Posts Written OnSeptember 2015

Bellwether Wine Cellars 2013 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir


I don’t consider Kris Matthewson, winemaker at Bellwether Wine Cellars, to be a “natural winemaker” (what does that even mean?). True, he doesn’t like to make a lot of cellar additions and prefers a decidedly hands-off approach, but he’s not above making adjustments if a wine needs them. That said, his wines do lean toward the idiosyncratic. They invite the adventurous and open minded and aren’t for everyone. Some are truly unlike any other in the Finger Lakes region. I think he probably likes it that way. Of a lineup that also includes a handful of single-vineyard rieslings, a gamay noir-dominant rose and…

Weekly New York Wine News — September 28, 2015


Image: Leon Millot harvest at Hid-in-Pines Winery’s Bordeaux Family Vineyard. Harvest has been in full swing and the wineries are now producing prodigious amount of carbon dioxide…don’t hold your breath though, most ferments have a long way to go. In the meantime, check out some recent news about the New York beverage scene from a lowly apple press to his high holiness. NEWS Seacoast Online – 9/24/2015 JoAnn Actis Grande touts riesling to her coastal constituency and her examples from Gunderloch Estate and Dr. Loosen in Germany were joined by Ravines and Dr. Konstantin Frank in the Finger Lakes. Cornell Extension…

Uncork the Forks: Harvest 2015 Offers Abundant Optimism

Wine Press 2015 Fall.
Sept. 9, 2015.
Photo by Randee Daddona

Editor’s Note: This is the lastest ediction of my biweekly column for The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review.   After writing grape harvest reports for more than a decade, I’ve learned a few things. One, every winemaker is hopeful this time of year. Comments like “This will be an outstanding vintage” and “XYZ will be a great year for Long Island wine” abound. I’ve also learned that it’s not always true. It’s easy to get caught up in the romanticism of wine and wine country, but this is a business — the business of selling wine. That salesmanship begins before the…

5 Questions with… Julia Hoyle, Sheldrake Point Vineyards

Julia Hoyle
Assisstant Winemaker Sheldrake Point Winery

Julia Hoyle may have found her way into the wine industry innocently enough, looking for a part-time job while attending college, but she quickly found herself surrounded by great people and a curiosity for the business she couldn’t contain. Hoyle started at the Fox Run Vineyards tasting room in 2009 and worked her way into the cellar where she took every opportunity to learn from veteran winemaker Peter Bell before she left in 2012. Julia moved on to Atwater Vineyards for the fall 2012 harvest season, which provided insight into operations at another prominent Finger Lakes winery. Once harvest finished Julia’s…

Support Fossil & Till’s Indiegogo Campaign


If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, you may or may not remember the name Mark Grimaldi. He’s served on tasting panels for us in the past (including our Wines of the Year tastings), he used to coordinate our “Drink Local Dinners” when we had them and he’s also a personal friend of mine. His wife Olivia owns a great little wine and cider shop in Ithaca, NY now, and he is a partner in the new Aurora Ales & Lagers Co. and with partners Eric Clemons (Coeur Wine Company) and Ian Barry (Barry Family Cellars) he’s working to…

Barry Family Cellars 2013 Tuller Vineyard Pinot Noir


Barry Family Wines 2013 Tuller Vineyard Pinot Noir came and went — only 50 cases were made and they sold quickly — but it’s a wine that I’ll remember. We always remember the good ones, don’t we? Barry Family cellars co-owner and winemaker Ian Barry started working with John Tuller and his fruit during Barry’s first vintage in the Finger Lakes, when he was working at Heron Hill. At the time, Heron Hill bought all of Tuller’s fruit, including pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling and cabernet franc. “I always thought his fruit was unique, but particularly his pinot noir, which I would often keep…

Weekly New York Wine News — September 22, 2015


Photo courtesy of Arrowhead Spring Vineyards Harvest is in full swing, all around the Empire State, and while many industry folks we know are way to busy to check the news, the consumers among us are still thirsty for information… NEWS Orbitz – 9/14/2015 The Finger Lakes makes this list of 10 great wine destinations that are not your Napa Valley standard. Wall Street Journal – 9/17/2015 Lettie Teague lauds the features of Cabernet Franc in a season of change, while Paumanok Vineyards and Bedell Cellars on Long Island serve as illustrations. WSYR-TV – 9/18/2015 Upstate New York is not just…

Inside Copake Wine Works, aka “Frankly Wines North”


The first Saturday tasting at Copake Wine Works felt slightly subversive: Standing behind a table in the front window, co-owner Christy Frank splashed Greek white and Moroccan syrah into the glasses of customers who were possibly more used to tried-and-true Chardonnay and G&Ts on lazy August afternoons. The wines were quenching, though, and well-priced, so many left with bottles of Semeli “Mountain Sun” Moschofilero and Ouled Thaleb Syrah cradled in their arms. On Instagram, Frank has called Copake Wine Works, the three-month old wine shop she and her husband, Yanai, run in this sleepy upstate village, “Frankly Wines North,” and its shelves offer a mashup…

New York’s Next Wave: A New Generation is Earning Attention With Quality and Experimentation


Editor’s Note: This is my latest New York-focused piece for Beverage Media Though they haven’t saturated the metropolitan New York market by any means, New York wines aren’t the new kids on the block anymore. Rather than look to distant lands for “the next big thing,” enough intrepid buyers have looked in their own backyard to raise the profile of New York State wine to at least a known quantity. Many of the top — the classic ones, really — are known quantities. Wines from stalwarts like Hermann J. Wiemer, Paumanok Vineyards, Dr. Konstantin Frank and Channing Daughters Winery hold…

Uncork the Forks: At Harbes, Come for the Corn, Stay for the Wine


Editor’s Note: This is the lastest ediction of my biweekly column for The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review. When I hit the North Fork in search of farm-fresh produce, I don’t go to just one farm stand. I have my favorites for certain things. If I’m buying tomatoes, I usually go to Sang Lee. We get fresh goat cheese at Catapano. When it comes to sweet corn that you can eat raw, right off the cob, even without the typical butter and salt, I head to Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck. Picked in the morning and on my plate that evening,…