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BACCHANALIA Today!!!! 2013

2013 December 8
by Gene Fiorot

I hope you are all prepared for today’s Bacchanalia. Looking forward to seeing you all very soon. Stay tuned…..

Well this was a Bacchanalia that is for sure. Wine, Food, more Wine, more food, and yes wine flowed from all directions. I lost count of the varietals and the vintages. As many as four glasses in front of me with members asking me to taste this and that and this. Members brought cases. I was having trouble remembering what was in my glass. And I didn’t even have a Martini!

And what better place to have a Bacchanalia than Resortante Chianti under the direction of Chef Paul Caputo who did an extraordinary job. Dish after dish arrived in perfect timing and outstanding cuisine from this Master Chef. And so many courses it took over 4 hours to get to dessert. We didn’t care because we drank. We compared. We discussed everything from the differences we tasted in wines made from the same grapes by different winemakers. We appreciated all the efforts of these Amateurs to produce elegant beautiful wines rivaling if not superseding many Commercial wines. We all can be very proud. All these wines and not a disappointment in the lot. I was presently surprised to taste a few excellent wines made with Central Valley Grapes. It brought me back to the days when you needed to have some good winemaking chops to make excellent wines from those grapes. Evidently we have winemakers with excellent chops.

A highlight for me was having a group taste of Zac Browns’ wines. Each one was poured as I went around the room and I read the description Zac had sent me about the wines. We tasted all three with the proviso that tasters would share their impressions here on the blog for Zac to read. I want to relate to Zac your work with Amateur Winemakers does not go unnoticed. It is appreciated and I wish you could have seen the delight in the eyes of the winemakers when I announced I would be pouring your wines. For the record I have my favorite but that will wait until later. I should be getting some pictures in the next few days which I will post here.

Thank you all for coming and I hope you enjoyed the Bacchanalia as much as I did. I just wish Al Battista would have danced the Bacchanalia in tights. Oh Well maybe next time.

Just a few bottles one table.  A conservative estimate of Bottles attending would be close to 100!

Just a few bottles one table. A conservative estimate of Bottles attending would be close to 100!

Did you say Blaufrankisch?

Did you say Blaufrankisch?

28 Responses leave one →
  1. Gaetano permalink
    December 8, 2013

    I wanted to thank Gene and the rest of the guys and gals that were there, we had a great time and lots of great wine!
    Gene treated us to a few from his personal stock, all were great, but the last bottle that we sampled was beyond incredible!
    A nice surprise was sampling 3 wines sent by no other than Zac, these wines were amazing! Your wines were as great as we expected!
    Glenn, your wines were impressive as were proud puppy’s and Dan Lodico’s.
    We got to meet a few members, put names with a few faces, and talk wine all afternoon.
    Thanks again for a great time, great food, and great wine!

  2. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 9, 2013

    For sure there were so many impressive creations it was way too easy to lose track. Absolutely great to finally get to meet the names that have been familiar on this blog. The ‘balsamic’ samples that Zac sent really got my attention when Gene pulled them out. I have to say they were all top notch, and differing preferences were related to each person’s style preferences only. I’m sure Zac likes his wines on the more Pinot side of town, and these were not that style
    (which made me happy). Really Zac waaay better than expected, which was pretty outstanding to begin with. All three. I guess I formed a new opinion of Dasfrankenblucher or whatever that varietal is called LOL! Kudos. After reading your posts for almost 8 or 9 years finally getting to taste the samples was a real treat!

    The food added to the spectacle, thanx to the efforts of Master Chef Caputo! Long and relaxed time scale was a big plus and allowed for real enjoyment without feeling any time squeeze.

  3. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 9, 2013

    And what a festa it was! I’m back home in Elmira, safe and sound. The wine:

    It was a pleasure and an honor to get to taste Zac’s wine. As Gaetano mentioned, Gene read Zac’s descriptions as he poured. They were fantastic, each one. It was gracious and generous of Zac to send those to Gene, and also, for Gene to share them with the club.

    Having said that, many of the club’s wines were just as elegant in my opinion. Gene’s Pinot Noir, his GSM were delightful, and his Missouri Hopper was amazing. Ron (Proud Puppy) shared a couple of his with our table, one was a Syrah-Viognier ( I think) and I can’t remember what the other one was,(my mind was blown by all of the great wines, really) but they were both outstanding. I had some Beckstoffer Merlot from Al, and it was wonderful.

    Glenn who was at our table had some very nice wines. Dave O’brien’s Gamay was right on the money. A wine I will be making next year, for sure.

    I brought a barrel sample of my 2012 Bordeaux Blend (GIII and Las AMigas Merlot, and some PV) just to see where it was in comparison to these aged wines from the accomplished winemakers. I am encouraged with the wine, and especially with the knowledge that I’m in the right group to take my wines to the highest level.

    As Gaetano mentioned, it was great fun to get to meet the people associated with the names, from the blog, and drink their wines.

    Very nice job, Gene, and thanks for putting it, and us, all together.

  4. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 9, 2013

    Interesting background on Blaufrankisch and the Washington state home of this varietal:

  5. carmine Frattaroli permalink
    December 9, 2013

    Great day yesterday and the food was fabulous it’s getting to be my favorite place to eat. thank you chef Paul I want to thank Gene for taking the time to set up these dinners there were a lot of great wines on the table. I was thrilled to try zacs Balsamic vinegar. I am sorry i did not get to meet some of the other winemakers that post on this blogg.Gene i liked your gms and really enjoyed you Beckstoffers cab Can’t forget Carmines moltiplicano from central valley. It was also nice to meet jsc for a rookie wine maker you made a good wine my rookie year was a disaster.

  6. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 9, 2013

    JSC is coming along nicely. One of the funniest moments was when I was introducing Zac’s first wine. I began to read the blend and the first grape was Blaufrankisch not that I am sure I pronounced it correctly but everyone said What? Who? What is that? I made another attempt to pronounce it , probably destroyed the word but that didn’t satisfy the crowd. Now I did know it was a Washington State Grape but it was safe to say there was not a single person in the room that ever tasted it and I doubt only one or two who ever heard of it. So much for living on the East Coast. I don’t think it has ever been brought East for winemakers. I will have to ask Frank Musto if he can get some I would like to give it a whirl. Since I am mentioning Zac’s wine I do want to say Sample # 3 was a about as elegant as you can get and even though I like big wines this suited my tastes perfectly. Creating a European Style Wine was achieved by miles. Very nice indeed.

  7. Dave O'Brien permalink
    December 9, 2013

    I agree with the comments so far…amazing all around. Paul and his staff did an awesome job of keeping our bellies full while we tasted and shared stories.

    BZAC, your sample #1 was my favorite of the three while #2 and #3 were awesome in there own right. The blend in #1 was right on the money, please share the details with us…

    I also had the priveledge of sitting next to Ron (Proud Puppy) and shared our tasting journey while getting to hear and learn from his years of experience as well. Ron, your wines were all delicious and worthy of a shout out as well.

    And of course…Gene, great job as always putting this together for us all to enjoy.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2014 to all.

    Stay thirsty my friends!!!

  8. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 9, 2013

    I had always thought it was more typically a cold weather Northern climate grape like others that frequently are made by our neighbors to the north (eh?) and was surprised to see how dense and structured the 60 or 80% Blaufrankisch looked and very smooth, not tannic at all. Guess I was expecting something akin to Norton . Yeah not many there at the dinner have tried it I don’t think.

  9. Gaetano permalink
    December 9, 2013

    Zacs #3 was my personal favorite of his three, but all three were flat out great! I have to agree, Genes GSM was great, my wife normally doesn’t drink reds but she was really impressed with the wines that were shared, it was even more interesting tasting the same blends made by different wine makers, I really wish that I would have taken notes and met more of the folks.
    Gene, very impressive, you know how to throw a party! A big shout out to the chef, very well done!
    And for the others sitting at our table, the brewery was open when we left, we stopped in for a few mins to take a look around, I almost came back in to let you know, but I figured that i had sampled enough for one day!
    Thanks again for opening up our eyes to many different varieties and blends that we want to try!


  10. bzac permalink
    December 10, 2013

    thanks guys
    I’m glad you liked them ,

    number 1 & 2 were from 2010
    how I made them has been posted on the blog

    number 3 was a bordeaux blend , 60% merlot , 30% cab sauv 10% cab franc from 2008
    no enzymes , 6 different yeasts , no tannins added , no sugar or acid adjustments
    aged in 6 differnt 15 gallon barrels , french , hungarian and canadian oak then blended back together just before bottling.
    2nd & 3rd fill barrels , 12 months

  11. bzac permalink
    December 10, 2013

    blaufrankische , AKA lemberger , aka frankovka is kind of a special grape for me.

    I lived in the Czech republic for a little while in 1994 , not long after the wall came down.
    My girlfriends family owned a small winery and vineyard in Mutenice about 80 miles from Vienna .

    he made 6 reds and 6 whites , and my favorite red was the local grape Frankovka , which the Austrians call Blaufrankische , and the Hungarians call kekfrankos , its best known as the main grape in Bulls blood .

    its somewhere between syrah and cool climate zinfandel in character.

    anyway I was able to get some in 2010 and out of nostalgia for the 24 year old Zac , my first winery expireince and a Czech Girl named Irena , I made the blaufrankiche .

    and because i like off the beaten path blends I added some malbec and syrah.

    so # 1 was 65% blaufrankische , 25% syrah 10% malbec
    # 2 was 60% malbec , 30% syrah and 10% blaufrankische.

    all from yakima washington.

  12. Aaronap permalink
    December 10, 2013

    M&M brought in lemberger /blaufrankish grapes from WA in 2010 at my encouragement. Unfortunately, other than what I bought, I don’t think it sold very well. Last spring, they still had some frozen buckets–perhaps still available. Good stuff. Perhaps they would bring it in again if a market existed.

  13. bzac permalink
    December 10, 2013

    thats the problem with blaufrankiche and zweigelt , American’s can’t pronounce them so nobody drinks them. its holding back Austria’s whole wine industry.

    they can’t even count on their best white , gruner veltliner! LOL

    but if you are bored with yet another cab …

    i love to explore the dark corners of the wine list , Puglia primitivo , Austrian zweigelt and Washington lemberger, British Columbia Ortega are fun , especialy when the som looks scared you might know more than him!

  14. bzac permalink
    December 10, 2013

    they grow pinotage in amadore and lodi ,

    a south african grape in the USA.

    I bought some from frank musto once.

    maybe next year I’ll make a pinotage , blaufrankiche , primitivo blend! LOL

  15. carmine Frattaroli permalink
    December 10, 2013

    my favorite was no 3 and second was number 2 I thought

  16. bzac permalink
    December 10, 2013

    all 3 are washington grapes , and at under 2K a tonne , a bargain

  17. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 10, 2013

    I once made a Pinotage back in the 99 it came from CA and it was unremarkable. But then again I think it was Central Valley. Speaking of dark corners Frank Musto as far as I know never had Refosco Friuli. Now I have made that a bunch of times in the past from the Westchester supplier. It would come in as a partial pallet from an experimental vineyard managed by UC Davis. I would make it again. It is different with a unique flavor for a Red and it is a teinturier, as well. To my knowledge it is the oldest cultivated grape. I believe a Roman Emperor was responsible for it. WHo knows that could be the original Bacchanalia Wine.

  18. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 10, 2013

    Refosco Friuli ?? Isn’t that what the big luke yells at ya while he breaks your legs with the bat??

  19. December 10, 2013

    My Wife & I Just want to thank you again for the invite, The Company, Wine & Food were Superb!

  20. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 10, 2013

    You and your gang are always welcome to our parties!!!

  21. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 10, 2013

    You know, I’m not really doing anything on Sunday I can’t get out of…how about another Bacchanalia?

  22. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 10, 2013

    Dan you have to try to control yourself. I realize this is hard but you have to try. We are always here for you and we can try to help you over the rough spots. Stay calm my friend. Deep breaths.

  23. jsc permalink
    December 10, 2013

    Great night, great wines, great times and great friends….

    Thank you Gene for hosting and arranging a great event. not too sure about the togas or Al-Bat-in-tights thing tho… No offense Al…

    Zac’s # 1 taste offering was my favorite., as instructed I made a mental note…

    there were great wines at our table, too many for me to keep straight in my thoughts… Of course, the food was amazing. Thank you to my table mates for your input on your wine making tips and giving my (and Phil’s) first produced bottle a warm reception… there is hope after all…


  24. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 10, 2013

    @Gene, ok, I’m trying
    @J, this was my second wine tasting party with this group. In addition to just being great fun in its own right, I find it a great opportunity to realize what my wines could be, if I just keep learning and trying.

  25. December 11, 2013


    thank you for the invitation, great meeting you and appreciate the conversations. everything was terrific the people, wine and food created a wonderful afternoon. I would love to see your setup where the magic happens one day. On the Zac wine vote he received 2 positive votes, I liked #3 and the bride went for #1. The group we sat with were great and as you know through facebook, my wife spotted the pictures Dave posted, she went to high school with him, but they didn’t recognize each other last night. Sal and his family were extremely friendly as was Dan and of course Gaetano made it a great time. Hope to do it again. Thank you again

  26. Al Battista permalink
    December 11, 2013

    OOPS, Sorry for being so late to respond..You try to get out of these tights. lol
    Big applause to Gene And Chef Paul for arranging this feast. The wines…O-O-O-Oh The Wines, so good ,unique and full of love in the making. Combo of Food, Friends & Wine can’t be beat. Wish there more BACCHANALIA’s or whatever. Till the next time,( gotta sew up the tights).

  27. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 11, 2013

    I spent much of the evening sipping and thinking to myself “you mean if I pay attention, I could make wine this good someday?”
    In all seriousness, it was quite humbling, yet, inspiring.

    And Al in the tights, well, as they say,
    “What happens at Bacchanalia, stays at Bacchanalia”

  28. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 12, 2013

    And that it is how it will remain until Spring Time.

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