Browsing CategoryNiagara

Empire State Cellars Wine Club: September 2012 Selections


The September shipment of the Empire State Cellars Wine Club, won’t ship for another 3 or 4 weeks, but I want to tell you about them today so, if you’re not already a member but want the wines, you’ll have time to join. If you’re not familiar with the club, you can learn more here. “Hello New York” Wines Keuka Spring Vineyards 2011 Riesling: Most 2011 Finger Lakes rieslings are marked by incredible, snappy acidity and this off-dry example shows near-perfect balance. Showing apricot, nectarine and lime flavors and hints of fig, this is a great value. Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2009 Arrowhead Red: This…

Vineyard Visuals Niagara: Riesling Down at Eveningside Vineyards


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


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…

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2009 “Arrowhead Red” Meritage


Many complain that there just aren’t enough New York reds under $20 that are worth of daily drinking.  If you’re one of these malcontents, this wine —  Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2009 “Arrowhead Red” Meritage ($16) is for you. A blend of 61% cabernet franc, 29% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot and 2% malbec, this $16 red simply over-delivers. In fact, it would over-deliver at several dollars more too. On the nose, ripe red cherry aromas are layered with notes of dusty chocolate, tobacco, bay leaf and hints of crumbled sage. A bit fruitier — red cherries and blackberries — on the medium-bodied…

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling


Made using Finger Lakes fruit, this Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling ($16) is a friendly, fruity wine with aromas off green apple, lime zest and just a touch of blanched almond. The palate is juicy, with gentle residual sugar that is balanced by solid acidity, with fruit cocktail flavors of green apple, peach and citrus. Producer: Arrowhead Spring Vineyards AVA: New York ABV: 12% Price: $16*   (2.5 out of 5, Average-to-Very Good)

Recipe: Cherry-Creme Beer Float


After a hot summer bike ride, nothing tastes better than a good root beer float. But why not substitute sarsaparilla for stout? I like my floats with all sorts of malty, sweeter beers, and after a morning bike ride over the weekend my boyfriend and I hit on what might be the world’s greatest beer float. The beer:  Southern Tier Brewing Company Creme Brulee Stout Unlike many brews by the Stout Kings of New York, Creme Brulee doesn’t have any chocolate flavor –– instead, it’s bursting with vanilla bean and caramel flavors thanks to real vanilla bean and dark caramel…

Leonard Oakes Winery 2010 Chardonnay


It’s nice to see more and more New York wineries making better and better stainless steel chardonnays, including this Leonard Oakes Winery 2010 Chardonnay ($15). Sometimes steel chardonnay can be lacking on the nose, but with aromas of fresh-cut Golden Delicious and Gala apples and light floral overtones and subtle nutty lees character, the nose is interesting enough and leads into a medium-full bodied palate that is fruity — more apples and pears — with fresh, nicely incorporated acidity and a clean, lingering finish that shows just a bit of lemon and spicy lees. Though not particularly complex or interesting, this is…

Review: Community Beer Works “The Whale”


By the time Community Beer Works opened for business this spring, hype surrounding Buffalo’s new nanobrewery had been building for months –– after all, not only would this be Buffalo’s first new brewery since 2000, but the CBW founders, particularly head brewer Rudy Watkins, are well known for their formidable skills and knowledge in the malt, yeast, and hop realm. Like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, the mysterious brick building on Lafayette Avenue practically begged onlookers to speculate about what wild and wonderful libations might flow forth once its doors opened. Belgian quadrupels? Extra-extra-double-double-India-to-the-Max IPAs? Sours to make you cry for…

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2008 Meritage Reserve


The Niagara region of New York continually forces me to rethink what I know about recent vintages in New York. Often the Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley and Long Island have quite similar seasons. Hurricanes or frost events aside, if a year is warm and dry in the Finger Lakes, it tends to be in the Hudson Valley and here too.  It’s similar for cooler years. Take 2008 for example. It was a cool, somewhat cloudy summer for much of the state and the wines, particularly the reds, reflect that.  That’s not a value judgement. That’s East Coast, cool-climate winemaking. Vintage…

Niagara County Welcomes Woodcock Brothers Brewery

Niagara Wine Country visitors — and winery staff — have been asking for a brewery in the area for years, and this fall they’ll finally have one. Woodcock Brothers Brewery is building a stunning facility that will include a brewery, restaurant, tasting room and porch on Lake Street in Wilson, New York, minutes from Schulze, Black Willow, Marjim Manor, Chateau Niagara, and Victorianbourg wineries. “The reception from the wine community here has been unbelievable,” says Tim Woodcock, who is founder along with his brother Mark and their wives Andrea and Debbie (all Niagara County natives). “People have been showing up…