J Vineyards Does It Again. Lovely Wines


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2011 Holiday test 1


Fruit for our 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was harvested from three of our estate vineyards—Nicole’s, Robert Thomas, and Nonny’s— as well as grapes from selected growers within the Russian River Valley appellation. Our blending from multiple vineyards within this cool region is highlighted by the diversity of planted grape clones (Dijon 113, 115, 777, 667 and Rochioli 2A) and the soils (Goldridge, Zamora, Cortina, Arbuckle). This wine is truly an expression of the Russian River Valley.


The fruit was harvested at night, providing a natural cooling to preserve freshness before delivery to the winery. The grapes were hand-sorted before de-stemming and placed into open- and closed-top fermenters. The must was cold soaked 3-10 days before going through a natural, extended fermentation. Nearing completion of fermentation, the wine is drained from the tank by gravity into 100% Burgundian oak barrels where malolactic fermentation takes place. This process allows us to craft an elegantly balanced wine that exhibits a layered complexity of flavors and aromas.


The wine was aged for 14 months in French oak barrels (30% new). Each lot was meticulously evaluated for blending. Once the final blends were created, the wine was returned to the barrel to allow a gentle integration. After bottling, the wine “rests” for another nine months.


The 2009 J Vineyards Pinot Noir is a lush ruby-red wine that vibrantly showcases its cool-climate Russian River Valley pedigree. Aromas of rich chocolate and wild blackberry fill the glass. The wine delivers flavors of caramel, cinnamon and black spice. Traditional Pinot Noir fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry are also integrated in a subtle oak structure. Our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir pairs with many earthy foods, such as grilled Portobello mushrooms, smoked country ham, or savory duck confit braised in this wine.

APPELLATION:Russian River Valley

HARVEST DATE:September 4 – October 2, 2009

WINE ALCOHOL:14.3% by volume

WINE ACID:5.5 grams per liter

WINE pH:3.70


PRODUCTION:12,000 cases

BOTTLING DATE:February 11 – 18, 2011




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The grapes for our 2009 Russian River Valley Chardonnay were harvested from several J Estate Vineyards, including Nonny’s and River Road. We also source from a handful of select growers in the region who farm grapes exclusively for J Vineyards & Winery.


Whole grape clusters were hand-harvested between 23 and 24 brix, and then pressed gently in our Coquard press to minimize the extraction of harsh components that are sometimes imparted from the grape skins. Free-run juice and press extractions were fermented separately using a combination of indigenous and unique custom yeast strains from Burgundy. A long, slow fermentation allowed the wine to develop slowly, maximizing the cool-climate expression of the Russian River Valley. Careful blending from more than 20 lots resulted in an elegantly beautiful Chardonnay that is both powerful and refined.


We went to great lengths to find just the right French oak cooper, selecting barrels made from two specific sites in France—the forests of Vosges and Limousin. The wine was aged in a mix of new (35%) and older oak barrels. A slow, six-month malolactic fermentation was undertaken, resulting in a wine with a distinctive creamy character. Nearly a year of rest after bottling created a fully integrated wine that honors the winemaking traditions of both Burgundy and the Russian River Valley.


The 2009 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay is a combination of old world minimalism and new world verve. Notes of Meyer lemon, peach, vanilla, toasted almond, and honey delight the nose and mouth. The weighty, seamless palate has a creamy texture reminiscent of crème brûlée. A long, luxurious finish exhibits hints of caramel, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

APPELLATION:Russian River Valley

HARVEST DATE:September 24 – October 3, 2009

WINE ALCOHOL:14.3% by volume

WINE ACID:6.5 grams per liter

WINE pH:3.47


PRODUCTION:8,000 cases

BOTTLING DATE:August 23-28, 2010

RELEASE DATE:December 2011

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.




The Queen of Cabaret holds the record for the longest continuous run at the famed Algonquin Oak Room.  Our most sophisticated performer is the only female entertainer ever to reach such a milestone in the history of cabaret.  The New York Times dubbed her “the high priestess of the American Songbook,” falling “under her spell,” while the Wall Street Journal called an evening with Andrea “the most immersive experience you will ever have.”

Everyone looks forward to getting away from it all.  To celebrate Andrea’s unprecedented achievement, her latest show, “No Strings,” does just that!  Andrea takes the audience on a wonderful trip around the world.  It’s a journey about life on the road—a warm, funny, heartfelt and candid tale of Andrea’s travels from city to city and what that bittersweet journey has meant for her as a singer, an actress, a wife and mother.

Marcovicci looks especially dazzling and her voice is more in control than usual. The big this, as always is her sensational acting ability and impeccable timing.  Highlights include “Sunday in New York,” “Two For the Road,” “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?,” “Under Paris Skies” and “A Foggy Day.”  In addition, Andrea recreates her celebrated rendition of “These Foolish Things.”  It’s an odyssey that flows from the romance of Andrea’s favorite places to unexpected bumps in the road producing some pretty wacky and wonderful stories…a fun, sweet and romantic saga as only Andrea can tell it!  A nostalgic look at a quarter century of a singer’s life.   Andrea is skillfully accompanied on piano by Shelly Markham with Jered Egan on bass.

“No Strings” will run November 15 through December 30, with shows Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11:00.  Holiday shows are Thanksgiving at 7:30, Christmas Eve at 7:30 and Monday December 26 (Boxing Day) at 7:30.  There is a $60 cover charge per person Tuesday-Thursday and late Friday-Saturday, and $65 for the 8:30 shows Friday and Saturday, plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or a $60 prix fixe dinner.

Note: The Algonquin  will close Jan. 1 for a four-month, $15 million renovation.

Let us hope the The Oak Room will remain virtually unscathed and that the powers that be will have come to their senses and allowed the fabled hotel to  re-install the latest feline (Matilda lll),  in a beloved chain of ten mascots, dating back to 1933. New York has survived street fairs, bicycles monopolizing our sidewalks and a demoralized Times Square. Let the pussy cats work in peace.

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Olivia Charms The Upper East Side

eastrivercafe flowerOlivia

1111 First Avenue
New York, NY 10065




FAX: (212) 980-3171

Monday-Friday: 12:00pm-4:00pm

Saturday-Sunday: 11:30am-4:00pm

Sunday-Tuesday: 4:00pm-10:00pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 4:00pm-11:00pm

CUISINE: Mediterranean
(Contemporary and classic Mediterranean
dishes. In addition, a unique variety of
thin-crusted pizzas and homemade gnocchi
are available from the oven.)


DRESS: Elegant Casual


SEATING CAPACITY: Bi-level dining room seats 100
(Wraparound Outdoor Café seats 24

(Wraparound Outdoor Café seats 24)

PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request
(Upper level of dining room or entire restaurant is
available for private parties and special events.)


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The delightful Olivia offers a tinkling piano, packed-bar-scene, and the area’s best value in first rate dining, with an outstanding Italian-Mediterranean kitchen. Inside, there are three attractive rooms with high back country-style chairs, bare wood floors, tables set with double-white cloths and crisp white linen, and walls hung with framed photos depicting scene from films. Prices are midrange with many entrees priced under $25. Steak Sinatra is a terrific hunk of grilled prime-aged Rib eye, sautéed with porcini mushrooms, served with broccoli rabe and mashed potatoes. One of the most expensive dishes on the menu ($28), it is still a bargain. Also loved an elegant Pollo alla Vecchia Maniera, Sautéed Chicken Breast with White Wine Lemon Capers Sauce. Served with Spinach and Mashed Potatoes and a sassy Costoletto, Grilled Pork Chop.with Cherry Peppers, Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Potatoes .

You won’t find a lighter lasagna or gnocchi anywhere and what meatballs on the perfectly cooked spaghetti. All pizzas are recommend, especially the four -cheese or prosciutto-truffle-oil versions.. A recent dinner started with generous cocktails (fabulous martinis) and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc from a short well-selected and amazingly inexpensive wine list. Wines by the glass average $9 and there is value between $30 and $40 (go for the Italian whites and a robust Argentinean Malbec).

Besides the fabulous pizzas, pasta and entrees, there were such  lovely desserts as a fluffy house-made tiramisu and crispy cannoli. Service is highly efficient and accommodating and owner Sam Marcos is a warm and charming host. Now if every neighborhood could have a restaurant as pleasant as Olivia, what a wonderful world this would be


.eastrivercafe tunadinner

eastrivercafe tiramisu eastrivercafe pizza


Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved


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Having triumphed these past two years in her Oak Room celebrations of Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart, beautiful and beguiling Karen Akers now sets her sights on the leading musical theater composer-lyricist of the last half century.

Among her selections from the Stephen Sondheim Songbook are some less familiar offerings such as “More” (Dick Tracy) with its multiplicity of George Gershwin references and “Live, Laugh, Love” (Follies). More to the point,“Send in the Clowns” (A Little Night Music), “Broadway Baby” (Follies), “You Could Drive a Person Crazy (Company), “The Story of Lucy & Jessie” (Follies) and “Moments in the Woods” (Into the Woods) are not just old friends, but warmly welcomed ones. . The show is subtly directed by Eric Michael Gillett with the admirable Don Rebic as Musical Director.

From September 27th through October 29th, “Live, Laugh, Love—Akers Sings Sondheim” plays Tuesdays through Thursdays at 8:30 and Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 and 11 pm. There is a $60 cover charge for all shows except the dinner shows Friday and Saturday, when the cover is $65, plus either a $30 minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner.

Karen Akers, Stephen Sondheim, the incredible Don Rebic all embraced by the magical Oak Room at the world fabled Algonquin Hotel: Need we say more? (Other than to book now).This is a hot ticket.

Reservations: 212-419-9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com

Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved


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Sandy Stewart, celebrated for her sensual voice and impeccable phrasing, and acclaimed jazz pianist Bill Charlap, join forces at he Oak Room for two weeks only in a new show, “The Best Thing for You.”

The pair—who happen also to be mother and son— provide seasoned New Yorkers, as well as savvy out-of-town guests, with the definitive cabaret experience. While nothing old fashioned need apply, here is one of the few chances to enjoy the golden age of cabaret with two world class performers. Stewart is poised and elegant in  stunning black, embellished with a single  piece of jewelry. Opening with an immaculately phrased version of Rodgers and Hart’s “Where or When,” the audience is under her magnetic spell from that moment on. No need for patter, histrionics and (thankfully)  lessons in history. Her mellow voice travels the road from sultry throatiness to muted chest and gentle head tones with an admirable ease .

Charlap is better than ever, a bit more subtle than usual, and takes command of the room in his expected solo stint, which on our visit included an outstanding rendition of Cole Porter’s “Easy To Love.”

Other Stewart standouts offered  a haunting “I Don’t Stand A Ghost of a Chance,” a heart-wrenching rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Solitude” and the unlikely choice of closing with “When You Wish Upon a Star”, so exquisitely performed that a standing ovation would not have been out of order.” (Bill Charlap’s piano interludes feature different songs each show. )

For those who crave the real thing and will settle for nothing less that a sophisticated evening of “classic cab”, shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11:00.   There is a $60 cover charge per person plus either a $30 minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner. Make Reservations ASAP: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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La Silhouette: The Right Shape For A Sparkling Dining Experience

La Silhouette (362 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019, 212-581-2400)

Click Here To Visit Website

As you may have heard, Hell’s Kitchen jewel-box of a French restaurant, La Silhouette, has brought on a new star in the kitchen.  Matthew Tropeano, who has spent the last 6 years running the kitchen at La Grenouille. has been appointed the new executive chef by owners ( Le Bernardin alums)Sally Chironis and Tito Rahman. 

The decor consists of several intimate rooms exploiting a clean, minimalist style with muted colors of gray with bursts of orange, There is a small, cunning bar as you enter and a rather formal space for quiet conversation, leading to a connecting room  with banquettes and tables. Further back is a service bar and a more lively sunken main dining room where walls are hung with colorful striped art-work. Bare wood tables are set with mats and upstairs, there is a fourth space with an attached patio that would be perfect for private parties.

If you get the idea La Silhouette has the look/feel of an elegant bistro in  Paris or London, you get the picture. Sally and Tito greet customers like old friends and orchestrate a level of caring service seldom seen in New York.


Olive Oil Poached Halibut with a crispy shallot crust, summer succotash and piquillo pepper nage

A recent dinner began with expertly made cocktails accompanied by an amuse buche of truffled potato-leek foam with parsley oil and pickled shitake mushrooms. There is a well selected wine list that is being updated to include more global selections and a range from $60 to $200. Currently, there are good selections in the $60 and under range and about 22 wines by the glass. We took it easy with a white Domaine du Pere Caboche Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc (40% Bourboulenc, 25% Clairette, 25% Grenache Blanc and 10% Rousanne/Picpoul). It was sturdy, well balanced and worked  throughout  a complex array of exquisitely prepared dishes. Although chef Tropeano offers an ever-changing tasting menu, we went the a la carte route.

We particularly admired such arousing appetizers as delicate VEAL SWEETBREADS with BUTTERNUT SQUASH AGNOLOTTI, PUMPKIN SEEDS and a touch of SAGE and  a simple-but-precise play on POACHED FARM EGGS with "TRUFFLED" MASCARPONE POLENTA, OYSTER MUSHROOMS in a rich PORCINI COULIS. Every course in a dinner has its star and our table was unanimous in its raves for a remarkable FOIE GRAS "A LA PLANCHA" paired with CARAMELIZED PEARS, TOASTED HAZELNUTS and a sprinkling of SPAGHETTI SQUASH


Poulet Roti “Avellino,” with braised cannellini beans and kale, tomato confit, lardons and vin cotto jus

Bread is excellent and gives a a needed moment’s rest. before such impeccable entrees as an ethereal BUTTER POACHED LOBSTER & BASS combo surrounded by CELERY ROOT-APPLE "SLAW" & LEEK FONDUE and kissed by an amazing SAUCE AMÉRICAINE. If meat is your partner of the evening, go for the LAMB CHOP & LAMB SHANK CRÉPINETTE (sort of a sausage. encased in fat), BROCCOLI RABE, SWEET POTATOES, FENNEL-LAMB SAUSAGE and ROSEMARY JUS: a wow of a preparation.

Jeff Sytsma’s desserts are as outstanding as the preceding. We adored such really fun plays as POPCORN “CRÈME BRÛLÉE” and CANDIED HONEY CRISP APPLES, CARAMEL POPCORN on SALTY CARAMEL ICE CREAM. Other options include a dense WARM CHOCOLATE TOURTE with CONCORD GRAPE GEL, PEANUT BUTTER POWDER and VANILLA ICE CREAM or a beautiful ARTISANAL CHEESE PLATE with HOUSE MADE BREAD AND JAM. Linger with an after dinner drink and enjoy terrific cookies, candies and closing goodies.

Tourte Caprese

La Silhouette is a restaurant to savor, treasure and enjoy. A little bit of France off 9th Avenue,  with a lot of heart and Yes Virginia  . . . civilized dining is alive and well. Santé!


Charming Owners: Sally Chironis and Tito Rahman.

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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