Posts Written OnMarch 2013

lieb-cellars

Rumors have been flying around the North Fork for a couple weeks, but today Lieb Cellars and Premium Wine Cellars made it official in a press release: Today, Lieb Cellars and Premium Wine Group (PWG) announced the merger of the two companies. Established in 1992 and 2000 respectively, these important North Fork wine companies are combining and recapitalizing to ensure continued growth. Russell Hearn, Director of Winemaking and Production,said: “We are using the collective, and considerable, talents of our team to continue developing award-winning, estate-produced wines and other products and services.” The combined companies have received substantial funding through their parent company Southport Lane, a private equity firm focused on growing its portfolio businesses, primarily comprised of complex, highly-regulated organizations. Southport Lane selected Lieb Cellars and PWG based on their exceptional offerings, including a rare, East-coast-based “custom crush” business, which is the production home ofmany North Fork wineries. In addition,…

richer-riesling-banner

The hottest winemaker you’ve never heard of is Kelby Russell, a soft-spoken, music-loving globe trotter with the work ethic of a stubborn ant. Russell, an assistant at Red Newt Cellars, learned under Peter Bell at Fox Run and spent several winters in the southern hemisphere, where it was harvest time. He’s gained a reputation as a fast-learning workhorse. So why is he back home in the Finger Lakes, instead of extending his overseas adventures? “Sweeter rieslings are really what have kept me, after my start in 2009,” he explains. He was smitten by the balanced, rich rieslings from Germany while attending the Riesling Rendezvous conference in Seattle in 2010. “Riesling in the Finger Lakes mostly meant dry, semi-dry, or sugar water,” he says, and he became determined to produce serious wines in that richer style. And why not? The Finger Lakes region provides a natural bounty of acidity, which provides…

southampton-russian-imperial-stout

Russian Imperial Stouts, like India Pale Ales, are named after the region they were originally shipped to, rather than where they were brewed.  The flavors and alcohol content of these styles (that we have grown to love as consumers) were born out of necessity.  High alcohol and hop content act as natural preservatives in beer.  So, as demand for foreign beer grew internationally, brewers resorted to adding additional hops and fermenting to higher alcohol — ensuring that their product could be shipped across longer distances.  Made to last, IPAs and Russian Imperial Stouts are still some of the most cellar-worthy beers made today. Southampton Publick House brews a Imperial Russian Stout every year and it has attracted a cult-like following. Its relatively small production means high demand, and few bottles left for the cellar. My bottle “aged” about two weeks before I caved and popped it open — still in…

lenz-gold-label

The nose on Lenz Winery 2009 Gold Label Chardonnay ($20) is toasty-edging-on-woody with roasted apples and lemon curd fruit character. Rich and fuller bodied, the palate is far less oak influenced, showing bright, intense fruit — apples, pears and tropical fruits — with fresh, well-integrated acidity. Notes of vanilla and spice peek through on a long, crisp finish. Producer: Lenz Winery AVA: North Fork of Long Island ABV: 13% Price: $20* (3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)  

Photo credit: Clay Williams

Like panel moderator Linda Lawry, I also believe that Champagne or any of its descendants are labors of love best in enjoyed simply because it’s Tuesday. For that reason (and also because I’m a bit of a lush), I was thrilled to attend a Sparkling Wines of New York seminar at the NY Drinks NY event at Astor Center on Monday. As the Director of the International Wine Center, an organization dedicated to wine education for neophytes and oenophiles both, Lawry was a good fit lead the discussion. She introduced representatives from wineries to present their creations with the panache and comfortably of a talk show host. Clinton Vineyards NV Seyval Naturel From the east side of the Hudson River comes a method champenoise made solely of the French hybrid grape, seyval blanc. Crispy, with brighter acidity than expected. Smooth, lemony with a beeswax finish. Thus far my favorite way to…

mattebella-2009-chardonnay

Mattebella Vineyards 2009 Famiglia Chardonnay ($17) is a well-priced chardonnay that offers aromas of juicy pear, lemon-lime citrus and white flowers. Light-to-medium bodied, the palate delivers fruit flavors of pear and melon, with more citrus and a dusting of white pepper. Only a small percentage (under 20%) spent time in barrel, but that there is a touch of creaminess on the midpalate. Well-integrated, the acidity could be a bit more pronounced, but this wine is far from flabby. Producer: Mattebella Vineyards AVA: North Fork of Long Island ABV: 12.9% Price: $17*| Buy now from Empire State Cellars (3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)

standing-stone-2008-cabernet-sauvignon

You just don’t see cabernet sauvignon labeled 12.2% abv very often. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one — even from the cooler climes of the Finger Lakes. But that was truthfully the first thing I noticed upon pulling this Standing Stone Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($24) for tasting recently. The first thing that popped into my head — fair or not — was “Is this going to taste underripe?” No, but it’s also probably not what most customers expect from cabernet either. Fruity on the nose, it offers a melange of cherry, blackberry and blueberry fruit with a subtle tobacco leaf note. Straightforward and lighter bodied, it is again fruity and reliant on acidity rather than tannins for structure. As it sits in the glass a bit, there is a faint Red Hot candy flavor towards the end of the medium-short finish. Producer: Standing Stone Vineyards AVA: Finger…

coffeepotcellars

  Coffee Pot Cellars, winemaker Adam Suprenant’s private label, will open a tasting room at 31855 Main Road in Cutchogue, just east of Peconic Bay Winery on the opposite side of the road. Suprenant, who is also winemaker at Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards, launched the brand in 2011. “The Coffee Pot Cellars business model has always included plans for a tasting room. Together with my fiancee Laura Klahre, the owner/beekeeper of Blossom Meadow, we have been looking to open a retail outlet to market my wine as well as her honey, beeswax candles crayons and lip balm for the past two years,” Suprenant told me in an email. “We tried to buy a commercial property last year but that fell through so we decided to wait a year and rent instead. As we both do all the work for our small companies, it is difficult for us to commit the considerable time…

40

I’ve got some ground to make up if I’m going to write 40 posts about Long Island wine’s first 40 years. So today, let’s start not by looking at the region’s past or even its present. Instead, I want to look at where I think Long Island wine will be when it turns 50 or 60. I’ve been drinking and exploring Long Island wine for a decade now — and writing about it for nearly as long. A lot has changed in those ten years.  It may be cliche to say that “Long Island wines have never been better” but it’s also true. Growers have honed their practices to squeeze every last bit of ripening out of each of Long Island’s diverse growing seasons. Winemakers have started to embrace Long Island terroir rather than trying to style their wines like those from Bordeaux or California. The ‘good’ wineries of the…

wwd-031213

Here’s a sampling of what our editors and contributors are drinking… Lenn Thompson: Roanoke Vineyards 2000 Merlot I could have gone in any number of directions with this week’s WWD submission. A gathering of like-minded friends and their families brought many delicious libations to my lips over the weekend. I drank two of the best chardonnays of my life — Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey 2011 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly and Dauvissat 2011 “La Forest” Chablis. I sipped some great beers from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City. But, as the local wine guy, I just had to write about this bottle of Roanoke Vineyards 2000 Merlot — the first wine ever released by a winery consistently on my ‘must visit’ for anyone visiting the North Fork. Back when this wine was still available in the tasting room, a local writer remarked that this merlot “lacked fruit” — which wasn’t true then and…