When is a wineglass not a wineglass?

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Answer: When it is invisible.

I must stress, above all how important the right glassware is for judging, critically analyzing and maximally enjoying wine. I guarantee if you taste a wine out of a small (less than 10 oz) thick, clunky wine glass and taste the same wine out of a good sized (15-25 oz) thin crystal wine glass of the the right shape (more on shape later) you will notice a big difference in the taste and smell of the wine.The key factors are the delicacy (or “invisibility”), the size and the style of the glass

A glass with a thin rim of fine crystal or glass becomes “invisible”. You experience the wine and you are not aware of the vessel. It is the same priniciple as a fine china teacup. The tea tastes better and you don’t feel this thick clunky rim in your mouth.

The glass’s size is very  important. Many restaurants use small heavy glasses, usually under 10 ounces total volume. Please note you don’t fill a wine glass. A full pour of table wine is about 5 ounces which fills a 15-25 ounce glass only 1/3 to 1/4 full. the space within the glass above the wine is a staging area in which the aromatic compounds in the wine can collect and waft up your nose (very important). Remember, most of the subtleties of wine are in the aroma. Your tastebuds register texture and the basic tastes of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (“savoriness”) while your olfactory senses are wired to your brain and can conjour up an endless number of aromas and responses to them. Taste is more of a physical sense and smell is more mental. The style of the glass is important as well. There are a few basic types with links to good examples from our portfolio of Ravenscroft crystal glassware available our website.

Red Bordeaux glass: This is fairly tulip shaped with a round bowl that comes in a little at the top.It is designed to focus and direct the aromas and flavors to the palate and nose. The bigger ones (20-30oz)are good for red Bordeaux, other Cabernets or Cabernet based wines, Tuscan reds, Rhone reds.

For Full bodied whites a smaller Bordeaux style glass (less than 20oz) are good for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and many other oak aged and unoaked whites

Burgunday glass: This is most commonly used  for Pinot Noir, it is the big balloon shaped glass that can range from 20-30 oz in bowl size. Remember you only pour 5 oz. Pinot is very delicate and a lot of the Pinot experience is aroma and bouquet. This glass is like a zeppelin for  transporting all those pretty aromas from lower alcohol cool climate reds. It is ideal for Pinot Noir but very good for very fine aged Nebbiolo based wines as well.

More specialized glasses are designed for other wines.

Champagne flutes are tall and well,  flute shaped holding maybe 10 ounces. They are designed to  enhance the bead and mousse of good Champagne to retain the effervescence better than in a glass with a wider bowl.

The port glass is designed for get the most out of vintage port, the bowl is under 10 ounces, partly because of the size of the average Port serving, according to Ravenscroft this glass is designed to “buffer” the high alcohol of the port so you don’t get that burn in the bouquet yet transmits the intense fruit quality of Port.

So if you’ve never paid attention to the glass you pour your wine into, use a nicer glass and taste the difference.

Saturday’s Tasting: Ted’s Excellent Wine Adventure through Australia, California (Right On!), Chile & Italy

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Saturday Jan 28, beginning at 3pm, we host Ted Clarke, our consultant from one of our boutiquee wine distributors. We’ve selected a range  spanning the known wine universe, chosen for quality, value and awesomeness. So stop by Saturday, amongst the five you can sink your teeth into a 2005 Brunello rated 93 points in Parker’s Wine Advocate. Check out the rest of the wines below.

Viu Manent Sauvignon Blanc Secreto de Viu Manent 2010
88 Points – International Wine Cellar, May/June 2011
“Bright straw. High-pitched aromas of grapefruit, lemongrass and pungent herbs, plus a hint of chalk in the background. Racy and very tightly wound, …” -Josh Raynolds

Misfits Wine Company Brujeria 2008
89 Points – International Wine Cellar, July/August 2011
“(50% tempranillo, 28% shiraz, 14% grenache and 8% cabernet sauvignon): Inky ruby. Smoky, herb-accented aromas of cherry and redcurrant…with a supple texture… and red fruit preserve flavors. Finishes lush and weighty…” -Josh Raynolds

