Saturday, July 31, 2010

Clinton Vineyards at Clinton Wedding



Clinton Vineyards, one of the most well known of the Hudson Valley wineries, will be in the house, for the American version of the Wedding of the Century, Chelsea Clinton's wedding.

Phyllis Feder's Clinton Vineyards and Winery wine will be in the hands of every guest.



Clinton Vineyards is one of the guests' favors...according to political columnist Sarah Lenti, " The favors, the favors. Of course, every wedding needs favors! Lest guests forget the $5 million wedding they just attended, they will have a lovely bottle of wine from Clinton Vineyards and Winery to carry home the day following (or to carry on the festivities that very evening!)."

Of course, when Bill and Hill were in the White House, Clinton Vineyard was imported down there as well.

Congrats to all the folks at Clinton Vineyards!

Hooker's Watermelon Ale With Mark, Lori, Madeline, and Vernon


So last night Dominique and I went out with friends of ours, Mark and Lori, who own both Mexican Radio's (NYC and Hudson, NY). We went out for sushi, and then decided to go to the Madalin Hotel for dessert and drinks. Tivoli is a small town with about five restaurants, and every one of them was hopping last night. The Madalin was especially hoppin'! With the Clinton wedding in town, the place was awash with guests looking for something to do on a Friday night. As we walked past the many folks eating on the front porch, the most amazing sight was watching Madeline Albright and Vernon Jordan having dinner!

Of course Albright and Jordan were not the first famous people to stay at the Madalin. Mikhail Baryshnikov also stayed there once. The Madalin Hotel is a beautifully restored historic landmark in the heart of Tivoli NY on the beautiful Hudson River. The hotel, built in 1909, was completely restored by its new owners in 2006, and takes its name from the old name of the Village at the turn of the century, Madalin. This turn-of-the-century building has an ornately carved nineteen foot bar and an intimate, softly lit dining room. Tasteful and lovely.

I was still amazed by the dynamic duo supping, when, as we walked through the bar, I decided I wanted a beer, and decided to take a look at the ornate tap pulls of the draft beer. One immediately caught my attention. Hooker Brewing Watermelon Ale. I'm not usually this adventurous, but I thought, what the hell!

Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, located in Bloomfield, is Connecticut's local brewery with a national reputation. They are currently in their second decade of producing great quality craft beers in Hartford County. They offer eleven unique beers (7 ales and 4 lagers) that are highly respected and recognized for consistency and quality. Recently named as the 73rd best brewer in the world by RateBeer.com, and ranked number 15 in the top 50 American Micro Breweries by the Beer Advocate, Connecticut has a small brewer with a huge reputation. In short, Hooker makes great beers. Some are for serious beer drinkers. But their seasonal beers are always a hoot.
Thomas Hooker Brewery gets its name from the great colonial leader of the 1600's and founder of Hartford, Rev. Thomas Hooker (1586-1657). In 1636, Thomas Hooker led 100 of his congregation west to found the new English settlement at Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford gets its name from Hertford, England, the birthplace of one of Hooker's assistants, Rev. Samuel Stone.


Watermelon Ale is a very light, crisp ale that's been hit with a touch of watermelon essence. It smells almost like someone squeezed fresh watermelon juice into a glass. Maybe a hint of Jolly Rancher watermelon in there too. I wrinkled my face as I took my first sip. It was very good. On a warm summer night, it was incredibly refreshing. Something very, very different.

Availability: Seasonal, May 1st - August 31st
Malts: Canadian 2-Row, Carapilis, Wheat Malt
Hops: Bittering (Saaz), Flavor (Saaz, Cascade), Aroma (Saaz, Cascade)
Original Gravity: 1.048
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
Alcohol: 4.8%

Anyway, we all had a great night. Super conversation, and lots of fun to drink and taste. After a while, we finished our drinks and desserts, and walked back out. Madeline and Vernon were gone. I was disappointed, but then again, but I was content having had my Hooker's Watermelon Ale. It was a good night.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dave McIntyre Talks Atlantic Seaboard Competition at the Washington Post



Wine: Virginia tops the seaboard, again

Virginia took top honors at this year's Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, with Best of Show awarded to Rosemont of Virginia winery for its 2007 Meritage.

