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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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Yes, I tasted them all! A selection of corks from a recent Vouvray extravaganza. Chilly winter days may increase our cravings for hearty red wines, but there are many moments when I find myself wanting the lightness of a refreshing white. A delicious reminder of warmer and sunnier days, crisp white wines are also a way to keep your cool in overzealously heated rooms and even cut through the heaviness of winter cuisine. One of my favorite year-round white wines is Vouvray. Produced from Chenin Blanc (also known as Pineau de la Loire), Vouvray hails from the Loire Valley region... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2018 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Carmenere - the deepest, darkest, and most dramatic of the red wine grapes. image courtesy of Wines of Chile Falling into a wine rut happens to the best of us. You fall in love with a wine and suddenly you've entered into a monogamous relationship, forsaking all other wines. But perhaps your palate doesn't feel the same rush of excitement on the umpteenth pour and familiarity has bred boredom instead of comfort. You don't need to permanently break up with your favorite wine but maybe it's time to flirt with something new to reignite your passion. The discovery of new... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2018 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Baby, it's cold outside! Warm up these chilly winter nights with a hearty but elegant bottle of red wine. My five picks from Argentina, Spain, Italy, France, and the USA are certain to tastefully thaw you out! Bodega Norton "Privada" Family Blend 2014 ($26) Mendoza, Argentina The first taste of this beautiful wine transported me back to my 2015 visit to Bodega Norton in Mendoza and each sip carried me further along on that journey. But even if you've never been to Mendoza, this superb vino is an excellent example of the region's commitment to quality winemaking. Privada blends Argentina's... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Nothing gets the party started like sparkling wine - the sound of a popping cork is music to everyone's ears and a cue to celebrate! While Champagne may be the most familiar and iconic bubbly, wonderful sparkling wines are made around the globe. Many sparkling wines are made in the Champagne method, via a second fermentation in the bottle, but only those from the Champagne region of France can legally be classified as Champagne. The holiday season is the perfect time to explore sparkling wines from different regions. Your tastebuds and your wallet will thank you - these wines are... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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When your name is known around the world for producing some of Italy's most extraordinary wines, staying in the relative comfort zone of your vineyards in Piedmont would be the safe thing to do. Lucky for us, the Gaja family does not believe in playing it safe. Gaja's winemaking roots in Piedmont run deep and can be traced back to 1859. But Gaja's journey towards icon status really kicked off in 1961 when Angelo Gaja began working at the family winery after completing studies in enology at Alba and Montpellier. Angelo introduced innovations that revolutionized winemaking at his family's winery... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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'Tis the season to celebrate and indulge in fantastic food and wine with friends and family. Why not wow your inner circle with some award-winning and acclaimed wines from Chile? Chilean wines are hotter than ever and gaining serious recognition for their quality, diversity, and affordability. Watch the video to learn more about Chilean wines in my free flowing conversation with Marybeth Bentwood, Executive Director of Wines of Chile. Marybeth shares tasting notes on four superb Chilean wines and great advice on visiting Chile - it was recently selected by Lonely Planet as the 2018 Best Country to Visit! The... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"We are a very humble appellation but we refuse to produce humble wines. We produce exceptional wines." Philippe Guigal, 3rd generation winemaker of E.Guigal. Philippe Guigal's confidence in his family's wines is well-earned. Since his grandfather Etienne founded E. Guigal in 1946, they have become one of France's most well-known and respected producers of quality wines. For three generations the Guigal family has been working with land that is more than 24 centuries old in the Rhône Valley, in southern France. Guigal's exquisite vineyards in the Northern Rhône are located in areas that lovers of French wines know very well:... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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In a world full of wonderful sparkling wines, Champagne remains the standard by which all others are judged. Sophisticated and festive, Champagne instantly adds glamour to any occasion. Choosing the right bottle of bubbly can feel overwhelming but when shopping for Champagne remember the golden rule: Champagne only comes from Champagne, France. Winemakers around the globe have adopted the Champagne method of creating bubbles via a second fermentation in the bottle but Champagne is more than a technique, it is a unique cultural legacy and expression of terroir. The pop of the cork, dancing bubbles, and sublime taste make Champagne... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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A glass of Donnafugata wine with a view of the Saline della Laguna salt pans in western Sicily, on the coast connecting Trapani to Marsala. Sicily, you win. We were only together for three days but I fell completely in love. Without inhibition, I basked in your soul-warming sunshine, devoured your divine food, and drank every glass of wine offered to me. And so many serenades, everywhere there was music. From a charming Sicilian man crooning Nina Simone to an elegant wine diva's soulful Bossa Nova renditions, my Sicilian soundtrack is forever forged in my memory. Allow me to thank... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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On a recent chilly night, I enjoyed the company of good friends and two iconic wines: Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 from Chile and Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville 2014 from California. Same grape and same vintage, but these elegant red wines from different continents were dramatically different in style. Of course, being a certified wine geek, I seized this moment to give my very patient friends a short talk on Cabernet Sauvignon. (Wine Rule: She who brings the fine wine gets to deliver a lecture!) image courtesy of Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon may trace its heritage back to France... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Can we all make a promise to stop drinking mediocre Prosecco? Italy's most famous sparkling wine fuels many Sunday brunches but not all Prosecco wines are created with a commitment to quality and the market is flooded with so-so wines. But don't despair, quality Prosecco is not a unicorn, it really does exist and Masottina is one of the producers crafting elegant and expressive wines. On a recent visit to Masottina's stunning vineyards in Italy, I was impressed at how their location, legacy, and lifestyle beautifully influence their Prosecco. Masottina hand harvests Glera grapes for their Prosecco. Location matters when... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Let's face it, when it comes to wine everyone has an opinion. Some people are fairly easy to please, but others are extremely picky about the pedigree of the fermented grapes they sip. As the holiday season kicks off, keep these four fantastic red wines on hand. These beauties from New Zealand, France, Argentina, and Italy are certain to delight even your most persnickety guest! Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 ($44.99) Martinborough, New Zealand When it comes to Pinot Noir, wine geeks know that Craggy Range is not just one of New Zealand's finest but simply... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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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 Nov 17, 2017 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 Nov 14, 2017 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