Fleming Jenkins Syrah Madden Ranch Livermore Valley 2007
93 Points – Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine, March 2010
“…the winery skates to the fore again with this rich and generous bottling whose lovely, somewhat exotic blending of ripe blackberries, dried spices and whispers of milk chocolate are accurate precursors to the deep and inviting flavors to follow. Supple at entry and gliding effortlessly across the palate at first impression…”

Shinas Estate Cabernet Sauvignon The Verdict 2007
“Very structured plum and cherry notes with a brooding deep palate that adds a crushed stone minerality to the dense fruit structure. The style is a bit
riper and stouter than a similarly priced Napa Cab but the varietal character shines through and the wine has considerable heft” -Rich Mora

Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino 2005
93 Points – Wine Advocate, April 2010
“The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino captures an attractive middle ground between modern and traditional styles. Sweet scents of oak lead to ripe, succulent cherries, sweet roses, licorice, tar and smoke…The 2005 Brunello was made exclusively from the estate’s holdings at Le Ragnaie, close to Poggio Antico, and among the highest-elevation vineyards in Montalcino. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.” -Antonio Galloni

New Stuff at Mora’s: There’s more to the Rhone than just Reds

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We all know the great red grapes of the Rhone, Syrah, Grenache and the rest of the gang. But are you familiar with Rousanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc or Viognier? Well try Chateau  de Trignon Rousanne Cotes du Rhones 2010 for a textbook example of Rousanne and find out what you’ve been missing all these years, especially if you are suffering from Chardonnay fatigue.The Chateau  de Trignon Rousanne was wonderful at last Saturday’s tasting, worth the trip through the snow. It showed lovely baked apple and hazelnut on the nose with a contrasting palate that adds strong citrus notes and minerality to the picture, it has a very good fresh finish.
The great grapes of  France have roamed the world and we have a number of  wines made with (white) Rhone grapes, though most of these aren’t French.  The major (white) Rhone grapes are Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne.  Briefly, Viognier has the flower power. It is very aromatic with aromas of white flower, sometimes honeysuckle, sometimes some tropical fruit or fruit salad aromas. It tends to lack acidity and backbone though.
Marsanne and Rousanne are gutsier, less aroma but more minerality, more citrus and stone fruit flavors. it gives the wine more backbone

d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier-Marsanne

This is an Aussie wine, much riper and fleshier than its French kin but still a delicious shelfish wine, hence the funny name.

Domaine  Gardies  Cotes du Roussillon Blanc Les Glaciaires
New to the shop, this little gem is imported by our friend Mike Afatato of Rochemere wines. It has powerful, full body and a nice nose of white flowers with flintiness and some citrus notes. It has Rousanne and Grenche Blanc among other things

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc- Viognier
hails from California’s Pine Ridge winery in Napa. It’s a bit varied with the Chenin (a Loire variety) along with the Viognier. The wine is soft and round with lovely peachy, floral aromas and a soft medium bodied mouthfeel.

Treana Mer Soleil Vineyard Viognier-Marsanne

This is rich and deep with some peach melon and citrus qualities. These wines really widen your experience of white wine.

Pairing Food and Scotch:The Complete Menu from our Scotch Dinner Jan 23,2012

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Mosaic: one of LI’s best setting up for the dinner

The dinner was a blast.  Now I’m a wine guy so to me it is amazing that such a variety of flavors can be conjured up with such base elements as water, malted barley, a peat fire and oak for aging. As far as I’m concerned it is true alchemy. Single malt Scotch Whisky is truly liquid gold distilled from base elebments. Mosaic’s food accompaniment was nothing short of witchcraft.  Here are the food pairings that Jonathan and Tate served up that night

A Single Malt Scotch Whisky Dinner with Gordon & MacPhail
at Restaurant Mosaic, Saint James NY

Monday, January 23rd, 2012


1st Course: smoked crudo, chilled marshmallow risotto, cherry-blue cheese migonette, toasted seeds
2nd Course: roast sturgeon, leek “stuffing” pancake, cinnamon fried parsnip, bacon, apple-oyster beurre blanc

With: Highland Park 8 Year “MacPhail’s Collection”, Orkney Islands, Benromach 10 Year, Speyside & Tormore 14 Year “Connoisseurs’ Choice”, Speyside

