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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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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 11 hours ago 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 5 days ago 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
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A magnificent magnum of wine just begs to be shared - after all, it contains the equivalent of two bottles of wine in one! So, when I received a gorgeous large format bottle of Castello Monaci Artas Primitivo Salento IGT 2010 ($93) from my friends at Frederick Wildman & Sons, I invited my pal Raffaele D'Amore, proprietor of D'Amore Wine Bar & Caffe in East Harlem, to join me for a glass. D'Amore is one of my favorite neighborhood spots - this cozy restaurant has a wonderful international wine list and a diverse menu of Italian cuisine. Raffaele D'Amore, of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Why settle for one beautiful blend, when you can have two? The Whip 2013 (white, $22) and The Spur 2011 (red, $25) are two fantastic wines from California winemaker Murrieta's Well that brilliantly showcase the artistry of blending a selection of grape varietals to create a unique sip. Murrieta's Well wows with their incredibly aromatic white wine, The Whip. Deftly blending 7 grapes - Semillon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Orange Muscat, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and White Riesling; I loved The Whip's crisp & luscious flavors of peach, melon, green apple, with a hint of citrus. The fruit really shines through but The... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Hibernating at home is made ever more pleasant with a beautiful glass of wine - at least my tastebuds get to travel! Courtesy of Santi Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC Solane 2011 ($17), I was transported to Italy's famed Veneto region and what a delicious journey it was. Rich cherry flavors with a hint of spice, earth and anise, this full-bodied & smooth red wine is perfect for these chilly winter nights. A blend of Corvina (70%) and Rondinella (30%) grapes, Santi Solane undergoes a second fermentation with the addition of Amarone grapes & skins - this is known as the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Peter Yealands, the self-described "mavericky" founder of Yealands Family Wines. With his flowing mane of silver hair and steely gaze, Peter Yealands has a certain rock-star quality so I wasn't completely surprised to hear him describe his approach to winemaking as "mavericky". With past lives as a general contractor, deer farmer, and marine farming innovator, Peter had never even set foot on a vineyard when he purchased 70 derelict acres in Marlborough, New Zealand in 1998. Fast-forward 16 years, and Yealands Family Wines has expanded so dramatically that they are now New Zealand's single biggest vineyard. I had a chance... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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From gift-giving to holiday soirees, wine & spirits add that extra glitter to the holiday season. So whether you are looking for the perfect vino to sip while wrapping gifts or an impressive bottle for someone special, over the next few weeks I'll be highlighting a variety of wonderful libations. Luigi Bosca Malbec 2010 (375ml half bottle, $16) A rich red Malbec is a perfect choice for the holiday season and this petite half-bottle of Luigi Bosca Malbec 2010 is certain to make Santa happier than a plate of cookies! A beautiful deep ruby red color, this full-bodied yet mellow... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
Hi Nadeen! Thanks for commenting. So glad to hear that you love Spain too! :)
1 reply
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Pimientos de Padrón ( blistered Shishito peppers sprinkled with coarse sea salt) pair beautifully with Boqueria's spicy Bloody Mary. The two years that I lived in Spain changed my life in countless ways and one of the lingering influences is my love of Spanish food & wine. A glass of Rioja, a wedge of Tortilla Española, a plate of thinly sliced Jamón Serrano; and many more Spanish delicacies rank high on my list of comfort foods. Luckily, New York City has quite a few restaurants where I can satisfy my craving for Spanish cuisine and one of the best is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"I don't just sell the food in my store - I live it. This book is about living it." Lou Di Palo When Lou Di Palo's great-grandfather Savino opened his latteria (dairy store) in New York City's Little Italy 104 years ago, could he have imagined that his family would nurture and grow the business into one of the City's most treasured culinary destinations? More than just a store, Di Palo's is a valuable link to the foods & wines of Italy and a reminder that small family businesses make a priceless contribution to the culture of NYC. Before you... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Cocooning at home with a hot cup of tea is one of my tried-and-true strategies for surviving the winter chill. However, I still want my hibernation to have a dash of style, so this season I'll be sipping plenty of Palais des Thés. Lately, I've been warming up with their N° 25 Cinnamon and Orange Limited Edition Tea ($21). This fragrant and spicy tea heats you up with a festive combination of cinnamon sticks, orange peel, pieces of almond, and vanilla petals on a base of green tea. It smells absolutely heavenly and the taste is an instant pick-me-up. Palais... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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I speak just enough French to flirt and order some basic foods but I'm always eager to learn more. While making no promises to snag me a French beau, The Farm to Table French Phrasebook (Ulysses Press, $15.95) will make it easier to communicate my culinary cravings en français. Written by French native Victoria Mas and illustrated by Meera Lee Patel, this lovely little book is chock full of phrases & definitions that make dining and conversing a la française a breeze. From the fishmonger to the farmers' market and from the butcher shop to the bistro; The Farm to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Ok, I'll be perfectly honest with you - a magnum of Laurent-Perrier Les Réserves Grand Siècle MV Champagne ($1500) is the absolute polar opposite of budget-friendly BUT, ooh la la, what a sip! Elegant, extravagant & exclusive; Laurent-Perrier produced only 1,000 bottles of this cuvée to commemorate their Bicentennial. Aged for over 16 years, it blends spectacular vintages from 1990, 1993, and 1995 to create a beautifully balanced and expressive champagne. I had a chance to sample Grand Siècle at the recent Michelin Guide gala in NYC and the memory has lingered with me - I dream of sipping it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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With some helpful tips from the fantastic cheesemongers at Bedford Cheese Shop, I assembled and prepared this far-from-ordinary grilled cheese sandwich with Sourdough Bread, Essex St. 9 Month Comte Cheese (a delicious cow's milk cheese from Eastern France), Aioli, Dalmatia Fig Jam, and Bacon. The flavors and textures melded together beautifully and Chianti was the perfect match. Grilled cheese is one of those comfort foods that brings out the kid in all of us. But you can easily give this classic sandwich a grown-up upgrade by partnering quality bread & cheese with sweet & savory ingredients. Chianti is the perfect... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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When award-winning winemaker Roberto Cipresso passionately speaks of the "magic mountain" where he grows and nurtures the grapes for La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, I wish that I had a magic carpet to whisk me to Tuscany in a heartbeat. Thank goodness Roberto came to New York with plenty of his wines for me to sample - each sip carried me a little closer to Tuscany. Like all Brunello di Montalcino, La Fiorita is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes specifically from the hill top town of Montalcino. Brunello di Montalcino also has the longest required aging times of any... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The gorgeous Banfi vineyards in Tuscany More than the house red wine at your neighborhood Italian restaurant, Chianti has a rich history dating back to ancient times. It's true that the rep of this Tuscan vino suffered in the 70's & 80's when the market was flooded with inferior bottles of Chianti enclosed in straw baskets, but the time has come to wash away those bad Chianti memories. Today's Chianti is well-made and an honest expression of Sangiovese - the beautiful grape that grows abundantly in Tuscany. Chianti pairs easily with so many foods - pasta, pizza, meats, and even... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler