Rock Dad’s World Father’s Day Sunday June 17th: Give the Mora’s Spirit of the Month Clubs

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We have monthly spirit clubs for single malt Scotch, Bourbon, Vodka, and Tequila. We ship nationwide and of course deliver locally.  Wherever you dad lives you can Treat your him to a bottle a month of his favorite spirit for as many or as few months as you like, he’ll be thrilled and surprised. We select limited production, high quality, artisanal  spirits that he won’t find elsewhere and include a package of   background information on each month’s selelction. Please order right on line or contact the shop directly

Single malt Scotch of the Month Club: Is our most popular spirit club. It is truly amazing what master distillers can do with nothing more than barley, water, yeast, barrels and peat. The variety is mindboggling. So a collection of scotches from all over the Scottish Isles is very special

Bourbon of the Month Club: The American spirit.  Mora’s specializes in finding the rare producers of small batch and single barrel bourbons produced in this country.  To me it is America’s Cognac, a smooth and refined spirit with a passionate following of purists always seeking the best.

Tequila of the Month Club: The agave based spirit is experiencing a renaissance in this country as more and more small producers market fine sipping tequilas in various styles. The aficionado appreciates the complexities these producers put into their product

Vodka of the Month Club: the ubiquitous spirit known for its purity as well as its subtle flavors. Vodka aficionados are passionate about their favorite spirit and the new sources of small production vodkas is nearly endless. We explore them all.

Notes from Tasting with Ted Memorial Day Weekend: Summertime Wines!

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Here are my thoughts, comments, suggestions, complaints and favorite wines from the recent tasting with our good friend Ted from Vision Brands.

Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose 2010

This showed very well, actually it sold out but the 2011, same price is due any day. It was light fresh and crisp, mainly Grenache in the blen

Puydeval Rouge Vin de Pays d’Oc 2010

This is a serious southern French wine, mainly made of Cab Franc with Syrah and Merlot, unusual for this region. Definitely great for grilled food with lots of nice aromas from the Cab Franc

Some Young Punks The Squid's Fist 2011

Some Young Punks The Squid’s Fist 2011

The giant squid packs a whallop! The Sangiovese gives it the feel of  a Tuscan wine with chewy tannins and some dried dark fruit flavors. There is some mineral notes and spice but not as earthy as the Tuscan counterpart would show. Drinking really well with a nice rustic touch that would go great with a strip steak.

“60% Sangiovese, 40% Shiraz – 100% Barossa Valley. Both the Sangiovese and the Shiraz are sourced from the same vineyard in the Barossa Valley..” The Winery

Saturday Tasting Archive: The Line up from Saturday May 26, 2012 Tasting with Ted from Vision Brands

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For those of you that ask me “what was that great wine we had 3 Saturday’s ago?” We are archiving our tasting wines in this blog. This was a tasting of Fab French and Awesome Aussie wines.
L'Escargot Sauvignon Blanc Cotes de Gascogne 2010
“L’Escargot is a Southern French Sauvignon sourced from fruit grown principally on the Domaine de L’Herre in the heart of the Cotes de Gascogne. This has vitality, freshness, energy and class. Beautifully crisp and fresh Sauvignon. The perfect match for seafood. This wine will put many a Sancerre and Pouilly Fume to the test. We love it, and we’re sure you will too!” -The Importer

Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose 2010

90 Points – International Wine Cellar, September 2011
“Light peach skin color. Wild red berries, orange zest and honeysuckle on the mineral-accented nose. Fresh, lithe and precise, offering tangy red fruit and citrus flavors and a deeper note of bitter quince. Shows very good clarity and balance, finishing sappy, precise and long.” -Josh Raynolds

Puydeval Rouge Vin de Pays d’Oc 2010

“A distinctive blend crafted by winemaker Jeff Carrel, Puydeval is based on Cabernet Franc, which thrives in the cooler microclimates of the generally hot Languedoc region of Southern France. This iconic, eponymous, and admittedly unusual wine has quickly gained a fervent following for its originality and for delivering outstanding value. Big, rich, concentrated and intense. A ripe, polished and well-balanced wine, offering spicy aromas of black cherry and blackberry, with hints of anise, and just a touch of earthy character.” -The Importer

Misfits Wine Company Cycle Buff Beauty 2010

“Shiraz (85%) Malbec (15%) aged 14 months in 20% new French oak barriques. Dark purple with a crimson rim. Lifted aromatics of blue flowers, black plums and blackberrys, with exotic spices. Long, lush and creamy.” -The Importer

Some Young Punks The Squid's Fist 2011

Some Young Punks The Squid’s Fist 2011

“A Battle in the Deep as two foes collide! The Squid’s Fist lands hard against the crude steel of the submersible, the force buckles, kinks and crushes it as an old rivalry comes to a head 750ml under the seal. Once again the Trixie and Tessa Love find themselves submerged in high drama. How will they survive both the wrath of the mighty Cephalopod and the diabolical plans of the crazed engineer?

“60% Sangiovese, 40% Shiraz – 100% Barossa Valley. Both the Sangiovese and the Shiraz are sourced from the same vineyard in the Barossa Valley. The 2011 rocks with its succulent blend of Sangiovese and Shiraz. Suave, perfumed black and dark fruits, cherry essence, spice, dark chocolate and liquorice. There is a complexing hint of ‘old-world’ earthy rusticity flowing cheek by jowl with great vitality, freshness and presence on the palate.” -The Winery

Pizza on the Grill: A Fun Feast

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Grilled Pizza: You will need a good gas grill with a top that closes.

Get the dough: You can make your own but I buy it frozen from the grocery store

Assemble Your Toppings: This is the fun part, I’ll assume you can lay out a pizza with toppings and will focus on the technique of grilling pizza.

With grilled pizza, the crust is the star. Choose a few simple ingredients that can showcase the smoky flavor and crispy crust. Or go for minimalism: top the grilled bread with a brushing of good olive oil, a sprinkling of coarse salt, and bit of chopped fresh herbs.

Suggested bases: marinara, pesto, flavored olive oil, barbeque sauce, guacamole, salsa verde

Suggested cheeses: mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheese, Parmesan, Gorgonzola

Ideas for toppings: grilled vegetables, prosciutto and fresh figs, salami, chicken, fresh herbs, fresh arugula, toasted pine nuts, olives or capers, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, sausage, prosciutto

How to Grill the Crust
Prepare the grill for medium to high heat. A little adjustment during cooking may be requred. You’ll be fine as long as you don’t burn the crust
Dust a baking sheet, a peel, or a plate with flour or cornmeal so the dough won’t stick.
Shape the dough into rounds, either stretching it by hand or using a rolling pin. Each round should be no more than ¼ inch thick. You can stack the rounds by layering waxed paper, parchment, or a clean well-floured kitchen towel in between the individual crusts. I make grilled pizzas a little smaller than standard pizza. Figure 2 or 3 pizzas from a 1 package of frozen dough (about 1 lb)

When the grill is hot, have all of your toppings ready nearby
The easiest method for grilling pizza is to par-bake the crust: grill one side just long enough to firm up the crust so you can move it easily. By taking it off the heat, you can take your time arranging the toppings and are less likely to burn the bottom of the pizza.

Begin by placing one dough round on the grill.
You can oil the grill’s grate, but it’s not necessary; once the crust has set, after about three minutes, it should be easy to pull off the heat with         tongs, a spatula, or your fingers.
Don’t worry if it droops a little through the grate–it’ll firm up fast.
After two to three minutes, give it a little tug–it should move easily. If it sticks, give it another minute or so.
When the crust is set, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a plate or peel; flip it over so the “done” side is up, and add the toppings.
Repeat the process with the rest of the dough rounds.
If this is a group effort, friends and family can start topping the pizzas while you grill the crusts.

Grill Your Pizzas
Grill the topped pizzas with the lid closed until the cheese melts and the toppings are heated through. Depending upon the heat of the grill and the size of your pies, this can take two to 10 minutes. Check the bottoms periodically so the crust doesn’t burn. If the crust is done but the toppings need more time on a grill with two or more burners, you can turn off one of the burners under the crust so the cooking finishes with indirect heat.

A rosé is a rosé is a rosé: The perfect wine for grilling and chilling

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Why drink rosé wines? There are many reasons, here is some background for those that don’t understand how good dry rosé is Shop our Dry Rosé specials with discounts of 20% for the summer

1-Rosé : The hotter it is,  the better it tastes
White wines go numb when they are ice cold but rosé, with all the flavors and depth from the re grape skin contact hold up when chilled. So on those really hot days you can drink really cold rosé and it doesn’t lose its flavor.

2-Rosé : drink it  like a red but treat it like a white
Rosé  is traditionally made from red grapes through a shortened period of  skin contact.  When red is made from red grapes, the grapes are crushed and pressed and the skins are left in with the grapes in order to extract the red color. Without skin contact red grapes would produce an almost white wine, with a lot of contact they produce red wine, and with a little contact a rosé wine is produced. The point is that this pink wine is basically a very, very light red wine and its flavor profile is that of red wine however it has very little tannin, is lighter bodied, and it’s served chilled, like a white wine

3-Rosé is “The ketchup of wine” it can be used on just about every kind of food.
Rosé  is great by itself for contemplating  sunny days but it is also a versatile food wine that enhances a wide variety of  foods just as ketchup enhances a burger and fries. Rosé is great with: grilled food especially grilled seafood and vegetables, beef salads, pork sausages, fresh ham, baked ham, really good Iberico ham, Pizza and calzones, picnics.  See below for a recipe for grilled pizza. The crust turns out wonderfully toasted and reminds you of pizza from a wood fired oven.

4-Rosé colored glasses of wine come in many different shades: Rosé is made from a huge range of red grapes and in styles from bone dry to sweet, light to heavy, even sparkling and still so they are NOT all the same and they are certainly NOT all like “white zinfandel”, Mateus or Riunite. The wines I am talking about are full bodied and dry with full crisp flavors.

5-Rosé is made just about everywhere: It is made throughout the Mediterranean; Greece, Italy, France, Spain all produce a lot of red grapes but have warm summers so rosé is the perfect solution. The typical varieties used are Grenche, Syrah, Cinsault in southern France though rosé is produced in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace even Champagne as well. Spain uses a lot of Garnacha in making their rosados. Italy uses their local varieties in their rosatos:  for example Sangiovese up north, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera in Puglia. The rest of the world is in on it too. Rosé is produced in north and south America, South Africa, Australia, everywhere.

Saturday Tasting Archive: The Line up from May 19, 2012 Pellegrini Vineyards

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“An especially warm year produced grapes that were juicier and fleshier than we normally harvest. Note hints of pear and along surrounding flavors of green apple. Taste the round creaminess of the finish.” -The Winery

Pellegrini Merlot North Fork 2006

“Wonderful aromas of black cherry, plum and blueberry intermingle with notes of vanilla. On the palate there are black fruit flavors. A solid and well structured Merlot with a silky rich finish. Barrel fermented and aged 18 months in French oak.” -The Winery

Pellegrini Vintner's Pride Finale Bin 1333 375mL See details

Pellegrini Vintner’s Pride Finale Bin 1333 375mL

90 Points – Wine Spectator, December 2009
“This honeyed white bursts with flavors of vanilla, rose petal, dried apricot and pineapple that caress the palate and linger on the finish. Lively acidity keeps it all balanced. Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc. Drink now through 2011.” -Thomas Matthews

Tasting Pellegrini Wines Today with some “extra credit”

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Join us today 3-6 for some new releases
From one of Long Island’s oldest and one of my
favorite local wineries. As usual we’ll have some extra credit for our better students. See you this afternoon.

Highlights from Saturday May 12 Tasting: Wines from Argentina, California, Italy & Washington

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Here are my impressions of the weekly tasting wines -Rich Mora

Monde Eau Chardonnay 2010 This was a pleasant surprise. I expected very simple one dimensional but this $10 Washington state Chardonnay has some nuance. It is steel fermented with a little barrel age and I think a little malo so it is nice and fresh with a little roundness it has fresh tree fruit qualities with surprising depth

Elio Perrone Moscato d’Asti Sourgal 2010 Perrone is one of the world’s best at making this variety. Moscato d’Asti should be very fresh with juicy grapejuice flavors and just a little spritz to give it a little lift. It’s a delicious wine for a warm sunny day and at 5.5% alcohol, very very easy to drink. The nose and flavors are of fresh peach and apricot with a little residual sugar

Foxglove Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2009 After the Monde Eau Chardonnay this was the greates bargain of the day. It showed great dark fruit reminiscent of dark cherry and cassis

with spice notes and  not much oak. Definitely a crowd pleaser we are sold out for a while.

Tikal Patriota 2009 One of my old favorites, vintage after vintage. It is made by a hedonist (Ernesto Catena) in a hedonistic style for hedonists. As Parker used to say it has oodles of dense dark fruit.

I haven’t heard an “oodle” from him in quite a while, I miss that word. I think he still uses “hedonistic” which is a good thing in wine.  Anyway it is lush with flavors of plum and mulberry preserves with some spice notes in the background.

Powers Cabernet Sauvignon Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2008 This is and the Tikal were tied for best of show that day. I’ve always said if you love Napa Cab but hate the prices, check out Washington state. You can find similar styles from the best apellations for a fraction of the price. The Powers cab is from the Horse Heaven Hills district, Champoux vineyard. It is aged 36 months in French oak, drinks great and the regular price is $30. What price do Howell Mountain Cabs start at these days? $50 to $500 a bottle and up? The Powers has lots of dense fruit with notes of cassis and mulberry framed with nice rich layers of spice and oaky toastiness. Great lingering length. Very enjoyable and an excellent value

Cavorting with the Rockettes tonight: Dancing with the Stars Charity Benefit May 15, 2012

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The Stony Brook Rotary’s Debbie Stevens has put together a stupendous gala event for tonight May 15th at Flowerfields in Saint James starting at 6:30pm.
She’s really went all out so I think “stupendous” is an understatement, and the turnout looks to be huge. Mora’s is donating a nice french Champers  (Champagne Gimmonet-Gonet)  to keep everyone bubbly, and of course I’ll be pouring. Read more about it at

BTW Looks like Debbie forget to credit Mora’ s Fine Wine for the bubbles, oh well.

Scotch by the Harbor: Single Malt Tasting & Seminar at the Port Jeff Village Center

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Friday May 11,2012 and  another first time event for us. Mora’s hosted an evening of single malt Scotches with spirits aficionado and expert Karl DuHoffmann.

Karl underestimated LIE traffic and got there just in the nick of time as we plied the guests with a welcome scotch (Isle of Skye 8 year old blended malt whisky) and soda. It was nail-biting time because Karl had all the knowledge and the other nine whiskies we planned to pour that night!

Everything turned out very well. We barely had time to clean up before they closed the building for the night. On the other hand it was a blessing to have a deadline to evacuate as Karl is very passionate about his whiskies and his passions know no temporal bounds. This may become an annual event, check out our facebook page for (very) amateur photos by me and down below I have my take on the whiskies of the evening. Please understand  that things got fuzzy some where between scotch seven and eight. Final note to attendees. We are still taking orders on the scotches at the discount price for only a day or two more so contact the shop asap if you want any.

The welcome whisky: The Isle of Skye 8 year is a great way to start the show. It is light, malty and sweet with the merest suggestion of any peat. It is a great value at about $30. It’s worlds better than your basic commercial blended whisky. Quite lovely neat with a lot of island malts as well as highlands in the mix.

Isle of Skye 8 Year Blended Whisky very good, good value
The distillery has origins in the most celebrated of Scottish Islands: Skye, home of Clan Macleod. The family’s 19th century recipe which contains a high proportion of carefully selected Island and Speyside malts mellowed in oak casks for at least 8 years. Scotch expert Jim Murray calls it “a textbook blend …one of the most enormous yet brilliantly balanced whiskies in the world.”

The First Flight

My favorites of the first grouping was the Braeval for all out grace and deliciousness followed by the Arran Sauterne finish for an delicate twist with the flowers and honey from the Sauterne cask. I warn you the Arran Sauterne finish is bottled  at better than 50% ABV and really needs a drop of water to tame the alcohol burn but then it really opens up and the Sauterne character comes through.  The Arran 10 year Malt has a lovely sweet, syrupy, malty character that is so easy to drink. The Glenrothes was a bit hot and much better with a touch of water but it had a hard edge that just showed spice and heat to me though it was popular with the group.

The Arran Malt 10 Year #3 of first flight, best value
The Arran Distillery opened in 1995 and is the lone distillery on the island. Their location offers perfect water for whisky production, and washed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, enjoys a microclimate ideal for the speedy maturation of whisky. They use no peat in the production process, and do not use artificial coloring or chill-filtration.
The Arran 10 Year Old is aged in ex-Sherry and ex-Bourbon casks and offers tropical fruit on the nose with a touch of spice and a soft and sweet texture.

Glenrothes 1998 12 Year, Chieftain’s #4, a bit austere, more spice less fruit, definitely opens up with a drop of water
Chieftain’s features a collection of exceptional single malt Scotch Whiskies bottled by Ian Macleod Distillers who, since 1936, have amassed unrivaled cask stocks from Scotland’s many distilleries. Non chill-filtered with no artificial coloring.
Nose: Dried apricots, cinnamon, old leather; Body: Rich, oily, mouth coating; Palate: Sweet stewed pears, sweet nutty flavors, yellow peppers; Finish: Soft spicy to a long sweet finish

Braeval 1996 14 Year, Chieftain’s #1 of first flight
The distillery was originally called “Braes of Glenlivet”, but was changed to Braeval to avoid confusion with sister distillery Glenlivet. Built in 1973 to contribute to the Chivas Regal blend and mothballed in 2002.
Nose: Green apples, lemon drops, honey, new mown grass; Body: Medium with great balance; Palate: Candied orange peel, cloves, juicy sweet oak; Finish: Long, dry, spicy

The Arran Malt Sauternes Cask Finish #2 of first flight, most distinct, needs water
This double matured Scotch combines the sweet voluptuous nature of Sauternes with the briny edges of an Isle of Arran 12 year old single malt. Aromas of sweet honeysuckle and marzipan with whiffs of sweet dried citrus fruit are touched by notes of brine and peat. Richly textured elements of spice, zingy salt, vanilla and toasty oak integrate with sweet dried sultanas, cinnamon and lanolin on the long and elegant finish.


The  Second Flight: After a bit of a stretch and nosh we got into the smokier Scotches. I’ve had the Kilchoman Spring Release (and like it) but I wasn’t up for a lot of peat so I don’t have much to say about this group.

The winner of this flight was the Rosebank 1990 20 year Sherry Finish Cask Strength, Chieftain’s. The thick layer of sherry  tames the peat and smoke like an oil slick flattens waves on the ocean. It was thick and rich with lots of body given its cask strength yet the alcohol didn’t burn like the Arran Sauterne finish.

To me the last one, Ardbeg Barolo cask finish was was too oily and peaty to let any of the winecask character to show at all. In fairness It was the last of the line up and my palate was fairly well knackered by then.

Rosebank 1990 20 Year Sherry Finish Cask Strength, Chieftain’s #1 of the second flight Nose and palate show spice, vanilla cookie, pine, a hint of lanolin and some phenols. A bit of heat to be expected at 54%ABV, nice toast notes from the wood treatment. The finish lingers nicely with a little sweetness.
Widely regarded as the most distinguished of the Lowland malts, Rosebank operated triple distillation process. Mothballed in 1993 and sold to British Waterways, the site has since been developed for residential use.

Kilchoman Spring Release 2011 #2 of the second flight remarkable for a three year old. The peat is present but well integrated
The malt was aged for three years in bourbon casks and matured in Oloroso sherry butts for five months. Presents old-fashioned aromas of peat smoke with slight medicinal undertones of dried fruit and iodine, the texture is rich and slightly oily. On the palate is a complex array of flavors: toffee, apple, caramel, golden raisin and hints of licorice root. The smoky and peaty components return on the long but clean finish.

Kilchoman 2006 Single Cask Sherry Finish Cask Strength #3 of the second flight
Founded in 2005, Kilchoman is leading the revival of farm distilling on the Isle of Islay, and is the first new distillery since 1881. One of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, Kilchoman grows their own barley and is just one of 6 distilleries to continue the tradition of floor malting. These single malt whiskeys are bottled at natural color and non chill-filtered.

Ardbeg 1994 17 Year Barolo Finish Cask Strength, Chieftain’s #4 of the second flight, peat was laid on too thick, too oily to appreciate the red wine cask finish, not balanced to me but I’m not a peat-head
Lying solitary in a small cove off the south coast of Islay, Ardbeg has always produced a very sought-after single malt, despite its production scale being less than half that of its neighbours. Ardbeg has become known for its rich, peated whiskies, very easily identifiable by their fullness of body and perfect harmony of flavor. This single cask selection was finished in Barolo wine barrels and bottled at cask strength.

Extra Credit Whisky

This was a lovely surprise at the end of a long menu of Scotches. I had been burned by the Balcones Brimstone once. Not being a “smokehead” I don’t like a lot of peat, though it is peat that is the signature smell and taste of Scotch. Anyway the Balcones Texas malt whisky is presumably aged in Bourbon cask and not peated which is my guess from the nose and taste of it and without the benifit of any distillers notes.  It had nice cereal notes of grain with some Bourbon sweetness and afternotes of spice, cinnamon and allspice.

Balcones Texas Single Malt
Based in Waco, Texas, Balcones proprietor and head distiller Chip Tate marries innovation with traditional distillation methods to create premium, artisanal spirits that pay homage to America’s whiskey tradition. 100% malted barley, small batch whiskey made in customized copper pot stills. Non chill- filtered, with no artificial coloring, this American single malt is rounded like bourbon and deep like Scotch.