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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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Domaine du Moulin's sparkling Mauzac is the kind of wine that drives wine geeks wild! This pretty sip from the Gaillac region in Southwest France is produced from the indigenous Mauzac grape and its fizzy bubbles are created using the Méthode Ancestrale - an ancient technique for producing sparkling wine that uses cold temperatures to halt the first fermentation. The wine is then bottled, fermentation resumes, and voilà - bubbles are created. Fizzy, fruity, and refreshing; Domaine de Moulin sparkling Mauzac has lively flavors of fresh peaches, green apples, and a touch of honey. Elegant yet playful, it is a... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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Yaakov Berg, founder of Psagot Winery Yaakov Berg may have trained as a lawyer but winemaking was clearly his destiny. Born in Russia, his family moved to Israel when he was 3 years old. His father was a mathematician with dreams of working the land and that wish came to fruition when Yaakov was 13 and the family planted a small vineyard for their personal enjoyment. That hands-on experience ignited Yaakov's passion for winemaking. After completing his military service, Yaakov's travels took him to wineries in Australia and New Zealand. In 2003, Yaakov founded Psagot Winery. Psagot means the peak... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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For bubbles without pretension, you can't go wrong with Prosecco. Italy's most famous sparkling wine is celebrated for its deliciousness and affordability but don't overlook its capacity for elegance. The next time you're in your local wine shop, ask for a bottle of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG to experience a very special expression of Prosecco. The name is certainly a tongue-twister for those of us who don't speak Italian but the taste is worth a bit of linguistic acrobatics - Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG represents Italy's highest quality designation in the Prosecco category. Like all Prosecco, the sparkling... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Turbulence around the globe and the loss of so many beloved cultural icons has made 2016 an emotional rollercoaster. But I refuse to overlook the moments of joy. In 2016, over countless bottles of wine, I shared dreams, laughs, hopes, fears, and secrets with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. Wine opened our hearts to each other, transported us to new places, and delighted us with its sheer beauty. I'm certain that all wine lovers, all around the world, had similar experiences. Did you? As this tumultuous year winds down, I am especially grateful for those moments of bliss and light.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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If you've been walking past the Chilean wines in your local wine shop, stop right now! Chile excels at producing wonderful wines that won't break the bank. From international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to local stars such as Carmenère and Pais; Chile produces an impressive array of beautifully crafted wines. I recently had the pleasure of sharing some Chilean vino and conversation with Marybeth Bentwood, executive director of Wines of Chile. Watch the video to learn more about Chilean wines, pairing suggestions, and why Chile is a must-visit destination for wine lovers. The video features three Chilean wines... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Nothing gets the party started like sparkling wine! Of course, Champagne reigns supreme but there are many other delicious sparkling wines that will add an elegant touch to your holiday celebrations at a fraction of the price. Pop the cork on one of these four delicious bubblies from France and Italy! Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux NV Brut St. Hilaire ($15.99) If you can't holiday in the South of France, this fantastic sparkling wine from the Languedoc will add a dash of ooh la la to your festivities. Frothy with fine bubbles, it has refreshing flavors of lemon sorbet balanced... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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A beautiful bottle of Champagne is the easiest and most elegant way to take a party from blah to ooh la la! Not even Scrooge can resist the percussion of a popping cork and tiny bubbles dancing away in the glass. I love Champagne all year round but its inherent luxury and beauty make it a perfect match for holiday festivities. Champagne is joy in a glass! From small growers/producers to legendary houses, here are seven sensational non-vintage Champagnes that will add some sophisticated sparkle to your soirées. I selected non-vintage Champagnes, a blend of harvests from different years, because... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Wine conveys a feeling of its source from within. The region in which the grapes are grown is embedded in the taste, aroma and color of the wine. Wine, therefore, has the power to embody the culture, language, scents and people of its region." - Victor Schoenfeld, Head Winemaker, Golan Heights Winery Winemaker Victor Schoenfeld brings California swagger to Golan Heights Winery in Israel. A native of the Golden State, Victor earned his degree in Enology from the University of California, Davis and worked at wineries in California and France before being named as the head winemaker of Golan Heights... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Forget the milk and cookies - if you really want to impress Santa and move off the naughty list, pour him a glass of red wine. Here are five fantastic reds that are certain to add some cheer to your holiday season! Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga d'Alba DOCG 2011 ($45) Italy (Piemonte) Known as the king of wines, a beautiful bottle of Barolo always dazzles! The big tannins and acidity of the Nebbiolo grape, along with its signature flavors of tar & roses, can often make Barolo overwhelming but this supple beauty from Fontanafredda dances across the palate. Elegant flavors of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Once upon a time there was a lovely princess who had a craving for the finest wine in the land. The royal thirst of Maria Josepha of Saxony, the Dauphine of France and the mother of Louis XVI, led her to Château de La Dauphine in Fronsac. Surely, the reputation of these superb wines, from a vineyard that coincidentally shared her name, proved irresistible to La Dauphine. One of the oldest wine-producing areas in Bordeaux, in the 18th century wines from Fronsac were the most highly prized and expensive wines in the kingdom. image courtesy of Château de La Dauphine... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Henri Bungener of Le Clos de Caveau winery Leaving behind his cosmopolitan life as a psychologist in London, winegrower Henri Bungener now spends his days attentive to the needs of the vines at his Le Clos de Caveau winery in the Vacqueyras AOC appellation in France's Rhône Valley. It may seem an odd career transition, but in their fragility and strength, perhaps wine grapes and people have more in common than we care to admit. And patience and attentiveness are certainly essential qualities in both psychologists and winegrowers. image courtesy of Le Clos de Caveau Also, like people, behind every... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Navarra may not have the name recognition of their winemaking hermanos in Rioja, but the region produces an abundance of wonderful vino. Located in the north of Spain, the vineyards of Navarra span the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains to the Ebro River Basin and the Bardenas Reales Desert. This diversity of terroir and micro-climates makes Navarra naturally suited to produce a wide variety of wine styles - from refreshing whites & rosés to complex & bold reds. image courtesy of Wines of Navarra. image by Jesús Chasco I was recently invited to learn more about the wines of Navarra... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Ours is a family winery in the truest sense, it is operated by Benzigers. My family loves sharing our Estate ranch and providing guests with an agrarian experience that you will not get anywhere else. We farm for flavors and craft wine with a distinct sense of place. Our roots run deep and this authenticity resonates with our customers." - Chris Benziger A conversation with Chris Benziger is a poignant reminder that every bottle of wine tells a story. The wines of Benziger Family Winery beautifully express a family's commitment to their land, winemaking, and each other. For more than... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Carole Fontanier (Communications Manager, Wines of Gaillac), Fred Dex (Master Sommelier), Yours Truly, winemaker Nicolas Hirissou (Domaine du Moulin), and winemaker Alain Cazottes (Domaine des Terrisses). Blame it on Fred Dex, Master Sommelier - I recently spent an afternoon gleefully "geeking out on Gaillac." Fred enthusiastically describes Gaillac as "one of the geekiest wine regions in France, if not the world" for the amazing diversity of its grapes and wine styles. From international varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah to lesser-known indigenous grapes like Loin de l'Oeil and and Duras, Gaillac is an absolute paradise for wine lovers in search... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Rich red wines and chilly winter nights are a match made in heaven but the right glass of white wine can also warm your spirit! From South Africa to New Zealand, here are five fabulous white wines that are always in season. Go ahead and pour yourself a glass of sunshine! Famille Hugel Riesling Classic 2014 ($25) Alsace, France With more than 370 years of experience, the Hugel Family brings an abundance of know-how and passion to winemaking. Their excellent Riesling Classic is dry but exuberant with crisp minerality and mouthwatering flavors of white peach, green apple, and a touch... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The only gift that wine lovers adore more than a great bottle of vino is an accessory that enhances the drinking experience. From techy tannin tamers to artsy bottle openers, here are three great gifts that will inspire the recipient to raise a glass in your name! The Velv Wine Oxygenator ($300) Decanters and aerators are the classic methods of unlocking a wine's flavor but the process can take up to a few hours for an especially "tight" wine. The Velv Wine Oxygenator can unlock a wine in just a few minutes by harnessing the power of pure oxygen. A... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Only in the wine world could a region with an ancient tradition of viticulture suddenly become a sensation! It may have taken a few thousand years but Israeli wines have captured the attention of wine lovers like never before. A recent Wine Spectator cover story declared that "driven by Israelis' search for quality from their native land and by a dawning appreciation for its wines in both Europe and America, the wine industry in the Jewish state is transforming at a rapid rate." Once primarily relegated to the kosher section of many wineshops, Israeli wines are now being prominently displayed... