Posts Written OnApril 2012

Shmaltz Hop Manna IPA

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Selecting a beer called “Hop Manna” is about as close as I’ve come in years to celebrating Passover/Easter, but it had been too long since I’d had a Shmaltz Brewing Company (Saratoga Springs, NY, and San Francisco) brew and I was feeling particularly like a chosen person. Hop Manna is a new IPA brewed with Citra, Warrior, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo, and Crystal hops and dry hopped with Centennial, Citra, and Cascade. It’s the brewery’s first single IPA, released last year in four test batches and in distribution for the first time this year. It’s got a beautiful hop nose: fresh, with orange…

Standing Stone Vineyards Vertical Gewurztraminer Tasting: As Unique as the Grape

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The wine tastings at Standing Stone Vineyards are hardly typical, but then again, owner and winemaker Marti Macinski isn’t your average wine industry professional. A former lawyer with a degree in piano performance and philosophy, Macinski purchased the winery with her husband Tom in 1991; they’ve been making wine since 1993. On April 1, Standing Stone conducted a vertical gewurztraminer tasting, featuring six wines from their library: 1995, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2008 and the recently-released 2009. With 9 of us seated in the main tasting room around a low picnic table outfitted in a white tablecloth, it felt more like…

Empire State Cellars Wine Club: May 2012 Selections

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The May shipment of the Empire State Cellars Wine Club won’t ship for a few weeks, but from now on, we’re going to announce the selecitons at least a few weeks beforehand. That way, if you’re not already a member but want the wines, you’ll have time to join! If you’re not familiar with the club, you canlearn more here. “Hello New York” Wines Channing Daughters Winery 2010 Scuttlhole Chardonnay: I prefer my chardonnay unadorned and clean — usually the less oak the better. Winemaker Chris Tracy makes an array of chardonnays, but this one is my favorites — all steel…

A Trip to the West Side (of Keuka Lake)

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Well, I’m once again the midst of my annual month-long break from alcohol –– but that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy a trip to Finger Lakes wine country. In need of a road trip and eager to take advantage of Wednesday’s lovely weather, I hopped in the car and headed to Keuka Lake for a long overdue visit. (Note: to the tasting room servers’ credit, I didn’t get a single stare or snide comment when I asked for a spit bucket, which I’ve heard can be a problem at many wineries. I thus managed to taste responsibly and maintain my detox.)…

Merlot Bud Break at Shinn Estate Vineyards (April 6, 2012)

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What was mere speculation and conjecture just a few weeks ago is now a reality on the North Fork. Shinn Estate Vineyards’ David Page sent me this photo this morning of bud break in their estate merlot vineyard, marking what appears to be the earliest bud break Long Island wine country has ever seen. The grape-growing process is a marathon, not a sprint, but the North Fork is certainly out of the gate early. Now local growers get to stress over nighttime low temperatures for the next month or so, hoping to avoid crippling frosts that could decimate their crops. Hopefully we’ll get…

Artisanal Cheese Pairing Event at Peconic Bay Winery

As a cheese geek I am continually preoccupied with the age-old question that plagues the majority of the cheese obsessed here in NY and elsewhere.  “What makes the better cheese pairing?  Wine or Beer?”  I am clearly not alone in this as a sold-out crowd was on hand at the Artisanal Cheese wine and beer pairing event this past weekend, hosted by Peconic Bay Winery. Working with The Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck, and Greenport Harbor Brewing, the staff at Peconic Bay chose 4 different cheeses and subsequently paired them with complementary beer and wine.  This is a pretty perfect…

Thoughts from a New Father: On Rhys, Riesling, and Teaching Kids to Respect Alcohol

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Our son Rhys was about 16 hours old when he tasted his first wine — roughly a quarter of a drop of Champagne, sucked off the end of my pinky — in our hospital room. Our family toasted his arrival, and I attempted to plant a tiny seed that might someday germinate into true appreciation of wine. There is a difference, of course, between wine appreciation and alcohol consumption. I’ve been thinking about how I’ll approach the subject when Rhys grows in age and maturity. Lenn and Nena Thompson have offered my wife and me a nice blueprint for guiding…

Cornell to Fill North Country Trial Vineyard Tech Position

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Just in from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Northeast NY Commercial Fruit program, is announcement of an open position at the cold hardy hybrid wine grape trial vineyard in Willsboro, NY.  I’m well acquainted with the vineyard, having volunteered there for a few years, and I’m deeply connected to the area, due to family ties, and a lifetime of summers in the town.  Were I in a different place in my life now, or if this was 15 years ago, I would not even be sharing this information. Rather I would be doing everything I could to assume the position myself,…