The May shipment of the Empire State Cellars Wine Club will go out to members in a week or so — meaning that it’s time to announce my selections.
If you’re not familiar with the club, you can learn more here.
Bloomer Creek Vineyard 2011 Auten Vineyard First Harvest Riesling: With every new Bloomer Creek release, they solidify their position as a top-tier riesling producer on the East Coast. And, these wines are so well priced that you can drink them now (and buy more), or put them away for a few years if you like your riesling with a bit of age on it.
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Arrowhead Red: If you’ve been with us for a while, you may remember the 2009 vintage, which we included as well. The 2010 is a bit riper but continues this wine’s young tradition of over-delivering for the price. I think of this as a killer Monday through Thursday wine, but it’d be perfect with that first grilled burger of the year too. You could even age this one for a few years, I’d think.
“Getting to Know New York” Wines
Paumanok Vineyards 2012 Chenin Blanc: Yet another Long Island classic — you could even call it a cult white — this chenin is crunchy and delivers bright citrus and melon notes with a hint of pineapple. There’s a reason you’ll find Paumanok hosting oyster shuckers on weekends this summer — this wine.
Atwater Estate Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir: For me, this wine was the surprise of the recent NY Drinks NY tasting in Manhattan. Showing terrific structure and balance, this is a delicious, well-priced pinot from a place you might not expect. Grilled chicken or pork wants this wine. So do you.
“New York Wine Trail” Wines
Channing Daughters Winery 2010 Mosaico: Another memorable wine from the NY Drinks NY event, this blend of 32% Pinot Grigio, 29% Chardonnay, 14% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Muscat Ottonel, 7% Tocai Friulano and 8% Gewurztraminer is floral (as you’d expect) but balances mid-palate weight with acidity and a long, clean finish. Open it for your friends and ask them to guess what it is!
Red Hook Winery 2009 Rebirth from the Sea: Made by Abe Schoener (of Scholium Project fame in California) this Bordeaux-style blend is quite simply one of the best 2009 Long Island reds I’ve tasted. Layered and about much more than just fruit flavors, it is a reminder of why some used to compare Long Island to Bordeaux.
Lieb Cellars 2009 Blanc de Blanc: I’ve long been a fan of this wine. In fact, my wife and I toasted one another with the 2001 at our wedding. But, this might be the best vintage yet. Focused like a laser beam with restrained fruit and a dry, mineral-tinged finish, this is another wine begging for oysters.
Paumanok Vineyards 2010 Assemblage: With the Excelsior! reds, I always try to pick something that you can tuck into your cellar for at least a few years. This blend of 35% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Petit Verdot and 11% Cabernet Franc can go longer than just a few. Ripe, well-structured and already nuanced, it should continue to improve for ten years or more. Or enjoy it now with a fatty piece of beef — but only after decanting for at least an hour.
If you haven’t signed up for the club yet, fear not. You can still get in on this first shipment. Email Katherine Jaeger, Manager of Wine Clubs, at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will take good care of you. And remember, you can customize your club to include just red or whites wines too if you’d like.