Archive for the ‘ Drink Reviews ’ Category

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?

Cheers!
Adrienne

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 ~

Appetizer

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.

Entree
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!

Dessert
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

What else am I up too?

Eating Weeds
Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

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
ice

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!

Cheers!

Chef E Stelling

What else am I up too?

Eating Weeds
Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

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!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling

More of Chef E!

Eating Weeds
Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Pays Basque Wines of Xareta

Hotel Restaurant Lastiry, Sare/Fr

Most recently a trip was taken by my family to Espaina and the southern region of France- Xareta, which means “Wooded Valley”. We visited one of the villages, Sare (Sara) in the Basque region.

This charming town is part of the winding roadways off the major Autovia, or highway once you cross the French border. There we had two wines of the area with our meal, before setting off to San Sebastian, the other side of the Basque border.

A white and red wine, both AOC Irouleguy- Andere D’Ansa (white, 09) and Gorri D’Ansa (red, 07). Soft and light, but well matched for the regional dishes of seafood (squid and scallops, of which are mostly small) and le boeuf (veal).

A plus in this region and Spain were the offerings of small bottles, and no competitive pricing. Spain has no taxing on alcohol, because the believe that ‘Wine Is Food’, so I suspect France may be the same. Finding a bottle for as little as 1 Euro is not uncommon. Maybe not as good, but easy on the Euros with meals. I would suggest if you are ever near this region, which just above and to the left is Bordeaux- do not pass this experience up.

Our hotel and restaurant are connected- service, food and wine were excellent. If you do not speak French (a bit different in Basque), the hotel receptionist if on duty speaks English, and helped us with the menu since the wait staff had no patience with my son’s Spanish or our unused French from college and about. Spanish is also spoken, but a bit choppy with the French mixed in. I would suggest a Berlitz course, or lessons before you go.

Food- Basque, but French in many ways. Scallop pie, Le Boeuf Kidney Pie, and a beautiful Squid Casserole.

Also, one last suggestion- For breakfast, skip the lobby breads, and head down to the left, around the corner, and down the alley like street to the local bakery- Pan/Pain for some chocolate crescents. The memory of them lingers…some red wine would go well!

The food, wine and scenery is beautiful!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

HISTORY: Xareta is an association law 1901 of French right dating from September 2004, gathering 4 villages on the two side of the border: Ainhoa, Sare, Urdazubi-Urdax and Zugarramurdi.

The country of Xareta, zone of a few square kilometres, forms a common basin of life on the two side of the border, around the villages Urdazubi-Urdax, Zugarramurdi, Ainhoa and Sare. The territory is located near mountains and sea. Moreover, Xareta has a strong cultural identity, thanks to the bonds of its inhabitants, who exceed the borders.

Sare/Sara, Fr Village View

When Its Time For Wine, It Can Be Spectacular

Opus One 1999

Aging wine can be a tricky thing. You have to be comfortable with spending money on wine, and letting it lie on its side until the right moment arrives. When is that? Not sure, then read up on the wines, and follow a few simple procedures- temperature, keeping it in a dark place, and on its side. A temperature controlled environment is the best, but understandably if one cannot afford to build a cellar, or basement area, then an upright refrigerated unit works.

How do you know a wine is meant to be aged? Here are a few notes-

Knowing how long to age wines can seem difficult. There are many types of grapes, many methods of production, a great variety of storage conditions and an overwhelming number of personal preferences. Each of these factors has an impact on how long a wine should be held before drinking. In general, wines gain complexity and lose fruitiness as they age. Tannic red wines also mellow and become softer as they age. Once a wine reaches maturity, it will usually plateau before slowly going downhill. Different grapes make wines with different aging profiles. As an example, most Cabernet Sauvignon will age for longer periods than most Merlot’s.

Of all the wines produced, more than 90% are designed to be consumed within a couple of years after they are produced. Understand that it is just as possible to age a wine for too long a time as it is to age it for too little a time.

In general, more expensive wines are usually designed to become better with age. Most inexpensive wines do not benefit from aging.

If you are not sure then read, or do your research. The internet is full of wine sites, forums and blogs, so it would be almost impossible not to find out a recommended aging time-line for your bottle of wine.

Hubby and I opened up this Opus One with a meal at Ruth Chris Steak House. Corkage fee of $15 for a 1999 was a bargain. They did offer an 06 for $210, but you can purchase them for around $100, sometimes less if the store wants to unload them. Friends have often purchased wines off of Ebay, but unless you trust how it was stored, and the temperature, be careful.

I was disappointed in the Ribeye I had, over cooked, but hubby’s lamb chops were perfect. Sure I could have sent it back, but by the time we waited and arrived for dinner, I was hungry. They removed some of the bill for the mistake. I however feel a good Ribeye on the home grill is by far the best experience. Eating out is risky, and an expensive lesson.

Bordeaux Blend- Cab and other grapes

Opus One has lost some of its momentum in the wine connoisseur circles, but we felt it had aged perfectly. There are some higher end wines out there, but Opus One is still producing some good grapes, and is perfect for aging. Mellow and meaty- great with grilled meats. The recommendation for this wine was to open no later than 2012, so it just felt right to enjoy the wine. The best part of our meal was the company and the wine by far!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

South Jersey Wines & Steak

South Jersey Vines

Jersey Fresh Wine & Food Festival, Heritage Winery, Sat & Sun 12-5 PM, 480 Mullica Hill Road (Route 322) in Mullica

Want a chance to taste some of the wines of Amalthea Cellars I have been so excited about? Up against other wineries of the region? Then come find me roaming about Heritage Wineries Property today during the Jersey Fresh Wine and Food Festival from Noon till 5 PM.

If you miss it today, then you have another chance Sunday from Noon till 5 PM. I will be unfortunately (or not) tasting twelve Zin’s with Adrienne, and we will be reporting back!

You can read my report on a great ribeye steakhouse in south Arizona over at Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! ‘Warning Steak Lovers’. The Pinot Noir I had with it was not so bad either, but the Zinfandel would probably have been a dead on tasting…

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food & Wine Writer/Chef-Owner CookAppeal, LLC Princeton, New Jersey