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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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Cheese & wine have always been the hottest couple in the culinary world and no one has mastered the art of pairing fromage and vin like the French. The creators of Cheese Day Paris will make the Big Apple cheesy in the very best way during Cheese Week in New York (February 21-26, 2017). During Cheese Week, the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France and other chefs in New York, Philadelphia and California will spotlight cheeses from France and around the world. Participating chefs in New York include Daniel Boulud (Bar Boulud), Claude Godard (Madison Bistro), and Bernard Liberatore (Core Club). Their... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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Love it or hate it, ignoring Valentine's Day is almost impossible -- that darn Cupid is everywhere! Romance and wine are a perfect match but even if you don't have a sweetie, go ahead and treat yourself to a fantastic bottle! Ronco Calino Franciacorta Brut NV ($30) Lombardy, Italy Celebrate amore Italian style with this elegant bottle of Franciacorta. A Champagne-inspired sparkling blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, refreshing flavors of pear, apple, and citrus are balanced by crisp minerality and hints of brioche. And who can resist those tiny bubbles elegantly dancing in the glass? Bonterra Organic Vineyards Rosé... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"I work with a quiet passion. Winemaking is an art not limited by gender or age." --Victoria Prandina Winemaker Victoria "Vico" Prandina has a serene presence that sparks to life when she speaks of her wines. Truly born to spend her life among vines and cellars, Victoria said, "So much of my childhood was spent helping out in my great-grandfather’s vineyard, which my father now oversees. For as long as I can remember, there was no doubt in my mind that my future lay in winemaking.” Victoria has advanced degrees in winemaking and her passion and knowledge are abundantly clear... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Recognized for its micro climate since pre Colombian times and then colonized by the Conquistadores, the Erasmo estate is now bringing to the world award winning wines that show all the potential of the oldest, most traditional wine region of Chile." -Count Francesco Marone Cinzano Renowned for crafting exquisite Brunello di Montalcino at his Col d'Orcia estate in Tuscany, Count Francesco Marone Cinzano crossed an ocean and a continent to embark on an innovative winemaking adventure in Chile. Founded in 1995, the Count's Erasmo is an organic winery and vineyard in Reserva de Caliboro, which is located in Chile's Maule... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Wine is science but also beauty and memories." - Alessandro Bindocci Winemaker Alessandro Bindocci exudes the endearing confidence of a man following his passion and destiny. The son of celebrated winemaker Fabrizio Bindocci, Alessandro has known since the tender age of 6 that wine would be at the center of his life. Today, Alessandro works side-by-side with his father at Il Poggione in Montalcino to produce acclaimed Brunello di Montalcino - one of Italy's most impressive and elegant wines. Fabrizio and Alessandro Bindocci Fabrizio Bindocci began working at Il Poggione in 1976 and Alessandro joined the winery in 2005 after... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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In an increasingly complicated and crazy world, a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino is a reminder that beauty exists. One of Italy's most celebrated wines, Brunello di Montalcino is produced in the relatively tiny Tuscan territory of Montalcino from the Sangiovese grape (named "Brunello" in Montalcino.) Only 15% of Montalcino's 24,000 hectares consist of vineyards but the exceptional wines they produce are coveted around the world. Elegant and expressive with impressive aging potential, Brunello di Montalcino pairs beautifully with food and elevates every meal and occasion. Brunello di Montalcino carries the DOCG classification which indicates the highest level of quality... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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On more than one occasion my nearest and dearest have deemed moi a drama queen. Alas, my theatrics won't make me a contender for an Academy Award but I can sip like a movie star with Champagne Piper-Heidsieck. Piper-Heidsieck has the distinction of being the sole Champagne to be served during the 2017 Academy Awards season. In honor of the partnership, Piper-Heidsieck has created a limited-edition magnum bottle to be poured exclusively at the Oscars ceremony and the official star-studded after-party: the Governors Ball. The exclusive Oscars red magnum with a gold film design encircling the bottle is not available... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Wine was an important part of changing Sicily for the better." - Alessio Planeta, Chief Winemaker & Co-Owner of Planeta Winery My feet still dream of touching Sicilian soil but thanks to winemaker Alessio Planeta of Planeta Winery, my palate was recently swept away to Italy's largest island. Sicilian wines are garnering more attention and respect than ever before and Planeta has played an important role in this revolution. Founded in 1995, Planeta's slogan "a journey to Sicily" is more than lip service - they produce wine on 6 different estates that transverse the island. Their journey began at Sambuca... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Winemaker Chris Louton and the team at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards are committed to producing wines with a distinct regional character where the terroir of Sonoma shines through. For us unabashed wine geeks, wine is nothing short of a spiritual experience and Sonoma is one of the sacred places. Even if you've never made the pilgrimage to Sonoma, if you love the wine you're a member of the tribe. Named after the patron saint of animals, ecology, and merchants; St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has been crafting wines from Sonoma County's best appellations for more than 30 years and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Just like musicians, artists, and fashion designers; certain winemakers have a style that captures my attention. Tommasi is one of those winemakers. From exquisite Amarone to superb Prosecco, each Tommasi wine that I've tasted has impressed me with its authenticity and elegance. The Tommasi family has been producing wine in Italy since 1902 and they have estates in various regions; including Valpolicella and Tuscany. If you're looking for a delicious red wine to warm up your winter nights and to pair with a home-cooked meal, here are two delicious sips from Tommasi. Cheers! Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2013 ($18) An... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2017 at The Black Dress Traveler
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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 Jan 15, 2017 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