Archive for the 'Dinner Recaps' Category

Dinner 6 > Aromatic Whites Night – Wine Redux

Friday, May 18th, 2007

A core groups of cork dorks made their way up to the Upper East Side to dine on a magnificent feast prepared by Jim and coordinated by Jocelyn on May 17th. 10 wines found their way from bottle to gullet, and we are only sorry that more could not partake (some last minute no-shows were unfortunate, but that left Jim and Joc with plenty of leftovers!). We also welcome Larry Levine and Jos Stella to the group and hope to see them again at future events. Mike Edelhart, another bi-coastal, also attended. And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for:



– Truly outstanding chicken wings that were marinated for 30 hours in honey, soy, sherry, garlic, and Chinese 5 spice
– Vietnamese spring rolls with shrimp, chicken, water chestnuts (roll with lettuce and cilantro)
– Pork dumplings
– Various sweet and/or spicy sauces


– Thai coconut soup w/green curry, chicken, and mushrooms
– Singapore Mei fun
– Szechuan Beef
– Dried braised green beans with garlic
– Shrimp, snow peas, water chestnuts & garlic


– Fruit with fondue chocolate

DRINK (in order of consumption):

1) 2004 Daydreamer Sauvignon Blanc (Napa)
Grassy nose, honey, green & bitter finish

2) 2006 Amestoi Getarikis Txakolina (Basque)
Fizzy and fresca-like, goes well with fruit, prosecco-esque, tastes a bit like a frozen apple ice cube

3) 2005 Bianchette Genovese, Golfo del Tigullio
Toasty, charcoal, dusty grapeskin

4) 2004 Alsace Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer
Classic, an ‘aromatic white’, Chantilly, peach, allspice

5) 2001 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr, Riesling Spatlese
Tropical fruit, grapefruit, apricot, bananas

6) 2005 Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River)
Metallic (like sucking on a penny)

7) 2003 Movia Ribolla (from Slovenia)
Baked apple, violet, silky, earthy, pumpkin

8.) 2004 Acacia Chardonnay
Over-oaked, buttery, lychee nut

9) 2004 Aloxe-Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Chandon de Briailles Grand Cru (WINE OF THE NIGHT, FROM ERIC PORRES)
Multi-layer, long finish, flint undertone, spearmint, complex, gorgeous

10) Dessert Wine – 2004 Jackson-Triggs Riseling Teewine, Okanagan Valley

Dinner 5 > Barolo Night – Wine Redux

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

A meraviglioso evening was had by all when we descended on Paul Debraccio’s pied-a-terre for an evening of Barolo. The rain could not keep away 13 Barolos from the new and the old world to engage and delight in the festivities.

Barolo Feast

John Piccone brought the winning wine of the evening against some strong competition. And so, the write-up of the wines and collective comments are as follows:

1) Starter Wine – Nicely chilled Prosecco

2) 1969 Barolo Scapra Riserva Speciale (2nd Place for WINE OF THE NIGHT)
Fresh, classic Barolo, hint of manure, power w/out weight

3) 2001 Vursu Vignetto Campe
Wet campfire, peppery, ash

4) 1999 Pira Marenca
Cherry, youthful, tar, raisiny, spice, needs more time

5) 1998 Barolo Brunate
Metallurgic – iron filings, good to age more, classy

6) 2000 Cascina Del Monastero (Bricco Poiund)
Fruity beginning, sexy, oaky, short finish

7) 2001 Damilano Barolo
Leather, pepper, charming, blueberry first taste

8.) 2000 Rocche Dei Manzoni Big d’Big
Vanilla, grapefruit/nectarine smell, dolce du leche, caramel, butterscotch, food friendly

9) 1990 Paolo Scavino Cannubi
Silky, warm fireplace, engaging, a keeper, no edges; an assassin, not a politician

10) 1996 La Rocca e La Pira (Roagna) (3rd Place for Wine of the Night)
Licorice, bittersweet, chocolate, leather, more politician than assassin, like a study, easy to drink and complex; hint of manure at end

11) 2001 Barolo Cerretta (Giovanni Rosso)
Parmesian, exhaust, balsamic vinegar you could drink

12) 2001 Bartolo Mascarello (WINE OF THE NIGHT, FROM JOHN PICCONE)
Worth every penny, meaty, chestnut, salami and smoked meat

13) 1999 Monprivato Mascarello
Pez dispenser

14) 2000 Bussia Poderi Aldo Conterno
Herbacious, pucker up!

15) After Dinner – 2001 White Rock Vineyards, Napa Valley Claret

Dinner 4 > Chocolaty Delicious – Wine Redux

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

“We few, we happy few,
we band of brothers,
though in our group,
sisters too.”

