New York Cork Club: September 2015 Selections


The September 2015 wines for the New York Cork Club will ship soon — thank goodness that the hot weather has started to subside. It’s shipping season! (If you missed our announcement about the rebirth of New York Cork Club, check it out here.) As we head into harvest season this fall, a lot of us start to drink a bit more red wine — but not heavy, oak-laden ones. With that in mind, we’re doing two reds this month, but both are bright and decided not oaky. Just what we like as the last of the summer’s tomatoes move through our…

McCall Wines 2014 “Cuvee Nicola” Sauvignon Blanc”


Earlier this week, I read two articles (you can read them yourself here and here) lamenting the rise and dominance of dry rose in America — not because the authors don’t like rose, but because other summer-ready wines have been been marginalized. There is a lot of rose being made in New York right now — more than ever. Much of it is delicious and I drink a lot of it (all year long), so it’s probably not unusual that so many end up being reviewed on this site. That said, rose isn’t something I consider my “summer wine.” Finger Lakes riesling…

Weekly New York Wine News — August 31, 2015


Photo courtesy of Cayuga Ridge Winery What’s old is new again, the Finger Lakes leave their mark on bloggers, baseball and bookies, tannin vanishing acts, and an upstate beverage summit… NEWS New York Times – 8/18/2015 Paumanok in Long Island and Bloomer Creek in the Finger Lakes ( with help from Pascaline Lepeltier ) play their parts in a plan to revive American appreciation for Chenin Blanc. Star Tribune – 8/26/2015 Bill Ward reminisces about his recent trip to the Finger Lakes, and what Minnesota vintners might learn there. New York Upstate – 8/27/2015 Video review of the New York Yankees…

A Changing of the Grapes


Editor’s Note: I’ve been writing a biweekly column for since November 2014, but this is my first piece after taking over the wine column space in the print editions of The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review from long-time wine columnist Louisa Hargrave. I’ll be publishing an excerpt of each column here on NYCR and linking over to the full piece. How do you replace a pioneer — an icon, really — who was literally there when a wine industry was born? You don’t because you can’t. I can never fill Louisa Hargrave’s shoes, but I do hope to fill her old column…

Heart & Hands Wine Company 2013 Patrician Verona Vineyard Riesling


When Tom and Susan Higgins set out to create Heart & Hands Wine Company, pinot noir was to be the focus — and it is. Tom is making some of the best pinot on the East Coast. At the same time, the riesling program has grown beyond what the couple expected (I tasted more than a half dozen bottlings on a recent visit) and offers outstanding quality as well. The fruit used to make Heart & Hands Wine Company 2013 Patrician Verona Vineyard Riesling ($28) was grown on the west side of Cayuga Lake on a site that consistently produces ripe, fruit-forward rieslings. That’s…

Thoughts on the Finger Lakes’ Sh!##iest Vintage Ever


“No reserve wines in 2009 due to shittiest vintage ever.” It was one of the greatest tweets I’ve ever read, because it came from a winery employee. The tweet is long since deleted, but that is close to a word-for-word recollection. How could I forget it? I admired it instantly. Wine and food writers are often sifting through spin, and this was unvarnished. That was the summer that wasn’t, as my wife calls it. Almost never sniffed 90 degrees, and spent most of July in the low-to-mid 70s. Ripening was slow, and when frost came in October, it was, for…

Weekly New York Wine News — August 24, 2015


Cabernet Sauvignon Verasion at Sawmill Creek Vineyards Fall festivals are starting to fill the calendar, while conferences and competitions have been under way. More legal support for local producers, help with marketing, and feedback on the destination that New York has become. NEWS Star Gazette – 8/11/2015 Field report from the New York Wine & Food Classic where judges evaluated the annual crop of the state’s wines as the industry continues to grow. Time Warner Cable News – 8/14/2015 Annual Wine Bloggers Conference was held in Corning, NY to scratch the surface of the Finger Lakes’ depth…and is the main…

Hermann J. Wiemer 2013 Cabernet Franc


Even though I’ve been writing wine reviews for many years now, I never stop asking myself about their real value, whether or not I’m approaching them in the right way or how I can improve my process. Looking out at the rest of the industry — I’m talking more about printed publications, who tend to be a bit more transparent with how they taste and review wines — there don’t seem to be any set rules. Some critics taste wine “blind” but not really — because they know the region the wines are made, so any bias they may have for…

With Lacey Magruder Winery, the Hundertmarks Live Their Dreams


Jim Hundertmark is a man who is living his dream. Most mornings he leaves his modest farmhouse home and walks a few dozen steps across his property to work. For Hundertmark, his workplace is the small, “boutique” winery on the west side of Seneca Lake that he owns and operates with his wife Ruth. Their winery, Lacey Magruder Winery, bears the name of the paternal grandmothers from each of their families. The couple’s path to the Finger Lakes began in their hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Like many who live in the DMV area surrounding the nation’s capital, Mrs. Hundertmark built…

Billsboro Winery 2012 Pinot Noir


Billsboro Winery 2010 Pinot Noir ($25) offers aromas of black cherry sprinkled with potpurri, root beer and smoke and toasted oak that is just a little distracting. The fresh, nicely concentrated palate brings more cherries — black and maraschino — a bit of chocolate and subtle. It’s less oaky than the nose and has soft, supple tannins and a nice bit of juicy acidity. Producer: Billsboro Winery AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12.5% Price: $25 (sample) (3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)