It was the third time in the competition's six years that a Virginia wine has captured the top ranking. The annual judging was initiated in 2005 by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association to showcase advances in viticulture up and down the East Coast.

I was one of 20 judges who swirled, sipped and spat their way through 538 wines entered by 110 wineries last weekend at the Dominion Valley Country Club in Prince William County. Wineries in all states bordering the Atlantic, plus West Virginia and Vermont, were eligible to enter. Judges included winemakers, retailers, certified wine judges and journalists.

The winning wine first had to impress five judges enough to win a gold medal. It then was tasted by another panel of five judges against all gold-medal winners in the Bordeaux Red Blends category, and was selected as Best of Category. At the end of the second day of tasting, all 20 judges sat down to evaluate 15 gold medal, Best of Category wines to select their top five and, ultimately, Best of Show. At each stage, the judges were told the category, the vintage and the blend of grapes in each wine, but we did not know the name of the winery or what state the wine was from.

The Best of Show round was the only time I encountered the Rosemont, which sells for $23 at the winery in LaCrosse, in southern Virginia. I was impressed with its aroma, cassis flavors, depth and balance and listed it in my top five of the round. But it was a difficult choice to narrow down to five, as the Best of Show round was especially strong this year. That's probably because reds were from the 2007 vintage, which was especially good all along the East Coast. But I believe it is also a reflection of how winemaking is improving.

The judges were in a good mood last weekend, awarding 34 gold, 111 silver and 188 bronze medals. The Best of Category list shows the diversity of winemaking along the coast. Out of 32 Best of Category winners, 16 were from Virginia, 10 from New York, two each from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and one each from Maryland and North Carolina. Maryland's Best of Category went to Bordeleau winery for its 2007 Chardonnay. The dominance of Virginia and New York reflects the size of each state's wine industry.

Read the whole story at:

2010 Marks 25th Anniversary for Biltmore Winery in Asheville, North Carolina


2010 marks major milestone for historic property and Biltmore House, America’s largest home
2010 marks Biltmore Winery’s 25th year, and on May 20–23 the historic estate will celebrate the anniversary with special activities and events, including the debut of an updated visitor experience and expanded tasting areas. William A. V. Cecil, the grandson of Biltmore’s founder George W. Vanderbilt, started the winemaking program as part of his vision for the estate to remain self-sustaining. It all began in 1971 when the first grapes were planted on the property as an experimental project located in an area below Biltmore House. The estate’s original dairy barn, designed by the firm of Richard Morris Hunt, the architect for Biltmore House, was converted into today’s modern facility in 1985 and is now America’s most visited winery.



The vineyards moved to the property’s West Side, and through the years, Biltmore has cultivated partnerships with other growers across the country to enhance its portfolio and ensure consistent availability. In 1985, Biltmore Winery produced 10 different wines totaling approximately 350,000 bottles. Today, Biltmore offers more than 50 different wines and produces 2 million bottles each year.

The 25th anniversary celebration of the winery coincides with the grand opening of Antler Hill Village. This new pedestrian-friendly venue is open to guests as part of daily admission to Biltmore and expands current offerings to include a new exhibition space, village green with live entertainment, dining, shopping and a new outdoor adventure center. The existing Biltmore Winery and farm are also incorporated in the village area. Celebratory activities at the winery will include demonstrations and tips from Biltmore experts, a meet and greet and bottle signing with winemakers as well as other festive and family-friendly experiences. A rare 1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-Six” seven-passenger touring car that once belonged to Mr. Vanderbilt and his wife, Edith, will also go on permanent display in the winery. This particular Stevens-Duryea model is believed to be one of only 10 existing in the world today. Biltmore’s museum services team has spent several months conserving the car for its premiere at the village.

Since Bill Cecil, Jr., great-grandson of estate owner George W. Vanderbilt, took over as President and CEO of The Biltmore Company in 1995, demand for Biltmore wines has risen dramatically.


“Biltmore is still family-owned, and we are passionate about our mission of preservation through self-sufficiency—a philosophy embraced before the first stone was ever put in place,” said Cecil. “Our wines are a great opportunity to offer our guests a tangible connection with Biltmore and we are proud of our continued success and the strength of our brand in this competitive field.”


Most visited winery
There are few wineries that even compare with the beauty of the Biltmore estate in all of North America. It is a breathtaking and magnificent experience. I have been seveal times, and each time I am reminded of how grand the main house is, and the winery itself. The building is spectatular, the grounds are outstanding, and the views are incredible. One forgets easilly until they arrive, why this is such a destination.

The most visited winery in the United States isn’t located in Napa Valley. It’s Biltmore Winery in the mountains of North Carolina, where approximately 600,000 visitors stop by to sample award-winning wines each year. Guests have the opportunity to taste Biltmore’s own wines, most of which are produced and bottled on the property in a 90,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility. The operation, including 94 acres of vineyards, is a natural extension of the estate’s ongoing agricultural program including cattle, sheep and an extensive field-to-table production garden supplying the property’s six restaurants.

With approximately one million guests visiting the estate from around the world each year, Biltmore Winery strives to accommodate those who are new to the world of wine as well as the connoisseur in search of a distinctive varietal. Visitors are given the opportunity to stroll through the historic cellars, learn more about the art and science of winemaking, experience special food and wine pairings and, of course, taste the finished product.

Biltmore ranks in the top 1% of the U.S. wine business and produces 170,000 cases of wine annually using estate grown fruit as well as grapes from partners in other premium winegrowing regions. The wines are currently available at stores and restaurants in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia, and can be shipped direct to consumers’ homes in 26 states. The future for the company includes plans to expand availability nationwide.

In the beginning
The genesis for a winery at Biltmore actually began more than 75 years prior to the estate’s first vineyard plantings in 1971, with the property’s creator, George W. Vanderbilt (1862-1914). An avid world traveler, George was also a thoughtful collector of books, museum-quality art, antiques and fine wines. During his forays abroad, Mr. Vanderbilt would often purchase cases of fine wine, bringing them back to his 250-room chateau to share with guests in his own home.
His wine purveyor, Alexander Morten, was also known for his excellent palate and was a worthy advisor and provisioner for the Vanderbilt lifestyle. Knowing that George Vanderbilt collected and enjoyed fine wines in his stately home – and served them to his family, friends and guests – was the underlying inspiration decades later for the planting of vineyards and the creation of Biltmore Winery. When William A.V. Cecil, George’s grandson, first claimed his heritage, he already had an estate winery in his sights. A winery, he felt, was a natural extension of Biltmore’s agricultural legacy and mission of self sustainability. It was also a fitting homage to his grandfather’s love of wine, and his legacy for gracious hospitality.

French-American hybrids were planted initially, with vinifera plantings following a few years later and when vineyard experiments indicated a wine operation was feasible, Cecil did just as his grandfather would have done—he sought the best possible help available. He traveled to France and hired a veteran winemaker as a consultant to help get his new enterprise going.

Biltmore’s first winemaker
Selected for the job was Philippe Jourdain of Provence, a winemaker of the European school who, as a sixth generation winemaster, had been involved in the winemaking business all of his life. Not only had Jourdain operated a family vineyard, he was also a respected teacher of viticulture and oenology, having taught at the Lycee Agricole in Carcassonne.

In 1979, two years after Jourdain began working with the estate, Biltmore sold its first bottle of wine. Pleased with the results, Cecil convinced Jourdain to become the estate’s first official winemaker. Under Jourdain’s guidance, Biltmore began the serious cultivation of vinifera grapes, the finer quality European varietals, and began phasing out the French-American hybrids it previously depended upon. The original hybrids have since been replaced entirely with the European varietals.

Although the hybrids have a greater yield—averaging six tons of grapes to the acre—Cecil wanted a better quality wine than the hybrids offered. Making the switch was not without its challenges, however, and it took the combined talents of Jourdain, Winemaker Bernard Delille and vineyard staff to cultivate the sensitive vinifera in the unique climate and soils of Western North Carolina.
Biltmore’s winemakers today
When Jourdain retired in 1995, Delille was the best candidate to become Biltmore’s next winemaster. Having been winemaker at the estate since 1986, Delille recognized the challenges and opportunities as Biltmore Estate Wine Company began its next phase of maturity. Delille holds a master’s degree from the Faculty of Science in Lyon, France, and served his internship in the Bordeaux region. He received his French National Diploma of Winemaker in Dijon, Burgundy, and was winemaker in the Pyrenees Atlantiques region prior to coming to Biltmore.

While Delille and Jourdain come from different regions in France, their approach to the art of winemaking is much the same. Both were graced with the benefits of a French winemaking background to transform American grapes into Biltmore’s fine varietal wines.


A native of Pennsylvania, Winemaker Sharon Fenchak, who works closely with Delille, has been with Biltmore since 1999. In addition to wine production, Fenchak is involved with in-house research and development to help Biltmore lead the way in employing new grape-growing technology and testing grape-production methods. Before joining Biltmore, Fenchak was winemaker at Chestnut Mountain Winery in Braselton, Ga., where she oversaw the wine development process. Prior to that, she was employed as assistant winemaker at Habersham Winery in Baldwin, Ga. She holds a master's degree in food science from the University of Georgia and a bachelor's degree in food science from Penn State University.

In addition, Vineyard Manager Dennis Wynne experiments throughout the year with pruning methods, leaf removal, crop thinning and pesticide use. These projects, which vary according to the growing conditions of the particular season, help Wynne determine the most efficient and environmentally conscious grape growing methods. Wynne, who oversees Biltmore’s vineyards as well as partnership vineyards within North Carolina, has been with the company for 29 years and was awarded “Winegrower of Excellence for 2008” by the North Carolina Winegrower’s Association.
This is as good a group of wine executives and managers as you will see at any winery. The wines they make today are elegant, classic style wines. The chardonnays are excellent examples of the varietal. Not usually an oak man, the oaked chardonnay is delicate and delicious. The sparkling wine is excellent, and here are several very, very good red wines. This is an exellent winery, and one of the best known in the entire South as well as East Coast! If you like visiting wineries, this has got to be one of the ones you have got to see!!!

For more information please call 877-BILTMORE or visit http://www.biltmorewine.com/.

About Biltmore
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America’s largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Today, Biltmore has grown to include the new Antler Hill Village, which features the award-winning Winery and Antler Hill Farm; the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; numerous restaurants; event and meeting venues and Biltmore For Your Home, the company’s licensed products division. To learn more about Biltmore, or book a visit to Biltmore, go to www.biltmore.com or call 877-BILTMORE.

THE GREAT PENNSYLVANIA WINE TOAST: PA WINERIES COME ALIVE FOR GUINNESS WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT

Racing legend Mario Andretti to serve as toastmaster; public contest and vote will determine toast to be read during event

HARRISBURG, Pa. — After years of record growth, the Pennsylvania wine industry is taking aim at another milestone, this time with a little help from the Guinness Book of World Records. On August 14, 2010, the state’s wineries will attempt to break the record for the world’s largest wine tasting in an event being hailed as “The Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast.”

Echoing the Pennsylvania wine industry’s recent fast track to success, the Pennsylvania Winery Association (PWA) has enlisted the help of a man who knows a thing or two about speed and wine – auto racing legend, Mario Andretti. Andretti, a native and resident of Nazareth, Pa.
and the owner of a California winery, will serve as the event’s toastmaster. The toast will be delivered simultaneously via video to all participating wineries.



The toast Andretti will deliver will be chosen in a contest held on the PWA website,
pennsylvaniawine.com. Now through June 21, wine lovers are being asked to submit their best 100-word ode to Pennsylvania wines. Five finalists will be chosen, and an online vote will determine the winner. The author of the winning toast will receive “The Ultimate Pennsylvania Wine Getaway,” which includes a two-night stay at a bed & breakfast in the Pennsylvania wine region of their choice, a behind-the-scenes tour of a winery and a private dinner with a winemaker.

THE FACTS
· On August 14, Pennsylvania wineries will attempt to set a world
record for the largest wine tasting in an event called “The Great
Pennsylvania Wine Toast.”


· Race car legend Mario Andretti will serve as the event’s toastmaster.
Proceeds will go toward his charity
www.fundforkids.org.

· A contest is being held to select the toast that will be recited by Andretti during the event. \

· Toasts can be submitted at pennsylvaniawine.com now through June 21.

“A lot of hard work has gone into growing the Pennsylvania wine industry over the past several
years, and this is our chance to recognize that effort and have a little fun at the same time,” said PWA President Sam Landis. Since 2005, the number of wineries in Pennsylvania has grown from 80 to more than 130, while traffic has increased from half a million winery visitors per year to more than one million in 2009.

All charitable proceeds from the Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast will benefit The Fund to
Benefit Children & Youth (www.fundforkids.org), whose mission is to provide abused, neglected and at-risk children with the items and services they cannot receive from traditional sources.

In addition to gatherings at Pennsylvania wineries, the record-setting attempt will be joined by
attendees of the 18th annual Food & Wine Festival at Seven Springs, also held on August 14. The
current record for the world’s largest wine tasting at multiple venues is 17,540 people, set at more than 400 pubs across the United Kingdom on May 21, 2008. For details about the Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast or to find a winery near you, visit the PWA website at pennsylvaniawine.com.

or contact:
Jennifer Eckinger (PWA)
717-234-1844
info@pennsylvaniawine.com

David Shoffner 717-234-8886 dshoffner@pavone.net

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

East Coast Wineries in Edible Jersey on Hopewell Valley Vineyards



In the summer 2010 issue of Edible New Jersey I wrote an article for Edible New Jersey on Hopewell Valley Vineyards. They make great wine at this winery near Pennington, NJ, and you should defintely taste it.

I'm not real good about accessing these articles I write on the side. In the past Dominique and I have written a column for In & Out magazine, and wrote two feature pieces for Hudson Valley magazine on the history of the Valley. I've also appeared in the Washington Times, and have been interviewed by Food & Wine.


I thought this was especially pertinent, because it was about a winery I really like, and which has been making wonderful wines for a while now.

Congratulations to the Neris!

Read the article at:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brimstone Hill Vin Rouge Superior 2007


I have met Richard Eldridge many times. He and his wife Valerie were some of the people that formed a new breed of winemakers that helped breathe new life into the Valley winemaking scene not long after the farm winery act was passed. These are people who helped usher in the first wave of farm wineries. And they've been making local, artisanal wines for a long time.

Brimstone Hill Vineyard & Winery is celebrating 30 years of operation. In the summer of 1980, Richard and Valerie Eldridge started by selling two wines -- a 1979 Vin Rouge and a 1979 Vin Blanc -- next to the barrels in the newly constructed winery. Now the Brimstone Hill label is attached to more than 8 wines, which include a sparkling wine made in the traditional "Methode Champenoise", a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Franc, and a Riesling.
The winemaking families of the Valley owe a great debt to the Eldridges, not only for their helping to transform the Valley wine scene, but for also making wonderful wine. And for being just plain nice folks.

The vineyard, started in the spring of 1969, consisted of four acres with only half in production. Today the vineyard has expanded to over 13 acres and the small winery building now houses a cozy tasting room overlooking the vines, an office and a lab. An extra large pole barn was built to accommodate much of the storage and the increased wine production. In 2001 an extension was added to the barn.

The Eldridges continue to be excited with the quality of the wines they can produce in the area.
"We are fundamentally interested in producing quality wines with a French character at a reasonable price - similar to the better products of the Loire Valley, Burgundy and Champagne. In order to do this, our operation will remain small and experimental in character.".


I have told Richard and Valerie several times that my favorite Brimstone Hill wine is the Vin Rouge. I think it's the best value in the Valley. The Vin Rouge 2007 is a blend of Foch , Chambourcin, and Chancellor. It is a lovely Burgundian-styled, soft red with big fruit up front and low, soft tannins. Stewed dark strawberries and cherries. A touch of vanilla and spice. A great wine for lunch, or for dinner with chicken, pork, pasta, or even tuna. An incredible wine.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dinner With Evan Dawson, Managing Editor of NYCR


Evan Dawson is a very accomplished man. Usually this disqualifies most people from being down to earth. But Evan is also incredibly grounded. A great guy!

