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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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100% Tempranillo and 100% delicious, El Coto de Rioja Crianza ($12.99) is one of the most popular wines in Spain and one of the top selling Riojas in the world. Aged 12 months in oak and six months in the bottle, this is a classic Rioja with harmonious flavors of fresh raspberries, cherry, cedar, and spice. Founded in 1970, El Coto de Rioja is Spain's leading winery. Known for producing quality vinos at an accessible price, El Coto wines elegantly express the terroir of the Rioja region in northern Spain. I recently had the pleasure of meeting El Coto's director... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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To reach Campi Nuovi winery in the Maremma region of Southern Tuscany, we patiently ascended a steep and rugged dirt road that seemed to have no end but we were steadfast in our mission because something special awaited us: the beautiful vino of esteemed winemaker Daniele Rosellini. Campi Nuovi is clearly a labor of love for winemaker Daniele Rosellini. Daniele and his wife Nadia Riguccini have created something truly special at their hilltop winery with the breathtaking view. When we arrived, Daniele was dressed in coveralls and hard at work completing various construction projects at the winery. He took a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Angela Velenosi may not be a superhero but after meeting her, I have no doubt that she is certainly a super woman. An ambitious and determined visionary, Angela co-founded Velenosi winery in 1984 with virtually no experience or capital. Today, Velenosi is the second-largest family owned winery in the Le Marche region on Italy's Adriatic Coast. The heart of the company is in the province of Ascoli Piceno and Velenosi annually produces 2.5 million bottles of more than 20 different wines. Velenosi has been acknowledged with some of the industry's most prestigious accolades, including being recognized twice by Wine Spectator... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"A baker is an alchemist." - Eric Kayser Spend just a few minutes with award-winning master baker Eric Kayser and you'll never settle for inferior bread again. It takes 12 hours to prepare a Maison Kayser baguette and it contains only water, flour, liquid leaven, salt, and plenty of passion - nothing artificial. A fourth generation baker from France, Eric's exceptional artisan bread is available throughout his homeland and abroad at his burgeoning empire of Maison Kayser bakeries & cafés in Europe, Asia, Mexico, and the Middle East. Maison Kayser's first USA location opened in New York in 2012 and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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My recent journey to Mendoza, Argentina has reminded me that great vacations and fine wines both have the power to linger in your memory long after the experience has passed. With the stunning Andes mountains as a backdrop, Mendoza's legendary wines are served in gracious style by talented and passionate vintners that will never leave your wineglass empty. On this cold day in New York City, I find myself reminiscing about my visit to Bodega Catena Zapata. image courtesy of Bodega Catena Zapata The doorway to vino: a view of the vineyards at Bodega Catena Zapata. One of Mendoza's most... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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A rare view of the still white wines destined for blending to become Piper-Heidsieck Champagne. Founded in 1785, Piper-Heidsieck is one of the oldest Champagne houses. It is so easy to take Champagne for granted. As soon as we see the bottle, we anticipate the percussion of the popping cork and the bubbles ebulliently dancing in our flutes. But I was recently reminded by Régis Camus, Chef de Cave (Cellar Director) at Piper-Heidsieck, that Champagne does not begin its life in such a dramatic fashion. All Champagnes actually start their journey as a still white wine known as a Vin... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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One of my personal pet peeves with Pinot Noir is that the wines are often pretty but not terribly exciting. Well, Ponzi Vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley has shown me, once again, that Pinot Noir can be lovely AND sexy. Celebrating their 45th anniversary, Ponzi Vineyards is family owned & managed and a leading American producer of Pinot Noir. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi represents the second generation of the Ponzi family. She celebrated her 20th vintage in 2013. To get started, I recommend swirling a glass of 2014 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir ($25). Silky and juicy with luscious flavors of plum... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Robin & Andréa McBride - sisters, winemakers, and founders of Truvée. Unaware of each other's existence, two sisters grow up worlds apart in New Zealand and California. Their father's final wish is that his daughters meet. The sisters meet for the first time at the ages of 16 and 25. Not only do they share the bond of sisterhood but discover that they were both raised among the vineyards and decide to embark on a journey together as winemakers. This may sound like the plot of a Hollywood tearjerker but it is the real story of the McBride sisters, Robin... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Ranging from very sweet to dry, Riesling is a wonderful wine option for the holidays. BEX Riesling 2014 ($10) is a delightful off-dry (just a trace of sweetness) white wine, from the Nahe region of Germany, with incredible pairing versatility. Sip BEX as an aperitif or serve it with light meals of fish and chicken, spicy Asian food, or even with dessert. A vivacious wine with a subtle effervescence, BEX Riesling dances across the palate with lively notes of grapefruit, peach, and mandarin orange that are balanced by a firm minerality. This lovely wine won a gold medal in the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
Thanks for taking the time to reply! I really enjoyed the Vigne Surrau wine and hope to visit their winery on my next trip to Italy. Cheers!
