Celebrating New Zealand Wine #sauvblanc

The marketers of New Zealand wine took an idea started by St. Supery winery in California six years ago and helped turn Sauvignon Blanc Day into a global event, with tastings around the world on Friday, April 24, so that the day stretches into two on social media. Fair enough: Many New Zealand wines are worthy of such attention. Although some of my favorite NZ wines are pinot noir, more than two-thirds of all wine produced in New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc.

Many people may recognize New Zealand wines among some of the lowest price wines sold in the United States — it’s not hard to find respectable bottles for around $10. Some of this results from efficient bottling and transport (some wines are bulk shipped to California for bottling and distribution.) And, New Zealand benefits from the relatively recent development of its wine industry — mostly within the past  30 years or so.

This week, I tasted two sample bottles from Nobilo. Both were good; one I look forward to enjoying again. Other enjoyable NZ Sauvignon Blancs I’ve had include  ones by Ata Rangi (the 2011 was velvety soft); Wairau River and Cloudy Bay.

New Zealand wine
Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc is a good value at around $12.
The better of the two bottles was 2014 Nobilo Regional Sauvignon Blanc. Pale straw hues, pronounced grapefruit flavor, and a long, mineral finish, this dry wine worked well with spicy foods and strong cheese, and it would match many seafood dishes perfectly. At around $14 a bottle, this represents a very good wine for the price.

The other sample was 2014 Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc. Definitely more complex, this wine’s high acidity and light body belies the expected silky balance. The nose had notes of gasoline (petrol if I follow the standard wine flavor glossaries,) flowers, apricot and bell pepper. Grapefruit dominates the flavor, with some white and black pepper. Still a good value for around $17, the balance of the $14 Nobilo Regional still wins for me.

These are only two of hundreds of good New. Zealand wines available in the United States. One advantage of the Global Economy is greater opportunity to enjoy products from around the world. New Zealand wines fit that category quite nicely.

This post was based in part on sample wines provided by the producers.


Sad: Star chef in Chicago commits suicide

Homaro Cantu, 38, was found dead Tuesday.
Chef Homaro Cantu, 38, was found dead Tuesday.

The restaurant business is rife with emotional ups and downs, but there have been too many sad stories like this one. The Chicago Tribune reports on the suicide death of Homaro Cantu, 38. He rose to fame in Charlie Trotter’s kitchen and earned his own Michelin star in 2012. But notoriety in the kitchen does not always translate into business or personal success. Read more:

Famed chef Homaro Cantu, owner of Moto, found dead on Northwest Side – Chicago Tribune.

Directory: Where to find organic and healthy foods in Washington Heights and Inwood

After a neighbor complained that she could only find “five or six” organic foods in Washington Heights or Inwood, I started collecting data that shows otherwise. In fact, the selection of organic, local and natural items available in northern Manhattan has increased significantly just in the four months since started compiling this directory. Now, healthy and organic options continue to expand — throughout our diverse community. Please contribute to my list, below.

Update May 12, 2016: In addition to the stores on the list below, nearly every corner store or bodega in the area now has some organic items, and many have fresh fruits for sale.

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Organic food and natural products in Washington Heights and Inwood

While much of the growth is spurred by customer requests, City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhood Program works with corner stores and supermarkets in Washington Heights and Inwood to increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. City Harvest aims to expand to more stores this year.

Here is a list of places that sell organic or natural products in our community. If you have information to add, please enter a comment, and the page will be updated periodically.

  • C-Town 4918 Broadway  sells a growing variety of organic fresh vegetables and fruits, Bob’s Red Mill grain products, household products by Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and others, and meats and poultry raised without antibiotics, including some organic meats (check the freezer case.) Carries large selection of organic spices and packaged foods, including multiple brands of organic beans and other staples. Very good about ordering items on request.
  • Bravo 4261 Broadway carries organic dairy products, frozen vegetables and some organic produce.
  • Food Universe (formerly Associated) 5069 Broadway has a selection of organic produce and multiple brands of dairy, natural and antibiotic-free meats, and environmentally sensitive household products. Has organic baby food, spices and both canned and frozen foods, and organic grains. Major brands carried include: Amy’s, Kashi, Bob’s Red Mill, Cascadian Farms, Stonyfield Farms, Spice Hunter.
  • Associated 592 Fort Washington Ave., has multiple brands of organic dairy products, some organic produce, and natural household items. Store is scheduled for renovation and upgrade in 2016.
  • Frank’s Market 807 W. 187th St.,  has an extensive selection of organic produce, canned and other packaged food items, organic meats and poultry, frozen foods, and dairy. Wide selection of organic groceries, including Bob’s Red Mill and other brands of grains and baking products.
  • Jin’s Superette, 804 W. 181st St., has organic produce, dairy, frozen foods and canned goods, plus an array of organic snacks.
  • Dichter Pharmacy, 4953 Broadway, , has variety of organic and natural health and beauty products and some household items, including cleaning products. Very good about ordering items on request. Also sells Ronnybrook dairy products, including milk and ice cream.
  • All About Green, Sherman Ave between 10th Ave. and Isham St., has hundreds of organic and natural cleaning and household products, primarily in large sizes for commercial use. Store hours seem somewhat unpredictable.
  • Saturdays: Most of the products sold at the Inwood Greenmarket are raised naturally and some are certified organic. All are local. See http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/manhattan/inwood for details and a list of the vendors. Hawthorne Valley Farm is a year-round vendor of vegetables, fruit, cheese, yogurt, pastries and sauerkraut that is certified organic. Bread Alone sells organic breads and pastries.
  • Tuesdays: Fort Washington Greenmarket on Fort Washington Ave., at 168th Street (Columbia University Medical Center) has several organic vendors. See  http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/manhattan/fort-washington. (Market closed during winter months.)
  • Thursdays: The 175th Street Greenmarket has natural products and farmers selling specialty produce of Mexican and other Latino origins, all from local growers. See http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/manhattan/175th-street
  • Park Terrace Deli, 510 W. 218th St., has more than 200 organic products, including frozen vegetables and prepared foods, canned groceries, snacks, multiple brands of organic dairy and beverages, and a limited selection of organic fresh fruits.
  • Fine Fare, 4776 Broadway near Dyckman, has over 300 organic grocery items, including spices, grains, cereals, multiple brands of organic dairy, and produce. No organic meats or chicken.

The following stores (supermarkets and “corner stores” or bodegas) participate in City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhood Program to increase produce availability and offer healthy shopping tours and in-store cooking demonstrations:

  • Bravo supermarkets at 1331 St. Nicholas Ave., 4138 Broadway, and 4261 Broadway.
  • C-Town, 1016 St. Nicholas Ave.
  • C-Town, 4918 Broadway
  • La Mina Supermarket, 553 W. 157th St.
  • 119 AR Grocery Corp., 119 Ellwood St.
  • 128 P&L Grocery Corp., 128 Audubon Ave.
  • Bello Deli Food, 5009 Broadway.
  • Diaz Deli Grocery, 2143 Amsterdam Ave.
  • Frutera El Buen Camino, 3888 Broadway.
  • M.D.K. Grocery Corp., 100 Audubon Ave.
  • My Deli Grocery, 670 W. Academy St.
  • My Sweet Deli, 187 Sherman Ave.
  • Red Apple Deli Market Corp., 134 Hamilton Pl.
  • The New Generation, 242 Sherman Ave.




More green tea benefits: It may fight oral cancer

Green tea health benefits.
Green tea health benefits.
Penn State researchers find green tea has potential value in fighting oral cancer. Photo by Nathan Cooke. Used with permission under Creative Commons license.

Researchers at Penn State say they have found another point to add to the growing list of green tea benefits, this time potential anti-cancer effect. Their research shows that a compound in green tea targets mouth cancer cells, without harming healthy cells. Read more at MicrobeWorld.org.

According to a news release from the researchers:

Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate — EGCG — a compound found in green tea, killed oral cancer cells without harming normal cells, but researchers did not understand the reasons for its ability to target the cancer cells, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. The current study shows that EGCG may trigger a process in the mitochondria that leads to cell death.

“EGCG is doing something to damage the mitochondria and that mitochondrial damage sets up a cycle causing more damage and it spirals out, until the cell undergoes programmed cell death,” said Lambert. “It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria, and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species.”

(Source: Penn State News Office)

Forecasters rarely use “historic” to describe pending storm

The storm on its way to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast has the makings of a major snow and weather event. The National Weather Service rarely uses language like this, which was included in the forecast Sunday afternoon:


Here’s some detail from NYNJPAWEATHER.com, a private forecaster who has been helpful and reliable during past major weather events. While the amount of the snowfall in the New York City area could be anywhere from a few inches up to two feet, the bigger concern has to do with wind and “thunder snow.” Also, surrounding areas look like they will get well more than a foot of snow. If the storm duration is greater than 24 hours, as the current forecast indicates, there will be much disruption, especially on Tuesday.

Click on any area on the map below for details of the projected storm impact.

No more British chocolate bars in USA?

The New York Times reports that Hershey’s is enforcing geographic licensing restrictions that forbid some British-made versions of candies like Kit Kats from sale in the United States.

As a result of a settlement with the Hershey’s Company, Let’s Buy British Imports, or L.B.B., agreed this week to stop importing all Cadbury’s chocolate made overseas. The company also agreed to halt imports on KitKat bars made in Britain; Toffee Crisps, which, because of their orange packaging, and yellow-lined brown script, too closely resemble Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; Yorkie chocolate bars, which infringe on the York peppermint patty; and Ms. Perry’s beloved Maltesers.

The British chocolates are richer because they contain more milk than sugar and different stabilizers from the additives used in the United States that give the products a longer shelf life.