Evan Dawson is the Managing Editor of the New York Cork Report. He covers the Finger Lakes region for the number one website on New York wine. Evan has an incredible palate, and has an extensive enough vocabulary to give voice to what he tastes.
Evan Dawson has written an upcoming book about the winemakers of the Finger Lakes. It is an excellent book. It will be published in May 2011. Evan first became interested in Finger Lakes wine on his first trip to the region with his wife-to-be Morgan, whom he met as a student at Ohio University. Morgan is a Penn Yan native; Evan was born in Cleveland but has family in Jamestown, Chautauqua and Buffalo, so the region has always felt like home.
In addition to serving as managing editor, Evan covers the Chautaqua-Lake Erie and Finger Lakes regions, including insights from and stories about the people behind the wines.
Evan is also a morning news anchor at WHAM-TV and CW-16 in Rochester, where he also serves as a political correspondent with a focus on state and federal issues.



On the eve of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, I caught up with Evan, and his stunning wife Morgan, and we had dinner at the Red Newt Cafe.

The wines we shared were incredible. I brought a 2001 Baron Pichon and Evan and Morgan brought a Condrieu Viongier. I apologize. I was so happy to see them both, and was so happy drinking the wine, that I failed to photograph either bottle. I apologize for not having more specifics.


The food was excellent. I'm a big fan of David Whiting's wines, the owner/winemaker at Red Newt. And his wife Debra is an incredible chef, who studs the menu at the Bistro with awesome food. And the wine list is incredible! The Red Cat Bistro is one of the best restaurants in the Finger Lakes. The meal was fantastic!


We had a wonderful meal, and chatted about a great many things regarding New York wine. Evan is a great new voice in the wine world. And his new book, which has yet to be titled, is an exceptional piece of journalism about how wine making has entered a new era in the Finger Lakes, which is why the Finger Lakes is currently the hottest region in New York state. I like a lot of the folks over at NYCR, especially Lenn Thompson, their Editor-in-Chief, who is a friend of mine. He's got some really talented, dedicated people over at NYCR.

Can't wait for the book to come out. But in the meantime, if you really want to know more about Finger Lakes wine, you should be reading Evan Dawson.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grandview Winery Montmorency Cherry

Dominique and the boys went up to Stowe, Vermont to see her brother, Robin Hoover, and visit with her nieces Charlotte and Eleanor. I had asked her to bring me back a Vermont wine. I decided not to specify a brand. I'd let her pick. She's very picky, so I wasn't sure what I might get. When she returned home she pulled out a red cherry table wine from Grandview Winery.

Grand View Winery is a family owned farm winery producing exceptional grape wines and wines from fruits that grow easily and naturally in East Calais, Vermont. In addition to using fruits from their own orchards and groves, they support other Vermont farms and orchards by purchasing their fruits. They use organically grown produce whenever possible. Over the thirteen years that they have been producing wine, their wines have won regional, national and international awards. While focusing on fruits that grow easily in Vermont, they produce wines that are not overly sweet. Limiting the sweetness brings out more of the natural flavors of the fruit. All wines are allowed to age at least twelve months before bottling. Grape wines are often aged two years. They are very fruit forward, and use no oak barrels nor oak chips to mask the true flavors.

To say I was shocked was an understatement. Dominique is not usually quite so adventurous when it comes to fruit wines. But we've always loved Bartlett Maine Estate Dry Blueberry, so why not try?


Montmorency Cherry was a big, fruit-forward off-dry red. Perfect balance between zesty, tart fruit and fresh subtle sweetness. Slight whiffs of nutmeg or cinnamon-like spice came through as promised. Now, I am not usually an off-dry red person. But the meal that night was barbecued chicken, with fresh home bread, and just made coleslaw.

The wine went perfect! The flavor really stood up to the BBQ sauce, and the touch of sweetness in the wine complimented it beautifully!

A fun, summer BBQ wine. Well done!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

UK DIstiller W. Grant & Sons forms Alliance With Tuthilltown Spirits


TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP
June 2, 2010,

Tuthilltown, Gardiner, NY - TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS ANNOUNCED TODAY the formation of a new partnership with 140 year old family owned W. GRANT & SONS of the U.K. for the production and worldwide distribution of TUTHILLTOWN’s HUDSON WHISKEY brand of handmade whiskeys.


