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NEWS Cornell Viticulture and Enology – 12/31/2015 USDA Renews Funding for Northern Grapes Project led by Dr. Tim Martinson at Cornell with a grant of $2.6 Million to continue research and education activities that have reached an aggregate audience of several thousand people across 12 states. DNAinfo.com – 1/6/2015 A Winery grows in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Winery is planning to open a second location in the Crown Heights neighborhood late summer 2015. Star Gazette – 1/7/2015 Techs who do IT support for Finger Lakes wineries, open a store “Odessa Wine and Spirits” selling only New York wines. The Chronicle-Express – 1/9/2015 Rochester Institute of Technology study is close to completing the genetic profiling of Crown Gall disease in grapes and may be on the way to finding solutions that will help increase crop production. Wölffer Estate – 1/9/2015 Long Island Wine Council has a new campaign to raise awareness, so next time you are…

wolffer-2010-noblesse

Wolffer Estate is one of the better-known and recognized brands in Long Island wine. Their standard dry rose is nearly ubiquitous in the warmer months (not to mention their barrel-aged rose and the new “Summer in a Bottle” bottling). Winemaker Roman Roth is also making some of the best merlot-based blends and cabernet franc on the island. What doesn’t get nearly enough attention is the sparkling wine program at Wolffer — including Wolffer Estate 2010 Noblesse Oblige Extra Brut Rose Sparkling ($40). Made from pinot noir and chardonnay, it offers aromas of fresh apple and apple skin with hints of red berries. Though not aggressively effervescent, the palate is dry, fresh and balanced — with apple, red berry and floral notes, well-incorporated acidity and a long, floral-saline finish. This is the kind of sparkling wine that is fruity enough to appeal to a wide array of people but still focused and elegant…

keegan-ales-mothers-milk

Keegan Ales began brewing in an abandoned brewery in Kingston, NY around 2003. Since then, their beer lineup (especially the Mother’s Milk) has been a major staple in the Hudson Valley and New York beer scene. They now contract brew some of their beer in Stratford, CT. I like pouring this milk stout from the bottle with some vigor, which creates a nice frothy head and gets all the Oedipus complex out. The stout is mostly black, with a rich brown layer of foam. The nose is more grassy and dusty at first but leads to some sweeter aromas like chocolate and roasted coffee bean as it sits. The flavor profile is kind of what you’d expect from a stout but with a sweeter finish. Toasted marshmallow and black coffee flavors stand out most. The best part about this beer is the thick “milky” texture and abundance of malt. This quality…

knapp-2013-dry-riesling

With aromas of lemon drop, peach flesh and pit and a subtle floral quality, Knapp 2013 Dry Riesling ($16) is fruity and forward without being too candied. Thought sweeter than many would expect from a wine labeled “Dry” there is a nice balance between the residual sugar — which brings a bit of mid-palate fullness — and citrusy, juicy acidity that lingers with a distinct lime finish. Peach flavors are ripe and plush with citrus at the edges and a bit of apple skin. This was the surprise of a recent tasting. Producer: Knapp Wines AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12% Production: 302 cases Price: $16 (sample) (3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)  

peter-becraft2

In June, the head job was his. By the end of August, he might have been wondering why nature had served him such a cruel dish for his first solo vintage. But at Anthony Road Wine Company on Seneca Lake, Peter Becraft knew very well to stay patient. He could wait to see what September would bring. He had been waiting years for the chance at a head winemaking job, and he is not the type to stew. That’s probably framing the situation unfairly. Anthony Road has become one of the most significant names in the New York wine industry, thanks in large part to the prolific efforts of longtime winemaker Johannes Reinhardt. Becraft worked alongside Reinhardt for six vintages as associate winemaker, and spent two years doing various jobs prior to that. The two men are very close, and while it was no secret that Becraft was the logical…

