and therefore presumed that a Bordeaux would be the likely wine served at the feast.  However, it turns out the wine was Château du Clos de Vougeot, a Burgundy Pinot Noir Wine, as well as vintage Verve Cliquot champagne. It is interesting that at the liquor store just before arriving, I was drawn to an attractive French Pinot Noir.  But instead of buying it, I reasoned that Bordeaux was the likely wine to be served. Had I only known!  Fortunately, WEINGARTEN readers will not make that misteak should they choose to watch the video. .:)
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Henry Weingarten 
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