Posts Written OnJune 2014

AVA in the ADK?

ChamplainAVA-NewYorkCorkReport

Conveying a sense of place has become a real priority for fine wine, no matter where in the world it is grown. Wine has the responsibility of not only needing to taste and smell good, but for afficianados and for marketing purposes it is expected to also serve as a reliable ambassador for its region of origin. It’s supposed to mean something when you see a unique place name on a bottle’s label, and before long it just might mean that it is coming from New York’s North Country. Producers way upstate have worked together and an AVA application has…

Raphael 2013 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc

raphael-2013-first-label-sauvignon

Not that long ago, Raphael produced what I considered the benchmark sauvignon blanc on the North Fork of Long Island. It was fruit-forward but not too ripe or fruity. It was minerally but not austere and flavorless. Then, with some  staffing changes in the cellar came a fall off. The wine was still solid, but rarely more. The 2013 vintage was winemaker Anthony Nappa’s first at the helm and after tasting Raphael 2013 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc ($28) Raphael could be on its way to again becoming a quality leader in the region. Sourced from the estate’s oldest sauvignon blanc vines, this intensely aromatic white shows…

5 Questions with… Brewster McCall, McCall Wines

Brewster (left) & brother Rusty McCall

One could say Brewster McCall, of McCall Wines in Cutchhogue, was born into the food and wine industry. His father, Russell McCall founded a small cheese shop in Atlanta in the 1960’s that he grew into a successful gourmet food distribution and importation business as well as a sister import and distribution company for wine. Growing up in Atlanta, Brewster would often go to work with his father to help out, establishing a work ethic that quickly evolved into a number of summer jobs in restaurants and catering. Always encouraged to follow his heart, McCall attended Skidmore college in upstate New…

Fulkerson Winery 2013 “William Vigne” Zweigelt

fulkerson-zweigelt

Fulkerson Winery’s 2013 William Vigne Zweigelt ($18) is the rare New York zweigelt — and it’s a good summer BBQ red for a couple of reasons. First, its youthful and fruit-forward. I don’t need or even want a lot of complexity in a wine I’m having with a charred burger with assorted toppings. Aromas and flavors of black cherry and black currant flavors are accented by subtle cinnamon spice and a faint-but-distinct note of citronella. I haven’t tested it’s effectiveness as a bug repellent, however. Second, it’s low tannin, which means it can take a light chill without becoming puckery and unpleasant.…

Empire State Cellars Wine Club: July 2014 Selections

Over the years that I’ve been curating this this wine club, it has been my distinct pleasure to share a great many classic wines from classic New York wineries. We have a bit of that this month, but as I was finalizing the selections, it quickly became apparent that we had a lot of new and not-yet-classic wines and wineries represented. We have New York’s only Trebbiano. We have sparkling wines — one red, one white — that are the first releases of two new labels. And we have two Finger Lakes wineries — Kemmeter Wines and Forge Cellars —…

Keuka Spring Vineyards 2013 Wiltberger Vineyard Field Blend Dry Rose

ksv-2013-rose

Last year, Keuka Spring Vineyards winemaker August Deimel crafted one of the NYCR tasting panel’s top two 2012 roses, so when he sent  the 2013, it didn’t take me long to get it in the tasting queue. Keuka Spring Vineyards 2013 Wiltberger Vineyard Field Blend Dry Rose ($17) is completely different from that stellar 2012.  It’s a field blend — a blend of lemberger, cabernet franc, merlot — and smells of trawberries and cream with hints of peppery spice and spring flowers. The dry, medium-bodied palate is richer than the 2012, with watermelon and red cherry flavors backed by more of that…

Southampton Publick House Sully’s Irish Red

southampton-publick-house

Irish Ales or “Irish Reds” are rarely brewed on Long Island — perhaps because we aren’t in Ireland. Nevertheless, the borrowed style seems to have been almost ignored once people realized they could order a Bourbon Barrel Bacon Doughnut beer. The style has waned in popularity here in the United States, with newer and bigger beers coming along and dominating. It reminds me a bit of Counting Crows’ popularity in the 90’s. “But I always liked Counting Crows” you might say. Well good, me too. I also like Irish Reds. So I’m bringing it back to a beer I have liked for years,…

Naked and Still Loving It: The Unique Success of Lamoreaux Landing’s T23

lamoreaux-t23

Red wine loves wood the way sunlight loves a hillside, the way Tarantino loves violence, the way feet love grass. One does not necessarily need the other, but can you imagine it another way? At Lamoreaux Landing on Seneca Lake, they could indeed imagine it another way. Back in 2002, the winemaking team floated the idea of viticultural nudity. This would not be performance art in a 750-ml bottle. This would be an experiment to see what would happen if cabernet franc saw no oak barrels. Today, the question of who gets the credit remains murky. Josh Wig, a co-owner,…

What We Drank ( June 11, 2014 )

wwd20140611

Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor: Schloss Gobelsburg 2013 Gobelsburger Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal I’ll write more about this soon, but I’ve been lucky enough over the past month or so to become the wine buyer for a soon-to-open restaurant here on Long Island. It’s going to be a gastropub with a focus on beer, so the wine list isn’t front and center, but the chef and owners have tasked me with creating a fairly small wine list that will appeal to a wide audience but also push them out of their comfort zones a bit too. And of course my target is…

Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2013 Rose

wolffer-2013-rose

There is little doubt that Wolffer Estate Vineyard‘s rose is the unofficial wine of the Hamptons — or at least the Memorial Day-to-Labor Day Hamptons season. You’ll find it all over — on restaurant lists, at events, by the pool, at the beach and out on boats. It’s seemingly everywhere. And winemaker Roman Roth makes a lot of it — more than 17,000 cases this year, which dwarfs the total production of most Long Island wineries. Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2013 Rose ($17*) is made with 58% merlot, 24% chardonnay, 11% cabernet franc 6% pinot noir and 1% cabernet sauvignon and shows…