Posts Written OnMay 2014

kontokosta

If you’re driving out from mid-Island, Greenport’s only winery seems like it’s located at the end of the earth. As you pass more familiar faces on the North Road (Hi Sparkling Pointe! What’s up, One Woman?), you wonder if you could possibly die from holding your bladder. Why couldn’t you just stop closer to the LIE? Then you see it. From the distance, Kontokosta Winery is a weathered grey structure: imposing and lonely on a windswept chunk of land that brings to mind the moors of the Scottish Highlands. After a quick jaunt down the dirt road, you start to cheer up as you pass rows of vines and pull into the only civilized parking lot of any winery on the East End. Standing in front of the tasting room, taking in the red barn doors and distressed dove wood, you’re forced to look up. The facade screams RECLAIMED WOOD…

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Lindsay Prichard, Finger Lake Correspondent: Bellangelo 2010 Fifty/50 As Memorial Day was winding down on Monday night, I decided to check the wine cellar to find a wine that would pair well with the latest History Channel mini-series that I had planned to watch. With the prospect of work the next day, I decided to pull an easy-drinking white. I had a few candidates in mind, but settled on the 2012 Fifty/50 from Villa Bellangelo. Although I had tasted several of Bellangelo’s wines, I had never tried this particular one. Fifty/50 is a blend of 50% Riesling and 50% Gewurztraminer with Riesling grapes sourced from Morris Vineyards and Gewurz sourced from Gibson Vineyards. I respect both growers and enjoy both grapes as single varietal wines, so I was anxious to give the wine a try. After some additional chilling, I opened the bottle and poured a glass. The initial aromas were dominated by…

2012-home

“Don’t judge me by the size of my parents’ house.” These were the words a friend said to me in ninth grade before I came to hang out. He was concerned that I might judge him based on the opulence in which he was being raised. He worried I would assume he was just like his house: extravagant, showy, boasting of power. He needn’t have felt that way. No one should have to apologize for their parents’ success; we can simply hope it won’t make them lazy and entitled. The house is not the person. Circumstances change. I couldn’t help but recall that long-ago conversation after speaking to Morten Hallgren, owner and winemaker of Ravines Wine Cellars, about the 2012 vintage. You see, something happened in 2010 to hamstring some of the enthusiasm about stellar vintages. 2010 was supposed to be the stress-free, ripe, balanced year. But it has hit…

ithaca-groundbreak

Ithaca Beer Company is one of my go-to brewers when I’m upstate (anywhere north of Westchester for us Long Islanders). They have a solid lineup, yet the brown ale and “Flower Power” IPA are always my favorites. This saison pours a dark yellow to orange color with champagne-like froth. There’s more haze and sediment than I would have expected from an American Saison, although its European counterparts are well known for it. Whatever particles aren’t stuck to the bottom of the bottle slide happily into the bath of ale (it’s ok, yeast is packed with vitamin B and B12). The nose shows ripe banana and grassy aromas typically associated with this style, but was lacking a definitive saison character.  The heavy dose of Amarillo, Crystal and Glacier hops dominate the nose, hence the distinguishing “American Saison.” It made me miss the funk and producer-variation of a good Belgian farmhouse Saison.…

raphael-sauv-blanc

This past winter was a rough one across much of the northeast, with lots of snow and some of the coldest temperatures in recent years. As my colleague Evan Dawson wrote last month, those temperatures will have a not-insignificant impact on the Finger Lakes wine industry. On Long Island, the damage wasn’t nearly as severe or widespread, but with bud break’s arrival, Long Island growers can now better assess what damage was sustained, if any. Elevation matters, even here where many Long Island are seemingly flat. Little rises and dips matter because the coldest air pools in those low areas — and that’s often where the most damage occurs. Earlier this week, Raphael winemaker Anthony Nappa shared the picture at right from one of the vineyard’s sauvignon blanc blocks. “It’s a low spot. Now we have bud break we can see (the damage). We do have some secondaries (buds) pushing…

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For most New York Cork Report readers the name Ian Barry probably isn’t a new one. Barry, most recently winemaker at Villa Bellangelo has also held winemaking positions in the Finger Lakes at Keuka Lake Vineyards, Swedish Hill Winery and Heron Hill Winery and thus has made a number of appearances  across these pages. Many may not know however that Barry started out at a small vineyard in the Hudson Valley near SUNY New Paltz where he was pursuing a teaching degree and where he also worked on the retail side of the wine industry as a wine shop manager and buyer. He then spent a year in Oregon working harvest and the following year in Washington State as a cellar master before feeling the need to return home to New York. Barry is now on a new road, preparing to launch his own label Barry Family Cellars. With labels currently…

tasting-report

When we announced our first “Tasting Report” tasting of 2014 back in early April, we miscalculated something — just how many of New York’s wineries were still selling 2010 reds or had them available. Despite a lot of interest, we simply weren’t able to pull together what I consider enough of wines to make the tasting worthwhile and of value.  So, we are canceling our tasting on June 7 and will move forward with planning our 2013 riesling tasting for the late summer or early fall.

Photo courtesy of Miles Wine Cellars' Facebook page

On Tuesday night, May 13, northern Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes was hit with the most severe storms it’s had since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Reports say that between 4 and 9 inches of rain fell, coming largely in two waves that were just a few hours apart, causing massive flooding. The Town of Jerusalem, especially Penn Yan and Branchport, was hardest hit, and a state of emergency was declared in Yates County. While a building in Penn Yan collapsed, and numerous houses and businesses were flooded and culverts washed away, no one was injured. On Friday the 16, more heavy rain fell, adding nearly two more inches to the total. There are several wineries and breweries in the area, but professionals in those industries say that their businesses were largely unaffected. That’s due largely to improved vineyard practices, as described by a number of local growers. Hunt Country Vineyards in…

silver-thread-2012-blackbird

Well-priced, fresh and food friendly, Silver Thread Vineyard 2012 Blackbird ($22) is a blend of 68% cabernet franc, 21% merlot, 11% cabernet sauvignon — and you can smell taste all that cab franc. Black cherry and red raspberry aromas are accented by savory notes of grilled herbs and mushroom. The medium-bodied palate features similar character with a earthy umami edge and a finish that begs another bite of food. We enjoyed it with smoky grilled pork chops recently. Producer: Silver Thread Vineyard AVA: Finger Lakes Barrel Program: 8 months in American oak Production: 340 cases Price: $22

vineyard-southold-farm-cellar

At their core, Kickstarter campaigns are about two things — garnering attention and getting funding for whatever project it is that you’re undertaking. By most any measure, Southold Farm + Cellar‘s campaign in early 2013 was a success on both counts, well exceeding its monetary goal and resulting in nearly a dozen articles in various publications — including the Wall Street Journal. The campaigns message, distilled down for and by today’s soundbite media culture became “We’re doing weird grapes because merlot and chardonnay are boring.” Regan Meador, who co-owns the winery with his wife Carey and makes the wines, is partly to blame for that over-simplification of the couple’s plans and goals. The video he created for the Kickstarter campaign includes lines like: [box_light] “Because seriously, who needs more Chardonnay and Merlot?”  “…there are over 1 million acres of Chardonnay and Merlot planted in the world. Enough said.” [/box_light] And, then…