Here is a sampling of what our editors and contributors have been drinking….
Evan Dawson: Standing Stone Vineyards 1995 Riesling and 1994 Pinnacle
The first question when encountering wines of this age is simple: Are they alive? The next question is more complicated: Are they any good?
It was a tremendous pleasure to drink the ’95 Riesling, which takes its place in my memory alongside the Hermann J. Wiemer 1994 Riesling as some of the best riesling I’ve ever had from this region. It’s the kind of wine that is difficult to describe for those who haven’t tasted mature wines. The petrol note is there, but not at all dominant, and instead the wine buoyantly shows off an array of fruits and glazed nuts. It was complex, hedonistically delicious, and a wonderful sign for the future of aged wines at Standing Stone.
The Pinnacle was alive, if not thriving. Much less complex than the riesling, this Bordeaux blend dominated by cabernet sauvignon showed a kind of cherry candy veering toward cherry tootsie roll. But it was still a stiumlating drink.
Hours and days later, that riesling will continue to haunt me. What a wine.
Mark Grimaldi: Paumanok Vineyards 2011 Dry Rose
I stopped by Paumanok a couple weeks ago and happened to run into Kareem in the middle of him bottling 500 cases of his 2011 Dry Rosé. We tasted it off the bottling line and he gave me a bottle to go. We drank it that night.
I always love their rosé. I drank the hell out of the 2009. The 2010 was good but didn’t have the acid that I loved in the 2009. This 2011 though, is right back to where the ’09 left off thanks to a vintage that is certainly more acid-driven than 2010.
This year they will almost triple rose production from years past, and will include a little petit verdot on top of the cab sauv, cab franc, and merlot they normally use. And thank god they’re making more, because they knocked it out of the park with this one. Usually, they sell out of it somewhere around May, but that doesn’t mean this one will stick around for much longer even though there’s more of it. It’s THAT good.
Its pale, almost a hint of orange in color. The nose jumps and it’s got tons of character, unmistakably a Paumanok rosé. Citrus, candied strawberry, with even a hint of pepper. The palate is creamy, and I love that! Backed up by a real focused acidity and pretty long, ripe finish. At 12% alcohol, it shows just a touch of heat, but it doesn’t detract from the wine at all, it just gives it a bit of roundness and a kick to make sure your summer BBQ or day at the beach is a good time. With the weather we’ve been having, this can easily be enjoyed now!
Cheers to the Massouds for making such a delicious wine in a difficult vintage.
PS. Kareem is filling 50 kegs of this. Couldn’t think of a better wine to have on draft!
Tracy Weiss: V Madrone 2009 Petite Sirah
To celebrate Valentine’s Day at home watching the Westminster Dog Show gnawing on a rack of lamb, I chose a bottle of V Madrone 2009 Petite Sirah.
This wine, a throw back to our romantic trip to Napa years before, paired perfectly with the rare chops and roasted winter vegetables. On our visit to their tasting room (a barn used for barrel storage) we met Chris Tilley, a St. Helena Native who’d spent years in Manhattan before blowing up his finance career to follow his winemaking dream. I could relate.
The wine took me back to the weekend where we spent hours tasting every varietal and vintage on the books in their new history (some vines planted pre-prohibition, but started producing again in 2004). The wine itself was young, dense, incredibly smooth with a with rich fruit (plum!) flavor.
Our empty glasses had a sweet maple syrup smell. A perfect end to a relaxing evening in sweatpants.
Julia Burke: Tousey Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc
Tousey 2010 Cabernet Franc One of my favorite things about the Wines of the Year weekend is the opportunity to taste wines I simply won’t see in my neck of the woods. I made my first visit to the Hudson Valley in 2011 and was quite impressed by the character and muscle of many of the wines I tasted; I didn’t make it to Tousey so I experienced this cab franc for the first time at Wines of the Year.
It was everything I like in a cab franc: firm and structured with beautiful acidity and a meaty, savory flavor profile. I snagged a glass later, with our spaghetti dinner on Saturday night, and the wine paired nicely with homemade meatballs, red sauce, and fresh parm for a delicious meal.
I’d buy a case of this to have around the house for any night of the week, and I know my next trip to the HV will include a Tousey stop. I’ve been intrigued by many of the region’s hybrid reds, like Chelois and De Chaunac, but if Tousey is any indication it seems the place has a real future as cab franc country.
Lenn Thompson: Ithaca Beer Company Brute
I really like how our beer coverage has expanded over the last 12 to 18 months. We have three contributors focused on beer now and the broader coverage was obvious in our Beers of the Year tasting on Friday night.
Ithaca Beer Company’s Excelsior! series is a long-time favorite and Brute — a golden sour ale fermented with brett and Champagne yeasts may be my favorite of all.
It was fascinating to not only taste this again, but to watch as the NYCR team tasted it with me. It was one of the most polarizing beverages of the weekend. Some — myself included — loved it. It was the only tasting that I finished during the tasting. But many found the sourness off putting. That of course led to a discussion about beer styles, exposure to those styles and the context and experience we each bring to tasting new things.
To me, this is an acid hound’s beer, with that sourness standing in for the racy acidity that many of us love so much in wine. I rarely see it here on Long Island, but when I do, I buy it. It’s a special beer and a must-try for anyone interested in unique, distinctive beer styles.
David Flaherty: Guinness
You’ve been carrying a baby inside you for nine months.
You’ve been deprived of the sweet taste of beer, wine and spirits the whole time (well, let’s call that eight months).
You go through a 17-hour labor.
The question on everyone’s mind: what do you drink at the end??
This WWD is dedicated to my lovely wife, Katherine. So, what did she drink upon returning home? Well, she put the Russian River Pliny the Elder I had waiting on hold (she needed to focus too much for that) and went for the tried, the true, the mother’s milk of the beer world: a Guinness.
Now through a strange happening of events, she ended up with both the draft bottle and the draft can (we’ve got a devoted English family who are often on the same wavelength of how a recovering mother should best “get ‘er strength up”. What ensued was a taste-off of sorts: can vs bottle. And the clear victor? And I mean the clear victor by a mile: the CAN.
Both made in Dublin from Dublin’s finest water, but both obviously using different gas canister apparatuses to carbonate, they were stunningly different. Nothing soothes like an old, familiar standby in times of recovery.
The Pliny will wait. For now, the fridge sits full of tall, black cans of medicine.