3rd Course: sauteed duck leg pierogi, brussels sprout kraut, and caraway candied lemon foie gras creme fraiche
4th Course: Moroccan spice roast pork shoulder, lentil moussaka, minted dry fruits manchengo, cola gastrique

With: Imperial Port Finish 15 Year “Private Collection”, Speyside, Old Pulteney 21 Year “Rare Highland”, Highlands & Glenrothes 30 Year “MacPhail’s Collection”, Speyside

5th Course, Dessert: bitter chocolate Irish oatmeal, raspberry, orange, almond, honey
With: Caol Ila 10 Year “Connoisseurs’ Choice”, Islay

Tasting Review for Saturday January 21: Argentina, California, France & Italy

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No bogus wines were poured, as usual we served an extremely varied line up of excellent quality wines at great prices. Here’s a few of the highlights

Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc 2007 (Napa, California) Frothy rather than creamy with lively fresh citrus flavors and crisp lingering finish,

Wilson Daniels Pinot Noir 2010 (Central Coast, California) When we first tasted it last November it was okay but very closed, not much aroma or flavor, but with a few months in the bottle it really opened up and we were all very impressed. A big seller and excellent value in Cali Pinot.

Prelius Cabernet (Maremma, Tuscany) New comer Cabernet Sauvignon from the Tuscan coast, made by the Volpai (Chianti) family. Excellent varietal character, throw it in as a ringer in a tasting of mid priced Napa Cabs, I bet you’ll be surprised

New Stuff at Mora’s: From Aragon, the home of Grenache

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In Spanish its written Garnacha as in  Honoro Vera Garnacha 2010  This new Garnacha was a big hit that we poured as one of our “extra credit” wines at our last tasting with Paul from Opici.

New Stuff at Mora’s: What to serve with braised meats and red sauces

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A big, gutsy Zin like Seghesio Zinfandel, Sonoma County 2010 is perfect for a lasagna, pasta with a meat sauce or rich braised short ribs, veal shanks (oso bucco), and various stews. The big briary, lipsmacking blackberry flavors goes well with these flavors. Here’s a recipe for a nice winter dish, braise beef short ribs served with a celery-done-two-ways side dish we found in Bon Apetit Magazine

Daniel Boulud’s Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine with Celery Duo
yield: Makes 8 servings
Chef Boulud says that the success of this dish rests on browning the short ribs well at the beginning of cooking the dish to get the best flavors.
•    3 bottles dry red wine
•    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
•    8 short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
•    Salt and crushed black peppercorns
•    Flour, for dredging
•    8 large shallots, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed and dried
•    2 medium-sized carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
•    2 ribs of celery, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
•    1 medium-sized leek (white and light-green parts), coarsely chopped, washed and dried
•    10 cloves of garlic, peeled
•    6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
•    2 bay leaves and 2 thyme sprigs
•    2 tablespoons tomato paste
•    3 quarts unsalted beef broth
•    Freshly ground white pepper
1. Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is hot, carefully set it aflame. Let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils; allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.
2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F.
3. Warm the oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Season the ribs all over with salt and the crushed pepper. Dust half of the ribs with about 1 tablespoon flour. Then, when the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until well-browned. Transfer the ribs to a plate. Repeat with remaining ribs. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pot, lower the heat under the pot to medium and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly, 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the wine, ribs and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover tightly and place in the oven to braise for 2 1/2 hours or until the ribs are very tender. Every 30 minutes, skim and discard fat from the surface. (It’s best to make the recipe to this point, cool and chill the ribs and broth in the pan overnight; scrape off the fat the next day. Rewarm before continuing.)
5. Carefully transfer the meat to a platter; keep warm. Boil the pan liquid until it has reduced to 1 quart. Season with salt and white pepper and pass through a fine strainer; discard the solids. (The ribs and sauce can be combined and kept covered in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Reheat gently, basting frequently, on top of the stove or in a 350°F oven.)
6. To serve, spoon the celery root puree into the center of 8 plates and top each with a short rib. Cross 2 pieces of braised celery over each serving. Pour the sauce onto the plate around the puree.

