Browsing CategoryNiagara

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Syrah

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With all due respect to Long Island and the Finger Lakes, the most exciting wines on my tasting table over the past month or so have been from the Niagara region of New York.  Generally speaking, they are well-made wines that are well priced and show the kind of distinctiveness I look for. This Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Syrah ($35) is on the higher end of the pricing scale, but it delivers today and has the stuffing to improve in the bottle over the next five to ten years. The intense, layered nose shows dark, brooding fruit — blueberry, blackberry…

Talking Appassimento with Freedom Run Winery’s Cellarmaster Kurt Guba

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Kurt Guba is someone I’ve worked with since I moved to the Niagara region in 2007. He’s a certified sommelier, a professor at the local community college and a cellarmaster at Freedom Run Winery in Lockport, NY. He was a huge motivating force behind that winery’s new 2010 Appassimento Meritage, which has been released in limited quantities. I recently sat down with him to get his take on the wine and how it came to be. What lead to the decision to make the appassimento in 2010? Appassimento style wines are something that I really enjoy but it was also…

Across the Border: The Quest For the Holy Grail — Ontario Pinot Noir

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Perhaps it’s fitting that the first all-pinot-noir flight at this year’s Expert’s Tasting at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) was named after Monty Python’s classic film. If transcendent pinot noir is indeed the life-giving juice that flows from a cup then there are many out there spending their lives and fortunes looking for it, even though most everyone else already thinks it lies in Burgundy. Luckily my own quest to attend this year’s tasting was fulfilled, and I sat down with winemakers, wine writers, sommeliers and industry supporters to take a journey through several flights of…

Carmelo’s Restaurant Introduces “Butcher’s Supper”

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By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Editor Foodies who pride themselves on eating local have found Carmelo’s Restaurant in Lewiston, NY as a destination for some of the best “farm-to-table” cuisine in the region. Never before has that term been more literal than with the restaurant’s “Butcher’s Supper.” Chef Carmelo Raimondi and sous chef Bruce Wieszala have created a three-course feast featuring a suckling pig from T Meadow Farm in Lockport, NY as the main attraction. “We’re breaking new ground here,” says Raimondi. And he’s doing it with style. When I was lucky enough to share in the first of such dinners,…

The 2011 New York Cork Report Wines of the Year

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By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor I think I can speak for my fellow editors and contributors when I say that our 2011 Wines of the Year tasting was a fun, challenging and inspiring day of 16 wine tasting flights. I always come away with myriad story ideas swirling in my head after this tasting. This year is no different. Look for pieces from the team over the next few weeks. But today, we announce the winners — including our first-ever New York Wine of the Year, Peconic Bay Winery 2007 Lowerre Family Estate. Our 2011 Regional Wines of the Year…

4 a.m. is the Right Time for Ice Wine

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By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Region Editor The landscape along the Lake Ontario shoreline-hugging roadway that stretches eastward to Orleans County – Route 18 – pretty much becomes desolate once you pass Olcott. And it only seems more desolate at four in the morning on the coldest day of the winter. Lyndonville’s distance from the center of the Niagara Wine Trail keeps me from making this journey as often as I’d like to, but on this morning there was no hesitation – it was Leonard Oakes Estate Winery’s annual ice wine harvest. As I made my way through an apple orchard…

Niagara Gets a Little Hoppier

By Julia Burke, Beer Editor There are some exciting new vines in Niagara County –– well, make that bines. Rich and Bree Woodbridge, a charming and passionate young couple well-equipped for Niagara with a sense of adventure and a lot of heart, took a leap of faith when they moved to Lockport from California (after working in economic development in India) in March of this year to revitalize Rich's family's sixth-generation farmhouse. McCollum Orchards is a hundred-acre farm dating back to the 1820s, and while it's wonderful land for apples and other produce, the Woodbridges have something special in mind…

Harvest 2011: Wild Ride for Niagara So Far

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Pinot Noir grapes still hanging at Freedom Run Winery in Lockport, NY By Bryan Calandrelli, Niagara Region Editor For Jonathan Oakes, winemaker at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery and Schulze Vineyards and Winery, the 2011 growing season can be summed up in one word: wild. “It’s been one of the wildest rides I’ve seen in a long time,” he said. Thanks to Mother Nature, of course. It started with a cool and excessively wet late spring followed by an intensely hot and dry July. The good news for Oakes is that all that heat enabled the vines to catch up to…