anthony-nappa-2013-chardonnay

Anthony Nappa Wines 2013 “Sciardonne” Chardonnay ($20) straddles the line between typical no-oak chardonnay and barrel fermented styles. Though it doesn’t see a splinter of oak, it’s still full-bodied and concentrated with fruity aromas of mandarin orange and peach backed by notes of pineapple, dried flowers and a bit of butter. Full-bodied and mouth-filling, the palate shows excellent balance with enough acid to keep it from tasting heavy or tiring and a nice little saline note on the end of a medium-long finish. Producer: Anthony Nappa Wines AVA: North Fork of Long Island Harvest Date(s): October 5, 2013 Vineyard Source: McCullough Vineyards (Jamesport, NY) ABV: 13.9% RS: <.1 g/L TA: 7.8 g/L pH: 3.64 Oak Program: None Production: 270 cases Price: $20 (sample) (3.5 out of 5 | Very Good, Recommended to Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)  

Photo courtesy of Macari Vineyards

I’ll Drink to That Podcast – 12/23/2014 Levi Dalton interviews Christopher Tracy – winemaker and a partner at the Channing Daughters winery, on New York’s Long Island. Plus Erin Scala takes a look at the history of wine production in New York state. New York Times – 12/26/2014 The owners of Finger Lakes wine cellars are squaring off against business interests to store liquefied petroleum gas in their neighborhoods. New York Winemakers Fight Gas Storage Plan Near Seneca Lake. Syracuse.com – 12/29/2014 Gas storage plan under Seneca Lake draws letters to the editor and a heated commentary. WXXI News – 12/29/2014 New York Cork Report Managing Editor, Evan Dawson’s day job at WXXI allows him to talk with all kinds of interesting people.  In this recent show, he interviews the Finger Lakes to talk Vintage 2014 and Fracking with Rick Rainey, co-owner of Forge Cellars, Peter Bell, winemaker at Fox Run Vineyards and Hans Walter Peterson, viticulture…

red-newt-2012-semidry-riesling

Tasting on the drier side of semi-dry Red Newt Cellars 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling ($15) begins with a burst of citrus on the nose — lemon and lime — with added aromas of flint, citrus blossom, jasmine tea and wet gravel. Ample, but well-integrated, acidity brings verve to a palate that shows a nice bit of concentration on the mid-palate to go along with flavors that closely match the nose. There is a touch of sweetness here, but crunchy, lime-juicy acidity balances it deftly. The finish lingers with notes of lime peel and slate. Producer: Red Newt Cellars AVA: Finger Lakes  ABV: 10.3% Production: 240 cases Price: $15 (purchased at the winery)  (4 out of 5, Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)

sam-argetsinger

The Finger Lakes lost one of its most prominent grape growers on Sunday night when Sam Argetsinger died at his home. Argetsinger is the owner of his eponymous vineyard, which rises high above the southeast side of Seneca Lake. “We’re still in shock,” said Morten Hallgren, co-owner of Ravines Wine Cellars, which uses Argetsinger Vineyard fruit to make some of the finest wines in the region. “Sam was a loyal friend, a passionate grape grower, and an Iroquois translator who was so in touch with his environment that you could see it in his fiery blue eyes. A friend like that leaves a vacuum that can not be filled. I will miss him every day.” Argetsinger, 62, spoke often of the land, and he used Iroquois aphorisms as a regular part of his speech. Argetsinger described himself as a friend of the traditional Iroquois Long House people, and over the…

RobMcDowell

North Country wine growers and cold climate viticulture lost a visionary, sharp witted, friend, colleague and sometimes antagonist when Rob McDowell passed away earlier this month on December 13th. Rob grew and operated Purple Gate Vineyard in Plattsburgh and was one of the first people to dedicate serious efforts to the propagation of cold hardy hybrids in the Lake Champlain Valley of New York. Rob was a founding member of the local wine community and shared generously of his knowledge at site visits, meetings and workshops, with locals and visitors alike, some who would go on to become growers and winemakers themselves. Well-versed in the basics, Rob was also an avid innovator and willing to try new techniques and obscure varieties, and doggedly pursued the idea of a robust cold climate red wine. He was known to be provocative in conversations about the pros and cons of site selection, variety choices,…