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Blending at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards

Blending

Covering the Niagara and Lake Erie Regions the past few months has allowed me to meet many of the local winemakers. While I’ve been a wine lover, as well as a novice winemaker, for many years I’m just now learning many of the fundamental phases of a vintage in a commercial setting. At the end of September, I was invited to assemblage at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in Lockport, New York. Assemblage is the French term for blending wines and the term used by Duncan and Robin Ross to describe their process at ASV. Joining me at the session were Ryan Little, winemaking assistant of Arrowhead…

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir

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A lot of cheap pinot — let’s use sub-$20 as our loose definition — has little pinot character. They can be gulplable, but they are typically strawberry-cherry juice with some alcohol. That fact is one reason that I appreciate Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir ($18) so much. It has real pinot character for a great price. Is this the best pinot in the world or even Niagara? Of course, not. But it never lasts long when I open it. The nose starts with red cherries — ripe, tender ones — but some swirling teases earthy forest floor and raw…

5 Questions with… Robin Ross, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards

Robin Ross, Co-owner, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards

For those that know Robin Ross, co-owner of Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, it may be difficult to believe that when she met her husband Duncan she wasn’t even a wine drinker. Ross has come a long way since then. She now dedicates herself day and night to the 7-acre vineyard in New York’s Niagara Escarpment, with much of that time in between the vines. If asked 10 years ago if she thought she would be a winery owner working  full-time in the wine business, my guess is that she probably would not have said yes. Winemaking was her husband Duncan’s passion,…

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Arrowhead Red

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Some New York restaurant owners, when confronted about a lack of local wines on their lists, point to price point as the main reason. “There just aren’t any good $15 reds!” they might say. Now, one could argue that the cheap reds they are pouring aren’t very good either, but that’s another discussion for another day. Today, let me introduce you to the latest vintage of one of New York’s great red wine values — Arrowhead Spring Vineyard 2010 Arrowhead Red ($15) — an incredibly well-priced wine that should be served by the glass in every western New York restaurant that…

Chateau Niagara Winery: Making a Name on the Lake Ontario Plain

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“Wine should always have a story and wines need a sense of place.” That is Jim Baker’s mantra. Baker is the owner of Chateau Niagara Winery in Newfane, New York and strives to live up to that mantra. To that end, each wine in the portfolio has a unique story regarding its inception and creation that Jim happily shares with each interested consumer.  These stories and Jim’s own respect for the terrior of the Lake Ontario Plain motivate Chateau Niagara to offer quality vinifera wine made in the Niagara Region. As happens often in the wine industry, the tale of the…

New York Wine & Culinary Center Unveils New Awards While Keeping Focus on NY Wines

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It probably shouldn’t be a news headline when a state’s culinary center carries a state’s wines exclusively, but it is when it’s the New York Wine & Culinary Center’ After a brief lapse in spring of 2012, the center has made a number of significant changes, with a clearer focus on New York products. That’s true of the restaurant, wine list, and in the news annual awards program that makes its debut Saturday night. In full disclosure, I’m helping emcee the Saturday night event. Yes, there are still tickets available. No, that’s not why I’m writing this piece. I’m writing about…

Eveningside Vineyards: Created Out of Passion, Driven by a Lifestyle

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Passion. Love. Family. Friends. Lifestyle. These five elements drive the wine philosophy of Eveningside Vineyards in Cambria, New York. Run by Randy Biehl and his wife, Karen, Eveningside Vineyards was founded in the Niagara Region in 2000. This simple philosophy governs how the Biehls approach wine making — and their lives —  and it’s one that has enabled the Biehls to own and operate one of the most successful wineries in the Niagara Region for over a decade. In their thirties, Randy and Karen got “the wine bug,” as Randy describes it. They were living in “suburbia” in West Seneca,…

Chelus to Join NYCR Team Covering Niagara and Lake Erie Regions

Michael Chelus is a life-long Western New Yorker.  His passion and knowledge of wine derive from growing-up in an Italian-American family and his studies in Italy.  His love of fine wine has led him to discover and become enamored with the wonders offered by the Lake Erie/Chautauqua Lake and Niagara wine making regions of New York State. In addition to writing for NYCR, he shares his passion for fine wine, exceptional food and great craft beer on his blog, The Nittany Epicurean. I’ll bet you can guess where he went to college. By day, Michael is an attorney and family…

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc

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I’ve enjoyed many of co-owner/winemaker Duncan Ross’ wines from Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in the past, but his cabernet franc remained elusive — mainly because it’s typically only available in the winery’s tasting room. So on my recent visit to Empire State Cellars, not long after Duncan had been there to pour several of his recently released reds, I was thrilled to find this bottle of Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc ($25). The ripeness of the 2010 Niagara vintage is on full display from the moment the wine settles in the glass — and so are the 22 months this…

Vineyard Visuals: Icewine 2013 Harvest at Leonard Oakes Winery

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Icewine 2013 Harvest @ Leonard Oakes from Bryan Calandrelli on Vimeo. Mother Nature did not disappoint the harvest crew at Leonard Oakes Winery as the week of January 21st provided more than enough time for Jonathan Oakes and gang to pull the rest of their grapes from the 2012-growing season. Bone-chilling temperatures and a massive snowfall didn’t make it comfortable or easy but it did ease nerves and make for a long window to press out their frozen grapes. This quick interview and series of images is a glimpse into what it was like the day of the vidal harvest.…