Posts Written OnFebruary 2014

Lieb Cellars 2013 Bridge Lane White Blend

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A few weeks ago, Lieb Cellars announced and started rolling out a portfolio-wide rebranding. Perhaps the most visible change is to the winery’s second-label “Bridge Lane” brand. The brand’s new look and logo offer a not-at-all-subtle hint as to the biggest news — several of the wines will now be available in bottle, in 3L bag-in-box and also in disposable kegs. Look for a post on the rebranding soon, today let’s focus on Lieb Cellars 2013 Bridge Lane White Blend, which is $20 per bottle but $48 for a box (the equivalent of four bottles). It’s a blend of 26% pinot blanc,…

Experiencing Riesling at Villa Bellangelo

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Although there is no known method for preventing the “Polar Vortex Blues”, a wine dinner is an effective remedy. A group of nearly forty food and wine lovers discovered this at “The Riesling Experience” wine dinner that was recently held at Villa Bellangelo. The evening featured a seven-course dinner of wonderfully prepared dishes that had been created by Chef Mike Colvin (Beef and Brew in Geneva) along with rieslings from Villa Bellangelo’s 2011, 2012 and 2013 vintages. Featured among the wines was the limited release 2012 Villa Bellangelo 1866 Reserve Riesling. The 2012 vintage is a blend of two rieslings that were produced from grapes grown…

Blending at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards

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Covering the Niagara and Lake Erie Regions the past few months has allowed me to meet many of the local winemakers. While I’ve been a wine lover, as well as a novice winemaker, for many years I’m just now learning many of the fundamental phases of a vintage in a commercial setting. At the end of September, I was invited to assemblage at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in Lockport, New York. Assemblage is the French term for blending wines and the term used by Duncan and Robin Ross to describe their process at ASV. Joining me at the session were Ryan Little, winemaking assistant of Arrowhead…

What We Drank (February 20, 2014 Edition)

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Editor’s Note: We’ve taken a bit of a break from WWD of late, but the team has requested that we bring it back — so we are. Contributing Editor Todd Trzaskos will be running this feature going forward. Thanks, Todd! Michael Gorton Jr.: Rocky Point Artisan Brewers CROM  (Double IPA) Lenn and I decided we needed a beer night.   We were going to hit up a local joint that has been doing well after it had some tough reviews when it first opened.  But alas, they were closed.  So we settled, if you wanna say, on another craft beer joint…

Empire State Cellars March 2014 Wine Club Selections

This morning I’m happy to announce the wines that will be included in the March 2014 shipment of our wine club. If you aren’t familiar with the club, you can learn more here. “Hello New York” Wines Red Tail Ridge Winery 2012 Good Karma: This blend of riesling with 11% unoaked chardonnay blended in is driven by flavors of pear and lemon-lime, with some tropical fruit at the edges with gently fresh acidity balances just a bit of sweetness. Best of all, proceeds go to charity.  Suhru 2010 Red Blend:  Proving that Long Island Bordeaux-style blends can be affordable, this blend of merlot, cabernet franc,…

Long Island Wine: Agritourism isn’t the Whole Story

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Call it agri-tourism or agri-tainment (or maybe you think those are different things), activities-other-than-wine tasting have firmly entrenched themselves into the Long Island wine country experience. Tactics once employed by only a small handful of mediocre producers are being employed even by some of the region’s best now. Food beyond crackers and maybe some cheese. Daily, often-loud live music. Events that only tangentially center on wine. Boisterous crowds often more interested in drinking wine than tasting it. That’s the reality of Long Island wine country today and for the forseeable future. At least until local government has had enough. After…

Keuka Spring Vineyards 2012 Riesling

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People sometimes ask me what a “typically Finger Lakes riesling” tastes like. This Keuka Spring Vineyards 2012 Riesling ($15) is a well-priced example. Aromas of mixed apples and pears meld nicely with notes of fennel frond, lime and citrus blossom on a fresh, appealing nose. Crunchy, racy acidity frames flavors of apple, pineapple, fennel, citrus and green melon. There is some sweetness on the midpalate, but it’s well balanced by that same acidity, finishing crisply and nearly dry with a subtle river rock minerality. This is the kind of riesling that will appeal to a wide array of palates —…

Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2010 “Cassango” Cabernet Sauvignon

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Made with 89% cabernet sauvignon from Martha Clara Vineyards on the North Fork and 11% “Christian’s Cuvee” merlot from the winery’s oldest estate merlot block, planted in 1990, Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2010 “Cassango” Cabernet Sauvignon ($40) offers aromas of mixed cherries and currants accented by spicy, toasty oak with dried leaf earthy notes. Supple bordering on soft, the medium-bodied palate features red cherry and cola flavores layered with toasty oak, loamy/dried leaf earthiness and savory dried herbs on the long, fresh finish. AVA: Long Island ABV: 13.3% Brix: 21.2/22.8 TA: 3.9 g/l pH: 3.75 Oak Program: 20 months is French and American oak Production: 146 cases…

A Sense of History: Bellangelo’s Book is a Unique Marketing Effort

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Villa Bellangelo’s Christopher Missick has put together a kind of book that’s uncommon: a marketing document designed to boost his company’s brand, but also a historical document grounded in valuable research. This is a new age of marketing; 30-second television ads and newspaper spots are not bringing the return on investment like they once did. Companies are not just creating ads; they’re creating content, and it starts with explaining the company’s values. For example, today on Hulu, Chipotle launches its own four-episode miniseries called Farmed and Dangerous. Chipotle hired Ray Wise, a veteran character actor, to lead the show, and…

Damiani Wine Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

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Damiani Wine Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($45) — proved me wrong. I can admit it.  I have to. Finger Lakes pinot noir — and to a lesser extent Blaufrankisch — have been coming on strong in recent years. But cabernet sauvignon? I’ve been less then enthusiastic after tasting seeral. Maybe cabernet can only get here in one or two out of ten years, but this wine is a new benchmark for the variety in the Finger Lakes. Its concentrated, brooding nose offers aromas of blueberry, currant and plum with a savory/umami edge and an integrated dose of oak and…