Monday, July 21, 2014

McGregor Vineyards Reds - Unique and Still Strong (NY)

So, I was at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival 2014, and I thought to myself that I really should check out McGregor, because I am jonesing for a good red. And I think of McGregor as one of the better red producers in the region. The grapes they grow are a little funky, but hey, I'm a wine geek, so they are right up my alley.  The first one I tried was the Pinot Noir 2009. It was holding up beautifully from my first tasting in 2012.  I LOVED the estate 2009 Pinot Noir. It’s very light in its color extraction and flavors. Almost a dark rose’. But it was wonderful. Bright cherry and raspberry spill out of the glass, couched in vanilla and spice. A wonderful, lean, crisp bright red wine. I loved it!

I also tried the 2010 Black Russian Red – 30 Month Barrel Reserve. This is the wine at the heart of all the fuss. This wine is so famous Evan Dawson devoted a whole chapter to it in his book, Summer In A Glass. At what point is the wine hype versus great wine, in my mind? was what I wondered in 2012. In 2014 I can tell you I am a fan!
The wine is made with Saperavi and Sereksiya grapes. Saperavi (Georgian:
საფერავი; literally "paint, dye" - due to its intensive dark-red colour) is an acidic, teinturier-type grape variety native to Georgia, where it is used to make many of the region's distinctive wines, along with the Alexandreuli and Rkatsiteli varieties. Leaves are 3-lobed, large, and roundish. Berries are medium to large, elliptic, dark bluish, and thin-skinned; with a maturation period of approximately 5 months and moderate productivity. It has the potential to produce high alcohol levels, and is used extensively for blending with other lesser varieties. It is the most important grape variety used to make Georgian red wines. Saperavi is a hardy variety, known for its ability to handle extremely cold weather; and is popular for growing in high altitude and inland regions. It is a teinturier grape, containing the red anthrocyanin within the grape pulp as well as the skin; and is unusual in being one of very few such grapes used in single-varietal winemaking (most are used in small amounts, strictly for blending).
Sereksiya is also known as Băbească Neagră, which is an old native Romanian - Moldovan wine grape variety. It is cultivated in the south of Moldova and in Romania (region of Moldavia, Dobruja and Wallachia), and is the second most planted grape variety in Romania, with about 6,300 hectares (16,000 acres) in 2005. The name Băbească Neagră means "grandmother's grape". Wines made solely from Băbească Neagră are light, fruity red wines.
This blend is an estate wine aged in American oak. It has big fruit up front and big oak. Blackberry, cherry, plum, cocoa, and eucalyptus all came through, again! There was also  some vanilla and some spices. This was a big, dark, deep, red wine. Loved it!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trenton Times: Thousands attend Laurita Winery Food Trucks and Fire Pits festival (NJ)

Thousands attend Laurita Winery Food Trucks and Fire Pits festival
By Ashley Peskoe |  Trenton Times
The Star July 20, 2014 at 5:07 PM, updated July 20, 2014 at 5:09 PM 

NEW EGYPT – From food and line dancing, to live music, pony rides and vineyard tours, there was a little something for everyone at Laurita Winery’s Food Trucks and Fire Pits event.
Ray Shea, who is co-owner of the winery with Randy Johnson, said they hold the festival because food trucks have become popular.

“You put a bunch of the [food] trucks in one place and a beautiful setting together with what we consider good wine – it’s just a magical combination of ingredients that’s proved to be a very successful recipe,” Shea said.

While there were wine tastings for adults, Shea said the event is geared toward people of all ages. In addition to a playground for kids, there was also pony rides, face painting, fireworks, wood carving demonstrations and country line dancing.

“We try to design our entertainment activities for the entire family,” Shea said.

Each festival is dedicated to a different charity and 10 percent of all ticket sales from this event benefitted the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Shea said that organization was chosen because he lost his 25-year-old daughter to leukemia in 1998.

“They do great work in terms of research and in terms of patient services,” Shea said. “We’re very proud to make a donation to them.”

Shea said he previously served on the board of directors of the organization.

“We’re doing our small bit to make the world a better place,” he said.

Alain Fortier, of Freehold, said he was diagnosed with lymphoma in May 2012 and finished treatment in November 2013. He and his wife, Marie, said they were glad to hear the money was benefitting the LLS.

“They need money for research and this is a fantastic outing,” Alain Fortier said. “It’s a great thing.”
The couple each tried food from different trucks and was going to get dessert next, Fortier said.
“There’s just so many different types of food,” he added.

Kate Devine, marketing and entertainment manger, said 4,700 people attended the event on Saturday and they were expecting to have more than 10,000 attendees before the weekend was over.
“This is much more crowded than it was yesterday at this time,” she said. “It’s the biggest event that Laurita has.”

In the original tasting room on the property, Farm Treasures owner Steve Layton turned it into an antique store with a winery theme.

“Our whole theme is in support of New Jersey vineyards and certainly Laurita winery,” he said.
Vince Sgro, who is an ambassador at the winery, said 70 percent of the building was made from recycled material.

The outdoor benches and tables were from the state of New Jersey and the tasting room was made from two refurbished barns. Sgro said there are also five miles of trails throughout the property that are open to the public.

The 300-acre property has a 40-acre vineyard with 36,000 vines across the rolling hills and produces a variety of wine – including the Down the Shore wines Windswept White, Beachcomber Blush and Relaxing Red.

“People compare us to a little spot in Tuscany,” Sgro said.

While many people were just coming out to the event, engaged couple Tommy Veltre and Carley Giquinto said they were scoping the winery as a possible wedding location and were just starting to taste the different wines.

“We were unsure about a winery wedding but now that we see it, it’s done,” Giquinto said. “It’s beautiful.”

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White Springs Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2011 (NY)

Success has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan. - proverb

White Springs Estate ha had a mixed history. It's owned by Carl Fribolin, who owned the White Springs Estate for many years but who sold the actual vineyard and production facility to Morten Hallgren of Ravines in 2012.  But Fribolin still operates the tasting room and sells the wine made from the farm. While at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival in 2014, I happened upon the White Springs table and decided to try this and that. The thing that originally caught my eye was their new label.

This wine may have been harvested and first pressed by Derek Wilbur, the previous winemaker, who is now over at Swedish Hill. Morten knows his way around the winery and around the wine cellar. He knows about Pinot Noir. Morten unmistakably released it, and his finger prints are on it in a good way. In 2013, he appeared at No.33 on the prestigious Wine Spectator list of the world's 100 best wines. So you we might have two competent winemakers collaborating (for better or worse) on this wine.

This light dry red was delicate and distinctive. A light, light red wine, the nose exploded with strawberry and cherry, and whiffs of vanilla and spice. Nicely balanced between acidity and fruit and tannin and structure, this wine was beautifully balanced, and elegant. Very, very nice! A very good Pinot Noir.