The acquisition also adds the first American whiskey to the William Grant & Sons
portfolio, which already boasts category-leading brands such as the world’s most
awarded single malt Scotch whisky Glenfiddich as well as The Balvenie Single Malt
Scotch Whisky, Hendrick’s Gin, Milagro Tequila, Sailor Jerry Rum, Frangelico Hazelnut
Liqueur, Stolichnaya vodka, and more.

Since first being introduced in 2006, The Hudson Whiskey range has created a stir both
within the industry and the bartending community, as well as among discerning
consumers. In this short time, the micro distillery located in Gardiner, New York quickly
earned international acclaim not only for the quality of its products and innovative
packaging and marketing, but also for its pioneering spirit – it is the first whiskey
distilled in New York since Prohibition, and is the first ever New York State-produced
bourbon whiskey.

“We are both excited and proud to have added the Hudson Whiskey range to our awardwinning
portfolio.” said Simon Hunt, Managing Director – North America, William
Grant & Sons. “When our founder William Grant first built his distillery by hand in
1886, he had one dream: to create the best dram in the Valley. That dram became
Glenfiddich and that valley was the Valley of the Deer in Speyside. More than a century
later, history is repeating itself in Gardiner as the Hudson Whiskey range becomes a part
of the William Grant & Sons family. This time, the dram is Hudson Whiskey and the
valley is the Hudson valley. We are delighted to see that the spirit endures into the 21st
century.”

“All us at TUTHILLTOWN are extremely happy to be working with a family company
that shares our philosophy.” said Ralph Erenzo, distiller and partner at Tuthilltown
Spirits. “This new relationship will enable us to maintain the high quality of our products
and allow us to continue to meet the increasing level of demand, without sacrificing any
of the principles that make us what we are. We’re delighted to be taking place among
such distinguished spirits as Hendrick’s Gin, The Balvenie and Glenfiddich.”

Partners Brian Lee and Ralph Erenzo began work on the distillery which is located at the
site of the TUTHILLTOWN GRISTMILL, a National Historic Site in 2003 and placed
their first products on Hudson Valley bars and in retail outlets in Spring 2006. The
distillery’s products are distributed currently in seventeen States, seven EU countries and
Australia. TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS DISTILLERY was named ARTISAN
DISTILLERY OF THE YEAR 2010 by the American Distilling Institute at its annual
conference in Kentucky in May; taking also Silver medals for its HUDSON
MANHATTAN RYE and HUDSON FOUR GRAIN BOURBON, and Gold medal for
the design of the MANHATTAN RYE package. The distillery makes use of locally
grown grains and apples to produce whiskeys and vodka.

TUTHILLTOWN was instrumental in the passage of the FARM DISTILLERY ACT by
the NY Legislature, permitting farm based distilleries equal opportunity with wineries
and breweries to allow tours, tastings and direct sale of products at the distillery, a first
for NY State distillers. The distillery is open for tours on weekends.


For more information visit
www.tuthilltown.com
Contact: Ralph Erenzo, Tuthilltown

Long Island WIne Carousel Continues to Spin


Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, of the New York Cork Report wrote a piece about the new goings on at Macari Vineyards.

"I'm out of town and don't have all the details just yet, but, the winemaking carousel continues to turn on the North Fork, but with a big-name, non-local twist," wrote Thompson. "Robert Foley, the well-regarded Napa Valley winemaker has agreed to join Macari Vineyards as head winemaker. He'll be joined by current Macari consultant Helmut Gangl, who makes the winery's dessert wines and popular "Early Wine" chardonnay, and new winemaker, Kelly Urbanik formerly of Bedell Cellars."

"While Foley is known best in wine circles for his work at Pride Mountain Vineyards and at his own Robert Foley Vineyards, he's not new to Long Island wine. Starting in 2008, he has been working with The Red Hook Winery, making wines with fruit sourced from the North Fork, including Macari Vineyards," continued Thompson.

Read the rest at:

So things proceed at pace. Not Long Island's first flying winemaker, still, interesting to see how the stakes are raising around Long Island. That's quite a team Macari's put together. So now the big powerhouses, as far as winemakers are concerned, include Wolffer and Lenz, and now it seems in the next few years Bedell and Macari will also up the stakes. Les at Raphael should continue the program there. So the stakes get raised. Who'll ante up next?

