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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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image courtesy of ©HarlemEatUp!_DanielDaPhotography It's no secret that the wines of Bordeaux enjoy an exalted status among connoisseurs and collectors willing to spend impressive sums on these celebrated wines from the southwest of France. However, the big Bordeaux surprise is that the region produces an incredible selection of excellent wines at very affordable prices. These wines aren't just for drinkers with deep pockets - for less than $20 you can sip a bit of that Bordeaux magic! Mary Gorman-McAdams (Master of Wine and market advisor to the Bordeaux Wine Council), Chef Marcus Samuelsson, and a bottle of Bordeaux at the... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Black Dress Traveler
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Edge and grace combine beautifully in SAVED Magic Maker Rosé 2015 ($15) - a wine inspired by renowned tattoo artist Scott Campbell. A crisp and dry blend of primarily Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel sourced from sub-appellations across California; SAVED Magic Maker Rosé is medium-bodied with juicy flavors of tangerine, strawberry, rhubarb, and white peach. An easy-going but elegant wine that is perfect for long summer days and nights, SAVED Magic Maker Rosé is excellent as an apéritif and also has enough structure to pair with pasta, grilled fish, and roast chicken. Scott owns and operates SAVED Tattoo... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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Traveling the world in their signature plaid shirts and carrying pruning tools, childhood friends and agronomists Pierpaolo Sirch and Marco Simonit are restoring health and vitality to vineyards with their innovative techniques. Poor Pinot Grigio - the Italian white wine that everybody loves to hate. But stop shedding tears in your insipid mass-produced glass of wine - Pinot Grigio is poised to experience a glorious comeback thanks to a unique partnership between Terlato Vineyards and Italian vine pruners extraordinaire - Simonit & Sirch. Terlato started a sensation when they introduced Pinot Grigio to the U.S. market in 1979. The varietal... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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A glass of Hacienda de Arínzano Rosé brightened up a gray day in New York City. So many rosé wines, so little time - what a delicious dilemma to have! If you're looking for an elegant thirst quencher, here are seven rosés from France, Italy, and Spain to help you beat the summer heat in style! Hacienda de Arínzano Rosé 2015 ($20) Spain, Navarra 100% Tempranillo Silky and elegant with flavors of strawberries, cherries, pink grapefruit, and a hint of white pepper. Arínzano is the first estate in the north of Spain to receive the prestigious Pago classification - Spain's... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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If you can fall in love with a place just from drinking its wine, then I am head over heels for Sicily. Cusumano is one of several Sicilian producers that has impressed me with superb wines that truly convey a sense of place. Founded in 2001, Cusumano is managed by brothers Diego and Alberto Cusumano and the winery has extensive holdings throughout the island. Diego Cusumano proudly shared his family's wines during a recent visit to New York City. Noà Tenuta Presti e Pegni 2013 Sicilia DOC ($55) is one of the wines from the Cusumano portfolio that really wowed... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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When I received an invitation to meet second-generation Sonoma County grape farmer turned winemaker Tom Gore AND create my own terrarium in a wine bottle at Twig in Brooklyn; I jumped at the opportunity. I've been a fan of Tom's wines and farm-to-glass philosophy since his first vintages were released in 2015. Well-crafted and moderately priced, Tom's wines are unpretentious but quite delicious. The latest addition to his portfolio is Sauvignon Blanc ($15). Refreshing and crisp but not too grassy, this wine has lovely citrus and tropical notes that are balanced by great minerality. A perfect summer sip that Tom... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Rosé season is in full swing and the next stop on my sipping tour is Tuscany with two lovely wines from the organic vineyards of Fattoria Sardi. Fattoria Sardi Rosé 2015 ($22) A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Ciliegiolo; this charming wine is an elegant thirst quencher. A beautiful soft shade of salmon, this crisp rosé perks up the palate with subtle but appealing flavors of raspberry, roses, and a touch of citrus. With great minerality and a finish that lovingly lingers, this is a great wine to serve as an apéritif and with light salads, antipasti, and fresh seafood.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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“Loveblock is a true love story,” founder & CEO Erica Crawford said,” it is one of depth and dedication." A conversation with Loveblock winery founder Erica Crawford reminds you that love isn't just an emotion - it can be a catalyst for creating something truly special. When wine industry veteran Erica and her award-winning winemaker husband Kim stood on the hills overlooking Marlborough's Awatere Valley in New Zealand, they fell in love with the stunning view. They purchased the property in 2006 and to make the wines, Erica jokes that she “hired the best winemaker I know – my husband."... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Maille Mustard Sommelier, Pierette Huttner Only the French could elevate mustard to an art form and make it absolutely chic! Founded in 1747, Maille originated as the official mustard and vinegar purveyor of the French Royal Court. Lucky for us, we don't have to be royals to enjoy their superb condiments. Pierette Huttner, Maille Mustard Sommelier, was my gracious guide when I visited their spacious new flagship location in New York City's Flatiron District (927 Broadway at 21st Street). You can also find Maille boutiques on NYC's Upper West Side, Chicago, San Francisco, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Maille... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Looking for a great new summer sip? My friends at Piper-Heidsieck wowed me with a fantastic new Champagne cocktail: Sacré Sauvage. (Even the name is sexy!) Made with superb Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage bubbly, this sultry libation also includes orange bitters, ice, triple sec, zest of pomelo or pink grapefruit, and a garnish of blackberries or blueberries. The combination of the Champagne's red fruit notes with spice and bitters is elegant, sophisticated, and absolutely delicious. Click here for the full recipe. Cheers! Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Can a wine be sexy? I think so! I'm going gaga over El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2011 from Mendoza. Juicy, bold, spicy, and vibrant - this red wine is like a passionate kiss. Price is about $25. Cheers! Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The mercurial moods of New Yorkers stuck in traffic on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge* would brighten tremendously if a delicious bottle of Castello di Verrazzano wine awaited them at their destination. In 1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano became the first European explorer to sail into New York Harbor and the bridge named in his honor opened in 1964. Alas, you can't take his namesake bridge to Tuscany but you can take your palate on an Italian adventure and drink history with Castello di Verrazzano - their wines are produced at the Tuscan estate at Greve in Chianti where the famed explorer was... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Hecht & Bannier Rosé (image courtesy Hecht & Bannier) A perfectly chilled glass of rosé on a warm summer day is one of life's most simple and elegant pleasures. I enjoy sipping rosé all year long but its allure is irresistible when the temperature rises. Ranging in shades of pale pink to rich jewel tones; the visual beauty of rosé is incredibly enticing. Those beautiful hues are generally the result of contact between the grape skin and the juice - the longer the contact, the richer the color of the rosé. Rosé is produced around the world but Provence is... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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“Winemaking and filmmaking are two great art forms...in both cases you have to start with top notch raw materials—whether it’s the land or a script.” - Francis Ford Coppola Would you expect wines bearing the name of iconic filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola to be anything less than expressive and superb? I had high expectations when I was invited to taste wines from Coppola Winery's Director's Cut collection and I'm delighted to say they delivered a blockbuster drinking experience. (I apologize for the movie puns sprinkled throughout this article, I couldn't resist!) Coppola Winery has a diverse portfolio of wines but... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"If you drink Rapitalà, you are drinking Sicily from a French point of view." Laurent Bernard de la Gatinais, President, Tenuta Rapitalà Charmingly referring to himself as the "first blend" produced by his Sicilian mother and French father, third-generation winemaker Laurent Bernard de la Gatinais of Tenuta Rapitalà is a serious wine producer with an endearing sense of humor. One of Sicily's most important wineries, Tenuta Rapitalà is truly a marriage of cultures. In 1968 French-born Count Hugues Bernard de la Gatinais married Gigi Guarrasi from Palermo - Laurent likes to say that his mother imported his father to Sicily!... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"It is my absolute pleasure to introduce these outstanding grape varieties to the world. The wines that we are making have incredible, strong personalities and sing songs of our history." - Ardıç Gürsel, founder of Vinkara The names Kalecik Karasi, Narince, and Öküzgözü are tongue twisters for those of us who don't speak Turkish, but the delicious wines that Vinkara produces from these indigenous grapes are an absolute delight to sip. When Ardıç Gürsel founded Vinkara in 2003, even other Turkish winemakers questioned her determination to make wines from local grapes instead of focusing on internationally known varietals like Cabernet... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Sangiovese has to be elegant. That's the identity of Sangiovese." - Francesco Mazzei One day I may write a novel about a charming and impeccably dressed Tuscan gentleman who travels the world sharing his family's wonderful wines. Readers of that novel won't be wrong in thinking that the protagonist is inspired by Francesco Mazzei, estate owner of Castello di Fonterutoli in Castellina in Chianti. One of Tuscany's most ancient vineyard sites, vines were already planted at Castello di Fonterutoli when the Mazzei family inherited the estate in 1435. The family has been producing wine at this historic property in the... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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From Mendoza to Tuscany, Napa to Rioja; there is a name that regularly rolls off the palates of many winemakers that I admire: Michel Rolland. Even The New York Times referred to Rolland as the world's most famous wine consultant. Observing that Rolland had collaborated in the creation of many wines that I enjoyed, I became increasingly intrigued and hoped that one day our paths would cross. Would I ever meet this French gentleman who had played such an important role in the production of wine around the world? Well, it seems that Bacchus, the god of wine, intervened on... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Pinot Grigio has become the default white wine for many drinkers but the category has become saturated with lackluster wines that are completely devoid of personality. Basta! Pinot Grigio doesn't have to be boring and we don't have to settle for wine that basically tastes like water with a dash of alcohol. Every so often I encounter a Pinot Grigio that displays real flavor and finesse and Tommasi Le Rosse ($17) is one that beautifully showcases the expressive nature of this varietal. A medium-bodied white wine, Le Rosse is crisp and clean with lively tropical flavors and it has a... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Ah, there's something about seeing bubbles dancing in a wine glass that puts a smile on even the most stoic of faces. While Champagne may have set the standard for sparkling wines, there are many others that deliver the joy of Champagne at a fraction of the price. Since 1851, Bouvet-Ladubay, in the Loire Valley, has been one of France’s greatest producers of méthode traditionnelle sparkling wine. In France, you'll find Bouvet-Ladubay being poured at glamorous events such as the Cannes Film Festival. Pick up a bottle of elegant yet affordable Bouvet-Ladubay Signature Brut or Excellence Brut Rosé to add... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Should someone offer you a glass of Albariño from Rias Baixas; say sí and give that person a kiss because they clearly have great taste in wine. Vibrant and expressive, the Albariño grape is indigenous to the Rias Baixas region of Galicia in northwest Spain. Galicia is often known as "Green Spain" because of its verdant coastal landscape and Rias Baixas means "Lower Rias" in the Galician language. image courtesy of Rias Baixas wines image courtesy of Rias Baixas wines Local legend poetically proclaims that the four estuaries located on the southwestern coast that form the Rias Baixas are the... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Cristina Forner, president of Marqués de Cáceres image courtesy of Marqués de Cáceres Elegant and gracious, Cristina Forner, president of Marqués de Cáceres wines, has a regal but warm presence. Affectionately called La Marquesa, Cristina technically does not hold a title but she is certainly wine royalty - her family has been in the wine trade in Spain for five generations. In 1970, her father Enrique Forner took their family legacy to the next level when he founded Marqués de Cáceres in Rioja. The winery's impressive name was given by a family friend who held this title which was granted... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Who says sweet wines aren't sophisticated? Sauternes is in a class all by itself. Hailing from France's Bordeaux region, Sauternes is a luxurious old world white wine produced from grapes that have been affected by Noble Rot (Botrytis Cinerea); a fungus that decreases the water content of grapes but concentrates their complex sugary goodness. If you're not familiar with Sauternes, Château Climens is an exquisite introduction. Bérénice Lurton has been at the helm of Château Climens since 1992. She describes producing Sauternes as being similar to dance - it may appear effortless but at the highest level it is extremely... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Truth be told, grapes are my greatest passion. After so many years, I've learned that every decision you make in the vineyard can affect the quality and flavor of the grapes. So I craft my grapes, using meticulous farming techniques. In the end, it's a difference you can taste in your glass." - Tom Gore I've decided to nickname California winemaker Tom Gore the grape whisperer. A second-generation grape farmer from Sonoma County, Tom started working among the vineyards and tending vines at the tender age of 7. For more than 20 years, Tom grew grapes and managed vineyards for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler
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image courtesy of Domaine Bousquet Without realizing it, I seem to have embarked on a one-woman mission to sample every wine produced in Mendoza, Argentina. So when I was invited to sample Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($12.99), I said por favor in a New York minute. Argentina's leader in organic wines, Domaine Bousquet was founded in 1990 by the Bousquet family from the city of Carcassonne in southern France. The family has a long tradition of winemaking in France and their winery in Mendoza melds techniques from both cultures. Silky and medium-bodied, Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon is elegant but... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2016 at The Black Dress Traveler