Somm Speak

For our dish; Broiled Salmon with Béarnaise Sauce, Sautéed Zucchini and Pommes Natures, I have chosen a lush, creamy California Chardonnay, an ultra-dry Finger Lakes Riesling, and an acidic fruity Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. But the one I narrowed it down to is, of course, the Chardonnay. I want a Chardonnay from the Spring Mountain District. Their soil consists of volcanic material and sedimentary rock, allowing for quick drainage. The AVA gets a lot of rain in the winter months but almost none in the summer months, and the daytime temperatures get very warm, but as warm as the surrounding AVAs, and then cool down considerably in the evenings, allowing for a good retention of acid.

California’s Chardonnays are known for their richness and fullness. This comes from the aging process when the wine is placed in oak, allowing the chardonnay to take on some of the oak’s vanilla and spices. Also, incorporating batonnage, the stirring of the lees, to increase contact between the wine and the lees allows the wine to build the yeasty, brioche flavor and to build up more body. This also gives the wine a better mouthfeel.

Depending on the aging, the color of the wine will be from yellow to gold. On the nose, it will be moderate scents of mango, lemon, peach, vanilla, and buttered brioche with the oak aging really coming through. On the palate, it will by dry, but not bone dry, creamy and full-bodied. The flavors are complemented by the aromas, apple, lemon peach, vanilla, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. The acidity level remains around medium with medium plus alcohol. The finish will be long and the wine with be medium plus in complexity. All of flavor should pair well with the creamy béarnaise sauce and the fatty broiled salmon.

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Shelf Talker

Rosie Cheeks is a 2023 blend using grape varieties from North Fork and Long Island vineyards. A mix of 25% Petit Verdot 25% Cabernet Franc 50% Chardonnay with notes of cranberry plum and orange with a hint of oaky notes enjoy fruity smoky wine. This wine pairs well with hardy meats, hardy cheeses, and citrus sauces that bring out all of the flavors of this wine

Hope you enjoy

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Shelf Talker

Mad Pet

2022 Chardonnay

North Fork

83.3% Chardonnay

16.7% Sauvignon Blanc

Our Chardonnay is a collaboration of three different vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island, including both Mattebella and Macari Vineyards. It displays aromas of lime, grapefruit, and banana. On the palate lemon curd and ripe peaches are dominant. The creaminess from the French oak barrels and time spent on the lees creates a long finish allowing you to savor every sip. This Chardonnay can be paired with a baked brie, a broiled salmon with bearnaise sauce, or a sunset on the Long Island Sound. Our Chardonnay was runner-up for the 2023 Janet Lefler Dining Room Award.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Maddie & Pete

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Student Blend Final

My partner, Maddie, and I came into blending day with a plan of blending a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc. We were hoping to bring some of the acidity and aromas of a Sauvignon Blanc to the lush creaminess of an oaked Chardonnay to match our food pairing. Our food was a broiled salmon with bearnaise sauce, sautéed zucchini and pommes natures, or boiled potatoes. We were presented with six wines, three red and three white. We were tempted to experiment with the reds, but ultimately chose to stay with our original plan. This left us with a neutral-barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc with cultured yeast, a new-oak barreled Chardonnay with cultured yeast that had batonnage of the lees, and a neutral-barreled Chardonnay, no batonnage with ambient yeast.

     Our first blend was half of the new-oaked Chardonnay with batonnage, and half of the neutral-barrel Sauvignon Blanc. The color was a pale yellow. The nose wasn’t what we were expecting but the acidity was bright and refreshing, cutting through the creaminess of the Chard maybe a little too much. On to our second attempt which was Âľ new-oaked Chardonnay and ÂĽ Sauvignon Blanc. The color for this was yellow to straw. This combination produced a better nose, an acidic wine, but not as acidic as our first blend, so it retained a bit of the creaminess we wanted for our dish. With our third blend, we wanted to try brining some of the neutral-barrel Chardonnay in. So, we started with 3/6th new-oaked Chardonnay, 2/6th neutral-barrel Chardonnay and 1/6th Sauvignon Blanc. This was the one we liked the best. The color was also a yellow to straw, the nose was lemon, granny smith apples and ripe peach. The blend had a creamier mouth feel than the other two, was dry and tasted of lemon curd and peach. We were happy with the result, and this was what we submitted.

     We were surprised at how much the nose changed with the blending. Scents we expected to blend well together negated each other. And the different styles of fruit would change say a ripe peach scent to a fresh peach scent. Flavors changed as well with blending, fighting or negating each other. Trying to find the right balance was tricky. We could have spent half the day playing with the proportions and could have ended up with a completely different wine. Wine blending is a meticulous art form.

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Student Blend

Going into the wine blending, both Alaijah and I had the mindset of making a white wine to compliment our Baked Fish, Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce. During our discussion we were thinking of the flavor profile of the fish, if it was going to be fresh or ocean fish, how the mushrooms were going to give off that earth dirt profile, and the tomatoes mellowing out the flavor of the dish. We wanted a wine that would have citrus, creamy, buttery and with a crisp finish to ensure that dish isn’t overwhelmed by the complexity of the wine that paired along with it. Nor did we want the wine to be an afterthought for the dish so we thought of things that would go in unison with the dish. Unfortunately, my partner couldn’t attend so this is where the blending was thrown for a loop. Having discussed with Alijah about the flavor profile helped give an insight as to what to look for when blending the wine. When presented with the 6 wines, there were two different Chardonnay’s, one with some skin contact and one without, both having flavors that were worlds apart. The Chardonnay without the skin contact had such a buttery clean finish while its counterpart was a complexity of flavors that just had you salivating for more. While blending I decided on making a white where it was 12ml of Sauvignon Blanc, 14ml of Chardonnay with contact, and 8ml of chardonnay without contact. The Sauvignon Blanc added the crisp flavor that was the missing piece for this white blend that I attempted the first time. With this blend, I was satisfied and confident that this would be the wine that compliments the dish perfectly. Professor Struck made an announcement that we can play with Rose and try to make our own blend, which was highly intriguing, as it really challenges the complexity of wine combinations and trying to see which would be the best red wine for our product. After sampling the red wines individually again, I found that the Merlot that was provided had that subtle tannic flavor profile. This wasn’t a dark red, nor was it lighter meaning it was made in a climate that was more continental or near fresh water giving it that crisp flavor of cherries, red berries and some oak flavor from the barrel it was stored in. These characteristics when blended with the mixture I made gave the wine such a complexity of tannic, citrus, butter, slight oak finish, and a mild tobacco texture was something that would compliment the baked fish with tomato and mushrooms perfectly. The product was 12ml of Sauvignon Blanc, 14ml of Chardonnay with Contact, 8ml of Chardonnay without contact, and 2ml of Merlot. This produced a light pink rose. The outcome was far from what we expected, seeing as how our group had 2 wines we wanted to blend, to using 3 whites and one red wine to blend.

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Shelf Talker

A 2023 Renajah Blend, This fine blend from Red Hook Winery is produced from sustainably grown grapes at the North Fork of Long Island vineyards. With 60% of a Chardonnay Blend, 33% Sauvignon Blanc, and .05 % Merlot, discover freshness in a bottle with oaky and citrus notes combined with exemplary floral and mineral aromas. This wine can be nicely paired with foods like seafood, light pasta, and cheese. Our wine was picked to be served inside the Janet Lefler Dining Room located at the CUNY NYC College of Technology next spring.

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Student Blend Req

On the way to Red Hook Winery as a class, my teammate and I discussed different wines that we would encounter. Our dish is Baked Fish Fillet with tomato and mushrooms. We went on a mission to taste the base wines that this amazing winery offered with the help of Christopher, who is one of the winemakers. Seafood is great but how it is cooked makes all the difference when finding a pairing for it. During our time at the winery, we sampled 10 different wines ranging from a nice Rose to a Vintage Merlot. Baked fish could go with a nice red however we agreed on a balanced white wine with freshness and acidity. With tomatoes and mushrooms providing a contrast and complementary flavor it made us want to also look for wine bases that have oak and vegetal notes. We tasted a Sauvignon Blanc that had a developing mouthful but also went down smooth that was off dry. Our method to blend these base wines was to combine light intensity flavors with a wow factor. Considering the baked fish element of the dish, it was apparent to include some smokiness with our wine. That meant to look for a base that aged for a few years in oak barrels. Christopher mentioned that most of his barrels were made from natural french oak. He also noted that it is also great to try and maintain the barrels for as long as possible so that over time wines placed in the barrels will get a unique flair each time. We then tasted a wine base that was fermented in a steel tank for 50 days then transferred to barrels later. It made quite a difference because it contained charred smokey notes that gave a pleasant taste. The experience gave my teammate and I great views of how we can blend the best wine.

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Sommelier Speak

Student Wine Journal

I am a part of Team 1 along with my classmate Rene and our dish is Baked Fish with Tomato and Mushroom. When we first heard of fish, we automatically chose white wines to explore to pair with our plate. We discussed wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling. They all can pair with seafood because of the acid and dryness that can cut through the fat of the fish. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay’s origin can be found in France while Riesling origin is in Germany, however over the years these grape varieties have been moved across the globe. Now you can find them in the United States, like California, New York and Oregon. The best wine out of the three for our dish was the Sauvignon Blanc which can be found in California today. When tasting this grape variety the smell and the taste can be quite different. On the nose you can note smells such as high alcohol, fruit, and oak and the color of this wine can ary between being water clear and hazy to also having a slight green hue. On the palate, you can experience the twinge feeling the dryness can give you followed by in depth flavors like tart, melon or pit fruits and floral as well as vegetal notes. Vineyards in California set up their vines according to how it grows, in this case Sauvignon blanc grapes grow large and upright. Growers utilize areas where there is a lot of wind and cool climate to encourage growth and ripening. During the harvest and fermentation stages these grapes are hand-picked and lightly crushed in a press as whole clusters to separate the juice and skin. After separation the juice is then fermented at cool temperatures in steel.

Posted in Team 1 Alaijah and Rene | Leave a comment

Student Blend Requisition

Our menu item, Broiled Salmon with Bearnaise Sauce, Pomme Natures, and Sauteed Zucchini, is a rather heavy meal that we want to pair appropriately with a refreshing wine. After tasting a variety of delicious wines offered by winemaker Christopher at Red Hook Winery, my teammate and I have noticed that since our menu item is rather heavy in fat, we needed to incorporate some acidity and freshness to cut through it all. We came to the conclusion of deciding to pair with a white wine. The base white wines we tasted included two types of Chardonnay and on Sauvignon Blanc. This selection is inspiring us to possibly blend the buttery, oaky notes of a Chardonnay and getting that acidic freshness from the Sauvignon Blanc. Prior to arriving at Red Hook Winery, we had discussed wanting to do white wine for our dish. We also discussed varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Reisling that would brighten up our dish with these lighter white wine varieties. Since we only have three wines to choose from, we are thinking about possibly trying to get an even, balanced blend of both Chardonnays or of one of the Chardonnays and the Sauvignon Blanc. These base wines are offering us a great foundation for a vibrant white wine to contrast the intensity of all components of our entree dish.

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Learn More about Our Wine Making Project

Listen and Learn. Karen Goodlad and Christopher Nicolson are interviewed by the Julia Child Foundation’s Todd Schulkin. Listen to the Podcast here.


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