We New Yorkers are a weird bunch.
To start, we can’t even agree on what being a New Yorker means. A former NYC resident myself, I always found it beyond comical that NY1 would devote an entire 60 seconds to the “World Beyond New York” – be it Long Island, Louisiana or Lithuania, it was all the same upon exit from the five boroughs. Is that, then, the true New York?
Not likely. Despite the heavy tax-base and votership in that small speck of real estate, the rest of the state ends up feeling neglected and overlooked. For example, when I first moved to New YorkCity, I was astounded to see how few wine shops and restaurants carried Long Island wines.
Not much had changed when I found myself working in such a shop five years later; the owners swore the wines would never sell because no one knew them or trusted them. Sadly, such proclamations were more often true than not and it was only the daring customer who would take my Long Island recommendations. I found it surreal that consumers would trust wines hailing from entirely different hemispheres over those from their geographical backyard.
This question of New York viniferal loyalty was further compounded by my move to Buffalo.
Sure, I’m from Long Island, but I’ve lived in both NYC and the
While I’m certainly not writing this to boast one area over another, I’ve come to find it quite curious that we don’t band together more as an entire state. We’ve got an uphill battle here, folks. California is out-fruit-bombing us, France is out-prestiging us, South American is under-pricing us, and Italy is out-experimenting us.
New York, my fellow/femellow (which, by the way, is the new moniker attached to cool chicks like myself) bloggers can testify, produces fantastic wines when the winemakers do not attempt to coerce them into being something they’re not. It damn near breaks my heart every time I taste an overly oaked NY Chardonnay. Why is this happening?!
York has the perfect climate for Chard. We can coax the subtleties out
of aroma and flavor that are lost in the California heat and we can
promise to maintain purity of fruit that won’t necessarily ripen in
I digress. This is not a slam on winemakers who understandably want to
turn around sagging profits by catering to whatever they deem the
public demand to be. Instead, I want this to be a rallying cry:
the wine drinkers of, want wines that we are proud of, and in exchange,
we promise to drink and promote them. We only have ourselves to blame
every time we turn our noses up at a burgeoning wine region, something
that Lenn pointed out that I did this very week.
addition to promising to support NY wines, we need to make the vow to
be all Three Musketeer-ish about it: this is an all-for-one and
one-for-all kinda deal. Why can I not find many NY wines on wine lists
And why, if I do find a few, are they always Rieslings from the
former sommelier from Bacchus anecdotally told me once of a Bordeaux
tasting he’d held at which he decanted an older LI Merlot and served it
as a ringer. His guests raved about the beauty of the Pomerol in their
glasses… and were horrified when they discovered the ‘ugly’ truth. I
wish more sommeliers were willing to take such risks.
we can continue to blame the low-perception of NY wines on lack of
consumer demand or we can turn that around. Hell, most consumers don’t
know what they want until a slick ad campaign tells them – hence the
ubersuccess of yellow tail.
not saying we should plop Dr Frank et al in a mermaid/kangaroo/canary
costume or anything (though – GIGGLES!!) but surely the best way to
change the perception is to buy, serve, drink, and demand. Who’s with
If you need to find me, I’ll be the one on the soapbox. With the megaphone. Clearly.