Rare vintage Cherry Heering 1890 auctioned off at Sotheby’s

‘Tis the season to be giving and in honor of the holiday season Sotheby’s will be auctioning off a rare vintage of Cheery Heering. Bidding on the rare 1890 vintage will begin now until Dec 6th 12PM EST.

Bidding can take place at Charitybuzz.com lot # 253504.

The bottle will also be made available to the public via a live auction at the New York branch of the international auction house, Sotheby’s, on the evening of December 6th. The exact value of the rare blend is currently unknown, but is estimated to be worth more than $100,000.

The 1890 vintage was discovered in the Heering cellars in Denmark where it had been perfectly aged since production more than 120 years ago. Only a few bottles were found, all perfectly preserved in original casks, hand packed in wooden casings, and exquisitely marked with the original Royal Arms as purveyors to The Royal Danish and Imperial Russian courts as well as his Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales.

To explore the vintage’s quality, a tasting was organized in May at The Campbell Apartment in New York with some of the industry’s top experts. The panel included Jörgen Tilander, owner of the Cherry Heering brand; Jackson Cannon, famed New England mixologist; Akiko Katayama; former Iron Chef Judge and renowned international author; and Tony Abu Ganim, a pioneer in the spirit world. The vintage rating was based on five factors including: mouth feel, stretch on the palette, degree of sweetness, post resonance, and overall balance.

“This vintage is really well kept, providing notes of chocolate and cigar – as if they really rolled everything into the whole spirit,” noted panelist Ganim. “I was eager to see how long it can be aged and still maintain a refined taste. It is deep, more rounded, more impactful – this is my favorite.”

To everyone’s delight the blend was in immaculate condition, prompting the Sotheby’s auction. All proceeds will benefit the charity organization DIFFA, Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids. Fashion has been the communication platform for the Cherry Heering brand for quite some time, and this is an opportunity for them to give back (source: via press release http://www.kindredspiritsusa.com)

Any takers?



Wilshire Grand Events in New Jersey- Palmaz Vineyard Tasting

I am often invited to wine tastings or am even hunting down a good bottle for my own self indulgence, and then of course to pass on the education, and this time a local media friend, Hillary Morris did not fail us when she sent out an invitation to PIWC for a tasting and tour event- Palmaz Vineyards and The Wilshire Grand Hotel at New Jersey.

The hotel is located in West Orange (north) New Jersey, and I do not get up to those areas as often as I might like. There are still so many parts of New Jersey for me to explore as a transplant from Texas. Great restaurants to taste as well. Why not make it a wine and food experience I say!

My partner and I found the hotel nestled right off of the Garden State Turnpike, so points for not getting lost and easy access. After parking you see the hotel is on the right, so we headed left for the catering hall aka entertaining banquet section of the building. Upon entrance you have gorgeous visuals for any event need. I am wondering if it is not too late to repeat my own vows just to have a party here. The in-laws in New York would like the access.

As a caterer myself, I felt this was definitely a grand and beautiful place to hold an event- I could linger in the main foyer in my best rags with a dirty martini extra blue cheese stuffed olives, and only hope someone with Baby Grand Piano skills will show before I start banging out a Frank Sinatra song and drive everyone away…

We were directed to one of the banquet rooms in which Palmaz Vineyard and Hillary Morris was about to begin the ‘sip and twit’ style education. We were all being treated to a grand luncheon put on by the hotel ,  and I was ready, well hungry! The vintner’s family- mom, son, and daughter, along with Alan Greenberg their eastern regional manager (at our table) were on hand to explain when, why, and how the vineyard began its journey into wine making.

It was fascinating to learn from the son, Christian the wine makers took a former vineyard and converted it into an underground natural filtering (220 feet/3 sub-levels), or gravity flow system winery. Fifteen hours of hand separating the grapes from stems and wood, and much more labor intensive work was going on, and so much more care taken to ensure this once ‘darling of Napa’ vineyard produced a good product. I would have to make sure we had a tour when we returned to California! The visuals on the screen did have me fascinated, but what about the taste? Proof in the pudding, as I will borrow a cliche.

~ MENU ~


Baby Field Green Salad paired with Palmaz Vineyard Chardonnay 08
My first taste of the wine was not a good impression. The salad was gorgeous, flavors of all the toppings were great, but I prefer more oak in my Chardonnay, and less fruit, but I felt the stem ware did not do the wine justice. No room to open it up with air, but after a few more taste it grew on me. The wine is cold fermented in French oak for seven months, so it is a subtle flavor on the palate. I would serve it up against some other similar Chardonnay’s with a similar dish.

