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Wanda Mann
New York City
I am a native New Yorker with a passion for travel, food & wine, and little black dresses!
Recent Activity
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image credit: Guillaume Guadet. Courtesy of La Nuit en Rosé. Close your eyes and imagine summer breezes blowing through your hair as you sail on a yacht, sipping elegant rosé and nibbling on gourmet treats.Thanks to the organizers of La Nuit en Rosé, this chic daydream can be a reality. A three-day festival (June 25-27) hosted aboard the Hornblower Infinity Yacht in New York City, La Nuit en Rosé is the world's first festival dedicated entirely to rosé wines and champagne and more than 100 wines will be featured. Granted, the Hudson River may not be the Riviera but it... Continue reading
Posted 1 hour ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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image courtesy Frederick Wildman & Sons A perfectly chilled glass of white wine is so refreshing on a hot day and Gavi is one of the most elegant thirst-quenchers. Produced in northern Italy from 100% Cortese grapes, Gavi is known for its zippy acidity and zesty citrus flavors. Founded in 1919, La Scolca is the first producer of quality Gavi and they are recognized as one of Italy's most historic white wine producers. The very dapper Angelo Gaballo, of La Scolca, arrived in New York with Gavi to share! If you're new to Gavi, I recommend getting started with La... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Black Dress Traveler
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Meet Adriana Soley - this vivacious Barcelona native is a Brand Ambassador for Anna de Codorníu sparkling wine. Champagne isn't the only sip in town when you want something bubbly. In Spain, Cava is the sparkling vino that reigns supreme and Anna de Codorníu may very well be the Queen of Cava. The winery's roots trace back to 1551 and Anna was a real person - she was the heiress to this winemaking dynasty and the last person in the family to carry the Codorníu surname. In 1983, her legacy was honored with the creation of Anna de Codorníu -... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The French Riviera in New York City courtesy of Mouton Cadet - the official wine of the Cannes Film Festival for 23 years. Alas, my invitation to the Cannes Film Festival must have been lost in the mail but I was able to experience a bit of French Riviera ooh la la in NYC at a chic event hosted by Mouton Cadet and Rent the Runway at Pier 59 Studios. The evening featured Cannes inspired fashions available at Rent the Rentway and a selection of delicious wines from Mouton Cadet - the official wine of the festival and host of... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Spain is no longer the best kept secret if you're looking for fabulous wines at a great price point but there are still delicious discoveries to be made. If you want to branch out from Spanish vinos like Tempranillo, Garnacha from Cariñena could be "The Next Great Grape" you're looking for. Located in Spain's northeast region of Aragón, Cariñena's high-altitude vineyards are renowned for their ancient stone soils that infuse the wines with character and complexity. The region also boasts the most plantings of old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena in Spain and old vines can have a positive impact on the... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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You don't always need to travel far to have a great adventure! I recently had a wonderful time with my family exploring "Little Italy in the Bronx" aka Arthur Avenue. There are so many delicious things to eat along Arthur Avenue and it is great to see small businesses thriving in New York! Below are a few photos from my hometown adventure! You can view the entire album on Facebook. Calabria Pork Store Cigar rollers showcase their talents at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. Olives galore at Arthur Avenue Retail Market. Delicious food from Zero Otto Nove restaurant. Arugula Salad... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Marc Rafael, grower & producer, of Domaine Georg Rafael/Rafael et Fils. The winery was founded by his father in 1996. Winemakers are inspired by many things but creating a wine in homage to one's mother is surely the grand cru of gestures. I recently met the charming Marc Rafael of Rafael et Fils and sampled the "Pour Rosie" Chardonnay 2012 ($28) that was inspired by his mom. An estate-grown 100% Chardonnay from the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, this medium-bodied wine is creamy but not too buttery with vivacious tropical notes of pineapple, mango, and lemon that are balanced... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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When a winery's name translates to "Beautiful Garden of God", you expect wines that are ethereal, powerful, and simply divine. Well, I am happy to say that Sicilian winemaker Tenuta Rapitalà produces wines that elegantly meet these celestial expectations. The first Sicilian winery to plant French varietals, Rapitalà is truly a marriage of cultures - in 1968 French-born Count Hugues Bernard de la Gatinais married Gigi Guarrasi from Palermo and inherited the Guarrasi family estate that had been destroyed by an earthquake. Working together, they rebuilt the winery and replanted the vineyards and in 1976 the first harvest destined for... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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A big thank you to Matias from Santa Rita winery for pouring me a taste of their fabulous Triple C. Founded in 1880, Santa Rita was among the first to pioneer plantings of European grapes in Chile. Don't you love that moment when you sip a new wine that really rocks your tastebuds? I would venture to say its almost as good as a really spectacular first kiss. Well, I recently got up close and personal with a glass of Santa Rita Triple C 2010 (about $40) and it was love at first sip. This Chilean beauty gets its name... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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One of the beautiful Nobilo vineyards in New Zealand. Did you know that in 2014, 72% of all wine produced in New Zealand was Sauvignon Blanc? International Sauvignon Blanc Day may not appear on your calendar as an official holiday but I'm all for a holiday that celebrates wine! On April 24th, wine lovers around the globe will raise their glasses in honor of the feisty little white wine that is Sauvignon Blanc - get in on the fun! Sauvignon Blanc is so closely identified with New Zealand that it is hard to believe that the varietal wasn't planted in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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If you like your rosé with a dash of drama, fill your glass with Michel Torino Malbec Rosé ($12)! The vibrant deep pink shade and robust flavor make this vino the perfect sip to finish my Three Days of Rosé celebration. Malbec is Argentina's signature grape and Michel Torino's rosé shows the playful side of this bold varietal. Fruit-forward and medium bodied with hints of strawberry and just the subtlest pop of white pepper on the finish, this rosé rocks! Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Day 2 of my Three Days of Rosé celebration swirls on with a zesty little sip from Spain - El Coto do Rioja Rosado 2014 ($12). An equal blend of powerhouse Spanish grapes Tempranillo and Garnacha, El Coto de Rioja Rosé offers a bit more complexity than you might expect for a wine at this price point - tangy and fruity with luscious cherry and rose flavors balanced by a vivacious acidity and a subtle herbal quality. This wine is lovely in the glass and even lovelier to taste! Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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A glass of rosé is delicious year round but springtime's sunny days and blue skies really rev up my craving for these pretty wines that range in shade from the palest of pink to vivid fuschia. Sweet or dry, crisp or fruity; there really is a rosé to suit every palate. This week, I'll share three delicious rosés that will have you sipping pretty in no time! Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rosé 2014 ($23) "I make natural wines that are easy to drink, not 'technical wines' that are heavy and don't go with food. I have a strong philosophy that our... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Winemaking is not something you do to make real money. It’s something you do because you are passionate about it." - Kate Hudson I often give celebrity wine ventures some serious side-eye but actress Kate Hudson has now been added to the list of people that I would love to share a glass of wine with. Kate's interview in the film issue of Wine Enthusiast shows a sincere passion for wine. Winemaking is a real family affair for Kate - her stepdad, actor Kurt Russell, is also a winemaker and encouraged Kate and former fiancé Matt Bellamy to give it... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Full confession: I absolutely pinched myself several times when I received the invitation to sip the celebrated wines of Col d'Orcia with Count Francesco Marone Cinzano. I'm thrilled to report that the wines and the Count exceeded my expectations: both were stylish, elegant, timeless, and approachable. These are all excellent qualities in counts and wines, don't you agree? Count Francesco Marone Cinzano Situated on the outskirts of the medieval hilltop village of Montalcino in Tuscany's Siena province, Col d'Orcia produces one of Italy's most prestigious and coveted wines - Brunello di Montalcino. One of these days, I'll make the trip... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Ponzi Pinot Gris 2014 ($17) with its flirty aromas of lemon, chamomile, flowers, and honey is the perfect springtime wine. A perky white vino with a touch of sweetness, the vibrant acidity is balanced by beautiful quince and orange zest flavors. Fermented in stainless-steel tanks, Ponzi Pinot Gris 2014 is crisp, clean, elegant and doesn't overwhelm the palate. Ponzi first planted Pinot Gris in 1978 and is recognized as one of Oregon's most consistent producers of the varietal. Ponzi Pinot Gris 2014 makes me want to put on a floral sundress and sip wine al fresco with someone special! Related... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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What a ham! Chef Fabio Viviani surrounded by Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele and some wonderful Italian cheeses - Grana Padano and Montasio. Culinary trends may get all of the attention but I have a special reverence for tried and true foods that have stood the test of time. Ham may not seem like a big deal but once you taste Prosciutto di Parma or Prosciutto di San Daniele, it becomes clear that Chef Fabio Viviani is only slightly exaggerating when he calls Prosciutto "the Holy Grail of cold cuts." I recently attended a "Legends from Europe"... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Will this dreadful winter deep freeze ever go away? I am very tempted to buy a one-way ticket to the tropics but until then I'm sipping up the sun with Blandy's 10 Year Old Malmsey Madeira ($30). Blandy's hails from the lush island of Madeira - a paradise that belongs to Portugal and is 400 miles west of the Morrocan coast. Known for its namesake wine, Madeira's rich volcanic soil yields grapes with intense flavor and minerality - including the Malmsey varietal. The Blandy family formed their winery in 1811 and 200+ years later it remains a family business. Madeira... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Looking for a fun & flirty red wine to sip with your sweetie on Valentine's Day? Well, if Cupid had a wine list, I suspect that Rosa Regale ($20) would be on it. A very romantic shade of ruby, Rosa Regale is a sweet sparkling wine made from 100% Brachetto grapes from Acqui Terme in Italy's Piedmont region. Intensely aromatic with hints of rose petals, strawberry, and raspberry; Rosa Regale is bursting with beautiful berry flavors balanced by a crisp acidity. Is Rosa Regale a guaranteed aphrodisiac? Legend has it that both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony sent bottles of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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I wish I could share the enthusiasm that some people have for winter but my inner curmudgeon gets unleashed during these cold grey days. The long list of things about the season that I don't like includes slushy snow, bulky boots, puffy coats, and hipsters (they annoy me all year but especially in the winter!) But lest you think that I'm just grumpy 24/7, I have found plenty of joy this season - home cooked meals shared with someone special, a beautiful glass of wine, and a perfect cup of tea. The folks at Palais des Thés always seem to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Vibrant and pretty, Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Les Caillottes 2013 ($40) is a sophisticated and simply delicious expression of Sauvignon Blanc. Very fresh and clean, this dry white wine from France's Loire Valley has a zippy acidity and elegant flavors of grapefruit and melon that are balanced by a crisp minerality. Pascal Jolivet practices a minimalist winemaking style and his white wines are produced in stainless steel using exclusively native yeasts. A perfect match with seafood and creamy & tangy cheeses. Related articles Comfort Food with Sabor at Favela Cubana Sipping Pretty: Two Wonderful Italian Wines Under $20 Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The winter chill has me simultaneously craving a tropical vibe and food that is a little more hearty. Thank goodness for Favela Cubana - a recent visit to this restaurant in NYC's West Village (543 LaGuardia Place) took my tastebuds on an adventure. Fusing the flavors of Cuba and Brazil, Favela Cubana is an unpretentious neighborhood staple with delicious food and a casual yet sultry ambiance. Favela Cabana is owned by musician Marco Britti - the same restaurateur that opened the popular Cuban/Chinese hot spot Calle Dao last year. A bowl of Caldo Verde was the perfect way to unthaw... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Tenuta Rapitalà Nadir Syrah Sicilia DOC 2012 ($16) Full-bodied, fruit-forward, and spicy with a subtle hint of vanilla, this gorgeous Sicilian red wine is a beautiful choice for your holiday meals. Made from 100% Syrah grapes, this bold but balanced wine hits all the right notes and will pair brilliantly with roasts and red meat. A great gift for the wine lovers on your list. Cavicchioli 1928 Spumante NV ($14) A sassy sparkler with notes of peach, honey, and sweet flowers; this aromatic Italian white wine from the Emilia Romagna region is just fun to sip. Produced from 100% Malvasia... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The marvelous Maille Mustard Sommelier, Pierette Huttner image courtesy of Maille Living in New York City, I often meet people with unique jobs but only Pierette Huttner can proclaim herself the Maille Mustard Sommelier. Founded in France in 1747, Maille is famous for creating the finest Dijon and wholegrain mustards. Finally, Maille has opened their first boutique in the United States on Manhattan's Upper West Side (185 Columbus Avenue, 68th Street) and Pierette is the ambassador to this flavorful world. In quintessential French fashion, Maille elevates mustard to an art form. I experienced the Maille magic first-hand when I visited... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Looking for a fun wine to sip at an informal holiday gathering with friends? Reach for Decopas! Only $12 a bottle but full of fruit-forward flavor, there is nothing Grinchy about Decopas. Decopas means "by the glass" in Spanish and is slang in Buenos Aires for Happy Hour. Decopas Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is an aromatic dry white wine with a touch of minerality and it isn't too grassy in the way that Sauvignon Blanc often is. Decopas Malbec 2013 is a smooth & medium-bodied red that nicely expresses the nuances of Argentina's signature Malbec - rich ripe fruit with a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler