• Turning Bounty Into a Bespoke Meal
    A meal at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in Pocantico Hills, with fresh, unexpected ingredients presented in novel ways, is intended to change the way you think about food.
  • Dashing Good Looks With a Menu to Match
    The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges, with its keen attention to detail and its bountiful expenditure of resources to get things right, should quell critics who deride the trend in name-chef empire building.
  • A Recipe, and Hometown Pride
    Ruben Barajas began the Teca’s enterprise with a truck 18 years ago; the restaurant, named for a smaller city in the Mexican state of Jalisco, came nine years later. Both operate in New Rochelle.
  • Watching the River Flow
    Aside from waterfront views, Harvest on Hudson, in Hastings-on-Hudson, offers diners an opportunity to build up their appetites with a pre-dinner stroll through the restaurant’s vegetable and herb gardens.
  • A Neighborhood Place in the Right Spot
    The chef Paul Vuli returns to a familiar spot, which he ran as Fortuna a decade ago, offering fresh takes on classic Italian dishes.
  • A Jackpot of Kitsch, Burgers and Beers
    At Pinch at the Empire City Casino in Yonkers, the chef, Fabienne Eymard, is presenting “updated American classics” — tacos, macaroni and cheese, burgers and s’mores among them.
  • Two Kinds of Refreshment Near the Water
    In Irvington, Red Hat on the River’s patio and rooftop bar help maximize views of the Hudson at a restaurant with the energy of a big-city brasserie.
  • Something for Tout le Monde
    The menu at Vox in North Salem has changed little over the years, retaining much of its French flavor. Nonetheless, the listing has something for every appetite.
  • Simple Fare, Bursting With Flavors
    Jay Lippin, who ran the kitchen of Crabtree’s Kittle House two decades ago, returned about a year ago and has brought a new excitement to the 1790 building in Chappaqua.
  • Proving Their Chops in the ‘Real World’
    Culinary students prepare meals and serve diners at restaurants-cum-classrooms in Hyde Park and New Rochelle.

I enjoy wine, but I don't know how to describe what I like

We order a glass or a bottle of wine in a restaurant, based on what the Restaurateur has to offer and if we like it we purchase it in a wine shop and enjoy at home and share our new finding with friends. Our friends in return also make and share recommendations and before we know it, our wine knowledge / spectrum has broadened.

Most of us drink, Whites: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Reds: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Malbec, Rose’: Rose wine or a White Zinfandel and Sparkling: Champagne and Prosecco. But there many wines that are not as popular that we may like. Rather than being a taste follower, you can be drinking wines which are as unique as you palate. And also by tasting a wine varietal from another part of the world, you may just find a new favorite. Just keep in mind that value is determined by the taste and the price. We can all have a great bottle of wine that is very popular and costly, but the idea should be to please your pocket along with your palate.

For instance, Cabernet is produced throughout the World and while some prefer a Cabernet from California, others may praise a Cabernet from South Africa, while others may have discovered a great Cabernet from Spain or Chile, maybe Oregon or Italy and lets not forget France or Patagonia that has been putting some great wines into the market place which are a true representation of value. All of these Cabernets are somewhat similar but geographical location/position, weather patterns, soil, altitude and vineyard orientation are contributing factors on how the fruit will develop because a good glass of wine comes from good grapes.

Not all palates were created equal

Whatever you choose, remember to be innovative and take a chance on a varietal that appeals to your taste buds or try new wine from a new region, you may just discover a hidden gem. Most important consideration is to keep in mind that millions of wine lovers are influenced by scores assigned by wine critics, in spite of the factual knowledge that wine scores are affected by how well the wine critic or the wine writer knows the producer, his affiliation in most cases is not known and the next question is if the wine evaluated by the critic is the same one you’d find on the shelf. The more wines you taste, the more your sensitivity to tastes will develop along of course with your sense of smell.

Throughout the World, sugar concentration in beverages and food is perceived differently, and formulas for beverages and food items are adjusted according to the Country they’re being marketed in. The same goes for the levels of acidity in wine, which are also perceived differently. Therefore one must conclude that the average wine drinker is unable to discern the nuances that the acute palate of a wine expert can sense and describe. In essence, there are also biological and geographical aspects that need to be considered when following expert recommendations. Robert Parker, definitely has a different palate than Antonio Galloni although they’re both critics for Wine Advocate, a well respected publication in the industry where once too often you hear that wines are created for Parker’s palate.

Organize a winetasting event

Discover your perfect wine, so next time you order in a Restaurant or Wine Bar or when you purchase wine in a wine shop, you’ll order or bring home the perfect wine time after time, all of the times. The winegeeks scorecard below is designed to help you discover your palate by exposing it to a new varietal or a modern wine making technique that revamped an old favorite. In so doing, the innovation will broaden your wine palette and consequently your sight, smell, taste and intellect will broaden while your palate will want to know more about your new taste sensation. I used the format below for the score card but you can make up your own, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the participants cannot see the labels or the palate will be influenced.

The winegeeks scorecard

The winegeeks scorecard

I removed all the labels and numbered the neck of each bottle but you can make it easy on yourself by using a brown bag or foil. The wines are placed in ascending order from 1 through 8, the first three are white and the next five are reds. The ascending order is based upon complexity, varietal and wine making styles.

clear-bottles

 

Once your preferred varietals have been identified, you’re ready to buy a bottle, take it home and read all about the varietal on the Internet or in your favorite wine publication.

The wines that I personally selected are shown below, along with winemaker’s notes and technical specifications. They represent some old favorites, that have been forgotten, like the Orvieto and some new to the novice varietals like the Arneis or Gaglioppo and the generic Nebbiolo which in most cases is a great substitute for the Barolo and lets not forget the Aglianco from Campania that in its aged version has nothing to be envious of when placed next to a Barolo.

So by tasting new varietals as well as new styles in wine making we have discovered some new wines for our palate and since some of these wines may not be as popular as the old favorites that one may find in the “by the glass category” at a local Restaurant we may find value and by using the char below, we can also describe to our favorite wine shop owner or Restaurateur the definition of the type of wine that we like.

WInegeeks-Results

Now you are harmed with many new descriptions of wines that are favored by your palate, or you can go directly below and read all about the specific wine that was selected for the wine tasting event with winegeeks.

All about the wines from 1 through 8
Originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak.It is vinified in many different styles, from the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis, France to New World wines with oak, and tropical fruit flavors.
Chardonnay Salento IGT

1 – Chardonnay Salento IGT

Cantele – Chardonnay Salento
The denomination “Salento IGT” may be applied only to vinification of grapes ­produced in the provinces of Lecce, Brindisi and Taranto. Thanks to some sparkling wine ­producers, in ­particular the Gancia family, which is one of the most important wineries in ­Italy. Thirty years ago the Chardonnay was brought to Puglia in order to improve sparkling wine production. Some local ­growers foresaw a great potential and began to conduct yield reduction experiments. The ­result was a richer and more structured wine flavored with hints of apple, apricot and tropical fruit. Sixteen years ago the Cantele family planted its first chardonnay vines. Now it is one of the most ­important varieties that they cultivate.

Owner: Cantele Family
Website: www.cantele.it
Winemaker: Gianni Cantele
Type: White wine
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Location: Montemesola-Guagnano
Orientation: North-South
Elevation: 200 ft
Vines Planted: 1982
Trellising: Guyot
Vines/Acre: 2,025
Yield/Acre: 45 ql
Soil: Calcareous, siliceous and clay

Vinification
The grapes are harvested during the first 10 days of August and are ­subsequently de-stemmed, crushed and soft pressed. The juice is then chilled at 50°F in order to facilitate the clarification. Alcoholic ­fermentation using selected yeasts then takes place in stainless steel tanks where the temperature remains below 57°F.

Tasting Notes
Color: Straw colored with elusive green highlights
Bouquet: Lily of the valley, magnolia and linden blossom; the floral ­perfume intensifies as the wine matures
Flavor: Fresh and harmonious
Pairings: Pairs well with shellfish, vegetables and soft cheeses

Alcohol Content: 13%
Serving Temperature: 52-55°F
Production: 300,000 bottles

Orvieto is an Italian wine region located in Umbria and Lazio, centered on the comune of Orvieto. It is primarily known for its white wines made from a blend of mostly Grechetto and Trebbiano, which is sold under the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) Orvieto and Orvieto Classico.
2 - Orvieto DOC

2 – Orvieto DOC

Argillae - Orvieto DOC

Argillae – Orvieto is Umbria’s most famous wine. It is a blend of Trebbiano (locally known as Procanico) Grechetto, Chardonnay, Malvasia di Candia and Sauvignon. This formula enables producers to make the wine in varying degrees of richness. The overall quality of this blend has greatly improved in recent years. Owner: Bonollo Family

Website: www.argillae.eu
Winemaker: Lorenzo Landi
Type: White wine
Varietals: Trebbiano, Grechetto, Chardonnay, Malvasia di Candia and Sauvignon

