Posts Written ByBryan Calandrelli

Vineyard Visuals Niagara: Riesling Down at Eveningside Vineyards

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Eveningside Vineyards in Cambria saw a storm pass through last weekend that literally took down a row of riesling vines next to their tasting room. I arrived the next day to see it for myself and ask owner Randy Biehl how things looked. Bryan Calandrelli: So when did this happen? Randy Biehl: About 6:30 Saturday evening we were in the tasting room closing up and the building started rumbling. We looked outside and saw shingles in the yard and our lawn chairs flying around in front of the vineyard and then I saw our first row of riesling was down…

New Releases at the Niagara Wine Trail Wine and Culinary Festival

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Last weekend’s Niagara Wine Trail Wine & Culinary Festival was a chance for the trail to raise money for promotions while extending its bottles to a wine drinking audience that may still be a little shy about stepping foot into an actual winery. The site — Academy Park in Lewiston, NY — seemed like perfect setting to appeal to the summertime festival-going crowds that know the town for its jazz festival, peach festival and the live shows at Artpark Performing Arts Center. My hope that the event would be a great opportunity for me to catch up with winemakers and owners…

Talking Appassimento with Freedom Run Winery’s Cellarmaster Kurt Guba

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Kurt Guba is someone I’ve worked with since I moved to the Niagara region in 2007. He’s a certified sommelier, a professor at the local community college and a cellarmaster at Freedom Run Winery in Lockport, NY. He was a huge motivating force behind that winery’s new 2010 Appassimento Meritage, which has been released in limited quantities. I recently sat down with him to get his take on the wine and how it came to be. What lead to the decision to make the appassimento in 2010? Appassimento style wines are something that I really enjoy but it was also…

Across the Border: The Quest For the Holy Grail — Ontario Pinot Noir

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Perhaps it’s fitting that the first all-pinot-noir flight at this year’s Expert’s Tasting at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) was named after Monty Python’s classic film. If transcendent pinot noir is indeed the life-giving juice that flows from a cup then there are many out there spending their lives and fortunes looking for it, even though most everyone else already thinks it lies in Burgundy. Luckily my own quest to attend this year’s tasting was fulfilled, and I sat down with winemakers, wine writers, sommeliers and industry supporters to take a journey through several flights of…

4 a.m. is the Right Time for Ice Wine

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By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Region Editor The landscape along the Lake Ontario shoreline-hugging roadway that stretches eastward to Orleans County – Route 18 – pretty much becomes desolate once you pass Olcott. And it only seems more desolate at four in the morning on the coldest day of the winter. Lyndonville’s distance from the center of the Niagara Wine Trail keeps me from making this journey as often as I’d like to, but on this morning there was no hesitation – it was Leonard Oakes Estate Winery’s annual ice wine harvest. As I made my way through an apple orchard…

American Wine Society National Conference Recon

By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Region Editor Last Saturday I did something that I’d never had the chance to do before: I led an all-Niagara (USA) wine tasting for a national audience as Rochester played host to the American Wine Society’s National Conference. Of course, anyone with foresight and the ability to plan their lives accordingly may have actually taken advantage of the perks of being a presenter at a conference like this by pre-registering for other seminars, booking a hotel room to fully let loose and confirming whether they wanted beef, fish or the vegetarian entree at the banquet. But…

Harvest 2011: Wild Ride for Niagara So Far

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Pinot Noir grapes still hanging at Freedom Run Winery in Lockport, NY By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Region Editor For Jonathan Oakes, winemaker at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery and Schulze Vineyards and Winery, the 2011 growing season can be summed up in one word: wild. “It’s been one of the wildest rides I’ve seen in a long time,” he said. Thanks to Mother Nature, of course. It started with a cool and excessively wet late spring followed by an intensely hot and dry July. The good news for Oakes is that all that heat enabled the vines to catch up to…

Leonard Oakes Estate Winery’s Double Gold Rush

By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Region Editor The timing of Leonard Oakes Estate Winery’s party celebrating their two double-gold medal winning wines from the annual New York Food & Wine Classic couldn’t have been more appropriate. Two weeks before, their 2008 Vidal Icewine and Steampunk Cider both received this award, with the Icewine even taking home the honor of “Best Dessert Wine” in NYS, but the real story behind the appropriately named “Double Gold Rush” event: it was the first public release of the aforementioned hard cider. Being a lucky member of the industry and media, I was invited to the…