Posts Written OnDecember 2014

Finger Lakes Region Mourns the Loss of Top Grape Grower Sam Argetsinger


The Finger Lakes lost one of its most prominent grape growers on Sunday night when Sam Argetsinger died at his home. Argetsinger is the owner of his eponymous vineyard, which rises high above the southeast side of Seneca Lake. “We’re still in shock,” said Morten Hallgren, co-owner of Ravines Wine Cellars, which uses Argetsinger Vineyard fruit to make some of the finest wines in the region. “Sam was a loyal friend, a passionate grape grower, and an Iroquois translator who was so in touch with his environment that you could see it in his fiery blue eyes. A friend like…

North Country Passing – Rob McDowell


North Country wine growers and cold climate viticulture lost a visionary, sharp witted, friend, colleague and sometimes antagonist when Rob McDowell passed away earlier this month on December 13th. Rob grew and operated Purple Gate Vineyard in Plattsburgh and was one of the first people to dedicate serious efforts to the propagation of cold hardy hybrids in the Lake Champlain Valley of New York. Rob was a founding member of the local wine community and shared generously of his knowledge at site visits, meetings and workshops, with locals and visitors alike, some who would go on to become growers and winemakers…

Happy Holidays — We’ll Be Back in 2015!


It’s been a busy 2014 here at NYCR headquarters — as well as our satellite offices throughout New York. At times the site just hasn’t been a priority and we’re sorry about that. Fear not New York wine fans — we’ll be back with a vengeance in 2015, with some new programs, a new look and possibly some pretty big news. In the meantime, the team and I are going to shut things down for the year and enjoy the time with our friends and family over the holidays. Happy holidays!

Lakewood Vineyards 2012 Riesling


Lakewood Vineyards can always be counted on for good value rieslings — affordable wines that typically over-deliver for the price. Lakewood Vineyards 2012 Riesling ($13) goes even further — offering quality well above its $13 price-tag. Fruity and forward, the nose offers pear, peach and dried apricot notes right out of the refrigerator that turn a bit more musk melon-y as the wine warms. Driven by stone fruit — peaches and apricots — the slightly sweet palate shows a drip of honey and crisp, citrusy edges. Finishing nearly dry with apple and lime notes, this is the kind of Finger Lakes riesling…

Heron Hill Winery 2011 Reserve Blaufrankisch


Bright berry notes — crushed raspberry and sour cherry — dominate the nose on Heron Hill Winery 2011 Reserve Blaufrankisch ($40) with a sprinkling of pepper and baking spice and vanilla sugar. That peppery spicy edge is present on the medium-light bodied palate, but there is much more oak — raw and bitter — as well. The bramble/raspberry and sour cherry fruit is juicy and fresh, just hidden beneath wood tannins. \ Producer: Heron Hill Winery AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12.5% Production: 350 cases Price: $40 (sample) (2.5 out of 5, Average-to-Very Good)

Lovely Louise Swenson


Elmer Swenson is a respected and nearly mythical figure in the cold climate wine growing community, but do we ever wonder what force was behind his success? He had his own motivations for breeding grapes which developed at an early age, and then later in life he greatly expanded the vine breeding work of prior generations. His ‘amateur’ vine propagation began in 1943 and continued when he was a dairy farmer and had full responsibility for the family operation. Upon retirement from dairy, Elmer went to work for the University of Minnesota as a fruit nurseryman and eventually, grape breeder. When he retired again, he continued…