Here is a sampling of what our editors and contributors have been drinking.

Evan Dawson: Local store's recommendation — Ravines 2007 Meritage

I had a very strange experience at a local wine store this past Saturday.

I picked up a bottle of the Ravines 2007 Meritage at the urging of the gentleman behind the counter in Wine Sense in Rochester. (The store has assumed new ownership; the previous owner was a steadfast supporter of New York wines.)

The man told me, "That's the number one Finger Lakes red wine," referencing the NYCR Wines of the Year results. I did not tell him I write for NYCR. I simply nodded and smiled, but then my smile vanished at his next sentence.

"That wine is so good that it doesn't taste like a New York wine. That's a good thing!"

Needless to say, I left the store with a rather sour taste in my mouth.


2011-02-20_19-30-12_85David Flaherty: Saison Cazeau

Saison is bar-none one of my favorite beer styles. A "farmhouse" ale, it was traditionally brewed in the spring months and cracked open during the summer, as it was just too damn hot out to get the fermenter going without fear of bacterial beasties taking over. This was pre-refrigeration, mind you, which, upon its discovery, changed the entire course of beer and winemaking forever. 

Now we can brew in August! Yippee! Fire up the fermenter, boys! 

I've noticed a lot of breweries now adopting this style — after it nearly fell to the wayside in obscurity — because it allows one a nice palate on which to put your brewing mark. The style commonly has a moderate bitterness, a bit of spiciness from the yeast and an earthy, citrus character.  Adding of herbs to a Saison is common — or in my case, we spiced up our home-brewed one with green chiles.
In this case, the Saison Cazeau adds local Elderflowers. It had a nice, frothy head that lasted nearly all the way to the bottom of the glass and a creamy mouthfeel that was reminiscent of grassy, lemon curd (yep, try making that for your dinner party). 

Very floral and citric on the nose with a bit of metallic bitterness from the flowers. Quite interesting.

I think it would be best enjoyed in the Belgian countryside while wooing your man or woman with some fresh wildflowers and a full glass



Lenn Thompson: Domaine Jean Garaudet 2005 Monthelie

Over the past month or so, I've been lucky enough to taste several delicious Burgundy and Beaujolais wines, but none stood out more than this one, which was opened by a friend after we had finished tasting a wide array of hard ciders.

Explosively aromatic, the nose — which featured myriad red fruits, cola, spice and a distinct savory meatiness — grabbed me from across the room. It's one of those wines that you could sit and smell for five hours or more.

Of course why torture one's self?

On the palate it's just as beautiful. Medium weight and I imagine extremely food friendly, it blends red berries with earth and exotic spice and more of that intriguing savory quality. Not super-long, but balanced and a real beauty.

Burgundy has long been a near-mystery for me. Luckily, I've got some friends who know it far better — and who are beyond generous with their treasures.