Vineyard Location: Allerona/Ficulle
Orientation: South-Southwest
Elevation: 1,140 ft
Trellising: Cordon-trained and spur-pruned
Soil: Calcareous clay

Vinification
The grapes are carefully selected in the vineyard, pressed delicately, and the resulting juice is racked and vinified in stainless steel at a controlled temperature of 59-62°F; its subsequent refining on fine lees enhances its profile

Aging Process
Five months in stainless steel

Tasting Notes
Color: Straw yellow
Bouquet: Broad, floral scents with hints of citrus and tropical fruits
Flavor: Good complexity and correspondence to the nose, with a fruity taste and a lasting, refreshing finish
Pairings: Hors d’oeuvres, seafood pastas or vegetables and light meats

Arneis (literally: little rascal, in Piemontese) is so called because it is regarded as a somewhat difficult variety to grow. It is a crisp and floral varietal, and has been grown for centuries in the region. The white wines made from the Arneis grape tend to be dry and full body with notes of pears and apricots.
3 - Arneis

3 – Arneis

DAMILANO – Arneis Langhe DOC
Arneis is one of the most common white varieties in Piedmont, found especially in the Langhe and Roero areas, on both sides of the River Tanaro.  This grape used to be blended with Nebbiolo to produce wines with a less aggressive character; hence, it is sometimes called ”White Barolo”. It was also once common practice to plant a few Arneis vines amongst the more valuable Nebbiolo vines to ward off damage caused by birds and bees.  Attracted by the sweetness and perfume of the Arneis, they would leave the Nebbiolo grapes alone. In recent years, however, this precious and mysterious grape variety has regained popularity and become highly successful, producing white wines of pleasing and convincing aromas. It was granted DOC status in 1994.

Owner: Damilano Family
Website: www.cantinedamilano.it
Winemaker: Giuseppe Caviola
Type: White wine
Varietal: 100% Arneis

Vineyard Location: Vezza d’Alba
Orientation: South-east
Elevation: 900 ft
Vines Planted: 1991-1996
Trellising: Guyot
Vines/Acre: 1,618
Yield/Acre: 32-36 ql.
Soil: Sandy, calcareous clay

Vinification
Fermentation using natural yeasts at a controlled temperature

Tasting Notes
Color: Pale straw yellow
Bouquet: Delicate with fresh fruit
Flavor: Dry, fresh wine with elegant flavors and moderate acidity
Pairings: Suitable for appetizers, fish courses and white meats

Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Serving Temperature: 54°F
Production: 50,000 bottles

Nero d’Avola (Italian pronunciation: [ˈnero ˈdavola]; “Black of Avola” in Italian) is “the most important red wine grape in Sicily” and is one of Italy’s most important indigenous varieties. It is named after Avola in the far south of Sicily and its wines are compared to New World Shirazes, with sweet tannins and plum or peppery flavors.
4 - Nero D'Avola

4 – Nero D’Avola

Scurati - Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGP
Scurati is the name of a beautiful Sicilian cave located near the winery, where every year a “live” crèche is set. With this wine the Ceuso winery would like to honor the most important native Sicilian grape, the Nero D’Avola. The wine is aged in restored cement vats, which illustrate the importance  of their use in a hot climate zone, providing an excellent method of production.

Owner: Melia Family
Website: www.ceuso.it
Winemaker: Vincenzo Melia
Type: Red wine
Varietals: 100% Nero d’Avola

Vineyard Location: Salemi (TP)
Orientation: North West
Elevation: 750-1000 ft
Trellising: Guyot
Soil: Calcareous, clay

Vinification
Maceration in small stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 28-30 C for 8 days

Aging Process
8 months in cement vats and 3 months in bottle

Tasting Notes
Color: red ruby
Bouquet: Intense, fruity notes typical of Nero d’Avola; hints of fresh, aromatic green
Flavor: Intense in the mouth, impressive body a
Pairings: Beautyful with pasta dishes, pizza, red meat dishes and summertime BBQ

Alcohol Content: 14%
Serving Temperature: 57-61°F
Production: 80,000 bottles

Most Dolcetto is found in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, where many of the top estates produce Dolcetto on less favored sites as an “early to market wine” to generate some income for the winery while the Nebbiolo and Barbera are being matured.  It is particularly associated with the towns of Dogliani and Diano d’Alba in the province of Cuneo, although the greatest volumes come from around Alba and Ovada.
5 - Dolcetto

5 – Dolcetto

Pecchenino – San Luigi Dogliani DOCG

The Dolcetto that goes into San Luigi is cultivated on 54 acres in the area of the same name. This sometimes problematic varietal reaches better maturity in the calcareous soils of the San Luigi, resulting in a  final wine with sweet tannins and a rich color that is considered a signature of the appellation. San Luigi is an excellent introduction to Pecchenino’s line of elegant Dolcetto wines which showcase their unique microclimate profile.

