Posts Written OnOctober 2012

Climbing the Summit: Progress v. Placating in NY’s Wine, Spirits, and Beer Industry

Last Wednesday, I boarded a 7:15 a.m. Amtrak train up to Albany where, along with several hundred winemakers, brewers, distillers, and farmers, I got to sit in on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York State Wine, Beer, and Spirits Summit. The invitation had come in the week before: “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo cordially invites you…”; the date, place, time, and RSVP instructions. What, exactly, was going to happen? I really wasn’t sure, but as soon as I walked into the Egg Center for the Performing Arts I understood that this was going to be a serious afternoon, and hopefully one where progress was the order of the…

New York Wine in China: Day 1

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This was not at all the culture shock I was expecting as most of our group arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport early midday Tuesday. This first day was to get acclimated to the drastic time difference – we lost exactly twelve hours on the way over, so dinner for us was around six in the morning. The city is a stunning mix of hyper-modern and classical, with no sign of the overcrowding one might think exists. Streets are wide and fast, populated by an odd mix of scooters, mini-bikes, bicycles, container trucks, and Audis…lots and lots of Audis, as well…

Harvest 2012: Grower Tom Tower on the Rocks

Youngstown farmer Tom Tower is no stranger to the spotlight in Western New York. He’s a driving force behind several local farmers’ markets and he’s been supplying some of the best chefs in the region with his fruits and vegetables long before it was hip to eat local. These days Tower has thrown his trademark hat into the grape growing ring by supplying winemaker Jonathan Oakes and the rest of the crew at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery with grapes grown on his farm just 1.5 miles south of Lake Ontario. I had the opportunity to do an on camera interview…

Forge Riesling: The Most Debated Wine in the Finger Lakes, and Why Riesling Can Succeed in Oak

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Before the final presidential debate, several members of the news media were accidentally emailed a debate recap by one of the campaigns. It described what an outstanding performance their candidate had just displayed. Of course, the review was written hours before anything, you know, actually happened. Spirited discussion is healthy, but prejudgment should be unacceptable, and that has affected the conversation about Forge Cellars‘ first vintage of riesling, the recently released 2011. So what’s the big deal? Well, this is the first Finger Lakes riesling (to our knowledge) aged entirely in oak, not stainless steel or some other container. Granted,…

Community Matters: What’s 5 Hours of Hand Sorting Between Friends?

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Almost a week later, I still have purple stains under my finger nails and my back still spasms a bit if I stand just so. It’s simple math, really — take a 6’3″ out-of-shape guy, make him bend over a sorting table for five hours and you’re virtually guaranteed these sorts of short-term annoyances. But, standing at that table, hands cold and sticky with sweet cabernet franc juice and pulp, plucking green stems (and a little rot here and there) from the belt, talking about everything from the latest presidential debate to school lunches to harvesting chickens, with a group…

What We Drank (October 23, 2012)

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Here’s a look at what our contributors have been drinking… Katie Myers: Chateau Pradeaux 2006 Bandol Rosé I love fall. But with the weather still fairly warm and produce aplenty, I’m clinging to the last vestiges of summer. This 2006 Chateau Pradeaux rosé is a great transitional wine. I briefly visited Provence this summer and was reminded of the cardinal rule of Bandol wines: they must be aged. Usually big and bold, they need a bit of time to mellow before approaching (kind-of like some people, now that I think of it). This rule holds true for rosés as well – given a chance, the often assertive…

In Defense of Pumpkin Ale

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Pumpkin ale is the beaujolais nouveau of the beer world: it’s ubiquitous in the fall and it gets little respect. Beer drinkers complain that they show up too early, and sure, August is a bit early –– but this year August was pumpkin season. Then they complain that pumpkin ales just don’t taste good. Well, they don’t all taste the same, so that has to be a generalization, unless you hate the taste of pumpkin or pumpkin spices in which case shut your damn mouth. Then they complain that they’re everywhere, which wouldn’t be true if nobody drank them. I…

New York Wines in China: Opportunities, Challenges and a Unique Education

Editor’s Note: Tomorrow, Jim Silver, general manager of Peconic Bay Winery and Empire State Cellars, will fly to China as part of a delegation set to represent and eventually sell New York wines there. While he’s there, he will be publishing a travel diary here on the New York Cork Report. I asked him to introduce that diary before he left. Bloomberg reports that the Chinese Gross Domestic Product grew 7.6% in the third quarter of this year over last year. The same report considers that a “drag from inventory restocking…” One has to wonder what they would consider robust growth. Sparing…

Vote for Red: Brooklyn Winery Places Its First Red Wines on the Ballot

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Last night marked a historic moment in the short history of Brooklyn Winery. Framed by a timely election-themed backdrop, the first red wine grapes that entered the facility — still a construction site in 2010 — made their public debut as finished wines. The new portfolio of wines were unveiled as part of an exclusive sneak peek for “friends of the winery” — investors, neighbors and the like. The wines, like politicians, weren’t shy. Winemaker Conor McCormack deemed them “big reds,” and they lived up to their billings. The “candidates” were each introduced by pre-recorded stump speeches — humorous videos that extolled the platforms and…

Fork Finds: The Railroad Museum of Long Island , Riverhead, NY

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I don’t do diapers. I’m completely at a loss on how to calm a crying child. Handing them a dollar bill doesn’t always work, but sometimes my lipstick does. Either way, I do enjoy being the hostess with the most-est to visiting friends and family and that applies to all guests even if they are toddlers. When my pseudo niece and nephew (two and four) came to the North Fork for the first time, I was at a loss. We saw what happened last time I brought young children to a tasting room and I wasn’t up for that particular…