Hoisan Glazed French Cut Chicken Breast
Cedar Knoll Cabernet 06
Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet 06

Some complained the Hoisan was not a good pairing with the weight of the Cabernet, but I felt it did not overwhelm the dish and was well balanced- the key is too not have one out do the other, and in the case the Hoisan was thick and as the chicken was dipped and tasted with the wine, well it worked!

My favorite- The decanted Palmaz Vineyard Cabernet 06, was outstanding!

Goblet with Duet of Sorbet and Assorted Berries

No wine was served, and I passed on the dessert; it was beautiful, but not one of my favorites. My philosophy is if I am watching calories, not to waste them on any dessert served. I have a sweet tooth, so I simply had another helping of the Cabernet!

The price range of the wines are $50 to 100 a bottle, but the vineyard is low yield and puts a lot of time and care into keeping with old style wine making and aging art on the property, as well as the extensive water conservation practices in place. I plan on purchasing one of the 06 Cabernet’s for my own cellar!

PIWC is hoping to colaberate with Palmaz via Alan Greenberg one day after the first of the year for our own tasting, so we will bring you more news of how well the wines pair with some of our own choice foods!

Cheers to all the wonderfully nice people  Hillary Morris Public Relations invited to this event! (Thanks to Palmaz, The Wilshire Grand and the people at The HIP Event PR company too!)

Chef Elizabeth Stelling

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VinAssure Review #1

How did we discover VinAssure?

PIWC is always seeking out products we can try to review, but while over at GrapeRadio I viewed an ad for VinAssure and went to check it out.

Would we drink up too 700 bottles to make this product worth while?

Of course we would…do…drink plenty of wine with meals I prepare, and open lots more for wine tastings during the year. Any of you out there who value the wine you buy, or pour for family, friends, clients and host wine tastings will appreciate this product.

After contacting the products company we had to decide our approach to testing VinAssure. Of course we would open three wines, used the VinAssure Argon Gas canister, Vinuvac pumping device, and the cork method to see which preserved the wine as if we had just opened it. Before traveling to Spain last month, hubby and I opened a few bottles to test. We found that after our second attempt, and re-tasting the wine upon our return, the wines smell and taste were as if we had just opened it. Now we will open some more wines and share their results soon…

How can you tell there is argon gas in the VinAssure canister?

The manufacture and developer of VinAssure recommended this to me- Hold up a seal-able sandwich bag, make sure it’s flat (as opposed to having air trapped in it), seal it about 3/4 of the way, inject VinAssure into the bag for a slow count of 5, seal the bag all the way. VinAssure’s Argon has forced any air our of the bag and has remained IN the bag.

Now cup your hands around the bag and you will see a pillow effect from the argon that’s been injected. Visually that pillow equals the amount of Argon you’ve injected into a bottle with a 5 count. That’s approximately 185ml or 1/4 bottle. The ‘rest’ of what’s in the bottle’s empty space (if it’s more than 1/4 empty) is air, so there is now a mixture of air and Argon. Obviously, then, the more VinAssure you inject the greater the proportion of Argon and the greater the level of preservation.

We’ve found that the 5-count (or 1/4 bottle of Argon) is enough for the palates of most people. But the one constant in this is that all wines and all palates are not the same. Actually, the suggestion to add more Argon came from the calculation of the actual amount of gas going in and not from any negative feedback. Because the very expensive refrigerated preservation units (like Wine Keeper and Enomatic) use a method which keeps 100% of the empty space full of gas all the time, we wanted to be able to explain to users how much VinAssure it would take to simulate that method.

I tried what Peter recommended and you can see the pillow, as well as taste the difference in filling the wine bottle space with more than just room temp air, marbles, or pumping out the air. We also preserved the wine at room temp on the counter, as well as storing in a temp controlled upright wine cellar, and on a 45 degree tilted angle in the cellar.


Chef Elizabeth Stelling

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Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Spotlight: VinAssure Wine Preservation System

Wine lovers should be delighted to know there is a wine preservation system available that promises to preserve precious left over wine. No more wasted wine. Preserve up to 700 bottles per cylinder. Sounds great!

The VinAssure system is designed for restaurants, wine bars and wine lovers. It combines industrial grade Argon gas, an inert gas that when pumped into your favorite bottle prevents the oxidation of wine. With the VinAssure Wine Preservation system, opened bottles of wine now have the ability to retain their alluring bouquets and mouth filling palates by preventing wine oxidation for days.

Restaurant owners, wineries, tasting rooms and wine lovers can now rest assure that every glass served has the same appeal as when the bottle was first opened. No more wasted premium wine. The VinAssure preservation system preserves wine for up to a week or more depending upon the wine and tasters palate.

VinAssure uses only winery grade ALIGAL Argon. The Argon displaces whatever air is in the bottle and that along with refrigeration forms the winning combination to preserve the wine. It’s reasonably priced; less than $0.04 per use and easy to use.  It’s one of the lowest costs per use wine preservation system on the market today.

No more wasted wine!

Next up: I put the Vin Assure Wine Preservation system to the test.

VinAssure Wine Preservation System


Halloween party wines

Partying adults are in luck this Halloween because the holiday comes out on Sunday this year. And what better way to celebrate the ghoulishness than with some Halloween wines. A word of caution though, Halloween wine parties have been known to leave many red wine stains on the carpet, so keep some stain remover on hand.

Some Halloween wines for an evening of adult fun:

  • Vampire Wines: a perennial favorite at Halloween parties is the brain child of Michael Macht who typically markets their Vampire wine line to the under 30 crowd. Vampire wines come in Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and White Zinfandel.  Wines can be found for under $30
  • Bonny Doon Vineyards produces Cardinal Zin. The wine is claimed to be produced by beastly old vines. Truly a Zinfandel that a blood thirsty vampire could easily enjoy; rich and juicy.
  • Owen Roe Winery in Oregon produces Sinister Hand. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, aged in French oak barrels. Flavors of fruit, pepper and great body. Another dark wine a vampire could learn to love.
  • Kentucky winery, Elkcreek Vineyards has a great line-up of Ghostly wines. For Halloween select from Ghostly White Chardonnay, Bone Dry Red Cabernet or Ghostly White Sweet Mellow White.  Wines can be found for under $20.00
  • Hocus Pocus Syrah a varietal of Syrah/Shiraz produced in Santa Barbara County California’
  • And of course there’s also Pinot Evil Pinot Noir from France.

Find wine locally

Cheers! -Adrienne

Mixologist Monday

This topic is something I have wanted to add for a while, but got no responses from bar tenders in my area- until now!

I was recently roaming around Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ with a fellow artist/musician friend, Andrea. The winds blew in the clouds and a nor-easter, and we grew quite chilly running about looking for shelter and warmth. We headed into the restaurant, Ratz back door to sit at the bar and have some tea. Talking to the bartender, Nick about various life related issues- relationships.

In this visit I asked if they had a new fall menu up, and he stated not only did they, but they also had redesigned a few drinks to pair with the food. This bartender most certainly takes his job seriously! Describing a Rye Whiskey infused drink where the glass is lined with Absinthe. Most intriguing. I asked for one, and wanted to watch as he carefully poured each element of the fusion into the glass, then the shaker, lined the glass with the most deadly libation, and softly squeezed the orange peel as he poured the drink slowly into the small highball glass.

The scent of orange and hints of Autumn rang through as my nose and mouth began to meld the flavors. Thoughts of maple pumpkin crunch pie floated about my head- as a pairing with this drink at home! The whiskey was smooth, not overwhelming as Rye can be; it was fantastic!

Sazerac Cocktail Recipe-
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 oz rye whiskey
1 dash absinthe
2 dashes bitters
2 dashes Angostura® bitters
1 twist lemon peel

Chill an old-fashioned glass by filling with crushed ice. In another glass mix the sugar with the bitters dissolving the sugar. Add some ice, stirring to chill. In the old-fashioned glass remove the ice and pour in the absinthe coating the entire glass. Remove the excess absinthe. Add the rye whiskey and bitters/sugar mixture. Add the lemon twist.

Serve in: Old-Fashioned Glass

Visit Nick at Ratz most afternoons and evenings after you have walked Grounds For Sculpture!


Chef E Stelling

What else am I up too?

Eating Weeds
Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Cool Vines adds a new location

News Snippet: Mark Centis, founder of Cool Vines has opened up another Cool Vines at another location in Princeton. The philosophy of the new store on Spring Street remains the same; present their portfolio of wines in a manner that is approachable to the consumer.

Cool Vines arranges their wines according to flavor profiles and skips the “shelf talkers” and wine ratings from industry experts. To the average wine consumer this approach is less intimidating and more engaging. Why buy a 90 point rated wine, if you don’t like the flavor? Seems senseless to some.

