Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar - Glen MillsVarious locations of Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar will be celebrating their special Restaurant Week” from Sunday, January 20 – Friday, January 25, 2019. The special restaurant week menu will feature a three-course $20.00 lunch and four-course $35.00 dinner (plus tax & gratuity).

Lunch Menu…

First Course (Choice of): Local Butternut Squash Soup… Three Bean Turkey Chili… Small Modern Greek Salad… Small Winter Salad

Second Course (Choice of): Grilled Chicken Sandwich… Salmon BLT… Portobello “Cheesesteak”… Winter Ramen Noodle Bowl

Third Course (Choice of): Any Seasonally-Inspired Dessert

 

Dinner Menu…

First Course (Choice of): Short Rib & Mushroom Flatbread… Seasonal Organic Hummus… Korean BBA Chicken Lettuce Wraps… Everything-Spiced Edamame

Second Course (Choice of): Local Butternut Squash Soup… Small Modern Greek Salad… Small Winter Salad

Third Course (Choice of): Cedar Roasted Salmon… Sesame Chicken… Braised Short Ribs… Sesame Seared Tuna… Impossible Vegetarian Meatloaf

Fourth Course (Choice of): Any Seasonally-Inspired Dessert

Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar locations include Glen Mills, North Wales, Radnor, Newtown, Lancaster, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Moorestown, New Jersey; and Delray Beach, Florida.

 Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Esty Street - InteriorOn Thursday, February 14, 2019, Esty Street in Park Ridge, New Jersey, will be serving a special three-course prix fixe dinner menu…

Appetizers – Beet Carpaccio: Marinated Beets, Avocado Purée, Dukkah, Affila Cress, Extra Virgin Olive Oil… Citrus Cured Salmon: Citrus Frisée, Watermelon Radish, Pickled Yellow Beets… Three Cheese Lobster Profiteroles: Lobster Medallions, Truffled Manchego, Havarti & Cheddar Cheeses, Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce… Escargot: White Wine Butter Garlic, Parsley, Panko, Crostini… Spiced Lamb Tenderloin: Crostini, Mint Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes, Lamb Jus

Entrées – Mushroom Risotto: Winter Black Truffles, Beech & Chanterelle Mushroom, Asparagus Tips, Parmigiana Cheese… Sautéed Scallops: Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Manilla Clams, Spinach, Diced Tomatoes, Saffron Tomato Broth… Sautéed Bronzini: Risotto Cakes, Scallions, Oven Roasted Tomato Wedges, Frisée Salad… Grilled Filet Mignon “Wellington”: Mushrooms, Leeks, Spinach, Foie Gras in a Puff, Pastry Tart, Foie Gras Sauce… Pan Roasted Duck L’Orange: Wheat Berries, Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Kohlrabi, Parsnip Purée, Burnt Orange Supremes… Slow Braised Veal Osso Bucco: Cheese Scented Polenta, Veal Jus

Desserts – Poached Pear with Chocolate Center: Spiced Port Wine Reduction, Chantilly Cream, Fresh Raspberries… ValenTufo: Heart Shaped Version of Cocotufo in a Pomegranate Confection Shell… Montrachet Brule Cheesecake: Crisp Phyllo Basket, Berry compote, Balsamic Vinegar Reduction… Chocolate Truffle Torte: Chocolate Ganache, Chantilly Cream, Fresh Raspberries, House-Made Vanilla Ice Cream… French Apple Cake: Pink Lady Apples, Vanilla Custard, House-Made Caramel Sauce

The price of the Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu is $125.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (201) 307-1515.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Valentiine's Day DiningFor Valentine’s Weekend – February 14, 15, 16, 2019 – Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will be serving a special three-course menu, with each couple receiving a complimentary bag of chocolates and the restaurant’s freshly made banana bread.

Valentine’s Weekend Menu…

Amuse – Wild Mushroom Dashi: Fermented Black Bean, Roasted Scallion Oil

First Course – Pickled Heirloom Beets: Mascarpone, Salted Pistachio, Local Honey… Baby Field Greens: Caramelized Hazelnuts, Beaufort Cheese… Cavatelli Pasta: Pickled Enoki Mushrooms, Fontina Cheese… Filet Mignon Tartare: Caramelized Onion Brodo, Crispy Shallot… Pan Seared Scallops: Blood Orange Margarita, Winter Citrus… Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras: Winter Squash Mole, Dark Chocolate, Masa Tuile