…and so Shakespeare may have penned the start of our evening this past Wednesday at the Torch Club, hosted by our most gracious friends, Adrienne Skinner and Clay Gordon. Though we were small in number (after some flu-riddled drop-outs and a family emergency), including yours truly, Jim, Jocelyn, Michael, and our hosts, we filled the room with laughter, great food, an extraordinary chocolate pairing (Clay is our cocoa sommelier), and of course grapes of several varieties to hold true to our destiny as a wine club.

To set the stage, the Torch Club is available only to alumni and faculty of NYU; Clay is the latter of the two which enabled us to descend upon this magical place. We started the evening with a delectable selection of artisanal cheeses, assorted fruits and crackers, followed by a simple and yet divine green salad with chocolate nibs and miso infused light dressing. A nib you say? Yes, a nib, which is the center of the cocoa bean. Our main course was a dazzling been tenderloin with (as you may have guessed) a delicious chocolate sauce, polenta, and small vegetables. My simple words do the main dish no justice; have a look for yourself at the dish photo on this page. I can’t remember us ever having plated service on either coast!

And then…onto the chocolate. Clay took us through the art and science of chocolate creation. 5 chocolates were selected for our experiential flight of cocoa fancy (in order of consumption):

– Felchlin Cru Hacienda (74% cocoa)
– Felchlin Grand Cui Criolait
– E. Guittard Semisweet Chocolate
– Felchlin Ambra
– Felchlin Accra

I believe 5 countries of origin are represented from this group, including the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and the Ivory Coast (and of course, Switzerland for the processing)

Each and every chocolate had a distinct flavor, texture, smell, sound (yes…sound), aftertaste, and interaction with the wine (or should I say wines left by this point in the evening). I could go on, but Clay (cc’d on this email) is a far superior source of knowledge and wisdom in this area. He can do private tastings for corporate events and the like–could not highly recommend his services enough (you can also visit for more information).

But of course, a wine redux would not be complete without a review of our wines. We mixed is up during the evening, with 3 reds, a riesling, a champagne, and a spumanti. In order of consumption (none decanted) along with brief tasting notes:

1) Luzon Verde 2005 (Jumilla, Spain)
– Peppery, plum, tight finish, tangy

2) Bellavista Cuvée Brut (NV, Italy)
– Crisp, apple, almost no finish, easy on the conversation, light like Prosecco, but tight bubbles like champagne, not very acidic like champagne

3) Torbreck, The Struie 2002 (Australia)
– blackberries, chocolate, pepper, deep, rich, not oaky, long finish

4) Clarendon Hills Romas Grenache 2004 (Australia)
– kirsch cherry explosion, chewy, tannic, buttery, has a port-like quality, and paired exceptionally well with the Grand Cru Criolait chocolate

5) Gysler, Scheurebe Halbtrocken 2005 (Germany)
– grapefruit, flowery, slightly effervescent, a nice summer wine

6) Pol Roger Extra Cuvée de Reserve Champagne (NV, France)
– green apple, mineraly

Of the six, the Torbreck was the crowd favorite with dinner while the Clarendon was the crowd favorite with the chocolate pairing. A note on chocolate/wine tasting: make sure that you’ve chewed up the chocolate to a liquid form, and ensure that you have an equivalent amount of chocolate and wine in your mouth at the same time.

So there you have it, our delightful evening before the Arctic chill gripped the city.

Thanks all, and thanks again to Adrienne and Clay for raising the bar once again!

Dinner 3 > Spanish Reds – Wine Redux

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

O’la! Dinner 3 came and went, but not before 18 gringos and gringas descended upon Dave and Lorea’s beautiful home to sample the some of the best (and some only decidedly decent) of what Spanish growers have to give us using red grapes. We had a fine turnout of east coasters, including our host Dave Morgan, Gary Savoy, Nick Bumstead, Jason Krebs, Jim Meskauskas, Kevin Webb, Stephanie Vautravers, Adrienne Skinner, John Piccone, Paul Debraccio, Michael Hirshoren, Mark Westlake, and myself. Ad:tech was in town as well, so we got ‘lucky’ and had some serious West coast presence in form of Steven Comfort, Norm Page, Scot McLernon, and Rich Johnson. And from even further west (although some might arguably say far east), “TK” Tanemura came in from Japan.

Now, although we have made our best attempts to put together tasting notes from our previous two events (dinner 1, dinner 2), we were very fortunate to have the ultimate wine scribe, Steven Comfort, attend this event, and Robert Parker might call his note taking and posting efforts from the evening “a prodigious effort, possibly the best of the vintage.” Were you too inebriated to remember your Priorat from your Rioja? Well, look no further than Steve’s notes to understand what you were drinking, why you were drinking it, how much you spent (and how much your peers spent…or did not), and what unofficial ratings were bestowed upon your wines. The average cost-per-bottle of the evening (with 21 bottles consumed) was $49 with a range from $11 – $120…you know who you are and what you brought 😉 Truly, Comfort’s notes are not to be missed.

Nick wound up as the winner of the evening for best in show, followed by Stephanie. Coincidentally, they both brought R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rioja, albeit from different years (Nick a 1985, Stephanie a 1987). Both were also decanted (Nick’s at his wine shop, Chambers Street Wines, Stephanie’s in a decanter at the house), and both have a style not unlike the great Grand Cru Burgundies (see Comfort’s notes for further details), so I can’t help but wonder if a) some of the other wines in our group would not have shown better with some decanting of their own, and b) we are so accustomed to French wines that they steer our palates towards their essence. But these questions are part of what these dinners are all about; tasting some of the world’s great wines from various regions with great people and enough sober notes taken during the evening to reflect back on the ones you want again.

Our next and last event of 2006 will take place in exactly one month’s time on December 14th at Paul Debraccio’s home. The theme is world-class Barolos, and we’re in for a treat this evening, for the west coast wine group is also having their December event on the same night, so we’ll have a simulcast broadband-enabled two-way messaging toast. The first taker for 2007 looks to be Adrienne in late Jan/early-Feb. Details will follow for that event as well.

A couple of quick site updates: as of this evening, the wines page will include links to Wine-Searcher for all the wines we’ve had from the last 3 events.

Dinner 2 > Old Leather Bordeaux – Wine Redux

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Bonjour! Our second East Coast wine dinner took us to the bonnie hill and dale of Brooklyn, NY for a feast aplenty courtesy of John Piccone, his lovely wife Dara, and servants (I mean sons) Eli and Sam. The theme as you know was Old Leather Bordeaux, and it did not disappoint.

First, we gorged ourselves on cheese, salami, olives, and crackers. The Piccones have a lovely cheesewheel cutting device that you can ask them about at a later date. This was followed by an impeccably prepared roast of lamb with roasted vegetables and for the vegetarians (i.e. NONE!) a similarly wonderfully prepared tossed salad.

The participants at this festival of Bordeaux included 1st dinner alums John P, Eric P, Tom C, Charles S, along with newcomers Dave M, Mark W, Nick B, , Stephanie V, and Dara P. Yes, Mark W, a noted scotch aficionado, as per previous history, came with both a bottle of required red and a bottle of scotch (more on the liquid consumables in a bit).

So what did we drink? Below please find the wines consumed in order along with our notes. You are welcome to comment on our comments, praise them, refute them, or otherwise just feel every so slightly disappointed that you were unable to attend! And so:

  • 2003 Saint Amour
    • our starter wine for the predinner festivities
  • 2003 Lassègue
    • Termed “the liveliest label” by our group
  • 2000 Chevalier de Lascombes
    • smooth, early, crunchiness on finish
  • 1970 Magdelaine
    • tasty, funky, dark, old, still pretty young, can hang for 5-10 years, not yet dead
  • 1986 – Domaine de Chevalier
    • Dark, full body, sharper than 70, angular (from front to back of palate), not balanced
  • 1989 Chateau de Fieuzal
    • Lively, cocoa, lots of taste, sweet, dusty grainy tannins
  • 1995 Cos d’Estournal
    • Plum, one flavor, up front, in your face, a 2 by 4, wine made to drink young [Note: WS rates this wine very highly, so our comments are likely a partial function of drunkenness from the previous consumption]
  • 1998 Chateau la Gomerie
    • Crowd pleasing wine, Not as good as cheese, wine could be from anywhere – no distinction, but bold and up front for ‘lay’ consumer
  • 1998 Chateau Deyrem Valentin
    • Real charm, nothing showy, has enough depth for 10 years

When all was said and consumed, our average Wine-Searcher sourced cost per bottle (not including starters and after dinner drinks) was $88. We followed up the dinner with a dessert of cheese and assorted pastries. The quote of the night may have come from John, who said “I don’t think I could live a day without cheese.”

But wait, there’s more! We had a vote on the wine for best-in-show, which was the Deyrem Valentin brought by Stephanie and she won the first wine group prize, a phat (as they might say in the ‘hood) Brooklyn hoodie sweatshirt.

After dinner drinks included the bottle of Glenrothes Select Reserve from Mark’s visit (a vatting of casks from various years representing the heart and essence of Glenrothes) and a 1973 Marcel Trépout Bas-Armagnac.

So, sincere thanks to all participants of our second event. Our third event will be held in late October and hosted at Dave’s place (working theme = Spanish Reds), followed by world class Barolos at Paul’s home in December.