Posts Written OnFebruary 2014

Upcoming Long Island Beer Events: February and March Edition

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These days Long Island is laden with breweries, taprooms, wine bars and a ton of strip malls. Most nights there’s no shortage of tap-takeovers or tasting room events for the beer lover. There’s also been a huge spike in the number of formal beer dinners taking place across the island — way too many to list here. So, every so often I’d like to introduce beer-centric events that bring something different to the table.  I also plan on attending some of these events and writing about them. Even if you aren’t able to attend, this will hopefully slake your thirst…

Lenz Winery 2010 Malbec

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Lenz Winery 2010 Malbec ($35) — the winery’s first-ever varietal malbec release — opens with a beautiful nose of ripe plum, blueberry and currant with notes of black licorice, tar and lilac. Juicy and fruity on the palate with almost no oak footprint, the fruit edges on over-ripe with dried plum and fig notes joining the dark fruits apparent on the nose. Licorice pokes its head in on the mid-palate. The tannins are lightly grippy, but it’s acidity that provides most of the structure. Medium-long black cherry-meets-fig finish.   Producer: The Lenz Winery AVA: North Fork of Long Island ABV: 13%…

Back to the Future(s) at Shinn Estate Vineyards

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On two consecutive Saturday nights in February, Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck, NY, held their annual futures dinners. 100 guests and friends of the winery spent several hours eating hummus, salumi and duck stew while tasting barrel samples of soon-to-be-released wines from the 2012 and 2013 vintages — which co-owner David Page calls two of the best back-to-back vintages he can remember. 2014 marks the 11th year that Page and his wife, co-owner and vineyard manager Barbara Shinn, have hosted the futures dinner. Over that time,  it’s grown from a small family-style dinner held in the barn to a three-room,…

The Grapes of Roth 2006 Merlot

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The first Grapes of Roth merlot release since Wolffer absorbed the brand, the Grapes of Roth 2006 Merlot ($44) reflects the less-than-perfect growing season, but still maintains the reputation the label has earned since debuting with a 2001 merlot. Nutty oak and loamy earth lead the way on the nose, with understated fruit in the form of dried cherries and blueberries beneath. Meaty and mouth-filing, the palate features cottony tannins that frame restrained, slightly tired fruit flavors that mingle with toasty oak, graphite and a dried mint note. On day one, the finish shows a slightly bitter edge that softens…

Long Island “Fresh Hop” Ales Forced Me to Reset My Expectations

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Several months ago, Long Island was bombarded with an explosion of “wet hop” beers from our various local breweries. Lenn and I came up with this crazy idea to taste all of them and with a few emails and some miles on my car, we got all of them — except Southampton PublikHouse’s which was sold out. What I found out went beyond just a mere tasting of beers. See, in tasting those beers I found that they weren’t living up to my expectations. Now, don’t get me wrong. There was nothing at all wrong with the beers we tasted.…

Blue Point Brewery Sold to Anheuser-Busch

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If you’re from Long Island or live here now, there’s a good chance you’ve gulped down a few Blue Point Brewing Toasted Lagers in your day. Heck, it may have even been your introduction to craft beer.  According to brewersassociation.com, Blue Point Brewery was #36 in beer sales by volume amongst American craft breweries in 2012. So for Long Island beer drinkers, the fact that Anheuser-Busch today announced its purchase of the first craft brewery opened on Long Island (according to their website) is big news. The transaction is definitely a mixed bag of emotions for most Blue Point fans. …

Red Tail Ridge Winery 2011 “RTR Vineyard” Pinot Noir

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Fruity, with fresh red cherries and red raspberries the nose on the Red Tail Ridge 2011 “RTR Vineyard” Pinot Noir ($20) also shows hints of earthy mushrooms, lavender/lilac and subtle brown spice. It’s a pretty, subtly complex nose. Light bodied, soft and a bit dilute on the mid-palate, the palate doesn’t quite live up to the nose. Red fruits again dominate flavor-wise — cherry, cranberry — with savory, woodsy spice and earthiness. Producer: Red Tail Ridge Winery AVA: Finger Lakes Clone(s): Swan, 113, 114, 115 and 23 Harvest Date(s): September 18 and 25 Yields: 2.5 tons/acre ABV: 12% TA: 5.3…

Forge Cellars 2011 Pinot Noir

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I try to learn something from every wine I put into my mouth. Sometimes the revelations are bigger than others. Sometimes they are subtle reminders. Forge Cellars 2011 Pinot Noir ($25) reminded me why I taste wines the way I do (when I’m reviewing them, anyway) and why some reviewers are doing it all wrong. Upon opening, this cooler-vintage pinot is waif-like in its delicate aromas of red cherry, dried strawberry, Earl Grey tea and faint spice. Similarly, the palate is very light bodied, with a core of red berries, dried flowers and just a touch of earthy dried leaves.…