Small Things Savory - Shrimp Cocktail by Derrick VanDuzer

Looking Back, With Anticipation

by Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng
January 28, 2010


With the new calendar already teeming with wine events, I’m reminiscing on the moments and trends that really stood out in 09, and what there is to look forward to this year.

Worthy Wine Moments in 09:

Venue: An empty SoHo commercial loft
It’s no secret that I like my cocktails. Lately, it’s been a clean Vesper before dinner (or sometimes with my lunch). Last year, Belvedere vodka outdid themselves and threw the best cocktail-paired-with-dinner event: An Evening of Maceration. Who will give the cocktail event of this year?

Forecast: Clean, simple cocktails continue their comeback. Fewer ingredients pair well with food.

Venue: Public garden in the far East Village
I support the locavore movement and creative entertaining touches. Outstanding in the Field combines both aspects with flair. Robert Mondavi may seem a tad quotidian for New Yorkers, but their garden dinner at La Plaza Cultural curated by Outstanding in the Field proved Mondavi is hipper than you might think!

Forecast: Thematic events in out-of-the-box locations.

Venue: A private club in midtown
I had white Rhône wines on my mind when I got back from the southern French wine region last spring. Serendipitously, I was invited to a Château La Nerthe dinner with winemaker Alain Dugas as soon as I got back to NYC. I was excited to taste his white wine and impressed to learn that Château La Nerthe made the first ever white Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Forecast: Wineries showcase their hidden gems at tastings, not just their most famous labels. A lot of time it is the white of a famous red wine producer.

Venue: Daniel
A night of Haut-Brions to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Sherry-Lehamann. Need I say more? The highlight for me was the chance to taste the rare white wine of this famous first growth, Haut-Brion Blanc. Michael Aaron, chairman emeritus of Sherry-Lehmann, told the best story yet (he is always mesmerizing, but this one was my all-time favorite). Aaron recounts an old client used to buy a lot of Haut-Brion Blanc from Sherry-Lehmann and when he went to summer in the South of France he figured he would be so close to the actual château that he had his chauffer go and pick up some of his favorite wine. Turns out the château itself had nothing in stock. They told him the only place he could get the wine is at Sherry-Lehmann on Madison Avenue in Manhattan!

Forecast: More storytime with Michael Aaron. Few have lived through so much of modern wine history and tell it as well. Still waiting for him to write a book.

Venue: Le Bernardin
Lunch with Olvier Krug to taste his 96 Clos d’Ambonnay. I breathed a sigh of pleasure when I opened my invitation to this intimate gathering. This coveted single-vineyard wine from a 1.5 acres “clos” comes from a powerhouse champagne maker and one of the best vintages in recent years. The wine lingered longer than each course. Recession? Yes. Decadent? Yes. Do I feel guilty? No.

Forecast: Scarcity still commands price in champagne, but prices have been brought down even for the top-of-the-line wines. These wines will continue to be made and will outlive the tough times.

Venue: Central Park
I live life to the fullest, as I’m sure you’ve already figured out.
My annual birthday picnic has been covered by Page Six. Last year, it was was finally what I have always wanted: black-tie, in Central Park!

It was magical. It felt like we had the whole Park to ourselves. I love surprising people by creating events that merge everyday elements with high-end details. I like to throw people off their guard a bit, but most importantly, it has to be fun.

Forecast: I’ll be curating more events, picnics and beyond.

name (required)

email (required, will not be published)




Sign up to receive the Cravings newsletter!

Wine Features

The Wine of Paris

Island Whites (Part II)

Island Whites (Part I)

South African Diversity

Surprise, Surprise! Bordeaux is Really Very Good

Burgundy Joy

New Year’s Bubblies for a Splurge and Splash


My Weekend from Wall Street to South Beach

Vérité: French Roots in California Soil

A Spirit for the Ages

Ultimate Lurton

Vinexpo, the Asian Rendition

It’s Never Too Early to Think About Father’s Day… Especially if He’s Keen on Scotch

Gin from the Past

The Beauty of a Sommelier

March of the Carnivores

Discovering Mexican Wine

A Feast in the Hills above Las Vegas

Oregon: Wines on the Frontier

Not What We Expected, Per Se

Cru Beaujolais at Union Square Cafe

Beaujolais Retailers

Beaujolais with a Backbone

Summer Cocktails?

What is Bubbling in Champagne?

Tight Little Island: Islay Scotch

French Wine Finds

Alto Adige

Back to Restaurant Season in Paris

Cyn's Favorite Champagnes in 2006

Sparkles Everywhere

Discovering Jura Gems

A Taste of North Fork

Milou en mai: My Month of May

Parisian Bistrots à Vin

A Wine Story About Bees (Buzzed by Older Wines)

Gaia: Deconstructing a Wine List

Robert Pepi Makes New Waves Under the Eponymous Label

Holiday Toasting!

Parker on Champagne: What's in a Vintage?

Pascale Rousseau

Ed McCarthy

Terry Theise

Sean Crowley

The World of Champagne Seen from the Inside Out

Lieb Cellars - Recipe 2

Lieb Cellars - Recipe 1

Lieb Cellars - Retailers

Family Cellars' Pinot Blanc: Flat or Fizz?

Rosé - Related Websites

Cyn's Rosé Recs - Retailer

Cyn's Rosé Recs - By The Glass

Jancis Robinson, Rosé & I

Pearl - Champagne

Danube - Grüner Veltliner

Esca - Bellini

Prune - Bloody Mary

iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

Sur La Table_Brand_120X90


Save Ten on Angie's List!

Alessi S.P.A. US