Posts Written OnJanuary 2012

Oak-Aged Riesling? In the Finger Lakes, it’s Starting to Happen. Here’s Why

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By Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor Two producers do not make a trend, but in any region there are trend-setters and trailblazers. In the Finger Lakes, Ravines Wine Cellars has been producing some of the strongest rieslings for the past decade. And newcomer Forge Cellars comes with the high expectations attached to the wines of Louis Barruol, a renowned winemaker from Gigondas in France. Both Ravines and Forge are now experimenting with old oak barrels when it comes to making riesling. Ravines winemaker Morten Hallgren took the first step, selecting a portion of his 2010 Argetsinger Vineyard Riesling to be…

4 a.m. is the Right Time for Ice Wine

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By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Region Editor The landscape along the Lake Ontario shoreline-hugging roadway that stretches eastward to Orleans County – Route 18 – pretty much becomes desolate once you pass Olcott. And it only seems more desolate at four in the morning on the coldest day of the winter. Lyndonville’s distance from the center of the Niagara Wine Trail keeps me from making this journey as often as I’d like to, but on this morning there was no hesitation – it was Leonard Oakes Estate Winery’s annual ice wine harvest. As I made my way through an apple orchard…

Altamont Vineyard & Winery 2008 Leon Millot Reserve

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Because of my interest in New York and other northeast wines, I’ve tasted a great many red hybrids over the years, but never Leon Millot. In fact, I had never even heard of Leon Millot learning that Keuka Lake Vineyards on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes has a bit of a cult following for its rendition. I have yet to taste that wine, but was able to get my hands on a bottle from Altamont Vineyards & Winery in Altamont, NY — which happens to just be 15 miles or so from my where my wife’s family lives. I…

The Finger Lakes 2011 Red Wines of the Year Finalists: Explaining the Diverse Selections

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By Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor Photos from our WoTY 2009 Tasting by Morgan Dawson I’m happy to see that the NYCR selections for Finger Lakes red wines of the year have generated a fair amount of feedback and debate. There have been many questions: Why no cabernet franc? How come every wine is made from a different grape? Keep in mind that for a wine to be eligible, it has to have been released in 2011. Many of the red wines released in 2011 came from the uneven 2009 vintage. The glorious 2009 September produced strong conditions for Finger…

Billsboro Winery 2010 Dry Riesling

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By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor My Finger Lakes-focused colleague Evan Dawson and I sometimes lament what sometimes happens to Finger Lakes riesling when it’s fermented dry. Depending on the fruit and the winemaker, the wines can become shrill, hollow and overly austere. Casually, we refer to them as “lemon water riesling.” That’s not a compliment. It seems though that dry rieslings from longer and/or warmer growing seasons — like the long 2010 one — tend to avoid this problem more often.   Billsboro Winery 2010 Dry Riesling ($16) is an fine example of that. Made from fruit grown at Sawmill…

A Visit to C’est Cheese (Port Jefferson, NY)

By Aaron Estes, Cheese Editor Artisanal cheese has made its way to the forefront of the local food movement. Farmstead cheesemakers elevate the milk from their farms, and the rock star cheesemonger expounds upon the history, the background, and unique qualities of that particular cheese. So what is the best way to accomplish this? Specialty cheese shops are all over New York City and surrounding areas to bring a piece of the farm to your table, but is that enough to distinguish one shop from another? If the quality of the product is essentially the same across the board, and…

Heart & Hands Wine Company 2009 Pinot Noir

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Over a relatively short period of time, Heart & Hands Wine Company has almost become synonymous with New York pinot noir. There are other wineries making good versions of course, but on a consistent basis, there isn’t a producer I can recommend more for pinot. Co-owner and winemaker Tom Higgins carefully sources fruit from dependable growers and his passion for the grape manifests itself in meticulous cellar work. Heart & Hands Wine Company 2009 Pinot Noir ($20) — which is closed under Vino-Seal by the way — offers aromas of red cherries and cranberries sprinkled with brown spice, star anise…

Winery Websites: Not So Good, it Seems

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By Evan Dawson, Managing Editor When you visit a winery’s website, you’re probably there for one simple reason. Either you want tasting room hours or the wine list or the winemaker’s story. But whatever it is, you want it quickly and easily. And too often, it’s not easy enough to find what you’re seeking. On top of that, the websites look clunky and amateurish. This is a generalization, of course. Some websites are excellent. Too many are not. But don’t take it from me. Here’s an email I received this week from a reader of my book, Summer in a…

Naked Dove Brewing Company Helles

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By Mark Tichenor, Rochester Beer Correspondent Color matters in the beer world. It’s a disappointing truth, but some people make snap judgments about, and shy away from, some styles just because of the color of the brew. It’s ironic because of the inherent self-deprivation; tragic because some drinkers who turn up their nose at all liquids not obsidian black would miss out on as wonderul a beer as Naked Dove Brewing Company Helles. Helles is the iconic golden lager style of Munich. It’s the rejuvenator you get a liter of when you drag your jet-lagged tourist butt into the Hofbräuhaus.…