Celery Duo
Celery Root Puree:
•    4 cups whole milk and 4 cups water
•    2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
•    2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
•    1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in half
•    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
•    Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Braised Celery:
•    2 bunches celery
•    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
•    1 carrot and 1 turnip, peeled, trimmed and quartered
•    Salt and freshly ground white pepper
•    2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth
For Celery Root Puree:

1.Place the milk, water, salt, celery root, and potatoes in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Lower the heat; simmer until the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes; drain and return them to the pan.
2.Place the pan over low heat to cook off excess moisture; transfer the vegetables to a food processor. Add the butter, then puree until just smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
For Braised Celery

1. Trim the bottom of each celery bunch (make sure the ribs remain together); then measure 5 inches up from the bottom and cut off the celery tops at that point (you’ll be using the bottom end). Remove and discard the 3 or 4 tough outer ribs. Remove any stringy parts with a vegetable peeler; cut each bunch of celery lengthwise into quarters.
2. Warm the oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the carrot, turnip and celery quarters; season with salt and pepper and cook 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.
3. Adjust the heat so that the broth simmers steadily. Cook the vegetables for about 25 minutes or until they are very tender and the liquid is nearly gone. You should have tender vegetables lightly glazed with the broth. Remove and discard the carrots and turnips. Serve the celery immediately.

Saturday Januaray 14th Tasting with Shinn Estates: Local Winery to be certified Biodynamic

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We love our local wineries and regularly invite them to visit and taste with us, so come in Saturday and taste the fine wines of Shinn Estates. We like to bring in the interesting ones that are a little off the beaten path, literally.  Shinn Estates is up on Oregon road in Mattituck and was not easy (for me) to find the first time.

Barbara Shinn and David Page, one an artist and the other a chef, became grape growers  in 2000 when they planted their first vines and became winemakers, with the 2002 vintage of Shinn Estates on Oregon Road, Mattituck NY. Moving in a completely new direction in their lives, and with lots of help from the North Fork Wine community they have been quietly producing very good and unique wines and in the process creating their unique identity through their commitment to farming grapes and  making wine.
With the completion of their own winery (thus far they were using other peoples presses) they turned out their 2006 vintage wines totally estate produced though they were still purchasing some fruit to add to the crop from their own 20 acres. Another unique feature of Shinn Estate is their commitment to organic practices in farming, a goal that some say is impossible on Long Island. Bugs and moisture can ravage and rot your vines but with an arsenal of organic farming techniques they are doing without herbicides and pesticides and in the process keeping the wine, the grapes, the soil and the water a lot cleaner!
Come to Moras’s Fine Wines Saturday January 14th starting at 3pm to get to know (and taste) five Shinn Estates wines with Sara from  the winery. She’ll be pouring wines from three vintages so here is a little summary of them. Basically good, better best

2008: Hot summer, periodic rains brought botrytis, with cooler, even harvest
2009: Cool summer, lagging ripening, warm September brought some relief
2010: Excellent, showing high sugar levels by September, Cabernet Sauvignon totally ripe

This photo and quotes are from Lenn Thompson’s blog

Barbara and team “give thanks to the astral forces that have provided us with a healthy and dynamic harvest. The star shape formed by the hands that stewarded our vineyard to fruition is a symbol that represents our planet Earth’s star, our Sun.”

Barbara Shinn and the harvest crew at Shinn Estaste Vineyards harvested their cabernet sauvignon October 18th, wrapping up the harvest of 2010 with fully ripe Cab Sauv.  Also this was the first organic and biodynamic harvest ever on the East Coast, an accomplishment that is deserving of respect — no matter what your thoughts are on individual organic or biodynamic treatments. David Page reports that Shinn will be certified biodynamic by Demeter in 2012.  Read more about the “alchemy” of biodynamic processes in Lenn’s blog or “Hey, what happened to the winery dog?”

Shinn Estate Winery of Mattituck to go Biodynamic in 2012

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The folks at Shinn have been commited to sustainable agriculture for years and are now on due to be the first East Coast winery to receive  Biodynamic certification this year. This is a big deal, here the Shinn crew is shown celebrating the end of the 2010 harvest and thanking the sun for helping out.

Barbara Shinn with a tub of 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Shinn’s first 100% biodynamic vintage.

Our favorite Rieslings are on sale on line right now!

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Check out this hugely varied list of 8 Rieslings from dry to sweet marked down 20% for a limited time. We have top righted wines from Mosel , Rhiengau and even Eden Valley Australia!