Wölffer Estate Wine Stand (The Hamptons)

We found ourselves at the Wölffer Estate Wine Stand last spring on the way home from tasting some mediocre wines on eastern Long Island.  And yes, most of the wines on Long Island are just that – mediocre. Unless you like sweet white wines and the occasional sweet red. But, the Wölffer Estate actually had some quality bottles that made me second-guess my natural inclination to bash LI wines.

wolffer estate wine stand

Look out at the vines while you sip on some wine

Ahh, the Hamptons. New York’s well-heeled elite and the ones who want to be elite flock to the East End of Long Island the second Memorial Day Weekend strikes and the Great Eastern Migration happens beginning Thursday afternoon every summer weekend. While the North Fork’s “having a moment,” as they say, the southern fork – better known as the Hamptons, which is a collection of little towns sprawling for miles and miles – still enjoys a reputation of the place to be for the summer and to enjoy passable wines while people-watching to your heart’s content.

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Bae and I were enjoying the sunshine after a long, cold winter and spring.

Anyway, Wolffer Estate Wine Stand. Continue reading

In Vino Veritas – Enoteca Al Duomo (Orvieto, Italy)

The Enoteca Al Duomo: My husband and I loved this place so much that we came here twice in one day during our honeymoon back in October.  Aptly named, this enoteca is literally next to the famous Duomo in Orvieto, Italy. Looking at the front of the amazing façade, it’s on the left-hand side, on the side of the building (facing the beautiful striped sides of the duomo). Can’t miss it.

It was truffle season so we opted for a full-on truffle lunch: bruschetta assortment including truffle bruschetta, tagliolini with fresh truffles, and then a prosciutto and truffle sandwich on fresh ciabatta.

Enoteca al Duomo in Orvieto, Italy
Bruschetta

 

Enoteca Al Duomo in Orvieto, Italy
Cheese plate…including truffled cheese

Continue reading

Te Amo, Mendoza

It’s about time where I quit my bitching and write a post about what I love about Mendoza. Because it’s seriously a great place. Homesickness seems to tweak my reality at times, and I’m not always as appreciative as I should be that I live in a wine-lover’s paradise and I’m surrounded by the great outdoors.

So here goes:

The wine. Period. I could write essay upon essay about how much I love it, and it still wouldn’t do it justice. Some of my favorite bodegas from right here in Mendoza are O’Fournier (see previous blog post), Pulenta Estate, Doña Silvina, Gimenez-Riili, Sangre de los Andes, Vistalba, Enrique Foster, Mil Vientos, Atamisque, Mauricio Lorca, Azul, Qaramy, Renacer, and Las Perdices.

The Andes. Walking around centro, you don’t see them all too often, but they’re right there, looming to the west of the city. It’s an amazing sight, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. When I’m feeling homesick, going to the park or plaza to see the mountains in the distance is one of the best cures.

The piétonal and Plaza Independencia – there are always street performers and artisans selling hand-made goods lining the plaza and the pedestrianized shopping street known as the piétonal.

Just now, the little man on a bicycle who goes around sharpening people’s knives rode by. How do I know that, without even looking out the window? Because he plays this signature tune on his pan flute as he rides. It’s pretty freakin’ cute.

Did I mention that I live in wine country? And any given weekend, I can go winetasting in any one of the three valleys here (Maipú, Lujan de Cuyo, Tunuyán).

Sometimes I hate her because I can hear it in the early morning and I get grumpy, but there’s a sweet little old lady who lives in my building that sweeps in front of the building every single day, getting all the leaves and dirt off the sidewalk. Every morning. Without fail. And she’s a sweetheart. I just wish I could understand more of what she says.

The little mom and pop vegetable stores (verdulerias) and kioscos, where the ladies on my street know me. Also if you don’t have a peso or five, and they don’t have change, they’ll let you pay them the next time you see them. I’m not sure this would ever happen at home.

Did I mention how cheap the wine is? You can buy an amazing bottle of wine for about $25. A great mid-level bottle can run between 30-70 pesos, which is less than you probably have paid for a crappy Chilean wine in the past month.

