Les Howard: Building on Success at Jamesport Vineyards

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Winemaker Les Howard’s 18-plus months at Jamesport Vineyards have been some of the craziest of his winemaking career. There was the stressful-but-successful 2005 harvest season that may prove to be one of Long Island’s finest. There’s how he’s developing his own style as head winemaker while maintaing the quality Jamesport is known for. And recently, he’s been able to enjoy impressive scores from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. "Things cannot be much better here at Jamesport," he wrote recently in an email. Howard, a Long Island native, "never thought of being a winemaker" when he first started at Pindar Vineyards over…

Setting Up Shop At Shinn Estate Vineyards

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In just a few years, Shinn Estate Vineyards has built a reputation for their "green" vineyard practices and quality wines that show off the quality of their fruit. Before the upcoming 2006 vintage, the wines were made at other wineries — most recently at Wolffer Estate under the watchful eye of winemaker Roman Roth. With harvest 2006, however, Shinn Estate Vineyards’ wines will be estate made and bottled — in a renovated barn right next to their rustic tasting room. They have also hired their first head winemaker, Juan (John) Eduardo Micieli-Martinez, formerly of Pellegrini Vineyards and Premium Wine Group.…

WBW #25: Champagne Deutz Brut Classic ($32)

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Champagne is something I openly admit I know very little about, so I was glad that Sam wanted to host a WBW around the stuff. Sadly, as you can tell by the fact that I’m posting my tasting a day late, I didn’t prepare very much and didn’t learn a whole lot either. But, I did enjoy the wine I ended up with. In the past, well before my palate started to develop, I’d tasted Dom Perignon and all those high-end (expensive at least) Champagnes and I wasn’t impressed compared to a $20 bottle of bubbly from California. I didn’t…

What I’ve Got in Common with Heath Miller

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For those of you that don’t know, Heath Miller is the starting tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. So what is it that I have in common with this professional athlete? He was born in in Richlands, VA and went to the University of Virginia. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and went to Allegheny College. After college, he was taken in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. I went to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University. He’s a professional athlete who won the Super Bowl last year. I’m a writer/editor/Web marketing guy who wine blogs on the…

Miguel Martin Takes Over Winemaking Duties at Palmer Vineyards

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Miguel Martin, who has worked for several wineries the world over has joined Palmer Vineyards as winemaker. The native of Madrid, Spain native has nearly 20 years of winemaking experience, including winemaking positions at Gonzalez Byass, Robert Mondavi, Yalumba and Catera. "Miguel Martin is an important addition to the Long Island winemaking scene," said Robert J. Palmer, owner of Palmer Vineyards. "He brings not only 10 years of experience working with the highly regarded Robert Mondavi Co., but also has winemaking experience from all over the world. This really qualifies him to understand the uniqueness of Long Island." Martin joins…

WTN: Corey Creek Vineyards 2005 Reserve Chardonnay (North Fork of Long Island)

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Corey Creek Vineyards, owned by New Line Cinema chairman Michael Lynne, produces mostly white wines (the reds are bottled under sister winery Bedell Cellars’ label), including one of Long Island’s best gewurztraminers, a flavorful late harvest riesling and two different styles of chardonnay. Too often, Long Island chardonnay is severely over oaked in an attempt to make the rich, buttery style that (unfortunately) remains so popular with consumers. These wines usually fail because, unlike warmer California regions, local fruit just doesn’t get as ripe and can’t stand up to heavy oak. Disappointingly few local producers balance fruit and oak well…

Lenz Merlot Classic, Roanoke 2004 Preview BBQ and Upcoming Events

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Fall is one of the most exciting — and hectic — times on the East End of Long Island. The grapes have undergone veraison — the green grapes have changed color and started to ripen — and harvest season has begun (for sparkling wine) and will continue well into November. The ever-popular pumpkins and mums are also coming in, so the crowds will be flooding their favorite farm stands and nurseries. They bring a lot of energy to the region — but they make it harder for me to get to the wineries because of the traffic. As with any…

Remembering 9/11

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Sam’s right…I just don’t feel like writing about food or wine today. Riding in on the way to work this morning, I was listening to Howard Stern, just like I do every other morning…including 9/11 five years ago. Today, they replayed the broadcast from that awful day and I had the most painful sort of goosebumps all over my body. We should never forget the terrible events of the day. Ever. I was lucky to not be affected directly by the horrible attacks on the towers. But I have lots of friends who lost friends, loved ones or spouses. Regular,…

Do I Need a Formal Wine Education?

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For the most part, I’ve taught myself about wine. I devour books about wine. I taste taste taste and taste some more. And I interact with winemakers, winery owners and other wine bloggers/lovers/writers. I’ve taken a few local classes, including those at Stony Brook University’s Center for Food, Wine and Culture. And, they’ve been a lot of fun and educational as well. And, some day I hope to take some formal classes towards some sort of "degree." But right now it’s not a priority — though if I had time to take a two-hour train ride into Manhattan every weekend…