Vitalie Taittinger on the Art of Her Family’s Champagne- Jan 27

Sometimes, if your name is on a product, you’ll do anything to make sure you own it. That’s certainly the case with Champagne Taittinger, the venerable producer of one of the world’s most sought after sparkling wines who famously in 2005 lost their interest in the family winery only to buy it back in 2007 after much resulting debate within the Champagne community (and wine-drinking public) over what parameters constitute the foundation for making Champagne what it is.

Yet, for all the news that story generated, it’s the wine and family behind it that is what keeps Taittinger on the tip of the tongue for any Champagne aficionado year after year.  The House of Taittinger, founded in 1932 by Pierre Taittinger when he purchased an estate in Reims that had been producing Champagne since the 18th Century, is arguably one of the great producers of true classified Champagne in the world.

Taittinger is now run by third generation family member Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, son Clovis and daughter Vitalie, who as Artistic Director and Global Ambassador is the public face and oversees all creative and public endeavors for the House, which along with the usual, also include sponsorship of non-wine industry events like this month’s SAG Awards in Los Angeles where 600 bottles will be uncorked.

Vitalie, Pierre-Emmanuel and Clovis Taittinger
Vitalie, Pierre-Emmanuel and Clovis Taittinger

As with most Champagne houses, Taittinger produces a well-rounded line of Champagnes, including a non-vintage Brut (made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier); and their flagship Comtes de Champagne, made only in the finest vintages and available in both Blanc de Blanc (Chardonnay only), and Brut Rosé (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). It ranks third in amount of vineyard holdings with about 750 acres.

Champagne Taittinger

Known for its pale colors and lively finesse, Taittinger, with its lighter, less oaked style, is considered one of the more versatile Champagnes on the market and fits into almost any setting. An everyday champagne? Well, maybe the Brut, but the Comtes is a Champagne to savor and celebrate those most serious milestones, like a romantic Saturday night at home by the fire – or New Years Eve, of course.

Do you know who the blonde woman is in this iconic Taittinger poster?
Do you know who the blonde woman is in this iconic Taittinger poster?

Vitalie Taittinger joins us January 27, on The Connected Table LIVE.  With a degree from the Emile Cohl School of Design in Lyon and passionate about drawing, painting and design, Vitalie formed her own business promoting clients in the Champagne and gastronomy sectors, then joined Taittinger in 2007. Today Vitalie uses her artistic talents in the marketing and communication department at Champagne Taittinger. Her mission: to develop and reinforce the image of the Champagne house through its visual identity, design and public relations. She lives in Reims with her husband and children.

Vitalie Taittinger
Vitalie Taittinger



Twitter: @TaittingerUSA

U.S. Importer: Kobrand.

Melanie Young and David Ransom, The Connected TableLIVE
David Ransom and Melanie Young, The Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple. Follow:  Twitter@connectedtable  Facebook/theconnectedtable. Learn more about how The Connected Table connects brands and people and follow our blog at

A G’Day To Frankland Estate’s Hunter Smith in Western Australia

When your wine is called Isolation Ridge, it’s a pretty sure bet that getting to where its made will probably include a lot of driving, and not necessarily on major roads. Of course, once one leaves the relatively few major cities on the world’s smallest Continent, that can be said for much of Australia.

That said, driving to Frankland Estate, situated in a remote region of Western Australia about 250 miles Southeast out of Perth, one gets the feeling that reaching it may never happen (helicopter, please!). But it’s the wines that keep you driving, as Frankland Estate, founded in 1988 on a sheep station situated about 25 miles north of the Southern Ocean, produces some of that country’s best.

Vineyards at Frankland Estate in Western Australia
Vineyards at Frankland Estate in Western Australia

For all the wine Australia makes, and it makes a lot, the wonderful wines of Western Australia, (the most notably recognizable region of which is Margaret River, further West and closer to Perth), often get overshadowed by their more Easterly counterparts from places like Hunter and Barossa Valleys, two of Australia’s most well-known winemaking areas. Which is surprising, since Western Australian winemaking accounts for over 25% of the country’s total production of premium wines.

All that is starting to change however, and it’s thanks to people like the Smith family, owners of Frankland Estate, who are dedicated to not only making superb wines, but making sure that they do it the right way, through organic farming practices and identifying what grows well (i.e., not just planting what people seem to be drinking at the moment) and making that.

And what Frankland Estate is known for is Riesling and Shiraz, both of which adapt well to the cooler climate of the region and make wines of particularly exceptional and unique character. The Riesling is consistently rated among the country’s top wines in its category, and the Shiraz also produce wines that are internationally acclaimed and sought after due to their distinctly different characteristics (more pronounced tannins and aging potential) than the softer, fruit-forward, drink-it-now Shiraz coming out of the hotter growing regions of Eastern Australia.

Frankland Estate Wines
Frankland Estate Wines

Frankland Estate produces about 15,000 cases overall and has about 75 certified organic acres under vine. Wines include Isolation Ridge Riesling, Shiraz, and Chardonnay, and the same varietals under the Rock Gully moniker, and ode to the geographic area and also street address of the winery. Other wines include Poison Hill Riesling and Netley Road Riesling, and also the Estate’s flagship red wine: Olmo’s Reward Red, an award-winning traditonal Bordeaux blend using Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec.

The wines of Frankland Estate are worth a drive if you’re feeling adventurous, have a Roo Bar on your Land Cruiser, and happen to be in Perth. Or, thankfully, they’re also available in the U.S. which would probably be a bit more convenient, particularly once you run out and need to get more.

Hunter Smith, Frankland Estate Winerty
Hunter Smith, Frankland Estate Winery

Hear from Frankland Estate Co-Owner and Co-Vintner Hunter Smith, whose parents Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam founded Frankland Estate in 1988. Sheep farmers since the 1970s, Smith and Cullam were inspired by a trip to Bordeaux and working two vintages in that region of France. Hunter and sister Elizabeth joined the family business.  And then there’s Gladys the Guinea Hen, the winery’s mascot, who’s in charge of critter and pest control.  Can we have a “G’Day Mate” shout out for this show? January 27th, 2pm EST on The Connected Table LIVE! on



Twitter: @FranklandEstate

U.S. Importer: Quintessential Wines.

Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts The Connected Table LIVE!
Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts of The Connected Table LIVE! Follow them on and Learn more about how The Connected Table helps connects people and brands and follow The Connected Table events and blog at

The Katz Out of the Bag About NY Distilling- Jan 20

As the revival of cocktail culture has seen its bloom blossom over the last decade, and more and more people have hopped on the bandwagon to learn about, and make cocktails, one of the people they have turned to to help educate themselves has been Southern Wine and Spirits of New York Director of Spirits Education and Mixology Allen Katz.

Alan Katz by Randy Duchaine
Alan Katz by Randy Duchaine

A longtime member of the cocktail community and one of the industry’s great speakers, Katz has been at the forefront of making sure the industry has gotten its methods and spirits right. Yet, somewhere along the way, Katz decided he had even more to give, maybe some spirits of his own. So, a few years ago, in partnership with Brooklyn Brewery founder Tom Potter, Katz opened New York Distilling Company, a craft distillery in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, that makes meticulously handcrafted spirits like Gin and Rye, all made to the exacting specifications and historical accuracy of Katz’s discerning palate and knowledge.

With names like Dorothy Parker American GinPerry’s Tot Gin, and Ragtime Rye, NY Distilling’s products are bottled odes to the great distilling culture of New York’s bygone spirits industry, and speak to the legacy of the distilling prowess that New York once had and hopes to have again.

We’re thrilled to welcome Allen Katz to our show on Wednesday January 20 at 2:25pm ET. Join us for a “spirited conversation.”

dorothy parker gin cocktailTHE ACERBIC MRS. PARKER
2 oz  Dorothy Parker Gin
½ oz  Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz  Hibiscus Syrup
¾ oz  Combier Orange Liqueur
 Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon wheel. Serve with a straw.





BIG IRONcocktail
 2 oz Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters
 Combine ingredients in an old-fashioned glass. Stir over a large ice cube.

Connect :

Twitter: @nydistilling 




Your Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/TheConnectedTable
Your Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/TheConnectedTable

Marathon Woman: Banfi Vintners’ Cristina Mariani-May

Over the years, the name Banfi has become one of the top names when talking about Italian wines. Yet, Banfi Vintners, founded in 1919 by John Mariani, and now run by third generation family members Cristina Mariani-May and her cousin James, is actually an American company, started right in New York City. So how did a little NY importing company that had the misfortune of starting a wine importing business a year before Prohibition (it survived, of course) grow to become one of the true icons in the world of wine?

Cristina Mariani-May
Cristina Mariani- May juggles overseeing Banfi’s extensive holdings, making appearances, motherhood and running marathons with skill.

Well, somewhere in the second half of the last century, second generation owners Harry and John Jr. hit on an idea for bringing in a slightly sweet refreshing little wine made from the Lambrusco grape called Riunite, which so beguiled U.S consumers that it launched Banfi to the top of the wine importation game and cemented its place in the wine world unlike any other wine had in the past. “Riunite on ice, that’s nice.” We all know the slogan.

And it was the success of that wine which allowed the Mariani brothers to purchase a dilapidated winery property in Tuscany, outside the fairly unknown town of Montalcino in the 1970’s called Poggio Alle Mura, which they renovated and turned into Castello Banfi, now one of the wine making jewels of not just Brunello di Montalcino, the famous wine from the hillsides surrounding the town where Castello Banfi is situated, but all of Tuscany.

The majestic Castello Banfi in Montalcino

Over the years Banfi vintners has expanded its reach to other parts of Italy, and their Italian portfolio is unmatched in that country’s wine making circles. But Banfi has also branched out into South America, and the United States, with their Exelsior Wine Company, a partnership with Chilean powerhouse producer Concha y Toro to import Chilean and Argentine wines to the U.S., ands also market a handful of California wines in the marketplace. The most recent endeavor of Banfi Vintners has been a reach into Washington State and Oregon, two of this country’s biggest new production regions.

We can’t wait to talk shop with Co-CEO Cristina Mariani-May on Wednesday January 20, 2016 at 2:00pm ET to find out more about her amazing family’s wines, legacy, and future.



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Follow us on Twitter@connectedtable and Facebook/TheConnectedTable

Has Amanda Cohen Ever Met A Vegetable She Didn’t Like?

New York City has seen its fair share of vegetarian restaurants over the years, like Zen Palate, Blossom, Candle Cafe and Angelica Kitchen, but none have ever garnered the accolades that Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy has. Opened in 2008 with only 18 seats, Dirt Candy wasn’t just a fresh look at how to create a meat free menu, it was more like the Le Bernardin of vegetarian cooking: a veritable temple to the possibilities of where one can take a chef’s chosen medium, in this case vegetables, in the kitchen.

Great balls of veggie bread! These chewy puffy, pick apart rolls are serve as a side at Dirty Candy
Great balls of veggie bread! These chewy puffy, pick apart rolls are serve as a side at Dirt Candy

When it was reviewed, finally – after four years, by Pete Wells of The New York Times (he, like Leonardo DiCaprio, probably couldn’t get a reservation), Dirt Candy got a glowing review and two stars. Later, the Michelin Guide took notice. the restaurant expanded to a large location on the Lower East Side with plenty of seating and counter space to feed NYC’s growing population of healthy minded restaurant goers. Address:  86 Allen Street (212) 228-7732 Twitter@dirtcandynyc

Portobello mousse with Asian pearsand truffle toast at Dirt Candy
Portobello mousse with Asian pears and truffle toast at Dirt Candy
All of it comes from the energetic mind of Amanda Cohen, a Canadian by birth, who has, in the process of creating a restaurant based on vegetables, also bucked most of the stereotypes associated with that concept, like using organic vegetables, sourcing only from farmers markets, and eschewing the use of dairy and eggs in her dishes. She does none of those, choosing instead to focus on making sure that what she creates in her professional kitchen, while certainly more labor intensive and admittedly intricate than similar dishes one may cook at home, can at least be done so from supermarket ingredients if need be, and without scouring the far reaches of the earth to find the perfect purple carrot.
Chef/Restaurateur Amanda Cohen
Chef/Restaurateur Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy

Amanda calls Dirt Candy an all vegetable restaurant  versus vegetarian. Dirt Candy appeals to vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike. It’s just that good and you want to try every dish. Rephrasing something Amanda says in her comic book cookbook, “Dirt Candy: A Cookbook,” “It’s about saying “yes” to vegetables versus saying “no” to meat. In fact, Amanda does eat meat. But has she met a vegetable she doesn’t like? Listen to our January 13th show with Amanda at this iHeartRadio Link


Purchase Amanda’s cookbook now and find out how her sense of humor is as fabulous as her cooking.