Monthly Archives: October 2012

New World Wines: Fall Season Brings Leaf Viewing, Wine Tasting In New York State

New York has been good to me this summer and I want to return the favor, going out of my comfort zone and trying some wines that I had previously snubbed from the Hudson Valley. One summer I rented a house in New Paltz because I like to hike and I visited a number of the wineries around the town. I wrote about those experiences here. Since that time, I have had few Hudson Valley wines except for at a tasting in New York City. Lucky for me, I have been to the Hudson Valley a number of times this year.

One winery I hadn’t visited on my other trips was the Brotherhood Winery, one of the oldest in the region. This time around, with a friend we tried a variety of their wines. The merlot was actually pretty good but their biggest sales come from their sweeter wines, I believe. I am not partial to that style of wines but I always marvel at the marketing efforts of our wineries in the US. Brotherhood had everything: tours, tastings, clothes and objects to sell, a restaurant, a banquet hall and of course, 20 + wines. In short, an industry of sorts. While I don’t always love that, I do appreciate the skill and planning it takes to keep it going. Interesting, Brotherhood is owned by a Chilean concern. In fact the banquet hall reminded me of the one at Viu Manent in Chile

I like to go upstate at least once or twice in the fall for hiking and to see the leaves. Nowhere are the leaves more beautiful than in the Northeast. Arezzo and the Apennines comes in a distant second but it is beautiful there as well. I will be in Arezzo in a few weeks so hopefully, the leaves will still be on the trees. One reason I went to college in the Northeast was that I was seduced by the fall. I love the fall because of harvest, pumpkins, the color of the sky, and the harvest moon, among other reasons.

What my college town didn’t have though was a good pizzeria. That is always a serious problem if you are a pizza fan such as I am. Over the weekend though, I found the perfect spot for pizza in upstate New York, Prima Pizza. This was pizza the old-fashioned Italian-American way, just the way I like it when I am in the US.

Not too doughy, not too much crust but just enough of everything to be balanced. This place has been run by the same owner for the past 25 years and in the same family for 60 years. I was happy to find it and to see that such places still exist.Oddly enough, they also deliver pizza overnight anywhere in the US. Apparently they have a system that allows them to ship it “fresh.” Not a cheap option, I guess I might consider it if I lived in a place where I couldn’t ever get a good pizza. Luckily that isn’t the case at the moment but if it comes to pass, I will know whom to call.


October 24, 2012 · 3:13 am

Last Sail of the Year Sunset On Hudson Sipping Prosecco

I went on my last sail of the year last weekend. As this photo shows, the sky was a brillant explosion of color. I was out on the Shearwater, a beautiful boat on the Hudson where a friend is one of the Captains. I have been out twice on that beautiful boat. They serve a nice Prosecco and I must say Friday was no exception.

I also joined the Manhattan Sailing Club this year and I would suggest it for all those who want to sail in New York City. One of the best parts of the sailing club is the barge in the middle of the Hudson. It is a great place to go out for a drink. I always have the Cote du Rhone, Guigal.

Leave a comment

Filed under sailing, wines

Wine Wednesday: Obama Finally Fights Back, Drinking Handley Cellars Wines

President Obama is back it seems and I for one, I am enjoying a drink while I watch the debate. I thought I would drink a New York wine but it seems that I ran out of it. So it’s wines from California for which I have a serious predilection. I am trying a couple from Handley Cellars.

I have two wines, a 2009 Pinot Noir from Mendocino Valley and the 2009 RSM Vineyard Pinot Noir Anderson Valley. I found the former quite elegant and nuanced while the latter has more grip, earth and smoke flavors. The RSM Pinot Noir would be perfect for a roast although I am just eating pork with rosemary.

The wine were made from grapes grown on a vineyard that was planted in 1999 and 2001, at 800 and 1000 feet above sea level on gravelly soil. Some whole cluster bunches go into making this wine. In terms the aging regime, the winery uses 100% barrel aged, some 37% is new French oak. The wine ages for 10 months.

The 2009 Pinot Noir Mendocino Valley wine differentiates itself by the kinds of yeasts that are used for fermentation. Some six different yeasts were used. This created a variety of aromas and flavors. It also is not fermented 100% dry but some residual sugar is left in the wine. Both wines were great examples of Pinot Noir from this part of California and great wines to drink while watching the debate.

According to the website, 2009 was a great vintage with optimum temperatures during the growing season followed by a warm spell at the beginning of September helped to fully ripen the grapes.


Filed under wines

Bruce Hits The Campaign Trail

This just in: Bruce is stumping for Obama in Ohio. I love Bruce as anyone who reads this blog knows. I’m so excited to know that he will be lending his voice to the Obama campaign.

I just saw Bruce in New Jersey for the nth time on September 21. As always, it is a sheer pleasure for me to go to a Bruce concert. I went with my sister and my mother. The whole family are Bruce fans including my niece, nephew, dad and cats.

I’m going to seriously consider going to Ohio. BRRRUUCCEE. I guess if you scratch the surface, I’m just a Jersey girl at the end of the day. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Bruce

Women in Wine: Laura Brunelli of Gianni Brunelli Winery

There are many women who work in the Italian wine industry whom I respect and admire. Some of them are friends of mine, others acquaintances and still more that I don’t know. One woman though is so particular that I always smile when I think of her, her wines and her restaurant – Laura Vacca or Laura Brunelli. Laura owns the Gianni Brunelli winery.

I’ve written about Laura often in the past as have a number of other people, including this comprehensive piece by Erin Scala on her blog,

I’m thinking about Laura today not because I am drinking one of her great wines but because her restaurant was just mentioned in the New York Times, Osteria Le Logge.

I had one of the best meals of my life at that restaurant with Laura and Gianni in 2007. A truly unforgettable experience and one I highly recommend.

Leave a comment

Filed under Italian regions, Italian Restaurants, Italian wineries, Travel, Tuscany, wines, Women in Wine

Home Sweet Home – A Post Tuscany Experience

I’ve been traveling around the country – Houston, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago – with the Consorzio Tutela Morellino di Scansano DOCG. While I think it’s not serious of me to write about the wines that we showcased, I do feel that I can write about some of the great people I met on my travels these past two weeks. I’ll start with Chicago and a Tuscan Foodie, Michele Barsanti.

I met Michele yesterday and immediately was interested in his blog concept, an Italian who likes American food. Check it out. Today I read a post on his blog that truly warmed my heart, an ode to something I hold dear as well but I’ll let you read it rather than have me ruin the surprise. Michele is from Pisa and having lived with a Florentine for many years, I had heard a lot about Pisani but have never spent much time in Pisa apart from a few touristy days.
What I did see of Pisa was stunning – the Campo Santo, the tower and the Church.

Tuscany has and always well hold a huge piece of my heart, as it does for so many who have spent time there. I always feel that it was a gift to be able to live beneath the Boboli gardens in Via Romana for some years.

Pisa is a beautiful and often overlooked city. I will post some pictures tomorrow but I did want to point out one of the interesting people I met during my travels.

1 Comment

Filed under Italian regions, italy, Tuscany

New World Wine: San Francisco’s Japantown & Hello Kitty Wines

Yesterday, October 2, 2012 was Gandhi’s birthday and is celebrated as the International Day of Non-violence. I know this fact because of a client I work with, an NGO. Gandhi has always fascinated me and along with Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, he is one of my heroes. I wish the day were more widely celebrated and that non-violence was a way of life everywhere in the world.

Waking up in Japantown in San Francisco this morning was a perfect way to start my own celebration, despite the early hour. I was celebrating the full moon with a moon cake that my taxi driver brought me at 530am. He was Chinese but grew up in Vietnam after the Civil War in China. So many stories, so much war. Apparently, the moon cake is a good omen.

There is a true sense of peace and calm that reigns over the area although that hasn’t always been the case. This area was the scene of much heartbreak.

I’ve been in San Francisco working on an event for the Morellino di Scansano Consortium for the past couple of days. Near my hotel I have discovered a fascinating Japanese world complete with food shops, restaurants and much to look at while going back and forth to the event space.. San Francisco’s Japantown is one of three that are still in existence in California.

Much about Japanese culture interests me from food to design to art and more. One thing that alludes me though is the fascination people have with “Hello Kitty.” I truly am at loss.

Much to my surprise I came up “Hello Kitty” wine at an upscale grocery store in the area. There was a white, a red, and sparkling wine. The red was made from Pinot Noir and the white I imagine Chardonnay.

The other surprisingly thing was the price tag, $40 a bottle. Right next to these wines was the biggest selection of amazing sake I have ever seen.

Why anyone would choose a Hello Kitty wine over one of those Sake bottles is striking but that’s what makes horse racing..

1 Comment

Filed under Japan, New World Wines