In the meantime, I've heard nothing about Pindar Vineyards. That spot still seems open. Be interesting to see what they do there.

Les Trois Emme Wins Three Medals at Big E!

Les Trois Emme Winery in Marlbourogh, Massachuseets won three medals at The 2010
Big E Northeast Wine Competition

The Wine Competition took place on Saturday, June 12th in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
Les Trois Emme Winery entered three wines and received three medals!! Forty-nine wineries entered their best.


Gold Medal
2008 Old Vine Zinfandel

Bronze Medal
2007 Cayuga White
2007 Nick Jackson Blush

Congratulations to all the folks at Les Trois Emme!

Furnace Brook Winery at Hilltop Orchards wins Best Wine in Massachusetts



Furnace Brook Winery at Hilltop Orchards' Muscato was voted the Best Wine in Massachusetts at the June 12, 2010 judging of the Northeast Wine Competition in West Springfield, MA.

The Best State Wine award is given to one wine with the highest ranking from each of the seven competing states. Twelve judges presided over the competition, which included 310 entries from New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. All medal winners will be showcased and on display at The Big E Fair in Springfield from Sept. 17 - Oct. 3, 2010.



Results of 2010 Wine Competition: 12 medals plus Best of State!

BEST OF STATE
'08 Sparkling Muscato

GOLD
'08 Sparkling Muscato

SILVER
'08 Shiraz Special Reserve
'08 Old Vine Zinfandel - new
'08 Dry Riesling

BRONZE
'08 Johnny Mash
'08 Charval
'08 French Cidre Special Reserve
'08 Johanissberg Riesling
'08 Sparkling Blanc de Blancs
'08 Chardonnay Special Reserve
'08 Merlot Special Reserve'08 Bee My Honey Mead

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jonathan Edwards Winery Continues to Produce Excellent Wines

Jonathan Edwards Winery is located in Stonington, Connecticut, not far from Mystic Seaport. Decidedly more inland than Saltwater Farm Winery, Jonathan Edwards is another among the state-of-the-art wineries now found in Connecticut.

The buildings are gorgeous. Jonathan Edwards is seemingly a small jumble of old back country Connecticut farm buildings beautifully huddled together, and connected by money and ambition. On the outside it's a very pretty New England farm bounded by well kept beds of flowers. Inside, a contemporary setting that represents a sizable financial commitment to wine excellence.


We came on a hot Friday afternoon. There was a tour en route, and we watched and listened from the gallery as one of the staff walked a sizable group through the winery. We happened to catch them in the barrel room, which is spectacular.


Once at the tasting room we were treated very courteously by the staff as we happily elbowed our way into the crowded bar.


Jonathan Edwards makes wines form California grapes and estate grapes. I enjoyed their numerous California offerings, especially their Syrah, which was a rich, deep, dark, dry red wine with lots of blackberry, raspberry, and a touch of prune, with strong hints of mocha and coffee. Exquisite. So was the Zinfandel. One of the most wonderful Zinfandels I have had. Really big and flavorful. Obviously, though, I was more concerned with the estate grown wines.


The first of the estate grown wines was the Gewurztraminer. It was fragrant and light. With big floral overtones, and hints of honeysuckle, the light, dry white sparkled in my glass as I held it up to the sun like a diamond. It was a very nice citrus bomb, with touches of lemon and grapefruit. Clean, light, and refreshing. A polished white wine.


The second wine we tried was the estate Chardonnay. This was a beautiful white wine, with green apple, and a whiff of honeymellon. It had lots of flavor and body, it was clean, lemony, and delicious with a lingering finish of vanilla.

Last was the Cabernet Franc. This was cherry and raspberry in a medium bodied dry red. Lots of flavor. Hints of vanilla and mocha. Very smooth, elegant red. It was very drinkable now, but I thought would be even better after a few years in the cellar.

Jonathan Edwards continues to be one of the standard bearers of Connecticut, and indeed, New England. A wonderful winery, whose progress we are very much looking forward to. Great job, Jonathan Edwards!