Oh, Mendoza. I’m glad we’ll get to hang out a little longer.

Bodegas Twitter Event

A week ago today (Saturday March 26), I was lucky enough to have a ticket to attend a huge winetasting event here in Mendoza called Bodegas Twitter.  The event was a fundraiser for Fundación CONIN, which is a charity that works with underprivileged children.

So why was it called Bodegas Twitter? The entire event was supposedly organized using solely Twitter.  And, if you tweeted from the event using the hashtag #bodegastw , your tweet would be broadcast to the entire party via a giant screen behind the stage.

Bodegas Twitter

Held at the Auditorio Angel Bustelo in downtown Mendoza, the event brought together bodegas all around the Mendoza region (and Patagonia), including some Continue reading

Winetasting on a Saturday

Last Saturday, a few friends invited me to come along on a bodega-hopping adventure. Bodega, just in case you weren’t sure, is the fancy word for winery/vineyard here.  We had a rental car (a zippy little Ford Fiesta) and a full day to go taste wines in the Mendoza region.

My friend is a sommelier in training, so she knows her stuff. We started on our trip heading to San Carlos (a fairly far-away land from the ciudad) to O’Fournier. The trip was WELL worth it. The bodega itself is breathtaking; it’s super modern but also really uniquely designed to take advantage of the use of gravity during the winemaking process. Plus, it looks like something you’d see an evil villain living in a James Bond movie, or perhaps Dr. Evil’s summer home.

Mr. Bigglesworth loves the view.

It is also home to the largest wine cellar in all of North and South America combined. Pretty freaking cool. The bodega uses its cellar also as an art gallery, so it makes it a bit more interesting than staring at barrels of wine.

Best place to take shelter in an earthquake?

 Lunch at O’Fournier was good, but we had heard it was great, so it was a bit disappointing. This was mostly due to the portion sizes (a shot-glass of two different appetizers were called “two courses”, for example). Still, it was tasty and well done. And the view was spectacular.

After O’Fournier, we made our way to La Azul, but we were 20 minutes late. Turns out, they’re not so much on Argentine time when they’re waiting for you. They were gone, and not a soul was in sight. We knocked on a door of a neighboring house to see if they knew if anyone was there, and they couldn’t help us. Ah well.

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

Backup plan: We went to Jean Bousquet, who were very kind and received us as well as they could receive a surprise visitor. We wine-tasted with the staff and had a great day.

Our drive back to the city was interesting, as we missed a main road entrance and ended up on a dirt desert road going up and down hills and having to get out and push the car across a few points. It was really, really fun though. It may or may not have had anything to do with the alcohol. But it was a great day, with a beautiful sunset, and a great time with new friends.

Megadegustacion 2011

Ok, so during the Vendimia time they have a wine-tasting festival. It lasts for 3 consecutive days and features bodegas from all around Mendoza and Argentina in general where you can taste it all in one place. It’s called Megadegustación and it. is. awesome.

This year, I hear, was more tame than the years before because we were limited to a certain number of glasses of wine by buying our entrance tickets. Tickets for premium tasting were 60 pesos (divide that by 4 and you have your price in dollars), while the regular tasting was 30 pesos (I think). With that, you got coupons for 5 glasses of wine. Or maybe 4. I don’t remember. It was a good time.  The city shuts down Sarmiento (a major street) for 4 blocks between the Plaza Independencia and Belgrano for this epic shindig.  There’s the wine and they also sell food if you’re hungry (empanadas, etc).

My personal favorite for the evening was the wines from bodega Azul. It was a cab-malbec reserva blend, I think. Soooo good. I also tried reservas from Altos las Hormigas (someone check me on that spelling/name), aand…yeah I’m gonna have to check and see which wines I tasted.

My favorite part of the evening was when my BEAUROCRAT BOYFRIEND approached me and said “Hey, remember me?!”… I said “Yes, of course I do” and he laughed and said “Hey, I’m sorry about today. Cheers!” and toasted me, and walked off.

The city of Mendoza is just a really big town.