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Uncork the Forks: 6 reasons for North Forkers to visit the Finger Lakes

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I’m working on several stories after my recent trip to the Finger Lakes — but in the meantime, I wanted to share my latest column for the Suffolk Times, which can be found online on northforker.com Over the past several years, my family has fallen head-over-heels in love with the Finger Lakes region of central New York. It’s a stunningly beautiful part of the country that offers spectacular sunrises and sunsets, fishing, boating, wine tasting, great food and farmer’s markets, a relaxed pace and plenty of relaxation. In some ways, it’s a lot like the North Fork — except it’s…

Lieb Cellars 2014 Bridge Lane Chardonnay

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It’s easy to forget sometimes, but not every wine we drink needs to be esoteric or complicated. Wine needn’t always be something you spend time dissecting or pondering. Some might argue that wine is never that. At the end of the day, wine need only be delicious and satisfying. Lieb Cellars 2014 Bridge Lane Chardonnay ($16) is both of those things. Made entirely in stainless steel, it’s not complex or layered, but it offers bright, fresh lemon-lime fruitiness, juicy acidity and a subtle saline edge on the finish. This is the kind of wine that you want to have around as the…

New York #Tastemaker: August Deimel | Keuka Spring Vineyards

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“Tastemaker” is a term typically used to describe a person — either a sommelier or writer in the wine world — who decides what is good, cool or otherwise interesting. With our new #NYTastemaker profiles, I’ve decided to usurp the term to mean someone who actually makes the wines, ciders, spirits, etc. that we love. A “tastemaker” should make something, after all. Where should I  start with August Deimel, winemaker at Keuka Spring Vineyards? He’s a fellow Pittsburgh native and we’ve had more than a few exchanges about our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers over the years — but we should keep this to…

Long Island Wine Press: 5 Truths About Long Island Chardonnay

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You may have noticed a lot of chardonnay-related activity here and on the site’s Facebook page of late. That was because of this story, which is in the spring issue of Long Island Wine Press. Check out the excerpt and then click the link below to read the full story. For the last five years of the decade I’ve spent writing about wine, I’ve largely ignored most Long Island chardonnay. Rarely tasted it, let alone drank it. Particularly if it was raised in an oak barrel. Sure, some unoaked Long island chardonnay made it into my glass — it’s bound…

Coffee Pot Cellars 2013 Chardonnay

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Regardless of grape variety, I don’t look for or particularly enjoy a heavy oak footprint — flavors of raw wood, vanilla, etc. That’s particularly true of chardonnay. Oaky chardonnay tends to not play well with the foods I like to eat. The middle ground between buttery oak bombs and steely unoakaed chardonnay can be hard to navigate. It’s sometimes hard to tell, just by looking at a label, just how oaky or not a chardonnay will be. I tend to prefer wines that reside in that middle groud — wines made using older, neutral oak barrels that allow for air…

New York #Tastemaker: Rich Olsen-Harbich | Bedell Cellars

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“Tastemaker” is a term typically used to describe a person — either a sommelier or writer in the wine world — who decides what is good, cool or otherwise interesting. With our new #NYTastemaker profiles, I’ve decided to usurp the term to mean someone who actually makes the wines, ciders, spirits, etc. that we love. A “tastemaker” should make something, after all. I’m not sure that Rich Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at Bedell Cellars will ever let me live down the fact that I once wrote that while he’s not the founding father of Long Island wine, he’s the region’s “eldest uncle.” It’s perhaps…

Weekly New York Wine News — March 21, 2016

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NEWS Drinks Business – 3/4/2016 Bibendum adds Finger Lakes producer Forge Cellars to it’s U.S. portfolio, as British interest in American wine and dining increases. ABC News – 3/16/2016 In a new development to the story of last year’s Long Island wine country crash that resulted in four fatalities, the truck driver met with DUI charges, limousine driver has been indicted on counts of criminally negligent homicide and other charges. Suffolk Times – 3/17/2016 Southold Farm and Cellars is denied the zoning variance they would need to bring them into compliance and keep them in operation. Westchester Magazine – 3/18/2016…

Martha Clara Vineyards 2013 Estate Reserve Merlot

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It can be easy to dismiss Martha Clara Vineyards as a producer of fine wine. I mean, it’s the winery with the animals, the weddings and the concerts, right? Yes. It has all of those. Wine isn’t necessarily at the center of everything at Martha Clara. There is a wide swath of people that visits the winery every year and winemaker Juan Eduardo Micieli-Martinez has built a portfolio clearly meant to appeal to that diverse audience. But let’s not forget, there are plenty of fine wine lovers who visit Martha Clara too and to those folks, I would recommend Martha Clara Vineyards’…

Eve’s Cidery 2014 Northern Spy

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It’s been a long journey to get here, but this is my first-ever cider review. In a few ways, it’s only fitting that it’s Eve’s Cidery 2014 Northern Spy ($17/750ml). First, it was a bottle of Eve’s Cidery Perry Pear — a gift from a friend — that really opened my eyes to the possibilities that lay beyond the commercial-style ciders and perrys that I’d had in the past. Second, Eve Cidery’s Autumn Stoscheck then nudged me along toward this moment by suggesting that the New York cider community needed someone like me to start paying attention to it. She then sent me…

Corks of the Forks: A Look at the “Other” Local Grapes

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A couple months ago, I devoted my column space to what has become the de facto “signature variety” for Long Island wine country: merlot. There are approximately 700 acres of merlot planted on Long Island — roughly 30 percent of the total vineyard acreage — and there are reasons for that. It grows and ripens dependably and consistently, even in all but the most horrid of vintages. That’s important here and why it’s the backbone of the industry.  But the East End isn’t like many parts of Europe where regulations dictate what grapes can be grown where. Long Island growers…