Basil- and Bacon-Wrapped Florida Bay Shrimp with Sang Lee Mesclun, Parmigiano Reggiano, Raw Tomato Sauce and Balsamic Syrup

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After the watermelon cube amuse, I wrapped some fresh (never frozen) Florida shrimp with a basil leaf and a half strip of bacon and tossed it on the grill. Once cooked (the bacon did a great job protecting the shrimp…I got a little distracted and would have burnt them otherwise!), I put them on a bed of mesclun from Sang Lee Farms, drizzled with some of the same balsamic-blackberry syrup, fresh tomato sauce and parm reg cheese. The picture isn’t great (looks like the syrup is all over the place) but Nena and her parents loved the course.

WTN: Lenz Winery 2001 “Old Vines” Cabernet Sauvignon (North Fork of Long Island)

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The Lenz Winery has been making a lot of noise lately about its wines and how they rate against top-flight Bordeaux in professional blind tastings. It’s an interesting marketing hook to be sure. The recently released Lenz 2001 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon ($30) is one of the wines that fared best. And I can see why. It’s obviously much more important that consumers like a wine (instead of critics), but something tells me this wine will be well received. "Old vines" doesn’t have any official meaning (much like "reserve") but this rich, deep purple-crimson cab is impressive nonetheless. The nose…

WTN: Jamesport Vineyards 2004 Sarah’s Hill Pinot Noir (North Fork of Long Island)

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There aren’t a ton of local producers making pinot noir here on Long Island. The "heartbreak" grape is difficult to grow anywhere, but with Long Island’s humidity, I think it’s even harder. I know of at least one winemaker that has stopped making pinot noir completely — using his pinot grapes strictly for bubbly now. That said, Jamesport Vineyards can usually be counted on for a solid bottling. Owner and vineyard manager Ron Goerler is one of the North Fork’s most respected growers and has long been known for growing quality fruit. This wine was fermented using indigenous yeast, and…

Watermelon with Blackberry-Balsamic Syrup, Petit Basil, Grana Padano

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Last weekend I cooked a little dinner for Nena and her parents, and this was the amuse bouche — a cube of fresh watermelon, balsamic vinegar syrup made with local blackberries, a petit basil leaf and some grated grana padano cheese. I’ve wanted to make some version of this for quite a while after seeing it over at Obsession With Food, and I’m glad I finally did, with a few modifications of course.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #25 Announced — Champagne. The Real Deal.

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The Wine Blogging Wednesday train just keep chugging along, and in September Sam from Becks & Post is playing host. I’ve not met Sam yet (we missed one another when I was in San Francisco in June) but anyone who reads her always fun and entertaining blog knows, the girl loves her Champagne. That’s Champagne with a capital C, not sparkling wine. So, it comes as no surprise that she has chosen Champagne as the theme for September 13th edition of WBW. Taking part in WBW is easy. Go out and buy a wine that matches the theme. Drink it.…

More Thoughts on the Wine Advocate and New York Wines

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I’ve gotten a few emails about my post a couple of weeks ago about the Wine Advocate’s recent coverage of New York wines, charging that I was overly negative and (shockingly) dismissed David Schildknecht’s credentials. Re-reading my post, I still think I was pretty even handed, but I wanted to offer a few more thoughts to make sure that my feelings are clear. Now hear this — this is a milestone for NY and Long Island wines. There is no disputing that, regardless of what you think of the 100-point scoring system, Parker or his influence on consumers. This is…

This Weekend: Hamptons Wine & Food Festival

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The 2nd Annual Hamptons Wine & Food Festival is this weekend. The organizers have gathered a nice roster of celebrity foodies and wine experts this year, including Food Network personalities Sandra Lee and Dave Lieberman, wine experts like Josh Wesson and Mark Oldman, and Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle. Last year, I didn’t talk much about the event — because they didn’t have any local wines there. Instead, they got a big distributor to sponsor the event and poured those. This year, however, they’ve changed that with local winemakers Kareem Massoud (Paumanok Vineyards) and John Levenberg (Bedell Cellars) on board…

WTN: Anthony Road 2005 Vignoles (Finger Lakes AVA)

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Anthony Road Winery, which  released its first wines in 1990, is  on the west side of Seneca Lake. Owned by Ann and John Martini, the wines are made by Johannes Reinhardt, a German native. Reinhardt grew up in a family that has been in the wine business since 1438, so he’s been in vineyards and wineries just about all his life. With his German background, it is no surprise that he ended up in the Finger Lakes, where the best wines of Germany, particularly riesling, thrive. This wine, however, is a first for me — a non-dessert wine made from…

My “Secret Project” Revealed

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Several times back in May I wrote here about how busy I was with "various writing projects" — one of which I couldn’t discuss beyond that. It was probably the single most exciting thing I’ve done thus far as a result of LENNDEVOURS and I’m happy to report that the gag order has been lifted. Many of you are familiar with Chocolate & Zucchini, one of the world’s most popular culinary blogs, and its founder Clotilde Dusoulier. Any fan of C&Z knows that Clotilde been working with a book U.S. publisher on a cook book. Well, I’m proud and honored…