Tag Archives: wine

Dom Pérignon P2 1998

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From the fields of France to the tables in Barcelona, we have been on some amazing journeys with Dom Pérignon. The latest adventure has us standing over the Californian desert horizon of Joshua Tree, drawing parallels between a 100 million year old natural park with its rich history of change and Dom Pérignon’s 1998 vintage which is now, according to Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy, entering its Second Pléntitude on its own journey through time and change.

The Second Pléntitude, or P2 as they call it, happens around year fifteen in the champagne aging process. According to Geoffroy, champagne has three peak stages: The first at around seven years, the second at fifteen and the final stage around thirty. For the sake of comparison, a typical champagne is aged around three years. When you contrast the aging of Joshua Tree and how it has had many stages created and affected by nature you see how the stages of champagne are a small mirror to a vast landscape, both displaying their beautiful triumphs as a result of mother nature.

I love champagne, of course, it is greatly heightened by the master craft and artisanship of a wine like Dom, but I don’t drink it because of the name on the label. I love champagne because I’ve never had a bad time with it. It evokes memories of celebration, joy, friendship, laughter, perfect sunsets and even perfect sunrises. When we toast with champagne it is that sparkle in our eyes that effortlessly compliments the golden movements of the silent symphony inside that golden glass leaving your memories to float up into the night-sky and dance among the stars.

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Algodon Wine Estate

Algodon_Wine_Estate_02 When you live in one of the biggest cities in the world, sometimes the only true escape from that life is heading to the country. As much as I loved the culture of Buenos Aires, I was happy to find myself in Argentina’s wine region at a new and beautiful estate called Algodon. Having just visited the fields of Dom Pérignon during harvest, it was a lovely contrast to see a vineyard in spring, the first buds of the season reaching out of the bark in perfect rows. I spent the first afternoon quietly swinging on my porch hammock, watching the light dance in the trees and feeling the cool spring breeze on my face. The quiet was an escape I had been longing for, and being surrounded by spring made me feel ready for a creative rebirth.

Algodon in Spanish means cotton. The estate was named after the Cotton Club in New York City for its sophistication, elegance, and distinction—and the club lifestyle certainly made its way here. You can play golf, ride bikes, play tennis, go horseback riding, have a massage, or enjoy wine tastings throughout the day. Though the main farm house was built in the 1920s, the property did not become a winery until 2002, with the first bottles of wine ready in 2005.

The original La Casona, or villa, has three petite rooms with original wood floors, fireplaces, and French doors opening to a wraparound porch. So charming and romantic! I loved the simplicity of the room, which quieted my mind and complimented the natural beauty waiting just outside. More recently, a second villa was built in a similar style with larger suites, stove-pipe fireplaces and a stunning main room wrapped in window light.

One of the highlights from Algodon was of course the winemaker’s Mauro Nosenzo’s tour through the vineyard and winery. They produce everything from Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and my favorite, “Pima”, which is the star wine of the property, aged 24 months in French oak barrels. This special blend is named after the finest cotton in the world, produced in Peru and known world-wide as the smoothest variety. I loved it so much I bought a case and I look forward to the warm memories of the winemaker filling my glass straight from the barrel on this peaceful spring day.

After our tours, a tasting, and a beautiful lunch at the property’s restaurant in front of a roaring fire, we set out for the rest of the afternoon to explore the Argentinean countryside on horseback. I love horseback riding in South America, it compliments my romantic sensibilities and gives you a greater connection to the land, to the power of nature that defines it. For a few hours I galloped through the rows of vineyards, around the apricot orchard and through the olive trees, over the streams until I was out in the wild countryside gazing upon an endless horizon of wildflowers dancing below a purple mountain sky. It was heaven on earth….

