Tuesday, April 24, 2018



 Miner Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016

Miner Family Winery Founder David Miner in the hillside aging caves

by Dwight Casimere

Spring is finally here. It's time to welcome a wine that ushers in the season with style. Miner Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016  ($32) is a perfect example of everything you'd expect in a Napa Valley Chardonnay and more. It has all of the classic earmarks; buttery and elegant, it is bursting with crisp Delicious Apple, ripe melon and citrus flavors of pineapple, mandarin orange and a splash of Meyer lemon. There's a light hint of Tahitian cinnamon from French Oak aging, but its so beautifully incorporated that you hardly notice it. This is the wine that put Miner on the map, and rightly so. Miner Family Winery is a relative newcomer as things go in the valley, but its genesis is steeped in valley history and pedigree. Founder David Miner got his start as President of Oakville Ranch Vineyards, which was owned by his late uncle Robert Miner. Miner Family Winery was born in 1996, when David decided to become a custom crush client of the winery and start his own label. Emily Miner, a graduate of Santa Clara University, becomes tasting room manager at Oakville where she and David met and fell in love. In 1997, Joseph Phelps alum Gary Brookman comes on board as winemaker and the rest is history. The winery's aging caves are carved out of the hills above the Silverado Trail in the heart of the Napa Valley, and after a 15 month process and a year of celebrations, Dave and Emily marry and the winery issues its first wines under its own label. Hallelujah! 

Miner Family Winery winemaker Gary Brookman (l) with Founder David Miner

If I'm not grilling, I love to make one pot meals in my slow cooker. One of my favorites is pan seared boneless  chicken thighs with fresh herbs from my garden. Almost any variety will do, its your choice, I prefer oregano and thyme. Add a mix of multi colored carrots,  chuncks of red and yellow onions and shallots, a couple of cloves of garlic and a half cup of the Miner Chardonnay and let cook for an hour or two while you enjoy a leisurely glass of Miner Chardonnay. A side salad of mixed Organic Spring Greens with added Arugula,slices of avocado, a handful of  crumbled goat cheese and a dressing of lemon juice and garlic infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil and you've got an al fresco lunch that will have your neighbors attempting to climb the fence to join in the party. 

 The aging caves dug into the hillside above Napa Valley's historic Silverado Trail

Miner Family Winery Owners Emily and David Miner

Friday, April 13, 2018



CHICAGO--Loire Valley Wines stopped at Chicago's Atrium at the J. Parker to present more than 200 wines from 28 producers in France's most diverse wine producing region.  The Loire Valley producers exemplary wines of all types. Best known for its sparkling Rose' and its crisp, dry wines as well as a selection of mouth-watering Rose wines, the region is also known for its rich, aromatic white wines from Chenin Blanc, unique seaside wines from Muscadet its fruity reds from Pinot Noir and Gamay, earthy reds from Cabernet Franc and Malbec as well as its luscious sweet wines.

Photos: Jayme Cain/The Times Weekly

Wednesday, April 11, 2018



by Dwight Casimere

 Dwight The Wine Doctor with Justine Besnard of Gabriella Wines
 Loire Valley Spring to Loire 2018 NYC premiere at SECOND, EVENTI HOTEL

Chateau Touraine Sauvignon (below) The wines of Loire Valley

Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

NEW YORK--Spring to Loire 2018, the Loire Valley Wines National Tour, is the wine world's way of welcoming Spring. The fresh, effervescent wines with their beautiful floral nose and scintillating fruit flavors literally bespeak the arrival of new life, love and all things "Printemps!"

One of France's most diverse wine growing regions, it, in the words of the late comedian Don Rickles, "Don't get no respect." Loire Valley produces exemplary wines in every style. Their popularity has grown among sommeliers, restaurateurs and wine writers over recent years because of their  chameleonic  ability to pair perfectly with a wide range of diverse cuisines that reflect the ever-expanding palate of contemporary taste. Their moderate alcohol level and refreshing taste make them ideal companions for a midtown business lunch or a delightful Happy Hour meet and greet at a sidewalk cafe. You can enjoy a glass or two in good conscience, confident that you can continue with the work day ahead, or to forge ahead with an evening at the Joyce Theatre for Dance or the Philharmonic at Lincoln Center.

The pure expression of "terroir," that unique, almost indescribable mix of the land and its soil, the climate and atmosphere makes Loire Valley wine a unique adventure. Consider the range; from an almost floral array of flavor profiles, from bone dry to sweet and from steely grey to soft new-shorn straw on to a delicate pink blush of sparkling wines. Start with  crisp, dry Sauvignon, continue on to the unique seaside wines of Muscadet, then to  the rich aromatic white wines from Chenin Blanc, the earthy red wines from Cabernet Franc and Malbec, the delicate fruity and floral red wines from Pinot Noir and Gamay, not to mention the dry and off-dry rose' and elegant sparkling wines and luscious sweet wines, there is no palate that will go unsatisfied.

Fresh, fruit, friendly. Loire Valley wines are the very breath of Spring and the essence of Life!


 Ruthann Grey Media Consultant, The Caunos Group

 Amena Makhdoomi Marketing and Communications Assistant with Cognac One with 2014 Rouge Noir from Xavier Flouret, Menetou-Salon
 Chateau du L'Oiseliniere Muscadet Sevre and Maine, Sur Lu 2016 Verdier
 Barbara W. Stephen Event Management with Fournier Grande Cuvee Sancere 2015
Keith Miller Sommelier the Inn at Little Washington

The SECOND Outdoor Terrace at EVENTI HOEL NYC

Thursday, April 5, 2018




 The famed Rockefeller townhouses at 13-15 East 54th Street
 The impressive entrance of Hotel Elysee, 60 East 54th Street
 Springtime blossoms along a New York Boulevard

 The exquisite table service at Il Gattopardo

 Below: Dover Sole and sautéed Broccoli Rabe in garlic and virgin olive oil

 Pasta Carbonara is a house specialty

by Dwight Casimere

Spring is finally here! Its a terrific time to take a spontaneous weekend trip to the Big Apple to stroll its brownstone lined streets, enjoy a cup of cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe, spend a weekend at a lovely boutique hotel and dine in a fine continental restaurant. There are just as many blossoming trees to be viewed while meandering through many of the city's charming neighborhoods as there are in Georgetown. Contrary to stereotype, there are a number of quiet, cozy areas of the city ticked away along the side streets, where you can find a lovely English-styled hotel with complimentary buffet breakfast and a delightful complimentary evening cocktail with an intimate library and expansive views of the charming surroundings.

Once such place is the Hotel Elysee, on 60 East 54th Street, part of t he Library Hotel Collection. The hotel is as charming as any you'd find on Grosvenor Square, London, complete with elegant vintage-styled furniture of both English and French Provincial design, with exquisite chandeliers and lighting fixtures, fireplaces, baby grand pianos and terraces with stunning  views in select rooms and suites. There are no "cookie cutter" rooms. Each has its own distinctive character. A full complimentary breakfast buffet with a selection of fresh pastries, cereals, croissant and various juices, gourmet coffees and teas is a must to start the day. Be prepared to enjoy a short walk to Times Square, Rockefeller Center and all of the other great sights and sounds of midtown that are literally at the Elysee's doorstep. Just a block and a half up the street is the Museum of Modern Art and its exciting collections and exhibits. See the concierge for the latest offerings. Right across the street is one of the most elegant dining settings for a weekend brunch or elegant dinner, Il Gattopardo restaurant in the historic Rockefeller townhouses at 13-15 East  54th. The rerestaurant is located a few steps below street level in the English basement. the sleek dining room extends back to a stunning atrium. The menu and the cuisine are equal to the exquisite decor. Each dish is a masterpiece, with attention to presentation. The food is decidedly Italian with a modern twist on many traditional classics. Start with the Crudo di Branzino, a scrumptious variation on raw, marinated fish with fresh herbs and crunchy garden vegetables for a refreshing start to the meal. Enjoy a crisp Prosecco or one of the delightful white wines from Umbria or the Lombardy region. If you tend toward something a little heavier, the Beef and Veal meatballs wrapped in savory cabbage leaves is a nice, flavorful twist on an old favorite. "Nonna's" meatballs never tasted better! The main event at Il Gattopardo is a real show-stopper; whole pan-roasted Dover Sole, deboned and served table side. The presentation is dramatic and the delicate aromatics of the fish are beyond parallel. Enjoy a selection of contrasting white and red wine blends from Sagrantino or Sicily for a real taste treat. You can't leave Il Gattopardo without saving room for yet another house specialty,the Artisinal Ravioli with wild pheasant, partridge and rebiller cheese in its own sauce. You will not find a more ravishing and soul-satisfying dish anywhere! There's a;ways room for dessert. Have a demi-glass of house made Limoncello with a generous slice of Cossata Siciliana, a delightful traditional custard pie from the Mediterranean coast filled with candied fruit and a mouth-watering caramelized sauce. You'll be glad that you stayed at the Elysee, just a short, much needed walk to dampen down the copious meal or just a few minutes Uber ride away.
For more information visit elyseehotel.com or ilgattopardonyc.com.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018



 Dwight Casimere and Colangelo Partners CEO Gino Colangelo at Volcanic Wines tasting

International Volcanic Wine Conference Metropolitan Pavilion NYC

 Dwight Casimere in Pantelleria, Sicily and (below) Zibbibo vineyards at the base of a volcanic slope

by Dwight Casimere

Volcanic Wines are heating up around the globe! This exciting new category of wines began storming American shores last year, and the wine drinking public has been clamoring for more. Sales went up a whopping 40% in the first year alone. And for good reason, the ash-rich soils that create volcanic wines bring forth wines of unique flavor and distinction. The white wines are salty, tangy and bursting with fleshy fruit flavors and hints of almond, cashew and lychee, making them the ideal companion for all of the flavors of spring and summer; seafood, crisp garden salads and soft and semi-soft cheeses and a raft of salamis and cured meats. The reds are not your typical blackberry, oak and cinnamon "usual suspects," but vivid with exotic flavors of cardamom, sandalwood , fennel, pomegranate, lingonberry and wild blackberries and raspberries, which are quite distinct from your grocery story berries of the same type. These wines go more with the flavors of the Mediterranean, India and Thailand, all of which have increasingly become more commonplace on the American table. If you have an adventurous palate, Volcanic wines are for you. First of all, what are Volcanic Wines? They're grown in the volcanic soils on  the slopes of volcanic mountains that can be found virtually everywhere in the world. Some are still active of semi-active, like the ones in Italy on Sicily's Mount Etna or on the Isle of Pantelleria, or on Spain's Canary Islands, where the volcanic landscapes look like something from outer space. The salty, tangy white wines of Greece burst onto the wine scene last summer to wild acclaim. They can now be found on the wine lists of many of your favorite restaurants and wine bars. The West Coast is rife with volcanic mountain slopes that yield some incredible wines from the Geyer Peak region of Sonoma County to the Volcanic Hill of Napa Valley's Dry Creek vineyards and Napa's Mount St. Helena up to Oregon's famous Willamette Valley, the distinctive Cabs and Pinot Noirs of those areas set them apart from the other wines typical  of those regions. 

Some of the Volcanic Wines tasted by this reviewer recently, include Dhont-Grellet "Le Bateau" (the little boat) Cremant Grand Cru from France-$60. Made with 100% Chardonnay, this is the ultimate in the rich, creamy flavors that you would expect from a superbly made Champagne from one of the region's most respected "old line" producers. Flavors of crisp green apples and salted almonds and a subtle note of dried apricot and a hint of French sage make for an interesting and complex melange of flavors. This is a great one to serve as an aperitif or throughout a long, delicious al fresco meal. Get adventurous with lobster or crab Eggs Benedict or a seafood mix of shrimp, calamari rings and tiny Bay Scallops in their own juice served over warm angel hair pasta and sprinkled with fresh oregano, Sicilian chives and pecorino cheese shavings. You can't go wrong with this one.

Participants at the Volcanic Wines International Conference

 Silvia Gardina of Quota 101

 Elisa Dilaranzo-Maeli Vineyards

Carla Benini of Sassotondo

Volcanic Wines now available in the U.S.

Donnafugata CEO Jose Rallo in the volcanic vineyards of Pantelleria, Sicily
 Harvesting Zibbibo grapes with Jose Rallo, CEO Donnafugata in the volcanic soil of Pantellaria