Posts Written OnJanuary 2014

Gonzo Gastronomy’s Katie Pizzuto Joins NYCR Team


Over the last year or so, there has been an explosion in the creation of wine-related infographics.  Unfortunately, most of them are simplistic to the point of not being useful (or to the point of no longer being accurate) and there certainly aren’t any focused on New York’s wine community. But how can NYCR dive into that when our artistic abilities are limited — at best? Get a professional to join the team! I’ve known Katie Pizzuto for many years, though we’ve only tasted wine together once or twice. Her blog Gonzo Gastronomy is one of the best written ones out there…

Red Newt Cellars 2011 Lahoma Vineyard Riesling


As my colleague Evan Dawson wrote last spring, there is an emerging style of riesling in the Finger Lakes — one that is sweeter, yes, but also richer and more concentrated on the mid-palate. These aren’t sweeter to appeal to those looking for sweet wines. Instead, they are sweet to express a vineyard or a vintage better than a bone dry wine might. And these aren’t dessert wines. Balance is the key here and Red Newt Cellars 2011 Lahoma Vineyard Riesling ($20) is a fine example of the style. The nose is complex and nearly impenetrable when the wine is…

Duck Walk Vineyards 2010 Pinot Meunier


There must have been at least some sour rot in the fruit that winemaker Edward Lovaas had to work with for Duck Walk Vineyards 2010 Pinot Meunier ($23). You can smell the vinegar-y notes right up front on the nose. Behind the rot/VA are some nice red berry aromas — red cherry and raspberry — but the acetic acid is hard to get past. That off-putting character is less evident on the medium-light bodied palate, where bright red raspberry flavors mingle with note of dried cherry, prune and slightly raw oak flavors. The tannins are are grippy and the acidity plenty…

Villa Bellangelo 2012 Dry Riesling


Tangy and driven by wet slate — rather than fresh fruit — character, Villa Bellangelo 2012 Dry Riesling ($19) is a reminder of just how difficult it is to make great dry riesling. It’s very minerally on the nose — think wet river rock and slate — with background notes of Granny Smith apple, just-ripe pear and apple blossom. Lighter bodied, the palate is so slate-y as to be almost salty, with faint lime and grapefruit zest flavors as well. The acidity is bitter-pithy rather than juicy. The mid-palate is a bit hollow, but the finish is long and appetite…

Lenz Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot


For affordable, Old World-leaning red wines, you largely can’t go wrong with Lenz Winery. Winemaker Eric Fry makes food-friendly, balanced wines year in and year out — and doesn’t chase jamminess or high-alcohol in hot years. Lenz Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot ($17) doesn’t have a catchy proprietary name, but it does delivery a lot of complexity and surprising cellar-ability for the money. The nose is fruity, but not one-dimensional with cassis and black cherry fruit interspersed with notes of cigar box and brown spices. Medium-lighter bodied, the palate shows intense — but not at all gobby or jammy — fruit…

Boundary Breaks Vineyard 2011 No. 239 — Dry Riesling


Looking for an example of a ‘classic’ Finger Lakes riesling nose? Boundary Breaks Vineyard 2011 No. 239 — Dry Riesling ($20) delivers that. It is lime-driven with notes of tangerine, green apple, citrus blossom and just-ripe peach. Feather-light in the mouth, the palate is a bit more peachy, with Golden Delicious apple, a big squirt of lime juice and rocky minerals on the end of a long, dry finish. Juicy, citrusy acidity. While it lacks concentration and mid-palate richness, it shows nice verve and length. Producer: Boundary Breaks Vineyard AVA: Finger Lakes Clone: Geisenheim 239 Brix: 21 ABV: 12.1% RS: 0.6% IRF: Dry Production: 100 cases Price: $20* | Order…

2014 Long Island Nano Cask Festival is This Weekend

The scene at the 2012 Long Island Nano Cask Festival

There are a lot of beer festivals on Long Island nowadays — but there is only one that I consider a must-attend event: the Long Island Nano Cask Festival, which is happening this Saturday, January 25 from 1-5 p.m. Hosted by Rocky Point Artisan Brewers (full disclosure: Donavan Hall, one of RPAB’s owners, used to contribute to this site), this annual event is the best way to taste what is going on with Long Island’s smallest breweries, including Barrage Brewing Company, Blind Bat Brewery, Ghost Cat Brewing, Moustache Brewing Co., Port Jeff Brewing Company, RPAB and Long Island’s beer and brewing clubs.…

Keuka Spring Vineyards 2012 “Humphrey’s Vineyard” Riesling


Beautifully perfumed with aromas of apples, apple blossom, lemon zest, fennel and dried apricot, Keuka Spring Vineyards 2012 “Humphrey’s Vineyard” Riesling ($22), shows an impressive combination of complexity with restraint. Focused and fresh, well-integrated, nervy acidity, the palate tastes dry, offering fennel, apple, pear, apple blossom and peach flavors.  Showing great length, the finish lingers with pomme fruit and chamomile tea. Producer: Keuka Spring Vineyards AVA: Finger Lakes Brix: 20 ABV: 12% RS: .9% pH: 3.1 Production: 120 cases Release Date: June 2013 Price: $22* | Order from Empire State Cellars  (4 out of 5, Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)

Channing Daughters Winery 2012 “Home Farm Vineyard” Refosco


Chris Tracy, partner and winemaker at Channing Daughters Winery, could put out a red refosco every year and sell it out based on its scarcity and uniqueness alone — it’s refosco afterall, no one else is doing this. Their adventurous, sizeable wine club would clean them out quickly. But he doesn’t and hasn’t, instead making rose with it. It just wasn’t up to his standards. Until 2012. Channing Daughters Winery 2012 Refosco isn’t released yet — look for it in the next couple of months — but even if it’s only made a couple times a decade, it’s worthwhile. It’s very aromatic,…

Consultant Winemaker Paul Hobbs, with Well-Known German Winemaker, Launches Finger Lakes Project


The Finger Lakes region has been abuzz with news that consulting winemaker Paul Hobbs is launching a project on the southeast side of Seneca Lake. Just as importantly, Hobbs is partnering with a German winemaker of high pedigree. Hobbs and the unconfirmed partner have chosen not to reveal that partner’s name yet, but more than a dozen Finger Lakes industry professionals tell NYCR that the partner will be Johannes Selbach of Selbach-Oster. An email to Selbach has not received a reply; official word will come on Michael Warren Thomas’Savor Life radio show later this month. Hobbs is a high-wattage industry…