The sales staff is very knowledgeable and will engage shoppers with little interesting bits of information regarding the wine’s profile and food pairings. Every Saturday there is an in-house wine tasting from 2-5 pm where wines are showcased and shoppers are treated to education and a little taste of the wines before buying. Effectively it’s “try before you buy”. Cool Vines tries to stock their stores with less well known brands with a focus on smaller family owned wineries, giving the consumer some industry treats.

This past Saturday, Cool Vines showcased three wines from South Africa; Chenin Blanc, a Rhone-Blend and Pinotage (indigenous grape variety of South Africa). South Africa is the up and coming New World star and is noted for making clean, crisp Chenin Blanc loaded with tropical fruits. The Man Vintners 2010 Chenin Blanc was just that! Clean with crisp acidity and generous notes of melon on the nose.

Cheers! -Adrienne

Cool Vines 21 Spring Street, Princeton, NJ

Spanish Whiskey, D.Y.C.

Someone got the brilliant idea in Spain to develop a Whiskey! Or should I say import over 20 years ago, and then make it their own. A few Spaniards along the way snubbed this unique bottle, because it seems they have been convinced Johnny Walker Blue and other major labels reign supreme. For the most part I might have to agree, as far as high end…but think about it, JW is blended scotch, not whiskey, and there is a difference in the two. Slight differences to be exact, but its all good.

Spain is known for its glorious Rioja and other wine regions. Did you know Spain considers wine ‘Food’? Yes, we were told this, as I held my glass of D.Y.C. whiskey behind my back. I have a deep affection for this liquid gold aged in oak barrels.

Along side a Spanish beer, one might even feel they have entered an Irish twilight zone!

Ummm whiskey on the rocks!

Its history? Lochside Distillery is the origins of this smooth libation. You can read about the Scottish born whiskey, and how it landed in Spain. This only proves that buying one of the four versions of this whiskey is worth bringing home to share with friends. Not to mention a great topic of entertaining conversation.

Aficionado’s, are you still not sure? Try the 8, 12 year old, or the Pure Malt when you visit Espana. You will want to add it to your collection. Why? Because, who ever heard of whiskey made in Spain? Thanks to my keen eye and taste, you might not have ever known.

HINT: Look for it outside of Madrid. Not too pricey if you can find the 8, 12, and Pure Malt, but by the glass in the city- you are being ripped off at $15 a glass at many posh bars. Many Tapa’s bars serve it for a mere $4 or 5 euros, a good bargain, and great with many foods offered, or an after dinner drink!


Chef Elizabeth Stelling

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Eating Weeds
Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

On The Road Eating and Drinking

Regional Beer of Barcelona, Spain

I cannot stress enough that if one is traveling abroad you must first try regional cuisine and drink. Drink of course includes lots of water if one is walking the city- then have the wine, beer, and any other libations the area consider part of their culture or heritage.

While in Spain and the southern region of France we did just this. If you are not sure what to drink, do not hesitate to ask. We found ourselves in a few eateries that offered beer selections to match the food, and they were all wonderful. My son who is twenty three thoroughly enjoyed this. Sampling beer along the trail was one of the highlights of his trip. Wine of course was ours. Among other things they had to offer was a Segovian made Whiskey- D.Y.C., and in four styles.

Your basic DYC, an 8, 12, and a Pure Malt version. Not to mention it was a very low euro price too. Well, at least outside of the city, and in the small markets. Many hotels charge an arm and a leg for most drinks, so beware. At fifteen euros for a cheap glass of scotch or whiskey, you might find yourself in one of their bread lines, literally (LOL). They offer up plenty of bread at the Tapas Bars, but there is where you will find your bargain food and drink!

Olive You!

More on the D.Y.C. Whiskey later, but for now, my favorite pairing on the trip- Local olives and a great glass of red wine!


Chef Elizabeth Stelling

Cork’d highlights the wines of the Barossa with Langmeil Wines

Australian old vines wine fans should be pleased with tonight’s tasting event. Langmeil Wines will be highlighted at tonight’s Cork’d event where Langmeil Wines from Australia’s famed Barossa Valley will be showcased. Participants will be treated to some gnarly old vines wines where the fruit is rich and concentrated on the palate and nose.

Langmeil Wines family member, James Lindner will be on hand to walk participants through the tasting and answer questions.

Here’s a list of the wines that will be on hand-the line-up:

Event: Roger Smith Hotel, NYC 10/6

7pm tonight

Shiraz or Syrah? More old vines A $35 give-away