Posts Written ByLenn Thompson

Virginia #Tastemaker: Jim Law | Linden Vineyards

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“Tastemaker” is a term typically used to describe a person — either a sommelier or writer in the wine world — who decides what is good, cool or otherwise interesting. With our new #Tastemaker profiles, I’ve decided to usurp the term to mean someone who actually makes the wines, ciders, spirits, etc. that we love. A “tastemaker” should make something, after all. I’m always wary of labeling any single person or thing the “best” or “most” anything — but Jim Law, winegrower and owner of Linden Vineyards, is at least among the most influential figures in Virginia wine. Winemakers and grape…

Corks of the Forks: Long Island Wineries Should Act, Not Talk

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The internet is a place of quick judgments and irrational over-reaction. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that when the Long Island Wine Council, led by executive director Steve Bate and marketing director Ali Tuthill, met with the Southold Town Board to discuss some recommended changes to how local wineries operate, people lost their minds. Lost. Their. Minds. Many supposed-longtime wine club members vowed in Facebook posts to never buy another drop of local wine. Others called the plans — which include things like eliminating live music on weekends, one-ounce tasting pours and requiring reservations for groups larger than six —…

Keuka Spring Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc

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On my last visit to the Finger Lakes, I got to spend some time with the Keuka Spring Vineyards winemaking team. As I tasted with head winemaker August Deimel and assistant winemaker Rachel Hadley, I realized something pretty unique: though they are using oak barrels of various age and in varying percentages in their rose and Gewurztraminer programs, oak barrels have been completely eliminated from the red wine program for the 2015 vintage — and for the foreseeable future. Now, this is primarily a white wine house anyway, but it’s a bold shift to remove oak from the reds program…

New York Cork Club: May 2016 Selections

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With summer just around the corner — despite the cool, grey weather blanketing most of the northeast right now — I wanted to pick some wines this month that are well suited to warmer weather occasions and foods. I think I’ve done that with these wines even if they don’t offer the same sense of discovery as some other picks have. These aren’t obscure producers or grapes or wines that you haven’t seen before. Instead, I’ve chosen two delicious wines from two of my favorite producers — one in the Finger Lakes and one on Long Island. My first pick is…

New York #Tastemaker: Ian Barry | Barry Family Cellars

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“Tastemaker” is a term typically used to describe a person — either a sommelier or writer in the wine world — who decides what is good, cool or otherwise interesting. With our new #NYTastemaker profiles, I’ve decided to usurp the term to mean someone who actually makes the wines, ciders, spirits, etc. that we love. A “tastemaker” should make something, after all. I first met Ian Barry, winemaker and general manager of Barry Family Cellars several years ago when he was working at a far-larger winery on Cayuga Lake. He was making at least two dozen different wines every year…

Uncork the Forks: Local Wines Should Be on Local Menus

(Credit: David Benthal for northforker)

(Photo Credit: David Benthal for northforker) Local wine people — both inside and out of the industry proper — have long lamented how few local restaurants support and offer local wine. Short of visiting every restaurant and asking to see their wine lists, it is hard to know precisely who is listing local wine and how much of it. Visiting restaurant websites — many of which aren’t updated very often, rendering them largely useless — does offer some insight, though. The results are still ugly, though there are some exceptions — restaurants doing good things with local wine. Some restaurants,…

New York #Tastemaker: Anthony Nappa | Raphael & Anthony Nappa Wines

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“Tastemaker” is a term typically used to describe a person — either a sommelier or writer in the wine world — who decides what is good, cool or otherwise interesting. With our new #NYTastemaker profiles, I’ve decided to usurp the term to mean someone who actually makes the wines, ciders, spirits, etc. that we love. A “tastemaker” should make something, after all. As a wine lover and a wine writer, I know that I can trust Anthony Nappa, winemaker at Raphael, owner of Anthony Nappa Wines and co-owner of The Winemaker Studio with his chef-wife Sarah. It’s not just that his wines almost always…

Jones von Drehle Vineyards 2014 Rosa Dia

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The plans for my 2015 Rosé report are coming along nicely, with wines from wineries all across the east coast (defined for the tasting wineries not in California, Oregon or Washington). This year’s tasting will have wines not only from various New York regions, but also Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan and North Carolina. The response has been humbling. Truly. My tasting report will focus on 2015 wines, but some wineries have sent me 2014 rosé as well, including  Jones von Drehle Vineyards 2014 Rosa Dia ($18). Jones von Drehle is a relatively new producer in the Yadkin Valley AVA in North…

Keuka Lake Vineyards NV KLV Red

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Need another reminder that generalizations can be dangerous in the wine world? Look no further than Keuka Lake Vineyards NV KLV Red ($16). Many will look at a wine like this one — without a vintage year on the label — and look elsewhere for something to drink. I get it, often non-vintage wines end up being whatever is left over and the wines aren’t very good. But you know what they say happens when you assume. This is a blend that is mostly cabernet franc, with Leon Millot, pinot noir and a “splash” of Delaware rounding out the blend. It’s…

Macari Vineyards 2013 Reserve Cabernet Franc

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“Reserve” is a term without an official meaning in the American wine industry. It can be used by anyone on any wine. Some wineries only have a “Reserve” line — which means it’s more about marketing than anything else. They’d never admit it, but I’m convinced that some producers even put “Reserve” on a bottle just so they can charge more for it. For a while, here on Long Island, “Reserve” has meant bigger, riper and oakier. Sometimes wineries boast about long a “Reserve” wine is aged in oak barrels on the back label — as if that’s a sign…