Owner: Orlando and Attilio Pecchenino
Website: www.pecchenino.com
Winemaker: Orlando Pecchenino
Type: Red wine
Varietals: 100% Dolcetto

Vineyard Location: Comune di Dogliani, Borgata San Luigi
Orientation: Southeast – South – Southwest
Elevation: 1,280 – 1,410 ft
Trellising: Guyot
Vines/Acre: 2,225
Yield/Acre: 24 ql.
Soil: Calcareous, medium density

Gaglioppo is a red wine grape that is grown in southern Italy, primarily around Calabria. The grape produces wine that is full-bodied, high in alcohol and tannins with a need for considerable time in the bottle for it to soften in character. It is sometimes blended with up to 10% white wine. As with so many “ancient” grape varieties, especially ones that are situated in Southern Italy, there is some notion that Gaglioppo is originally Greek, but thus far there is no proof for this assertion. Recent genetic studies however do suggest a strong relationship to a rare Sicilian variety called Frappato.
6 - Gaglioppo

6 – Gaglioppo

Satti – Gaglioppo Calabria IGT
As with so many “ancient” grape varieties, especially ones that are situated in Southern Italy, there is some notion that Gaglioppo is originally Greek. Recent genetic studies do suggest a strong relationship to a rare Sicilian variety called Frappato. Gaglioppo is a hardy variety, and is very well adapted to the exceedingly hot and dry conditions that prevail in Calabria. Gaglioppo berry bunches are tightly packed, with a medium skin thickness. The vine’s production is fairly prolific, vigorous with lots of foliage, as well as predictable from vintage to vintage. Gaglioppo ripens fairly late usually in the first week in October, but Calabria’s hot and dry conditions provide plenty enough heat and light to fully ripen the fruit.

Owner: Alberto and Antonio Statti
Website: www.statti.com
Winemaker: N. Bambina and V. Centonze
Type: Red wine
Varietals: 100% Gaglioppo Rosso

Vineyard Location: Lamezia Terme
Orientation: East-West
Elevation: 450 ft
Trellising: Vertical trellising
Soil: Medium textured, clay containing some organic matter

Vinification
Fermentation at controlled temperature (71-73°F). Maceration on the skins for 5 days and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes
Color: Ruby red
Bouquet: Intense aromas of cherry and spices
Flavor: Generous flavors of almonds, figs and pears
Pairings: Pairs perfectly with grilled meat and medium-aged cheeses or served lightly chilled (53-56°F) with fish soup or rich seafood dishes

Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Serving Temperature: 60-62°F
Production: 30,000 bottles

Nebbiolo (Italian), or Nebieul (Piedmontese) is a red Italian wine grape variety predominantly associated with the Piedmont region where it makes the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wines of Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara and Ghemme. Nebbiolo is thought to derive its name from the Italian word nebbia which means “fog.” During harvest, which generally takes place late in October, a deep, intense fog sets into the Langhe region where many Nebbiolo vineyards are located.
7 - Nebbiolo

7 – Nebbiolo

Produttori del Barbaresco – Nebbiolo Langhe DOC
Produced from young vineyards, this Nebbiolo has a young, fresh character that is ready for immediate consumption and is ideal for everyday drinking.  While labeled under the Langhe DOC appellation, this wine follows all the guidelines and achieves a quality level on par with the Barbaresco denomination.  The first vintage of this wine was produced in 1978.

 

Owner: Co-operative with 52 members
Website: www.produttoridelbarbaresco.com
Winemaker: Gianni Testa
Type: Red wine
Varietals: 100% Nebbiolo

Vineyard Location: Different young vineyards in the DOC area
Orientation: Southwest – Southeast
Elevation: 600 – 1,200 ft
Trellising: Guyot single cane
Yield/Acre: 27 ql
Soil: Limestone, rich in calcium with sandy veins

Vinification
Fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 82°F, maceration on the skins for 22 days

Aging Process
Six months in large, oak casks

Tasting Notes
Color: Ruby red

The vine is believed to have first been cultivated in Greece by the Phoceans from an ancestral vine that ampelographers have not yet identified. From Greece it was brought to Italy by settlers to Cumae near modern-day Pozzuoli, and from there spread to various points in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. While still grown in Italy, the original Greek plantings seem to have disappeared.In ancient Rome, the grape was the principal component of the world’s earliest first-growth wine, Falernian. Along with a white grape known as Greco (today grown as Greco di Tufo), the grape was commented on by Pliny the Elder, the maker of some of the highest-ranked wines in Roman times.
8 - Aglianico

8 – Aglianico

Terredora – Aglianico Campania IGT
Aglianico is a native Italian varietal that is widely di used in Campania and in Basilicata. It is of extremely ancient origin and some experts argue that it was cultivated in the early period of Roman history and was introduced to Italy by the Greeks at the time of the foundation of Cumae (the modern Cuma) or soon afterward. Terredora considers itself a guardian of this dynamic native varietal, producing signi cant quantities of the varietal at both the IGT and DOCG level.

Owner: Walter Mastroberardino and his children Paolo, Lucio and Daniela
Website: www.terredora.com
Winemaker: Lucio Mastroberardino
Type: Red wine
Varietals: 100% Aglianico

Vineyard Location: Irpinia
Orientation: South-Southeast
Elevation: 1,350 ft
Trellising: Guyot
Soil: Calcareous clay

Vinification
Maceration of the grapes, at 68°F, does not exceed seven days in order to obtain an excellent extraction of color without creating a heavy tannic structure

Aging Process
When the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation are complete the wine is left to mature – part in stainless steel and part in small barrels for six months before returning to stainless steel tanks.

Tasting Notes
Color: Ruby red with violet reflections
Bouquet: Shows black cherry, wild blackberry and plum fruit with a spicy, toasted overtone
Flavor: Soft and elegant; long in the mouth with notes of mature red fruits and displays the structure necessary for long aging
Pairings: Ideal with soups, even those which are meat based, cold cuts, white and red meats, roasts and mature cheeses

Alcohol Content: 13%
Serving Temperature: 61-68°F
Production: 220,000 bottles

My name is Raffaele De Gennaro and I work as a wine consultant for Vias Imports, in the Hudson Valley area and sell to Restaurants and Wine Shops. If you can’t find the wines in your neck of the woods, just have the Restaurateur or Wine Shop contact me via email: rdegennaro@viaswine.com. I can also help you by hosting a wine tasting event or arrange for case discount purchases the wine shops listed below:

  • ADMIRAL WINE
    911 North Broadway #1, White Plains 10603
    914-997-1900
  • ARIES WINE & SPIRITS
    128 West Post Road, White Plains 10603
    914-946-3382
  • ARLINGTON WINE & LIQUOR
    718 Dutchess Tpk, Poughkeepsie 12603
    845-452-2175
  • ART of WINE
    18 Cooley Street, Pleasantville 10570
    914-769-0206
  • BIG E WINE & LIQUOR
    690 McLean Avenue, Yonkers 10704
    914-965-0012
  • BREWSTER WINE & LIQUOR
    1515 Route 22, Lakeview Plz., Brewster 10509
    845-279-5838
  • CROSSROAD WINES & LIQUOR
    393 Tarrytown Road, White Plains 10607
    914-997-2318
  • HARRISON WINE VAULT
    289 Halstead Avenue, Harrison 10528
    914-835-0125
  • LIQUOR OUTLET
    61 Rockland Center/Route 59, Nanuet 10954
    845-623-7827
  • LIQUORFELLERS
    1761 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers 10710
    914-793-6110
  • MANOR WINES & SPIRITS
    1187 Pleasantville Road, Briarcliff Manor 10510
    914-834-3344
  • MID VALLEY WINE & LIQUOR INC.
    39 N. Plank Road, #1, Newburgh 12550
    845-562-1070
  • STATION PLAZA WINE & SPIRITS
    102 Kraft Avenue, Bronxville 10708
    845-628-1933
  • STERLING CELLARS
    179 Route 6, Mahopac 10541
    914-337-0631
  • STEW LEONARD’S WINE & SPIRITS
    1 Stew Leonard Drive, Yonkers 10710
    914-375-4713
  • VAN WYCK LIQUOR
    45 Maple Street, Croton-on-Hudson 10520
    914-271-9551
  • VISCOUNT WINE & LIQUORS
    1173 RTE 9, Wappinger Falls 12590
    845-298-0555
  • VINIFERA WINE & SPIRITS
    410 Mamaroneck Avenue, Mamaroneck 10543
    914-698-3802

 

 

 

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