Tag Archives: Wine

Rosé: A Wine for All Seasons, Finally Getting Some Respect

Photo: mrsraggle, Flickr. 

By Ron Blumenfeld

During the summer, wine drinkers are drawn to crisp, refreshing white wines, while avoiding the hearty reds that help fortify us against the winter cold.

A rigidly seasonal approach to wine drinking is in my opinion a mistake. Meanwhile, though, there’s another option—rosé. The once-disparaged wine has been steadily gaining respectability as a summertime choice. But it’s also a good wine to drink any time of the year.

Rosé is typically made by limiting the contact of red grape skins to fermenting wine. It’s the skins that are largely responsible for imparting tannins and color to reds. When making rose, the outer layer is removed relatively early in the fermentation process. It’s the winemaker who decides when that will be, which in turn depends on the desired style and the grape(s) that are used.

Rosé surfaced in the U.S. in the 1960’s with imports such as Mateus and Lancer’s and domestic brands like Sutter Home. Cloyingly sweet and flabby, that first glass of White Zinfandel can nevertheless lead drinkers to more sophisticated Burgundies and Barolos.

Today, Americans have discovered that rosés can be serious yet charming. What’s more, the blush-colored wines range from mineral-crisp quaffing varieties to bold, fruity ones that blur the line between rosé and standard red wine. Southern France turns out great rosés, with the Tavel appellation arguably setting the gold standard.

Some wine stores carry 100 or more rosés over during the summer. Rely on the staff to guide you, and try out a few different styles. Two favorites of mine are Wolffer Estates from Long Island and Bagnol Cassis from Provence. Wolffer Estates makes a copper-colored rosé with subtle and delightful red fruit flavors. Bagnol Cassis from Provence, a pricy but elegant dry rosé, is great on its own or with seafood or light meats—even in winter.

Ron Blumenfeld is part owner of French vineyard Domaine des Bories.






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How I Went From Doctoring to Wine Making

Domaine des Bories. Photo: Ron Blumenthal.

by Ron Blumenfeld

Ron Blumenfeld is our new wine columnist. Ron is a doctor, but these days, you’re likely to find him tending the vines at Domaine des Boires, where he’s one of the vineyard’s owners. Look for Ron’s column on the first Friday of every month. He’ll write about some aspect of wine—making it, tasting it, savoring the wine life.

How does a guy from the southwest corner of the Bronx end up tending grape vines in the southwest corner of France?

I thought about this as I stood on a remote hillside vineyard in the Madiran wine region, miles from any paved road—let alone the Grand Concourse. It was also a pretty unusual career move to make after spending 35 years as a Connecticut doctor.

But the answer was simple: Vincent Chabert, the man across the field, tirelessly tending our vines.

I first met Vincent, a Frenchman, at a Quebec ski mountain in the late 1980’s. Vincent was a ski instructor, but he was also maître d’ at a local inn. Over a decade, we became good friends.

Part of Vincent’s job at the inn was managing a 15,000-bottle wine cellar. Soon, he got the winemaking bug and went back to France to work at Chateau Bouscassé, a famous Madiran vineyard. In 2006, Vincent called me to say he was going to buy Domaine des Bories, also in the Madiran region. He asked me if I wanted to be an investor.

I loved wine—but did I love it that much?

Though not well-known to US wine drinkers, the wines from Madiran, an area dotted with roughly 40 vineyards, date back to Roman times. Domaine des Bories offers two blends (cuvées): “Tradition,” with 50-60% tannat, and “Vieilles Vignes (old vines),” with 80% tannat. Both blends are rounded off with cabernet sauvignon and/or cabernet franc.

These days, I travel to Madiran to perform exhausting agricultural labor. There’s not much time to enjoy its quaint villages and beautiful countryside. At this point, I’ve had my bleeding and callused hands in every stage of wine production, from vine to bottle, to promotion.

Do I love wine that much? Enough to sink my blood, sweat and money into a vineyard?

I do in fact love it that much!

Here’s where you can buy Domaine des Bories. Many of these shops will ship.


West Side Wine 481 Columbus Ave. NY www.westsidewine.com

Rye Brook Wines 259 South Ridge Street Rye Brook www.ryebrookwines.com


Grapes of Norwalk 10 Cross Street Norwalk www.grapeswine.com

Stewart’s Wines and Spirits 227 Elm Street New Canaan www.stewartswines.com

Harry’s Wines 2094 Post Road Fairfield www.harryswine.com

The Wine Thief 181 Crown Street New Haven www.thewinethief.com

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Upper West Side: Wine Tasting Offers a Taste of France’s Loire Valley

Photo: Loire Valley, France. Courtesty of Bacchus Wines.

Photo: Loire Valley, France. Courtesty of Bacchus Wines.

Even though it’s only October, the damp, chilly weather makes it seem more like the middle of February. So isn’t it time for a trip to France?  You don’t even have to purchase a plane ticket. Instead, walk down to 71st and Broadway and taste some of the wines from France’s Loire Valley that will be offered up at Bacchus Wines’ Loving Loire wine class Oct. 22.  Here are the details:

What: From Muscadet in the west to Sancerre in the east, the Loire Valley boasts a diverse selection of wines—from sparkling to still, red to white. At this tasting, you’ll learn the sub-regions and grape varietals of the various wines that grow in France’s Loire Valley.

When: Thursday October 22, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

Where: Bacchus Wines,  2056 Broadway, between 70th and 71st; 212 875 1200.

How Much: $15 (plus tax). Payments cover the cost of Riedel glassware to take home and printed materials.

Sign up for tickets here.

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Fall Food Events in New York: Chow Down Around the City

Autumn is food fest time and this October and November, the city is brimming with places to watch celebrity chefs do demos while you munch on their fare. There’s a chocolate festival, along with wine, and butchering events. Recently shuttered Gourmet Magazine’s Gourmet Institute is Oct. 23-25. Will it resemble a food fest…or a wake?

Here’s a lineup of some of the the fall’s best food festivals:

October 8-11. The Food Network hosts the second annual New York City Wine & Food Festival, a smorgasbord of culinary demos, wine tastings, coffee tastings and other culinary happenings. There’s a Grand Tasting and a 100-mile brunch. Some events are sold out. You can watch food celebs like Martha Stewart and Bobby Flay doing demos and more. One-hundred-plus events will be staged at various venues around the city, with prices ranging from from $10 to $500. Visit: http://www.nycwineandfoodfestival.comcover_gourmet_146/2009/events.php

Oct. 12. The Columbus Day Wine Down will feature American wines from both traditional wine-producing regions and some up-and-coming areas. Food is supervised by Charlie Palmer. 
Tickets are $50 in advance; no tickets sold at the door. Use discount code MERLOT to get $10 off.
 Astra, 979 Third Ave., fourteenth floor
. Doors open at 6 pm. Visit: http://winedown.eventbrite.com/. (Via Grub Street)

Oct. 20. Tickets for City Harvest’s Bid Against Hunger premier tasting event and fundraiser start at $250 and go as high as $500 for VIP access.
 Participating restaurants include Convivio, Blue Hill, and Le Bernardin. Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St. Visit: http://www.cityharvest.org/home.aspx?catid=5&pg=30

Oct. 23-25. Gourmet Magazine’s Gourmet Institute will feature events priced from $20-$300. There are demos, tastings, classes, walking tours and a Gourmet marketplace. Participating chefs include lots of culinary stars—Anthony Bourdain, April Bloomfield, Scott Conant, and Sara Moulton. Visit: http://www.gourmetinstitute.com/chefs.asp

October 27. Brooklyn Eats. Tickets are $110 in advance and $125 at the door for this all-borough food fest, which includes Buttermilk Channel and Bussaco. Stage 6 at Steiner Studios, 15 Washington Ave., Brooklyn Navy Yard. 6 p.m.
 Visit:  http://www.brooklyneatsonline.com/index.php?module… (Via Grub Street)

Oct. 28. Second Annual Taste of Greenmarket.
 Star chefs Dan Barber, Marcus Samelsson and April Bloomfield will prepare dishes with Greenmarket ingredients. General admission, $150 in advance, or $175 at the door; VIP tickets give you early admission for $300. Studio 450, 450 W. 31st St., 7 p.m. 

 Visit: www.cenyc.org/tasteofgreenmarket

October 30–November 1
. At The Chocolate Show, view and sample chocolate from all over the world. There are demos, tastings and activities for kids.
 Tickets are $28 in advance, $8 per kid. Metropolitan Pavillion, 125 West 18th Street, New York, NY. Visit: http://www.chocolateshow.com/

Theo Chocolate is outstanding new food product nominee
Theo Chocolate is outstanding new food product nomineeadvance or $30 at the door. Kids under 5 are free, and up to two kids ages 5 to 12 can enter with one adult. Any additional child is $8.
 Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St. Visit: http://www.chocolateshow.com/

Nov. 2. At the 11th Annual New York Taste, New York magazine’s annual food event, you can sample food and wine from 40 restaurants and wineries, including Aldea, Corton, Marea, Locanda Verde, and many more. General admission tickets, $175, or $250 for the VIP preview.
 Skylight, 275 Hudson St.
  7 p.m.
 Visit: http://nymag.com/taste/

November 6–8. Cook. Ea t. Drink. Live. Bill Telepan, Ted Allen, and several other name chefs will do demos. Samples are from SD26, Rouge Tomate, BiCE, and many more. General admission, $65. The Tunnel/La Venue, 608 W. 28th St. (Via Grub Street). Visit: 247365nyc.com/i-tastings.html

November 8. Nose to Tail Eating: Lamb Butchering – Demo, Tasting, and Auction from Slow Food. See Master Butcher Rudi Weid break down the carcass of a 110 lb sustainably and humanely raised lamb (straight from the pastures of Three Corner Field Farm in Shushan, N.Y.) into roasts, chops, and miscellaneous cuts. He’ll discuss each section, muscle, and cut while participants feast on another lamb, roasted, seared, and grilled. Bid on cuts to take home. (Cash and checks will be accepted.) The Institute for Culinary Education (ICE), 50 West 23rd St.; Manhattan. 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Slow Food Members – $55 / Non-members – $75 

Tickets Available on-line at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/76318. Visit: www.slowfoodnyc.org/

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