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A Southern Holiday Party

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

It feels like only a moment ago we were hosting last year’s holiday party for friends. My how fast a year comes and goes with so many new memories to stowaway in the vault. For this year’s get together in our new Upper West Side home I wanted to bring to life a piece of my past to make the meal even more personal and intimate by taking our friends on a culinary trip down south, to taste my southern roots and warm comfort food.

When I think about southern food I always think about BBQ and biscuits. A saucy slow cooked meat rolled in spices and balanced by the buttery softness of a warm biscuit. It’s sinful and wonderful and went beautifully with Ecco Domani’s full bodied Merlot. For the non-meat eating guests we offered southern catfish baked and served in my cast iron skillet my grandmother passed down to me which is seasoned with love, as I like to say, and a great compliment to Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio.

Of course, any time I host friends or family I like to start with a cheese plate for people to graze on while we finish preparing the meal. Following my simple rule I outlined in this post, I chose a wonderful soft goat cheese, aged gouda, manchego cheese to be accompanied by roasted almonds, apples and artisanal crackers. Wanting to start with a crisp and light wine, we opened Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio for the cheese course though it goes perfectly well with the Merlot too if you prefer.

In the end, no matter what you serve or what you wear, it’s about making memories with friends and loved ones, sharing stories, being at peace and above all, loving one another this holiday season. Cheers….

See below for entertaining tips and southern recipes created for this night by my friend Jared who is, as we call him, the cookie monster. Everything was served on handmade pottery (a wedding gift from my parents!) by Clayworks in the East Village and another very personal, homey touch to this intimate gathering.

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

For last year’s holiday party we set individual photographs I had taken of each guest at their place setting to not only arrange the seating in a beautiful visual way but for each of the guests to take home a gift from the evening. This year I decided to create individual bouquets for each place setting that the guests could take home and enjoy for the days to come. Living in New York City this is a wonderfully easy way to play with your creativity. On 28th and 7th is the most fabulous flower market where you can find anything your heart desires. I love more than anything exploring in and out of these shops and creating my own story though flowers.

Above, setting the table in Maud Heline’s Arlanik white button up shirt dress made in Brooklyn  (ps- it’ has pockets!!) 

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Come Sail Away…

Ecco_Domani_Sailing_01 On a recent trip to Nantucket I wanted to take Kevin on a surprise date, something that felt local to the place but personal to our life. I love to sail and when we walked by the gorgeous boat The Endeavor I knew that was it. Considering how much we travel, I’m always looking for ways to make a place feel reminiscent to home. Though I couldn’t make a home cooked meal, I wanted to fill his soul in just the same way. I love a beautiful red wine in the fall and having just received a few bottles of Ecco Domani Merlot I brought them with us on our Nantucket getaway. I tried to think of something I could put together that wouldn’t require access to a kitchen and found a local market stocked with cheeses from Vermont, freshly made lobster salad, my favorite kind of almonds and beautiful grapes. I popped into one of those tourists shops and purchased a cheese board covered in all things Nantucket which I would typically never do, however, we found the enthusiasm for this place expressed on a cutting board quite charming and now back in New York I see it in the kitchen and think back on this perfect afternoon date, sailing around the harbor watching boats bob in place and flags dancing in the autumn sun.

I think it’s important to find ways to enjoy simple pleasures, carving out time in our crazy fast lives. A bottle of wine and a simple picnic on land or sea is an easy and effortless way to make memories with the ones you love. We enjoyed lunch in the smooth waters of the inlet before our captain took us out sailing the sound. Mostly though, we sipped our Ecco Domani Merlot and welcomed fall though the rippling sound of ocean waves.

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Though Ecco Domani’s Merlot pairs well with foods like tomato-based pastas and grilled meats, I found the blackberry flavors of this wine went perfectly with a classic cheese plate. Simple rule of thumb is one hard cheese, one soft, one fruit, one nut, crackers and – in most cases – a cured meat, which I opted out for locally made lobster salad. Though we ate before we hoisted up the sails, it was still a good idea to have stemless wine glasses, which I borrowed from our hotel.

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