1 reply
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An elegant sip from Sardinia, Vigne Surrau Sciala Vermentino di Gallura DOCG Superiore 2014 ($25) is a vibrant and delicious expression of Vermentino. Produced from Vigne Surrau's best grapes in the valley of Surrau, this medium-bodied white wine is absolutely delicious. Creamy and luscious with balanced acidity, it has a subtle salinity and beautiful flavors of citrus & herbs. Rated 93 points by Wine Enthusiast, Vigne Surrau Sciala Vermentino is delightful as an apéritif but it has enough structure to pair with meals of fish and roast chicken. Giovanni Melis (export manager) and Giancarlo Demuro (his grandfather founded the winery)... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Chiara Soldati is the fifth generation of her family to carry on the La Scolca winemaking legacy - wine is absolutely in her DNA! There's nothing like the real thing and if you're not sipping La Scolca Black Label Gavi dei Gavi, you're swirling an impostor. Founded in 1919, La Scolca is the first producer of quality Gavi and the only authorized producer of the exclusive Gavi dei Gavi. Although the Cortese grape has been planted in the Piedmont region of northern Italy since the late 19th century, it was La Scolca and the Soldati family that elevated the production... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Bodega DiamAndes The Bonnie family is no stranger to the wine business. The owners of two renowned châteaux in Bordeaux, in 2005 the Bonnies decided to expand their horizons and embarked on a new winemaking adventure in Mendoza - Bodega DiamAndes. Members of the trailblazing Clos de los Siete group of French winemakers, which was founded by the legendary oenologist Michel Rolland; Bodega DiamAndes partners in the production of the wildly successful Clos de los Siete wine. However, they also produce their own portfolio of Argentine wines and the name DiamAndes is a clever marriage of the words "diamante" (Spanish... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Founded by an Englishman in 1895 and owned since 1989 by the Austrian family best known as the gatekeepers of the glittery Swarovski crystal empire, the wines of Bodega Norton are absolutely Argentine. In 2012, Bodega Norton's chief winemaker Jorge Riccitelli, a native of Mendoza, was recognized by Wine Enthusiast as "Winemaker of the Year" and made history as the first South American to receive this prestigious honor. One of the most important estates in Mendoza, at 120 years old Bodega Norton has an impressive past but their present and future is even brighter. It was such an honor to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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For a wine lover, visiting the source of your affection brings the bottle to life and intensifies the tasting experience. Wines from Argentina have been among my favorites for years so I was delighted when Argen Marketing and Aymará Turismo invited me to visit Argentina and created an excellent itinerary that showcased several of the Mendoza region's finest winemakers. Argen Marketing and Aymara Turismo managed all of the details - all I had to do was arrive ready to sip and savor because Mendoza welcomes visitors with open arms and flowing vino. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Elegant & easygoing, Banfi Toscana Centine Rosso 2013 ($11.99) is a fantastic everyday Italian wine that won't break the bank. Mostly Sangiovese (60%), this delicious vino is enhanced with a dash of plummy Merlot (20%) and robust Cabernet Sauvignon (20%). Medium-bodied with a lovely finish, this sip has a hint of spice that perks up the dark cherry, cassis, and plum flavors. A great wine to pair with pasta, pizza, burgers, steaks, roasts or just to sip and dream of Tuscany! Related articles The Charms of Chianti: Give This Tuscan Red Wine a Second Sip Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Chef Manuel Berganza In the life of a New York City restaurant, three years is both an eternity and a beginning. When Andanada (141 West 69th Street) opened its doors in 2012, New Yorkers were drawn to the hype surrounding this modern Spanish restaurant helmed by Chef Manuel Berganza, the first chef in Spain to earn a first-time, two-star Michelin rating. Well, Chef Berganza has proven to New York diners that he's the real deal - his talent & authenticity keep customers coming back and earned Andanada a Michelin star in 2014 and 2015. I was one of those New... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Merlot reminds me of the pretty girl or handsome guy that gets grief for being too nice and not edgy enough. Is being a luscious, smooth, infinitely drinkable, classic red wine such a bad thing? Certainly not! Well-made Merlot is undeniably lovely but when this grape is nurtured by a talented winemaker, it also displays great finesse, power, and structure. If you've been guilty of ignoring Merlot, make amends by pouring a glass of Vistorta. Count Brandino Brandolini d'Adda, owner of Vistorta, is a Venetian-born graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Bordeaux. Committed to the science and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Serena Bass, Executive Chef, Lido. image courtesy of Lido Serena Bass, executive chef at Lido restaurant (2168 Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 117th Street) in Harlem, is no shrinking violet and her cuisine is vibrant, creative, and multi-faceted - just like the woman. Born in London, Serena seems to have taken New York City by storm from the moment she crossed the Atlantic. Serena's culinary career was dramatically launched when she was asked to cater a last minute dinner party for Andy Warhol and 60 guests. Since that fateful call, her catering business continues to flourish with all manner of celebrity... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Cristina Ziliani is the woman behind Berlucchi. Her father, winemaker Franco Ziliani, joined forces with Guido Berlucchi and persuaded him to produce sparkling wine in the champagne style. Italian sparkling wine is more than Prosecco and Berlucchi Franciacorta is one of the most intriguing and delicious. True trailblazers, in 1961 Berlucchi pioneered the production of sparkling wine made in the traditional champagne method in the northern Italian region of Franciacorta in Lombardy. When Berlucchi released their sparkling wine in 1961, it marked the very first time that the geographical area Franciacorta appeared on a wine label. Sparkling wines from Franciacorta... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Castello ColleMassari, founded in 1998, is the largest wine producer in Montecucco. In 2014, they were selected as "Winery of the Year" by the prestigious Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Guide. The next time you want to impress one of your know-it-all wine friends, reach for a bottle of Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG. A unique expression of Tuscany's signature Sangiovese grape, wines from the Montecucco region of the Maremma are ready to claim their rightful share of the spotlight from Chianti, Morellino di Scansano, and Brunello di Montalcino. In fact, Montecucco is geographically situated between Brunello and Morellino. With vineyards located on... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Michelin starred Chef Davide Scabin cooked with Monograno Felicetti pasta at an Identità Golose seminar in New York City at Eataly. Linguini. Penne. Rigatoni. Spaghetti. Is there any food more universally known and loved than pasta? World Pasta Day on October 25th is the perfect occasion to indulge in your favorite pasta dish but even a great recipe will taste less than magnifico if it is prepared with cheap pasta. Take your pasta to the next level by cooking with Monograno Felicetti. Made with an approach very similar to fine winemaking, Monograno Felicetti uses single varietal grains and each box... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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“More than the accomplishments, I think I have enjoyed the process. I know where we started forty years ago. I know the work that we did in those early years at Catena, the progress we made over three decades. And I see where we are now at Salentein…not finished, but closer to our goal. And I think of all the people who have made this possible, and are still working towards this goal today. That is very rewarding. And now that I am at Salentein, it makes me even more excited about the work we can do in the future.”... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Don't try to resist Tuscany - you'll only be denying yourself one of life's greatest pleasures. Spend just a day driving Tuscany's winding roads, touring the vineyards, sipping the vino, and breaking bread with the hospitable locals and you'll be captivated for life. On a recent visit to Maremma, along the southernmost coast of Tuscany, each glass of Morellino di Scansano wine that I savored deliciously captured the region's many charms. And don't worry if you can't make it to Maremma - with the increasing availability of Morellino di Scansano around the globe, you can experience this unique taste of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Toast the weekend with a taste of Sonoma and a dash of la dolce vita - Ferrari-Carano Siena 2013 ($23) is a bold and racy California red inspired by the wines of Italy. A juicy, spicy, and velvety blend of mostly Sangiovese that gets revved up with Malbec, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel; Siena dances on the palate with flavors of ripe berries, cherry, vanilla, licorice, and a hint of spice. This wine calls out for some thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma, Pasta Bolognese, pizza, or a juicy steak. If you're planning a trip to Sonoma, Ferrari-Carano offers tours... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler