Browsing CategoryNiagara

Get the Best New York Wine Delivered to Your Door — The New York Cork Club


If you read this blog, you’re obviously interested in New York wine. But, depending on where you live, you may not have ready access to very much of it. If that’s you, we’ve got the solution. We’ve partnered with The Cellar d’Or — a great wine and cider shop in Ithaca, NY — for the New York Cork Club. Every month, I pick two great New York wines and they are delivered to your door. The wine itself never exceeds $50 for those two bottles (shipping costs vary) and by joining, you’ll get everything from classic wines from the top wineries in…

Leonard Oakes Estate Winery 2014 Petillant Naturel Riesling


Pet nat — shorthand for Pétillant Naturel — wines are all the rage these days, particularly in New York City. These are lightly sparkling wines made in a style that, while new to the New York wine industry, is far from trendy or new. In fact, the method is as rustic and old as the wines are fun to drink. Unlike sparkling wines made using methode champenoise (as with Champagne), where yeast and sugar are added to a fully fermented base wine for a secondary carbonation in the bottle, pet nat is made via méthode ancestral, where the wine is bottled before primary fermentation —…

Leonard Oakes Estate Winery 2013 Reserve Series Sauvignon Blanc


Lightly saline on the nose, with notes of lemony citrus, fresh-cut hay and grapefruit, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery 2013 Reserve Series Sauvignon Blanc ($17) is a snappy, refreshing sauvignon. The palate lacks a bit of concentration, but is bright, citrusy and mouthwatering — with a savory minerality that peeks through on a medium-long finish. Producer: Leonard Oakes Estate Winery AVA: New York State ABV: 12.5% Price: $17 (sample) (3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)

Leonard Oakes Winery 2012 Reserve Series Syrah


“I’m not convinced about its place up here — but we had to give it a shot.” That’s one of the first things winemaker Jonathan Oakes told me when I asked about his soon-to-be-released syrah. Syrah is far from widely planted in the region, but most of what I’ve tasted has been delicious. And, after tasting Oakes’, I’m more convinced than ever at the grapes potential in and near the Niagara Escarpment AVA. Aged in heavily toasted American oak — even if the majority was two and three years old — Leonard Oakes Estate Winery 2012 Reserve Series Syrah ($23) shows a…

At Liberty Vineyards, Family Tradition Turns Into Fine Wine


Chautauqua County has been known as the one of the best places in the world to grow concord grapes for generations. That is why many family farms have been growing grapes there for well over one hundred years. Some farms that started growing mostly Concord and native grape varieties over time added vinifera grapes to their fields to sell to home winemakers. Recently, the region has seen an increase production of vinifera grapes and received acclaim for its success in growing them. These small blocks have grown into acres and acres of vinifera grapes that supply a burgeoning winemaking scene…

Reconnecting With What Drives Schulze Vineyards & Winery


Wine’s ability to enable us to metaphorically travel through time and space just might allow me to grasp all that’s happened in the months (or years?) since I’d last been a regular contributor to the NYCR. As I look back through what resembles a hazy glass of unfiltered, sediment-laden chardonnay, there’s a lot I’ve missed or just never got around to verbalizing. This minor disconnect from the region left me wondering where to jump back in: An expansion of the official Niagara Wine Region Route? Or maybe a vintage report card which, after all is said and done, will just…

Blending at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards


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


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


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…