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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When I first tasted Lugana, I wondered why I had never heard of these wonderful white wines from Italy. I then proceeded to sip another glass (or two) of these expressive, refreshing, and elegant vinos - I had years to make up for! The Lugana winemaking region is situated in northern Italy on the southern part of Lake Garda and is actually located in two different regions, Lombardy and the Veneto. Lugana is produced from the indigenous Turbiana grape which can produce an astounding array of wines; still, dry, sweet, sparkling, young & fresh, and aged & complex. Angelica Altomare... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The right glass of red wine can be as comforting as your favorite blanket on a cool autumn evening. From Argentina to California, here are five elegant reds that are perfect for cozy nights at home. Luigi Bosca Pinot Noir 2014 ($22) Mendoza, Argentina Proving that Mendoza is more than Malbec, this mighty fine Pinot Noir displays impressive finesse and flavor. Silky and juicy with vibrant cherry and strawberry flavors that are balanced by warm hints of chocolate, coffee, and spice. Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($15) Sonoma County, California Second-generation grape farmer Tom Gore's magic touch with vines shines... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Madeline Triffon, Master Sommelier, was the energetic and engaging moderator for the Women in Wine Leadership Symposium. Madeline was the second woman in the world to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier exam. The best wines don't just transmit flavors but connect us to places, cultures, and each other. From the vineyard to our local wine shop, there are legions of people working tirelessly to keep the wine flowing in our lives and women are a vital part of the industry. On October 17th, the 5th annual Women in Wine Leadership Symposium was held in New York City and provided a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Max Weinlaub, chief winemaker at Viña Maipo in Chile, says that wine "is a matter of balance" and "wine needs to play a bit on the nose and tongue." image courtesy of Viña Maipo Winemaker Max Weinlaub's ebullient personality and encyclopedic knowledge of vino shine through in conversation and in the beautifully crafted wines that he produces for Viña Maipo. A native of Chile, Max has served as chief winemaker at Viña Maipo since 2007 and his meticulous winemaking has been garnering rave reviews at home and beyond. Founded in 1948 in the Maipo Valley region, Viña Maipo is Chile's... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Restaurateur Gianfranco Sorrentino of Naples and Executive Chef Vito Gnazzo of Salerno bring southern Italian heart and soul to Mozzarella & Vino and its sibling restaurants Il Gattopardo and The Leopard at des Artistes. They proudly proclaim that passion is their main ingredient! image courtesy of Mozzarella & Vino On a recent rainy day in Manhattan, I was swept away to sunny southern Italy by the endearing food, wine, and hospitality at Mozzarella & Vino restaurant (33 West 54th Street). The cool and casual little sibling to acclaimed Italian restaurants Il Gattopardo and The Leopard at des Artistes, Mozzarella &... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Pierangelo Tommasi proudly represents the 4th generation of his celebrated winemaking family. The only thing more impressive than Pierangelo Tommasi's passion for his family's Amarone is the wine itself. Amarone has a reputation for being robust but Tommasi balances that power with elegance and vibrancy. With over 110 years of experience, the Tommasi family has clearly mastered the art of Amarone. The hillside vineyards of their estate in the heart of Italy's Valpolicella Classico region provide ideal conditions for producing exceptional wine. Tommasi dries the hand-picked grapes for their Amarone in handmade bamboo racks. image courtesy of Tommasi Winemaking is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Originally from New Zealand, Brett Jackson is the chief winemaker for Valdivieso in Chile. Brett arrived in Chile during the 1990's and has played an important role in the country's growing status as a producer of fine wines. When you dare to name a bottle of wine Caballo Loco (Crazy Horse), it had better be bold and unforgettable. Well, Valdivieso has certainly succeeded in creating a unique wine that takes your palate on a memorable ride. Named after one of the winery's owners who is nicknamed Caballo Loco because of his unbridled personality, Caballo Loco was first released in 1994... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Spicing up a chilly autumn night is as easy as opening a bottle of juicy and bold Ravenswood Zinfandel. California Zinfandel was one of the first red wines that I fell in love with and Ravenswood excels at producing gorgeous expressions of this fantastic varietal. Truly a Sonoma icon, Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson's first harvest happened 40 years ago as ravens dramatically taunted him from the trees above as he worked to bring in four tons of grapes before a thunderstorm hit. The fruits of that tremendous labor were the first wines to bear Ravenswood's signature ring of ravens and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler