Posts Written ByLenn Thompson

Coffee Pot Cellars 2013 Chardonnay

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Regardless of grape variety, I don’t look for or particularly enjoy a heavy oak footprint — flavors of raw wood, vanilla, etc. That’s particularly true of chardonnay. Oaky chardonnay tends to not play well with the foods I like to eat. The middle ground between buttery oak bombs and steely unoakaed chardonnay can be hard to navigate. It’s sometimes hard to tell, just by looking at a label, just how oaky or not a chardonnay will be. I tend to prefer wines that reside in that middle groud — wines made using older, neutral oak barrels that allow for air…

New York #Tastemaker: Rich Olsen-Harbich | Bedell 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’m not sure that Rich Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at Bedell Cellars will ever let me live down the fact that I once wrote that while he’s not the founding father of Long Island wine, he’s the region’s “eldest uncle.” It’s perhaps…

Martha Clara Vineyards 2013 Estate Reserve Merlot

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It can be easy to dismiss Martha Clara Vineyards as a producer of fine wine. I mean, it’s the winery with the animals, the weddings and the concerts, right? Yes. It has all of those. Wine isn’t necessarily at the center of everything at Martha Clara. There is a wide swath of people that visits the winery every year and winemaker Juan Eduardo Micieli-Martinez has built a portfolio clearly meant to appeal to that diverse audience. But let’s not forget, there are plenty of fine wine lovers who visit Martha Clara too and to those folks, I would recommend Martha Clara Vineyards’…

Eve’s Cidery 2014 Northern Spy

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It’s been a long journey to get here, but this is my first-ever cider review. In a few ways, it’s only fitting that it’s Eve’s Cidery 2014 Northern Spy ($17/750ml). First, it was a bottle of Eve’s Cidery Perry Pear — a gift from a friend — that really opened my eyes to the possibilities that lay beyond the commercial-style ciders and perrys that I’d had in the past. Second, Eve Cidery’s Autumn Stoscheck then nudged me along toward this moment by suggesting that the New York cider community needed someone like me to start paying attention to it. She then sent me…

Corks of the Forks: A Look at the “Other” Local Grapes

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A couple months ago, I devoted my column space to what has become the de facto “signature variety” for Long Island wine country: merlot. There are approximately 700 acres of merlot planted on Long Island — roughly 30 percent of the total vineyard acreage — and there are reasons for that. It grows and ripens dependably and consistently, even in all but the most horrid of vintages. That’s important here and why it’s the backbone of the industry.  But the East End isn’t like many parts of Europe where regulations dictate what grapes can be grown where. Long Island growers…

Pennsylvania #Tastemaker: Anthony Vietri | Va La Vineyards

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Photo courtesy Jeff Alexander “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 my 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 spent the first 20-plus years of my life living in Pennsylvania. I was born there in one of Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs, went to college in a small town called Meadville, PA and then went to…

Looking Ahead After 12 Years of the New York Cork Report

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12 years ago today, I launched this site — then known as LENNDEVOURS. It was my second blog, the first being a fairly generic one that I treated a bit like a diary or journal, and it started covering food and wine in a broad sense. I had just started drinking Long Island wine and not long after, when I couldn’t find a website with information that I wanted about those wines anywhere, I decided to create it myself. Not long after that, I got my first wine columnist gig for a local newspaper. My wife — my most staunch supporter…

Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2013 Chardonnay

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Roman Roth has a way with chardonnay. Always has and probably always will. I don’t drink a lot of chardonnay, mind you, but I can recognize and appreciate well-made chardonnay of any style. For Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2013 Chardonnay ($19) Roth started with seven separate lots — all hand-harvested and fermented separately in 70% stainless steel and 30% French oak (his portion also completed malolactic fermentation). After six months of sur lie aging, those seven lots became one 1,117-case production. As I look back over my notes, I see that I wrote “fruity” three times, but it’s not just fruity.…

New York #Tastemaker: Christopher Bates | Element Winery (Among Many Other Places)

christopher-bates

“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 my 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. There was one person I didn’t take into account when I set out to ‘take back’ the term tastemaker from writers and sommeliers with this weekly series: Christopher Bates. He’s also a sommelier — and well-regarded one at that. But…

Boundary Breaks Vineyard 2014 No. 239 Dry Riesling

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I’ve become a bit jaded about Finger Lakes riesling — but I don’t mean that to sound as bad as I know it does. But after so many years tasting so many good-to-great rieslings, I’ve come to expect it in a sense. I don’t want to say that I take it for granted because I don’t. There is still a lot of mediocre (or worse) riesling in the Finger Lakes. But, for a wine to really stand out during a tasting, it has to be something special. When such a wine retails for less than $20, even better — if increasingly rare…