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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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We all know about the importance of matching wine with the right food but what about the right mood? Yesterday, my mood called for a quiet night at home and an unpretentious glass of wine. Casillero del Diablo Reserva Chardonnay 2014 ($12) was the perfect accompaniment to my evening. This Chilean beauty is a very vivacious expression of Chardonnay and is full of beautiful tropical flavors like pineapple and mango. Vibrant acidity and a hint of minerality add supple structure to this pretty vino. Highly recommended for perking up quiet nights at home and with simple meals of seafood and... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Black Dress Traveler
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My whirlwind trip to Rome did not give me nearly enough time to sample all of the Eternal City's culinary treats but I certainly tried my best. Here are a few delicious highlights! Casa Coppelle What a pleasure to meet the tremendously talented Chef Fabio Rossi of Casa Coppelle! When the charming and elegant Roman husband of one of your dearest friends gives you restaurant suggestions for his hometown, you listen! Thanks to his advice, I enjoyed an unforgettable meal at Casa Coppelle where Chef Fabio Rossi and his team create sophisticated and delicious Italian cuisine with a dash of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Palazzo Squarcialupi, Castellina in Chianti image courtesy Palazzo Squarcialupi After a day of professional level wine tasting in Tuscany, one needs a place to refresh and restore before indulging again. Palazzo Squarcialupi is the perfect oasis to wine, dine, and relax in Castellina in Chianti. A beautifully restored 15th century palazzo located just 45 kilometers from Florence in the heart of Chianti, Palazzo Squarcialupi is surrounded by vineyards and located on a charming street with shops and cafes. Decorated in a rustic-chic style, Palazzo Squarcialupi has 15 guest rooms and modern amenities include a swimming pool, a spa in the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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When we reached the summit of the winding roller coaster of a road that transported us high above the Chianti region to the vineyards of La Selvanella, our determination was generously rewarded with breathtaking views of Tuscany and some truly exquisite wine. If only all roads led to Chianti! My journey to Chianti actually began a few months ago when I had the pleasure of attending a tasting in NYC that showcased award-winning La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG. I fell head-over-heels in love with these wines. Each sip stoked a desire to visit Italy that had grown more intense... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Absolutely breathtaking - Kim Crawford's vineyards in New Zealand's Marlborough region. They also grow grapes in Central Otogo, Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, and Canterbury. Keeping life simple is essential to staying cool as the temperature rises and a chilled glass of white wine is one of the chicest and easiest ways to handle the heat. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris are three refreshing summer sips and Kim Crawford Wines offers each for under $20 and in screw cap bottles that eliminate that pesky extra step of trying to find the corkscrew. One of New Zealand's best-known and acclaimed winemakers, Kim... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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images courtesy Discover Beaujolais The spotlight shines brightly on Beaujolais Nouveau when it is released annually on the third Thursday of November, but it isn't the only wine worth celebrating from this region in eastern France. There are actually 12 Beaujolais appellations and each showcases a different personality of the luscious Gamay grape. Made only from handpicked Gamay grapes, Beaujolais wines tend to be light to medium-bodied reds and they taste great slightly chilled - making them a perfect sip for the summer season. Incredibly versatile, Beaujolais pairs brilliantly with a wide variety of cuisines and takes the stress out... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"I don't make the wine, the wine is made in the vineyards. Without good grapes you have nothing." - Marco Galeazzo To meet Marco Galeazzo is to be in the presence of a man who is living his destiny. Born in Piedmont to a family of winemakers, Marco's first wine memory takes him back to the tender age of 5 when his grandfather produced a small bottle of wine just for him. In deference to his age, the vino was blended with a good amount of water, but it did have a custom label! His grandfather definitely set Marco on... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"I have always believed that great wines start in the vineyard. As a grape farmer, my job is to coax the vines to produce grapes with exceptional varietal flavor, yielding high-quality, complex wines with a sense of place. I'm excited to tell my own story as a grape farmer for the first time." Tom Gore - grape grower, winemaker Wine is so glamorous and sensual that it is easy to forget that this celebrated libation has humble origins. Taking nourishment from the soil and the sun, grapes can grow in a variety of conditions but it takes the farmer, the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Did second ever look and taste so good? A stellar selection of second label Bordeaux wines from Millesima waiting to be poured into elegant Christofle glasses. image courtesy Filip Wolak for Millesima The legendary wines of Bordeaux often carry an impressive price tag but insiders know there is a way to sip the mystique at a fraction of the price: opt for a Bordeaux second label wine. Crafted by the same premier winemakers as their fancy first siblings, second label Bordeaux wines are produced from grapes from the same estate but differ in a few ways - they generally come... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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I haven't been invited to any barbecues YET this weekend but I know the perfect red wine to bring: Erasmo Barbera Garnacha 2013 ($15.99). A spicy and vivacious blend of Barbera (70%) and Garnacha (30%), this delicious vino is produced exclusively from grapes grown on their estate in the dry, coastal highlands of Chile's Maule Valley. If you love bold red wines, Erasmo Barbera Garnacha is one to try: it has big flavors of juicy plums, cassis, and berries with a dash of black pepper. I enjoyed a glass last night with a medium rare steak and it was a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Marie Doyard, granddaughter of André Jacquart, represents the fifth generation of this respected champagne family - they grow their own grapes and produce wonderful bubbly. Marie manages the Champagne André Jacquart estate with her brother Benoit. Champagne André Jacquart may not be the biggest name in bubbly but the Jacquart family grew champagne grapes for four generations before starting to produce their own champagne in 1958. And, what a champagne it is! Finesse, elegance, and purity shine through in their Brut Experience Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru de Champagne (100% Chardonnay, $58). Rich and crisp with a powerful minerality and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2015 at The Black Dress Traveler
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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 May 27, 2015 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 May 26, 2015 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