Second Course – Butter Poached Lobster: Smoked Potato Mousseline, Crispy Leek… Pan Roasted Filet Mignon: Piquillo Pepper Romesco, Bone Marrow Crumbs… Bourbon Braised Suckling Pig: Parisienne Apples, Toasted Pecans, Maple JusBraised Buffalo Short Rib: Heirloom Broccoli, Burnt Onion Purée… Yellowfin tuna: Crispy Bamboo Rice, Golden Pineapple, Kumquat Marmalade, Ponzu… Pan Seared Black Bass: Sunchoke Purée, Bacon, Grilled Radicchio

Dessert Amuse – Olive Oil Dried Cherry Ice Cream

Dessert – Sweethearts Dessert Tasting

The price of the Valentine’s Weekend three-course menu is $135.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Jansen, Philadelphia, PA – A Review

by artfuldiner on January 14, 2019

in Uncategorized

Jansen

7402 Germantown Avenue

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(267) 335-5041

https://www.jansenmtairy.com/

For over a decade, David Jansen was the chef de cuisine at the legendary Fountain Restaurant at Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Hotel… But then he simply dropped out of sight (an extended vacation of sorts) to spend time with his family. He’s back now, however, with his eponymous Mt. Airy restaurant making significant blips on the culinary radar screen.

Jansen - InteriorHis current domicile will never match the overwrought glitz and glitter of what was the Four Seasons. On the other hand, the three hundred-year-old handsome stone structure is infinitely less intimidating. The 72-seat interior has been tastefully renovated with whitewashed walls, crisp white napery and strikingly contrasting blue draperies supplemented by a lovely walled outdoor garden. It absolutely looks the part of a casually laid-back fine dining establishment; and, for the most part, Mr. Jansen – and Francesco Martorella, his former compatriot at the Four Seasons – deliver on the restaurant’s promises.

Jansen - Cauliflower Mousse AmuseThe food, while not cutting-edge, could best be described as thoroughly approachable upscale comfort cuisine, which appears to be a perfect fit for the slightly conservative gastronomic inclinations of the Mt. Airy & Chestnut Hill dining sets. And the amuse-bouche sets the tone – on one occasion, salmon mousse on brioche; on another, cauliflower mousse on toast (pictured) – just exotic enough to tickle the taste buds without overwhelming the eye.

The appetizer course is comprised exclusively of seafood, Jumbo Lump Crab, Shrimp and Lobster Cocktails, respectively, as well as Half Dozen Oysters with mignonette and house-made cocktail sauce, and a luscious Tuna Poke companioned by soy wasabi glaze and ginger-scented pineapple.

Jansen - Boston Lettuce SaladIf you’re prefer not to go the seafood route, however, the first course is where you’ll find select salads, soups, and “baked” Oysters. Of particular note is the presentation of Heirloom Tomatoes garnished with arugula and homemade focaccia. Even better, though, is the Boston Lettuce and Lola Rosa (red leaf lettuce) garnished with a variety of pickled vegetables, morsels of creamy goat cheese, and splash of irresistible green goddess dressing (pictured).

Jansen - Foie Gras on Brioche w Date Jam… But the real winner among the starters is the daily presentation of Foie Gras. You never know what Mr. Jansen is going to come up with, but it is inevitably decadently delicious and beautifully presented. On one occasion, for example, the silky-smooth liver is presented on a bed of lentils and gnocchi; on another, it arrives on brioche companioned by a rich date jam (pictured). And one of the best ways to enjoy this luxury starter is as my dining partner and I did… by ordering a salad along with the Foie Gras, sharing a bit of each, and allowing the acidity of the salad dressing to balance the richness of the liver.

There are a select number of entrées noted on the printed menu – seven to be precise. These include various incarnations of lamb and pork, free-range chicken breast, Vietnamese hot pot and, during my several visits, three seafood selections. The kitchen also throws in a few daily specials just to spice things up.

Jansen - Lemon SoleFrom what I’ve observed, seafood does appear to be the restaurant’s strong suit. Typical is the stellar presentation of Lemon Sole. The filets are perfectly pan-seared to a golden brown, beautifully textured, set on a seabed of creamy risotto awash with crunchy rock shrimp, and finished with tangy lime emulsion. There’s just enough going on to complement rather than overwhelm the sole’s delicate disposition.

Jansen - Alaskan HalibutAnd the Alaskan Halibut is yet another example of Mr. Jansen’s piscatorial prowess. The filets are gently sautéed, leaving the interior pristinely white, moist and flaky. Members of the supporting cast include a colorful tiara of tomato compote, pillow of sweet garlic risotto, and pool of aromatic saffron fumet (concentrated stock). Once again, the accoutrements are judiciously applied, gently caressing rather than smothering the object of their affections.

Jansen - Roasted Pork RouladeThe Roasted Pork Roulade, on the other hand, was something of a mixed bag… The accompanying Alsatian sauerkraut was utterly delicious and packed with an incredible depth of flavor. The pork shank pierogi and natural pork jus were also right on the mark. The pork itself, however, was dry and inordinately fatty…

But what next transpired illustrates how a first-class restaurant handles complaints. Mr. Jansen happened to be circulating through the dining room at the time, stopping at our table to inquire about the problem. When I explained, he immediately apologized, asked if I would like to order another entrée – which I did, the special sole on a bed of garden vegetables – and then whisked away the pork.

The sole appeared in a very short period of time and was perfectly prepared. My dining partner had ordered sautéed scallops that evening. And, shortly after my sole arrived at table, so did our server with two additional scallops for her plate. A very nice touch, indeed.

Jansen - Choc Pound CakeDesserts, courtesy of pastry chef Angela Irwin, were right back on track. Her Bread Pudding garnished with maple ice cream was excellent; her Chocolate Pound Cake with vanilla ice cream even better (pictured). And if you’d prefer something on the lighter side, the Ice Cream/Sorbet Trio – poached pear sorbet, cranberry sorbet & caramel ice cream comprised the most recently sampled triptych – is always worth a look-see.

Managers Kevin Keys, of the late Le Bec Fin, and Simon Dean, have put together a short but select & moderately priced wine list that presents diners with a number of interesting possibilities. By the glass, for example, the 2016 Franciscan Chardonnay is an excellent value at $12.00… ditto the 2016 Chad Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley at $16.00.

Jansen - Interior 2Bottle-wise, the 2015 Heddesdorff Riesling “Trocken” (Dry) from Germany’s Mosel Valley is a steal at $54.00, while 2016 Domaine Bonhomme Viré Clessé “Vielle Vignes” is a first-class white Burgundy priced at $86.00. The wine list tops out at $325.00 for 2013 Caymus Vineyards “Special Selection” Cabernet Sauvignon and $400.00 for the 2010 Château Lynch Bages from the Pauillac region of Bordeaux. Given the monetary and oenological excesses of some pretentiously showy restaurant wine lists, these prices are modest, indeed.

The service is commensurate with the ambiance – casually sophisticated. It’s professional without being stuffy… friendly without being uncomfortably familiar… and always at the ready without hovering over your shoulder. Like all the other aspects of this charming restaurant, it seems to function effortlessly without self-consciously trying to do so.

An occasional faux pas notwithstanding, Jansen is love at first bite.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Alba - Interior 2On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Restaurant Alba, 7 West King Street, Malvern, Pennsylvania, will host a special five-course European tasting menu paired with wines from Italy, Austria, Spain and Portugal.

First Course: Fresh Tuna Stuffed Deviled Egg… Fried Boquerone, Salsa Verde… Prosciutto Americano, Fried Dough; Wine Pairing: Champagne Method Rosé, Rotari, Brut, 13, Trentino

Second Course: Farro Salad, Tuscan Kale, Wood Roasted Apple, Toasted Pecan… House-Cured Salmon Gravlox, Chimichurri, Charred Red Onion; Wine Pairing: Gruner Veltliner, Wingut Stadt Krems, “Kremstal,” 16, Austria

Third Course: Rigatoni with Braised Duck, Dried Fig, Spinach… Risotto of Hen of the Woods Mushroom, Parmigiano Reggiano; Wine Pairing: Dolcetto d’Alba, Roberto Voerzio, “Priavino,” 16, Piemonte

Fourth Course: Red Wine Braised lamb Shank, Pen Nuts, Currants… Anson Mills Polenta… Buttermilk Fried Cauliflower, Romesco Sauce; Wine Pairing: Rioja, Aldonia, 15, Rioja, Spain

Fifth Course: Sampling of Dark Chocolate, Nuts, Dried Fruit, Birchrun Hills Blue Cheese; Wine Pairing: Feuerheerds’s 20-Year Tawny Port, Oporto, Portugal

The price of the European tasting menu and wine pairing is $90.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; dinner service begins at 5:00 p.m. For more information, or to make reservations, please call Restaurant Alba (610) 644-4009.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Restaurant Nicholas Serves Black Truffle Menu

by artfuldiner on January 11, 2019

in Uncategorized

Nicholas - Black Truffle Menu 2017From Tuesday, January 22 – Thursday, January 31, 2019, in the dining room only, Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will be serving a special black truffle menu…

Amuse: Wild Mushroom Velouté, Black Truffle

First Course: Crispy Black Truffle Arancini, Local Honey

Second Course: Black Truffle Tagliatelle, Parmigiana Reggiano, Black Truffle

Third Course: “Pork & Clams” Crispy Pork Belly, Braised Leek, Clam Chowder, Black Truffle

Fourth Course: Provençal Braised Beef Short Rib, Black Truffle Mousseline

Dessert Amuse: Concord Grape Sorbet, Truffle Honey

Dessert Tasting: Milk Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Vanilla Sauce, Truffle Shortbread, Chocolate Ice Cream

The price of the special black truffle menu is $145.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Philly Restaurant Week 2018From January 13 – 25, 2019, restaurants across Philadelphia’s Center City will be celebrating “Restaurant Week.” Participating restaurants will offer three-course dinner for only $35.00 per person. Many will also offer a three-course lunch for $20.00.

Restaurant Week patrons can park for $9.00 or less at participating Philadelphia Parking Association and Philadelphia Parking Authority facilities from 4:45 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. by presenting a voucher from participating restaurants.

For more information, and a list of participating Center City restaurants, please click on https://centercityphila.org/explore-center-city/ccd-restaurant-week.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Stage Left - Paul Hobbs Wine DinnerOn Thursday, January 31, 2019, Stage Left in New Brunswick, New Jersey, will host their annual Paul Hobbs wine dinner and tasting. Mr. Hobbs, one of the most sought-after winemakers on three continents, has noted that Stage Left’s annual tasting is the greatest single tasting opportunity of his wines each year.

Paul Hobbs: The Menu

Hors d’Oeuvres: A Comprehensive Tasting of Paul Hobbs Wines: California, Argentina, Europe

Lobster and Black Truffle Manicotti: Chardonnay “Arbalitos” 2017; Bramare

Seared Rare Tuna: Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast” 2016; Paul Hobbs

Wild Boar & Foie Gras Ravioli: Malbec “Zingaretti Vineyard” 2014; Bramare

50-Day Dry-Aged Angus Steak Tasting, Bone Marrow: Carmenere 2015; Napa… Cabernet Sauvignon 2014; Napa

Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Ice Cream

 

Paul Hobbs: The Tasting

 Paul Hobbs California: Chardonnay 2016, Russian River… Chardonnay “Edward James Estate 2016… Chardonnay “Ross Station” 2016… Chardonnay “Ellen Lane Estate” 2016… Chardonnay “Cuvée Agustina” 2016… Pinot Noir “Hyde Vineyard” 2014… Pinot Noir “Katerine Lindsay Estate” 2016… Pinot Noir “Cuvée Agustina” 2016… Syrah “Kick Range Vineyard” 2014… Cabernet Sauvignon “Nathan Coombs Estate” 2013… Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer – Dr. Crane Vineyard” 2015… Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer – Las Piedras Vineyard” 2015… Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer – To Kalon Vineyard” 2015

France: Malbec de Cahors “Le Calcifere” 2014; Crocus… Malbec de Cahors “La Roche Mere” 2014; Crocus

Argentina: Chardonnay 2017; El Felino… Chardonnay “Marchiori Vineyard” 2017; Bramare… Chardonnay “Los Arbolitos” 2017; Bramare… Cabernet Sauvignon 2017; El Felino… Cabernet Franc “Chanares Vineyard” 2015; Bramare… Cocodrilo “Corte” 2016; Vina Cobos… Cabernet Sauvignon 2016; Bramare; Lujan de Cuyo… Cabernet Sauvignon “Marchiori Vineyard” 2015; Bramare… Malbec 2017; El Felino… Malbec 2016; Bramare; Valle de Uco… Malbec “Chanares Vineyard” 2015; Bramare… Malbec “Rebon” 2014; Bramare; Lujan de Cuyo… Malbec “Marchiori Vineyard” 2015; Bramare; Lujan de Cuyo… Malbec “Marchiori Vineyard”; Cobbs… Volturno “Marchiori Vyd” 2013; Cobos… Malbec “Chanares Vineyard” 2015; Cobos

*Subject to change or substitution

The cost of the dinner and tasting is $349.00 (plus tax & gratuity); tasting only, $249.00. Tasting: 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.; Dinner, 7:00 p.m.

Please reserve you place, as this event will sell out. The restaurant has already received 80 reservations before the event was announced. To make reservations, please go to Reservations@StageLeft.com or call (732) 828-4444.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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undici1On Wednesday, January 30th, 6:30 p.m., Undici Taverna Rustica, 11 West River Road, Rumson, New Jersey, will host its first wine dinner of 2019. Guests are invited to dine and enjoy the premier producer of Brunello di Montalcino with Undici proprietor Victor Rallo and winery owner Riccardo Talenti.

Wines to be Tasted: Talenti Trefolo 2015… Talenti Rosso di Montalcino 2016… Talenti Brunello Normale 2013… Talenti Brunello Riserva 2012

Antipasto: Roasted Peppers, Finochiona, Salami, Prosciutto, Pecorino

Papa al Pomodoro: Italian Tomato & Bread Soup

Lasagne al Ragu di Cinghiale: House-Made Lasagna with Wild Boar Ragu & Besciamella

Guanciale di Manzo: Oven Roasted Prime Beef Cheeks with Celery Root Purée

Torta di Cioccolato: House-Made Chocolate Torte with Amarena Cherries

The Price of the Talenti wine dinner is $89.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity) and is limited to 35 persons. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 842-3880.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Wine 3I tasted quite a number of excellent wines in 2018. And of the more than forty (40) vintages noted throughout the year, the eleven (11) listed below – five (5) white; five (5) red; one (1) Rosé – are particularly recommended.

Please note that prices quoted are approximate, depending upon where the wines are purchased; and, of course, all are subject to change. The prices in states other than Pennsylvania can vary significantly from retailer to retailer. So, it would certainly be to your advantage to spend some time surfing online for the best deals.

FAVORITE WHITE WINES:

2017 Adegas Gran Vinum Nessa Albariño (Spain): Over the past 15 years, Albariño has blossomed into Spain’s most notable white wine and has become exceedingly popular with American wine lovers. One of the consequences of Albariño’s increased popularity is the fact that it is becoming more and more difficult to lay your hands on an acceptable moderately priced bottle. Fortunately, the 2017 Nessa Albariño is a marvelous exception to the general rule. This lovely wine is rife with subtle floral aromas that lead to ripe peach flavors and an incredibly satisfying citrus acidity. The best part, of course, is the reasonable price tag. The 2017 Nessa Albariño is available through Pennsylvania State Stores for a modest $16.99.

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LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

2014 DeMorgenzon “Maestro” (South Africa): “Maestro” is an interesting blend of 26% Roussanne, 25% Chardonnay, 19% Grenache Blanc, 17% Chenin Blanc, and 13% Viognier. Some might call it a “kitchen sink” blend… but the varietals work marvelously well together. This is a delightfully complex and layered wine that offers both weight and elegance with a smooth texture and ripe fruit flavors that are kept in balance via a heady dose of acidity. A soft, flinty character and sweet-spice accents at the finish add to the pleasing texture. 92 points and an “Editors’ Choice” designation from the Wine Enthusiast. $24.99 through PA State Stores.

2014 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embazées (France): The 2014 Les Embazées, which received 92-94 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, is simply a fabulous vintage. The eleven (11) months spent in oak before bottling account for its delightful complexity. And, in contrast to many ponderous California Chardonnays, it possesses body… but seemingly without weight. It is fresh and vibrant on the palate with a wonderful depth of citrus & spice and a long, lingering finish. Even at its current price point – approximately $100.00 – given its incredible quality, it is still something of a bargain. If you are a lover of fine white Burgundies, this wine is something of a must.

2017 Ken Forrester “Petite” Chenin Blanc (South Africa): The spiritual home of the Chenin Blanc grape is the Loire Valley, France. Today, however, 50% of the world’s Chenin Blanc is produced in South Africa. It is a versatile varietal and produces everything from fresh and fruity wines and sparkling tipples to serious rich and luscious desert wines with several decades of aging potential. Wine producer Ken Forrester is affectionately known as “Mr. Chenin Blanc.” His most accessible wine would undoubtedly be his Chenin Blanc Western Cape Petit. And the 2017 vintage is certainly one of the best – and reasonably priced – examples of what Chenin Blanc is capable of. The wine is absolutely exhilarating, rife with refreshing hints of melon & grapefruit that continue to tantalize through to the lively finish. And don’t fret if you can’t find the 2017, as the 2016 Petit is every bit its equal.

Walch, Elena Kristallberg Pinot Bianco2016 Elena Walch “Kristallberg” Pinot Bianco (Italy): A leading wine estate in the Alto Adige region, Elena Walch is also considered one of the finest in Italy. The philosophy of her wine estate is dedicated to terroir – the idea that wines must be the individual expression of their soil, climate, and cultivation in the vineyard – and her wines continue to demonstrate great character, elegance and personality. Her 2016 Pinot Bianco is a special wine, as the grapes are sourced from the estate’s most recent purchase the “Kristallberg” vineyard. This is a lovely, irresistibly quaffable vintage that is especially attractive during the summer months. It has a soft, slightly creamy texture that is beautifully balanced with a crisp acidity and long finish. A delightful wine at a great price point. Available through PA State Stores at $21.99.

 

FAVORITE ROSÉ WINE

2017 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (South Africa): This distinctive Rosé is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives it a good deal more body and flavor than most Rosés. Even people who aren’t particularly fond of Rosé wines – like this writer – will find this vintage thoroughly enjoyable. Ninety-five percent of the grapes are picked early and only spend time on the skins as they go through the press. The other five percent are picked when the grapes are riper, which adds additional sweetness to the wine. The color is a vibrant cotton candy pink; the nose rife with berry and cherry aromas; and the palate is delightfully crisp and refreshing with a lively acidity. The 2017 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé is a wine well worth seeking out, as it is priced at a mere $13.99 in Pennsylvania State Stores (a few dollars less online).

 

FAVORITE RED WINES:

2013 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre (Italy): Through the years, Palazzo della Torre has always been one of my favorite Italian red wines. A food-friendly blend of 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, and 5% Sangiovese, the 2013 is dark and thick in appearance, and the nose exhibits a good deal of power. On the palate, there are waves of ripe fruit and hints of cedar. The wine is medium to full bodied and beautifully balanced. It garnered 92 points (100-point scale) from wine writer James Suckling, who called it “gorgeous.” The best part, of course, is the price… $19.99 when purchased through Pennsylvania State Stores.

BV Tapestry Reserve 20142014 Beaulieu Vineyard BV Reserve Tapestry (California): The Reserve Tapestry is a Bordeaux-like blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and an 11% combo of Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. There are whiffs of crème de cassis and chocolate on the nose. The palate, on the other hand, is rich and velvety with a long spicy finish. This is an incredibly enjoyable medium-bodied wine that goes down as smooth silk. James Suckling bestowed a whopping 95 points on this hedonistically bewitching beauty; and just one sip and you’ll understand why. It normally retails in the $50.00 to $60.00 range; however, it is $39.99 per bottle when purchased online from www.garyswine.com.

2015 Domaine Lafage “Bastide Miraflors” Vieilles Vignes (France): This wine, as they say, is almost too good to be true. A provocative blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, the 2015 is rich, ripe, and downright sexy. The color is deep purple with aromas of black fruit and chocolate. This is a deep and luscious wine, seamless and silky, that continues to evolve in the glass. I’ve also tasted the 2013 and 2014 Bastide Miraflors and both are excellent… but the 2015 beats them all. It received 94 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, which deemed it a “sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed.” The price…? A mere $12.99 when purchased online from www.garyswine.com.

L'Ecole - Cabernet2014 L’Ecole No 41 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington State): A third-generation family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on their label, L’Ecole No 41 was founded in 1983 in Walla Walla Valley. Their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon clearly demonstrates why the estate continues to be one of the most respected and honored wineries in Washington State. This is a heady yet elegant Old World-style Cabernet that is blended from multiple sources. There’s a great deal of sweet ripe fruit here, along with a healthy dose of oak aromas and flavors in the background. On all accounts, an excellent wine. Normally retailing around the $40.00 mark, PA State Stores currently have it on sale for $24.99.

2014 Ridge Vineyards “Three Valleys” Sonoma County (California): One of my favorite wines year after year, the 2014 Three Valleys is Ridge’s entry-level Zinfandel-based red wine. A blend of 65% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 14% Carignane, and 4% Grenache, this is a value-priced red wine that should be enjoyed while it is young and vibrant. There are very nice floral notes here, as well as a splash of spiciness at the finish. 89 points from the Wine Advocate; $24.99 when purchased through Pennsylvania State Stores.

Cheers!

TAD

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