I think that it's safe to say that everyone had a great time tonight at Raphael as we kicked off the inaugural TasteCamp EAST in style with a tasting and dinner sponsored by the Long Island Merlot Alliance and Raphael

DSC_0035With so many, and so many great, wines poured, it's difficult to pick a favorite, but the Wollfer Estate 1998 Estate Selection Merlot was singled out by several people as their wine of the night. Hard for me to argue. Personally, I liked the Pellegrini Vineyards 1997 Vinters Pride Encore (a red blend), which showed very very nice tonight.

 The food, prepared by Raphael's resident chef, was outstanding. The foie gras with roasted pear and cinnamon-raisin French toaste course, pictured at right, was a great way to kick off the meal and the Raphael 2006 Sauvignon Blanc was a unique, but well-conceived pairing for it.

DSC_0041 It's difficult for me to pick a favorite course though, but it may have been the open beef short rip ravioli. The best wine on our table for it was the 2005 Merliance, a co-produced wine that is made with wine from each of the Long Island Merlot Alliance members.

It's well after midnight now and we have a long day of tasting ahead tomorrow. Goodnight all and thanks again to Raphael and the Long Island Merlot Alliance for hosting us. And thanks for supporting TasteCamp.