Another diverse and interesting array of wines (and beer) from the writers and editors of the New York Cork Report.


From Lenn Thompson: Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 1999 Cabernet Franc

You already know that I was in the Finger Lakes last Thursday through Sunday to work the harvest for a couple days at Anthony Road Wine Company. What you probably do not know is that I was lucky enough to score a seat at the invite- and industry-only monthly wine dinner at Red Newt Bistro Thursday night. Each attendee brings a bottle of wine with him or her, and each is tasted blind during the meal. 

When this wine came around, I remember thinking (I didn't take notes) that it might be a local franc because of the cherry and faint herbal notes, and was probably pretty young, because the color was still vivid. 

When the wine was unbagged, I think almost everyone at the table was surprised to see that the wine was 10 years old. As much as I dig New York cabernet franc, you would have never convinced me that this Hazlitt rendition from 1999 would not only survive 10 years, but still have many years ahead of it. What a great experience tasting this wine was.

We tasted some great wines, but it was the wine of the night for me.


From Evan Dawson: New York Wine & Culinary Center Beer Flight

How do you recover from a massive NY wine hangover? With a flight of NY beer, of course. 

I wish I had taken more pics of the case-and-a-half of wine that was heartlessly dispatched on Saturday night when nearly half the NYCR staff assembled for dinner. There were numerous standouts; the most surprising for me was the plummy, earthy Macari Vineyards 2005 Malbec.

On Sunday night I joined my wife's family for a birthday dinner at the New York Wine & Culinary Center. The wine list for me must have looked like the beef selections for vegetarians. I was more than happy with the nice selection of New York-made beers (Roosterfish Firehouse Blonde, Ithaca Cascazilla Hoppy Red Ale, Duke of Winship Scotch Porter, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence), though. The Firehouse Blonde was a silky starter, and while I don't generally dig chocolate stouts, the Ommegang was subtle.

Shorter version: If you're chasing a wine hangover with beer, it might be time to admit that someone has a problem.


From Bryan Calandrelli: Eveningside Vineyards 2008 Reserve Chardonnay
After having a few forgettable Bourgognes this past week, I’d been feeling good about the local chardonnays I’ve been drinking and I needed to try some more. Eveningside Winery on the Niagara Escarpment has been making consistent estate chardonnay for a few years now so I decided to stop in and see if the 2008 Reserve Chardonnay was available.

Since the 2007 Reserve is still on the tasting menu, this bottle of 2008 is still not ready for public tasting. I was lucky enough to convince them I just had to have a bottle of the new stuff.

At this point in its just bottled youth, the aromas are still shy, but what I did get was some citrus and pineapple with a touch of spice and vanilla. The mouth-feel was surprisingly full and round with just enough oak influence to give you a nudge and let you know it’s there. This wine felt clean and very well made. It needs a few months to come out of its shell and show the big fruit that I think it is capable of though. Overall I think this is another serious local wine that I’d bring to any group of wine geeks.


From Tom Mansell: Zaca Mesa Winery 2005 Z Three

This blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (14/46/40%) was presented to me blind.

When I picked up the bag to pour it, I noticed that the bottle was very heavy, in spite of the fact that it had been passed around to half the table already.
The wine was dark and somewhat sweet, with dark fruit on the nose. I thought the alcohol was somewhat high and that it was a little bit low on acid for my taste.

Basically, the wine didn't interest me nearly as much as the bottle. 

When it was unveiled, the enormity of the Burgundy-shaped bottle became apparent. Very thick, dark green glass led down to a punt of epic proportions. With my thumb on the outside, I could nearly fit my
entire hand inside (which, in retrospect, was probably necessary to support the weight of the bottle if pouring from the punt). The empty bottle weighed about as much as a full regular bottle. Not exactly the most earth-friendly wine packaging, don't you think? I am all for aesthetics in bottle presentation and I know that cool bottles sell wine, but this extreme example of a heavy bottle was just absurd.