August 27, 2010

BUZZ: Mario Batali's Eataly Opens in NYC on August 31

As a devoted Mario-lover, I'm pretty jazzed about the grand opening of Batali's newest venture, Eataly. The Italian import grocery store and restaurant opens its doors next Tuesday in New York City, and you may see me be the first in line to get dibs on all the imported Italian food and ingredients offerings, while stuffing my face with copious amounts of pasta and wine!

The brainchild of Batali, Oscar Farinett, and Joe & Lidia Bastianich is surely set to be high-end but a perfect locale for those, like myself, who don't feel like trekking all the way down to Italy (or even Brooklyn!)

At its core, most of the dry goods at Eataly will be straight-off-the-boat Italian, while produce is locally sourced. Departments will include pastries, bread, a butcher, a fishmonger, pasta (duh!), cured meats, cheeses, and so much more.

But perhaps the most enticing part of this new opening is its corresponding sit-down restaurant! We're talking coffee bar, paninis, pizza, a wine store (SOLD!), books, housewares, a cooking school by Bastianch, a forthcoming rooftop beer garden, and my personal favorite... gelato!!

Eataly's offerings are sure to be more than a market... it'll be an experience. Who's coming with me!?

Located at: 200 Fifth Avenue (at 23rd Street)

August 18, 2010

Sipping Notes for the Season

Lacey Rozinksy, wine director of the Four Seasons' Garden Bar in NYC, recommends Austria's native Gruner Veltliner for the summer season!

Why drink Austrian wines?
Rozinsky: They're really popular, especially in the summer because they're not overpowering and they're really refreshing.

Describe the wines.
Rozinsky: Austrian wines are clean and crisp and have subtle flavors ranging from herbal to fruit forward. They're a relaxed kind of wine.

Do they pair well with particular foods?
Rozinsky: They're the perfect picnic wines. Your really don't need a lot of food - a salad Nicoise, sushi or a young, vibrant cheese.

Lil' Miss WinoBee's Recco: HUGO for $11.99/bottle

*Article compliments of amNew York - Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 17, 2010

Discovery of the Week:

Have you tried VillageVines? It's a website that gives you access to preferred pricing at your city’s most popular restaurants. To give it a try, just accept my invitation below:


VillageVines has partnered with the nation's leading restaurants, including
Le Cirque, Aquavit, Delmonico's, Artisanal and Daniel Boulud's db Bistro. With VillageVines, you can make your reservations online and score exclusive discounts (typically 30% off all food and drink) that are discreetly applied to your bill at meal's end. No coupons, no hassles, just big savings at some of the best restaurants in your city!!

August 16, 2010

How to Drink Wine... Batman Style!

Another quirky video compliments of @1372Adventures!

August 13, 2010

Fiore D’Arancio Orange Muscat

Nothing screams "summer" quite like fresh produce - fragrant grapefruit, mouthwatering nectarines and of course, juicy oranges! And while I'm not the biggest orange fan myself, for those of you who are, this inexpensive late harvest dessert wine is like a Vitamin C-fest for your mouth. Not only will you feel overpowered by the orange and orange peels on your palette, but you'll also get a potent waft of orange from its bouquet.

Pairing: Grill up some fish and replace desert with this Muscat
Cost: $8/bottle

August 12, 2010

’04 Stanley Lambert Black Sheep

When you think “black sheep” you likely think about some crazy uncle or even one of your siblings. There’s always someone or something that can be a little different than the rest of its kind, and the same goes for wine; hence the name on Stanley Lambert’s medely of Shiraz, Malbec and Merlot concoction. Because of the diversity of the grapes, this medium bodied wine offers a variety of flavors, from blackberry to raspberry and even some cherry and oak. Its silky smooth texture makes it an easy red to toss back on a midsummers night. (13.5% alcohol)

Cost: $22/bottle
Where to Buy: Stanley Lambert

August 11, 2010

Ghostbuster Wine!!

When there's something strange in your neighborhood. Who ya' gonna call? Well, I'm gonna call Dan Akroyd because chances are if something is creeping me out, he can at least bring me copious amounts of wine so I can drink my insecurities and frights away. That's right, Dan Akroyd is making a comeback as Ghostbuster turned Vitner... who would have thought?

I first uncovered Dan Akroyd Wines during a weekly visit to The Palm for one of my many #winedowns. Knowing that the Palm is notorious for jacking up their wine bottles (normally by about 3x the actual cost) I immediately went to the bottles I could afford that evening. Low and behold, there he was... a Cabernet Merlot blend for a mere $40-some, just a tad more than 50% up the normal cost (for the Palm, thats a deal!)

While it wouldn't be my first choice for what I paid at the restaurant for it, knowing that this value bottle normally retails for about $17 made be appreciate it just a bit more. A medium bodied red, this blend was very ripe fruit forward with dark and peppery undertones. A great pairing for my steak that night. Although, do you know what may have been an even better pairing? A piece of that giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. YUM!

Cost: $17/bottle
Where to Buy: Dan Akroyd Wines

August 10, 2010

Discovery of the Week: Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar - NYC

Yum yum yum! This week's go-to discovery is Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar located in Midtown Manhattan. Not only do they offer an array of wine flights so you can taste your way into oblivion, but you can also pair up those selections with some items from their decadent cheese or chocolate menus. From aged Manchego and Tête de Moine to Grand Cru and Alizé Hearts of Passion from Jacques Torres, you'll be in heaven all night.

Perfect for: Date Night - c hoose a cool evening and enjoy the outside seating

Must Try: Raspberry Chocolate Martini - made w/ Kahlua, Chambord and Cream and accompanied by a chocolate truffle that will melt in your mouth!

Where to Go:
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar
11 West 31st Street
(Cross: 31st Street and 5th Avenue)

August 6, 2010

My Second Date with JUSTIN

In continuing my steamy romance with Justin, we upped our couples status this past week over a more exquisite bottle from his collection, Isoceles. Like other Justin's of my past, I was delighted by what this particular bottle had to offer me:
  • He's a great blend - 88% cabernet, 8% cab franc and 4% merlot
  • He's dark and handsome - a deep purple color with slight ruby hue
  • He smells delightful - aromas of dark fruits like blackberry and plum accompanying a hint of leather, vanilla and cassis (god bless you, oak aging!)
  • He's tasteful - immediately notes of red and black fruit (particularly currants) followed by light tannins and more earthy undertones.
Oh, Justin, how my heart and lips melt for you. You've been the most consistent man in my life... but I think if you want to win my whole heart, we should opt for your Reserve next date - after all, 3rd date says the most and I'm going for the highest expression possible.

Cost: $62/bottle
Where to Buy: Justin Vineyards
Pairing: A nice Gouda cheese - its salty and sweet taste will give you great balance with this bold red.

August 5, 2010

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro

When I sip on a nice Chianti, I pretend I'm Frances Mayes in "Under the Tuscan Sun" dreaming about the day that I will be able to afford my own Bramasole and spend my days wasted away touring the copious amounts of vineyards that surround me.

But until I get to that point, I have to settle for quality Italian wines, like this Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro.

Chianti, that little red wine produced in Tuscany, has historically has been associated with "cheapness," but more recently upgraded from a squat bottle with straw encasing to a traditional shaped glass of goodness that makes it way into our hearts.

The Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro captures classic Chianti with a distinct style all its own, and its style continues to open up the more you let it breathe - so decant and let it sit for a tad. In doing so, you'll uncover the nose opens slowly with cherry, tobacco and pepper aromas. This fuller bodied wine, also has an earthy core to it and a lingering dark berry flavor and nutmeg on the palate. Simply smooth and magnificent!

Cost: $40/bottle
Where to Buy:
Pairing: Veal Parmesan

August 4, 2010

"Wining" for some Chocolate!

Not only am I a certifiable lush, I'm also a certifiable chocoholic (see, I'm a woman of many talents). To my delight pairing chocolate and wine easily go hand and hand, and recently I've been obsessing over Green & Black's 70% and 85% chocolate bars (quite the same way as I've been obsessing over truffle oil!)

Made of a cocoa mass and cocoa butter, my personal fav, the 70% bar melts beautifully in your mouth and provides an intense, bittersweet chocolate experience. But not only is it delicious, it was the first organic chocolate brand introduced and the first brand to switch all its products to Fairtrade globally (loves!) Green & Black's is consciously focused on all the work they do with their farmers to help, identify and create sustainable community, environment and development projects. And anything that does that earns a check in my book.

Cost: $4/bar (get a $1 off coupon here for their new Peanut variety)

Where to Buy: Type your zip code here and they'll tell you

Pairing: You know I'm a HUGE fan of St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery (shouts to @tinacao, @rickbakas and @lesleykeffer!) so naturally as being the largest family owned Napa Green certified vineyard owner in the valley, its the perfect pairing for Green & Black's sustainability initiatives.

August 3, 2010

A Date with JUSTIN

If ever I feel I'm having a night where a little TLC is necessary, I plan a date with Justin. Much like Banfi, I haven't met a Justin that hasn't treated me well. He's smooth. He's dark. He's delicate. And most importantly, he's tender on the lips.

On lavish nights, we sit together and toast with Isoceles, but on more primitive nights we simply cozy up on the couch with a Paso Robles Cabernet.

This particular Justin 2007 Paso Robles Cabernet warmed my heart. He was dark and mysterious. When I nuzzled up with him, I smelled cinnamon, spice and dark plum, and when I pressed my lips to him, he was soft with a red and dark fruit forwardness that took my breathe away. The best part, he was balanced - no harsh acidity, no overwhelming tannins, just a multitude of flavor that lingered on the lips and coated the mouth.

Ok, enough of the Nora Roberts novels. Let's be honest... Justin is so good that he makes his rounds (just ask @GlutenGossip who's also been known to shack up with him on a few good nights, too). Wink wink!

Cost: $22/bottle
Where to Buy:
Pairing: Braised Short Ribs and Gorgonzola Polenta, yummers!

August 2, 2010

No corkscrew. No problem.

Man, I need to learn how to do this! Video compliments of a goofy find from @1372adventures!

Check out more fun ways to TRY and open wine sans corkscrew from Dr. Vino! Like him, I can't get it to work. But maybe practice makes perfect. Do I sense a new activity for our next #winedown party!?