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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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Wine has led The Black Dress Traveler to some extraordinary places, including a starring role in a new ad campaign for Stainmaster! Shooting this video was so much fun. I was able to share, in my own words, my passion for wine and include my real friends! I am so impressed at how beautifully the production team told my story in just 60 seconds. And the Stainmaster product really works beautifully on wine spills! Hope you all enjoy the video and are inspired to pick up some Stainmaster. Cheers! Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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Luigi Rubino has a close connection to the vineyards of his family's winery, Tenute Rubino, in Puglia. Life in sun-soaked Puglia moves at a sensual and soul-affirming pace. Located in the south of Italy, Puglia is often deemed "the heel of the boot" that describes Italy's topographical shape. Whether it is a sexy designer boot or a functional work shoe, let's not forget that it is the heel that provides strength and balance. Strength and balance also describe the superb Puglian wines of Tenute Rubino. The Tenute Rubino dream team - winemaker Luca Petrelli and power couple Romina Leopardi &... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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When the sky is pitch black at 5pm and sweater weather is in full effect, rich and full-bodied red wines are a delicious way to warm your spirit and battle the chill. Whether you're cocooning at home with Netflix or entertaining friends with a hearty home-cooked meal, here are five fabulous wines from around the globe that are a perfect match with the mood and flavors of autumn. Salentein 'Numina' Gran Corte 2014 Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina ($39.99) I first tasted Salentein's impeccable Numina blend from iconic Argentine winemaker José Galante a few years ago and I've loved every... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Champagne is the wine of emotion and shared pleasure." - Evelyne Roques-Boizel Evelyne Roques-Boizel had absolutely no intention of leading her family's Champagne house but at 22 years old she was confronted with a tough choice. Should Champagne Boizel be sold after her brother and father passed away within two years of each other or should Evelyne and her husband Christophe take charge? Showing grit and determination, Evelyne and Christophe opted to keep Champagne Boizel in the family and to continue the family legacy that began in 1834 with another tenacious young couple, her ancestors Julie and Auguste Boizel. By... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Could red wine be the magic elixir that fuels Sardinia's large population of healthy and vibrant senior citizens? Sardinia has the world's highest concentration of male centenarians and has been designated a Blue Zone - one of five places in the world with the highest concentrations of people who reach the golden age of 100. In addition to the importance of strong family and community ties, physical activity, and a healthy diet; moderate alcohol consumption has been identified as a part of life in almost all Blue Zones and Sardinia's Cannonau wine has significantly more powerful heart-healthy components than any... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Down-to-earth and dedicated, Christina Boutari is the ideal brand ambassador for her family's iconic winery in Greece. Christina Boutari takes her mission as brand ambassador very seriously. Uprooting her life in Greece, she recently moved to New York City to spread the word across the United States about her family's acclaimed wines. With her charm and expertise, I predict that we'll all be sipping Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, and Xinomavro even as we struggle a bit to pronounce them! For those of us that don't speak Greek, the names of their indigenous grapes can be tongue-twisters, but I assure you that the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Considered the pinnacle of Pinot Noir, the Burgundy (Bourgogne) region of France is revered for elegant, ethereal, and expressive wines that stand the test of time. Often referred to as the heartbreak grape, Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned diva who requires constant attention and is very particular about where it will grow. Burgundy's cool climate and soil composition provide ideal conditions for fussy Pinot Noir grapes. Old World Burgundy may be the queen bee when it comes to Pinot Noir but many New World regions are making incredible wines from this demanding grape that really tests the skill (and patience)... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Adrian Garforth, Master of Wine and CEO of Yealands Wine Group "Life is too short to drink bad wine!" proclaimed Master of Wine, Adrian Garforth at a recent dinner he co-hosted with talented chef Ashton Keefe in New York City. As a Master of Wine (MW), Adrian belongs to an elite club of only 355 wine professionals around the world that passed a rigorous course of study in all aspects of wine. But Adrian's enthusiasm at dinner showed that wine experts don't have be stuffy and staid. Wine is meant to be enjoyed, take us on a sensory journey, and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Which 12 different bottles of wine would you choose to create your own mixed case? I would definitely fill mine with a mix of sparkling, white, red and rosé; a few serious wines and some everyday easygoing sips. If you're looking for inspiration to create your own delicious dozen, keep reading for tasting notes on twelve winning wines that I recently sampled from California, Oregon, Argentina, Italy, France, and Portugal. Cheers! Sparkling Nino Franco "Rustico" Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Italy (Valdobbiadene), $19 ($39.99 for a magnum) Who says Prosecco can't be fancy? Valdobbiadene produces some of Italy's most superb Prosecco... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Each week I taste quite an array of standout wines, so picking just one to showcase is no easy feat. Quality is always of utmost consideration but I'm also drawn to wines that surprise me in the very best ways. New varietals, small producers, and lesser known-regions are always intriguing. But I also appreciate beautifully crafted classics and well-made wines that offer great value. The choices for Wanda's Wine of the Week will be hard to predict but that's part of the fun. Cheers! Amarone in August? Absolutely, when the Amarone is as supple and elegant as this beauty from... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Heidi Turzyn, Wine Director at Gotham Bar & Grill, was my wise and enthusiastic guide to the rosé wines of Château Minuty. As the wine director of New York City's iconic and award-winning Gotham Bar and Grill, Heidi Turzyn manages and curates a list of nearly 800 wines. From well-known benchmark producers to smaller artisan wineries, Heidi is committed to providing guests with quality wines from around the globe. In the summer months, the demand for rosé reaches a fashionable frenzy and Gotham has as many as 10 different rosé wines for guests to choose from in peak drink pink... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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If you love wines from Argentina, Marcelo Pelleriti of Bodega Monteviejo in Mendoza is a name you need to know. Immensely talented, Marcelo makes beautiful wines and defies conventions. Here are three fun facts about Marcelo that make him and his wines stand out from the crowd. Fact 1: Marcelo makes wine on 2 continents - South America and Europe! Not only is Marcelo the General Director & Winemaking Director of Bodega Monteviejo in Mendoza, for over 14 years he has directed harvests in Bordeaux, France for Château La Violette, Château Le Gay, and Cháteau Montviel (these three wineries and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Winemaker and ambassador of elegant living, Diane Flamand I try my best to avoid clichés when I write but I have to say it - winemaker Diane Flamand exudes that timeless elegance and chic style that many French women seem to be born with - the ever elusive and captivating je ne sais quoi. So it isn't too surprising that the lovely Bordeaux wines that Diane crafts for Légende have that same authentic sophistication. Of course, Légende also has an impressive pedigree - the winery is part of the legendary Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). The Légende concept started in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Each week I taste quite an array of standout wines, so picking just one to showcase is no easy feat. Quality is always of utmost consideration but I'm also drawn to wines that surprise me in the very best ways. New varietals, small producers, and lesser known-regions are always intriguing. But I also appreciate beautifully crafted classics and well-made wines that offer great value. The choices for Wanda's Wine of the Week will be hard to predict but that's part of the fun. Cheers! Penfolds Max's Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($25) South Australia With Penfolds on the label you really can't... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Ridgeview "Bloomsbury" Brut Sparkling Wine 2014 (around $42.99) England Sparkling wine from England? My friends looked at me as if a bottle of wine from Mars had landed on the bar. But I knew we were in for a very special treat. Wine geeks have been raving about the increasingly excellent quality of sparkling wines from England and I was eager to pop the cork on this bottle of Ridgeview. Founded in 1994, this family-owned and operated winery has been described as the "granddaddy of English sparkling-wine producers" by wine authority extraordinaire Jancis Robinson. A winner of many important wine... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve,To Kalon Vineyard ($165), is an exceptional example of the winery's continued commitment to crafting elegant and expressive wines in Napa Valley. Sometimes we take legends for granted. They become so ingrained in our everyday lives that we forget of a time before they blazed the trail. It isn't an exaggeration to say that the late Robert Mondavi changed the course of the American wine industry when he founded his eponymous winery in Napa Valley, California in 1966. Mondavi's determination and talent showed the world that America could indeed produce fine wine. Mr. Mondavi... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Creating ZIATA allows me to be involved in every step of the way - from vineyard to table." Karen Cakebread image courtesy of ZIATA If you love Napa Valley wines, Karen Cakebread's surname is one that you'll instantly recognize. Karen spent 18 years at the renowned Cakebread Cellars, leading the international marketing initiatives for the winery founded by her former in-laws. In 2008, Karen's wine expertise and passion inspired her to start her own winery - ZIATA. Named in honor of her mother, Mary Annunziata Webb, ZIATA provided Karen with the freedom to do things her way. "Creating ZIATA gave... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Winemaker Ben Cane and winery owner Carl Stanton of Westwood Estate Wines Many of us think we come up with great ideas while drinking wine but Carl Stanton actually did. In 1998, Carl and a circle of friends who shared his passion for wine, decided to take it to the next level and enter the crazy and wonderful world of winemaking. It took a few years to make those wine fueled dreams come to fruition, but that conversation was the catalyst for Westwood Estate Wines in Sonoma, California. In 2001, they started planting their Annadel Gap Vineyard and in 2005... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"At Vintae, we are restless, creative, and why not say it, rebellious. We currently make wine in fifteen different Spanish regions and we aspire to continue to revolutionize the world of wine without losing our family core." - Ricardo Arambarri Visit the Vintae website and within seconds it becomes clear that this is no old-fashioned and stuffy winery. Striking photos and videos of handsome Spanish men working the vineyards, making the wine, and sipping the vino, make Vintae a party that I want to be invited to! Each bottle of Vintae is an invitation to explore different winemaking regions of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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José Moro, president of Bodegas Emilio Moro, was clearly destined to be the ambassador for his family's iconic winery in Ribera del Duero, Spain. Meeting José, I was immediately captivated by his charm and larger-than-life energy, he doesn't just have a twinkle in his eye, he has a bonfire! image courtesy of Bodegas Emilio Moro I felt transported as José shared stories of how his grandfather and father (both named Emilio) had dedicated their lives to the family's vineyards which were first planted in 1932 (the year of his grandfather's birth). Even during the hardships of the Spanish Civil War... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Even before I ever set foot in Spain, it was a part of my life. Growing up in multilingual New York City, the sound of Spanish was music to my ears and I would pretend to speak it. The large oil portrait of a handsome matador that hung in my grandmother's foyer fueled many pre-teen daydreams of meeting someone as guapo and dashing. So perhaps it isn't too surprising that I seized the opportunity to study in Barcelona for a year when I was 16. Emboldened by that experience, I found myself back in Spain at the age of 21,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Each week I taste quite an array of standout wines, so picking just one to showcase is no easy feat. Quality is always of utmost consideration but I'm also drawn to wines that surprise me in the very best ways. New varietals, small producers, and lesser known-regions are always intriguing. But I also appreciate beautifully crafted classics and well-made wines that offer great value. The choices for Wanda's Wine of the Week will be hard to predict but that's part of the fun. Cheers! Summer brings out my playful side and that extends to what's in my wine glass -... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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With the unwavering popularity of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, it is easy to forget that this island nation in the south-west Pacific Ocean produces an array of beautiful wines. For a great exploration of the quality and diversity of New Zealand wines, Villa Maria is an ideal starting point. New Zealand's most awarded winery, Villa Maria was founded in 1961 in Auckland by George Fistonich when he was only 21years old. For many years, George managed Villa Maria as a one-man show, with support from his wife Gail, but today the company has grown extensively with vineyards throughout New... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Summertime provides so many ideal moments for sharing a bottle with friends. From barbecues to picnics, boat rides to rooftop rendezvous, here are five delicious wines from California, Tuscany, and Australia that pair perfectly with summer's easygoing elegance. Stay cool and sip well! The rooftop of the Public Hotel in NYC was the perfect setting for the recent Louis Pommery launch party. Louis Pommery Brut California Sparkling ($24) Sip chic in the summer heat with this charming new California bubbly created by France's legendary Champagne Pommery. Crafted in the traditional Champagne method, Louis Pommery captures the essence of California with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Each week I taste quite an array of standout wines, so picking just one to showcase is no easy feat. Quality is always of utmost consideration but I'm also drawn to wines that surprise me in the very best ways. New varietals, small producers, and lesser known-regions are always intriguing. But I also appreciate beautifully crafted classics and well-made wines that offer great value. The choices for Wanda's Wine of the Week will be hard to predict but that's part of the fun. Cheers! I know, I know - you're wondering how a Pinot Grigio could possibly be my wine... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler