Posts Written OnNovember 2012

Len_harvest2012_01

It’s the same story that plays out every year. Winemakers are forced to evaluate the complexities of a growing season in a consumer-friendly pitch meant to inflate or dampen expectations of a particular vintage. I tend to believe the dance that Mother Nature, grower and winemaker perform every year and the expectation of resulting quality can hardly be simplified by rehashing the weather but this look back on our young region’s season will suggest the potential of the vintage. Grower Tom Tower of Youngstown — like most everyone I spoke to this year — agreed that there was plenty of…

bedell-harvest

Writing harvest and vintage reports is always — shall we say, interesting? I hope that none of my winemaker or winery owner friends take offense, but I know that — nine times out of ten — what they tell me about the current growing season or most recent harvest cannot be taken precisely at face value. Not that anyone would flat out lie to me, mind you, but there is little benefit to lowering expectations or panning a vintage. No matter the quality of the vintage, wineries need to sell those wines to stay in business. The NYCR has a distinct advantage over most…

redhook

As I wrote back in late October, one of the things I appreciate most about Sarah and Anthony Nappa is their devotion to building and nurturing Long Island’s wine community. So, it’s not surprising that they will host an event on Monday, December 3 at their co-op tasting room The Winemaker Studio to support the local winery hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, Red Hook Winery. For some background, check out Talia Baiocchi’s recent blog post for Wine Spectator. The long and short of it is this though — Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge nearly washed the winery away. “All of their equipment was destroyed — as…

Scotto

Sometimes the best Italian meal is the one you don’t have to make yourself. And have the option of enjoying in your own home. In Hampton Bays tucked between a real estate office and an UPS center, Scotto’s Pork Store has all the supplies for a red sauce Italiano feast. If you’re on your way in/out of town or too lazy to recreate your grandmother’s gravy, this well-loved eatery’ll do the heavy lifting for you. Many Italian grocery stores do what they do, but if you’re on the South Fork, it’s worth a stop for Scotto’s fresh sausages (both the…

Photo courtesy of Sheldrake Point Vineyards

When the wines of 2012 are finally released, consumers will find some of the most complex and deeply flavored wines ever to emerge from the region. Growing practices are better than ever and gradually improving, and the stellar overall weather allowed for more ripening than most varieties enjoy in the Finger Lakes. If there is one debate, it’s about riesling, which just happens to be the most important variety in the region. There is no question that the rieslings of 2012 will bring less acidity. However, there is reason to believe that this is a feature, not a bug. One…

whitecliff-redtail

People think that I hate hybrids — but that just isn’t true. There are hybrid grapes that I think are pretty awful generally — I’m looking at you seyval blanc and traminette. But at the end of the day, if a wine tastes good, I don’t care what grape it’s made from. This wine tastes good, even if it’s a four-grape blend that includes three hybrids that I haven’t enjoyed much in the past. Whitecliff Vineyard NV Red Trail ($14) is a blend of dechaunac, frontenac, noiret and merlot — and the result is a spicy, easy-drinking red. Fresh strawberry…

I first tasted Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company’s prototype porter back in May, when the brewery was still in its planning stages and brothers Tim and Mark Woodcock were still homebrewers — rather than owners of Niagara County’s first modern-day brewery, as they are now. I loved it. The dry, smoky finish was delectable, the chocolate and walnut notes and hearty body balanced just right for the warm spring weather. I remember thinking, “If this is their sample porter, I can’t wait to try the rest of their beers.” The weekend before Thanksgiving I visited the brewery once again, and barely…

thanksgiving-wines-nycr

I heard from a few of you that you were curious what the NYCR was drinking tomorrow. So, I asked the team to hurriedly send over just that bit of information. Not surprisingly, there are some overlaps (influding a local angle, particularly Finger Lakes riesling) but there is also quite a bit of diversity too: Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor We follow two simple rules in my house on Thanksgiving — drink stuff you like. And if you don’t like it, dump it out. Luckily many of the beverages I crave most are among the most food friendly as well, so…

NY Spirits

People are devoted to their liquor brands.  And often militantly so.  I’ve found that, sometimes, the only way to get them to try a local, artisan spirit is to simply NOT carry their tried-and-true old standbys.  Remove them from the equation entirely.  Plain and simple. If you’ve ordered a Grey Goose Martini up with a twist the last twenty times you’ve gone out to dinner, it’s pretty safe to say you’ll do so the next twenty times you go to dinner.  In your eyes, that brand is the only brand that gets you.  Its a safe, warm lighthouse in the…

turkey

If you’re new to this site, you may not know this, but we don’t really believe in “Thanksgiving Columns” around these parts — at least not in the traditional drink-this-because-it’s-perfect-with-Thanksgiving-dinner sense. I won’t bore you with my full argument against these popular (with writers, anyway) wine-writing crutches, but I’ll offer a brief, two-pronged reason why I personally dislike them and find them useless: Read 10 of these columns and you’ll get 10 sets of advice This fact kinda, sorta means that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ anything when it comes to Thanksgiving wines So, instead of telling…