Posts Written ByLindsay Prichard

Orange Wines in the Finger Lakes: What Was Old is New Again


Across the Finger Lakes, creative winemakers like August Deimel, Katey Larwood, Steve Shaw, Peter Becraft, Vinny Aliperti and others are employing traditional techniques with well-known grape varieties to produce innovative, new wines. Frequently referred to as “orange” or “amber,” these new wines are challenging establish perceptions of mainstay wines made from varieties such as chardonnay, gewurztraminer, vignoles and even riesling — the iconic grape of the region. What the wines have in common is that they are white wines that utilize extended skin contact during maceration and subsequent fermentation. This approach represents a major deviation from winemaking practices commonly employed…

With Lacey Magruder Winery, the Hundertmarks Live Their Dreams


Jim Hundertmark is a man who is living his dream. Most mornings he leaves his modest farmhouse home and walks a few dozen steps across his property to work. For Hundertmark, his workplace is the small, “boutique” winery on the west side of Seneca Lake that he owns and operates with his wife Ruth. Their winery, Lacey Magruder Winery, bears the name of the paternal grandmothers from each of their families. The couple’s path to the Finger Lakes began in their hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Like many who live in the DMV area surrounding the nation’s capital, Mrs. Hundertmark built…

7 Years of Ravines Wine Cellars Meritage


There is a phenomena that is unique to the world of fine wine that gives some winemakers sleepless nights, sends collectors on quests that are akin to searches for the Holy Grail itself, and provides ample employment opportunities for wine writers and critics alike: Vintage Variation. For brewers and distillers, achieving consistency in their product is a common and overarching goal. But for producers of fine wines — particularly in cool climates — embracing inconsistency is more the norm. Most espouse the philosophy of “letting the grapes dictate the wine” by emphasizing the attractive characteristics that are presented by a…

The Story Behind McGregor Vineyard’s Black Russian Red: A Chat With John McGregor


It has been called “unique” and “iconic” – and has developed an almost cult-like following since it first appeared more than two decades ago. McGregor Vineyard’s Black Russian Red is a field blend of two varieties of Eastern European origin – Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni. Finger Lakes pioneer Bob McGregor created the blend in the early 1990’s as an alternative to classic Bordeaux blends that require varieties that are challenging to consistently cultivate in Upstate New York, releasing the first vintage in 1991. Based on its early success, the wine has been produced every vintage since. Today, continuation of the…

Dining Among the (2014) Wines at Anthony Road Wine Company

Anthony Road winemaker Peter Becraft

The winter weather outside was frightful, but inside the production building at Anthony Road Winery the scene was warm and inviting for the recent “Cellar Sampler: Dine Among the Wines” event. Wine cellar dinners have been gaining in popularity, and a crowd of nearly three dozen food and wine lovers attended the sold-out event that was hosted by Anthony Road Head Winemaker, Peter Becraft. The evening featured four of Anthony Road’s unreleased wines that were artfully paired with dishes that had been prepared by chefs Rune Hilt and Guilietta Racciatti of Red Dove Tavern in Geneva, NY.  Unlike most formal wine tasting…

Magnus Ridge Winery: A Family Affair Focused on the Tasting Experience


A few miles north of the village of Watkins Glen on the western shore of Seneca Lake is a large and striking structure  faces the lake from the side of a hill that is bisected by Route 14.  Although it mostly resembles a French chateau in design, the building is a fusion of Old World architectural styles that give it an imposing, yet inviting aura.  Its name, Magnus Ridge Winery, pays homage to its size as well as its location. The winery and the nearby vineyards represent the realization of a life-long dream for Sandy and Matt Downey who built…

Tasting the Past and Possible Future of Finger Lakes Saperavi at Standing Stone Vineyards


The titles on Marti Macinski’s business card read “Co-owner” and “Winemaker.” But it would be easy to understand if they included “Historian” and “Educator” as well. Ms. Macinski, who along with her husband Tom has owned and operated Standing Stone Vineyards in Hector , NY for more than twenty years, is well-versed in the modern history of winemaking in the Finger Lakes region. It is a subject that she has not only studiously researched, but has also helped to shape since the early nineteen-nineties. The Macinski’s are self-described “wine geeks” who have applied a scientific approach to their viticultural and…

The Joy of Going Vertical: Older Wines are Worth Pursuing


The premise of a vertical tasting is simple – samples of the same wine are drawn from different vintages and are tasted in a side-by-side fashion to compare and contrast differences in the wine that can be attributed to variation in climatic and other growing conditions across various years of production. Of course, additional factors such as changes in winemaking styles, difference in fruit sourcing, and changes in blend composition can also play a major role in the flavor profile of a wine and need to be considered when choosing the wine and vintages for a vertical tasting. Assuming these…

Finger Lakes Wine by the Numbers: Balance, Value and Single-Vineyard Wines


The Finger Lakes can make a statistics-based case for being the most balanced wine region in the country. Its sparkling wines offer far better value than sparkling wines from other regions. And how much more would you pay for scarcer, single-vineyard wines? Those three themes fill out our newest edition of “Finger Lakes Wine By the Numbers.” The purpose of this series is to provide a quantitative view of the Finger Lakes wine industry based on a survey of wines offered by Finger Lakes wineries on their websites. The introductory post presented information on three aspects of the industry: The…

News Brief: Nathan Kendall Becomes Head Winemaker at Villa Bellangelo


Chris Missick, owner of Villa Bellangelo, announced late last week that Nathan Kendall has accepted the position of head winemaker for his Dundee-based winery. Kendall is a native of upstate New York and has worked in the wine industry both in the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, he was an assistant to winemaker Morten Hallgren of Ravines Wine Cellars in Hammondsport, NY. Kendall fills Villa Bellangelo’s head winemaker role which had been vacant since Ian Barry left earlier this year to focus on Barry Family Cellars in Hector, NY.