Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
And he appeared in the same issue, under a separate article about Oz Clarke, who returned to his old neighborhood, Long Island, when he visited back in the Fall, and went to visit none-other-than, you guessed it, Richard Olsen-Harbich.
Why was he lavished with all this praise - well, my belief (and many others as well) is that Richard Olsen-Harbich is the most talented wine maker on the east coast.
He is an incredible talent. He is technically talented at the bench work in the lab. He understands what's going on in the vineyard, and good fruit in his hands is like a good brush in the hand of a masterpainter. And he loves to play on the cutting edge, constantly pushing the envelope of winemaking, experimenting with wild yeasts, natural fermentations, and other fun ideas.
Where's Richard Olsen-Harbich? Luckilly, he's on the east coast!
Monday, March 21, 2011
This is a wonderful example of how other regions view New York City as a n sales channel and influence maker.
From Wines & Vines
Oregon Wineries Romance New York
by Peter Mitham
New York, N.Y. —Residents of the Big Apple got a taste of Northwest fruit during a recent expedition to showcase the bounty of Oregon—and Willamette Valley wineries in particular.
“We brought fresh Dungeness crab with us, we brought mushrooms with us, we brought great wine with us, we brought a lot of great energy with us,” said Lynn Penner-Ash, winemaker and a principal of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars in Newberg, Ore.Winemakers from 50 wineries participated in what was billed as an “Oregon Wine Flight to New York” Feb. 14-15.
The events included a trade tasting that drew 300 participants, a 350-strong consumer tasting and a dinner for consumers showcasing Penner-Ash and two other wineries.The dinner attracted 65 people (and many more enquiries) and capitalized on the romance and experiences people associated with the state.
...“Whatever we do to bring attention to the wines of Oregon, it’s good for everybody,” Sue Horstmann, executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association said. “When people in New York discover our Pinots, they discover more about the state and they come to visit here. They will have opportunities to taste other varietals and go to other regions.”
Read more at:
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The 2007 Trio is a collaborative winemaking venture between Allegro Vineyards, Manatawny Creek Winery, and Pinnacle Ridge Winery.
What started as just an off-the-wall idea has matured into an imminently drinkable and ageable wine. The 2007 was a wonderful vintage, producing some of the best wines of this decade. They thought it would be an interesting concept to take the best of what they had in our cellars and blend it together. It turned out the blend is about as different as they are.
Each one of them--Joanne from Manatawny Creek, Brad from Pinnacle Ridge, and Carl Helrich from Allegro Vineyards--contributed 4 barrels each to the blend. (This mean there's not much of it to go around.) Kris contributed Merlot and Cabernet Franc, Joanne added Syrah and Cabernet Franc, and Brad brought in his Syrah and Merlot. So, it's basically one-third each of all the varietals. The wine was aged for about a year and a half at each one of their respective wineries, and then blended at Joanne's place. It was just recently bottled, and it already is showing well.
The wine is about as fruit-forward a wine as you'll ever see associated with Allegro. The oak is very tame, and the tannins are very supple. The wine has a core of dark fruit that lingers. It's hard to imagine how drinkable it is, and it still hasn't come out of the shock of being bottled yet.
Folks from Tuthilltown Distillery, Kegan Ales, Benmarl Winery, Harvest Spirits Distillery, and Berkshire Distillery were all featured. The Hudson Valley is becoming more and more well known amongs wine, beer, and spirit experts.
And Harvest Spirits' Derek Grout is seen here standing next to his copper, wrench in hand. In the April issue (on newsstands now): Source Code’s Jake Gyllenhaal takes our writer on a rigorous, revealing bike ride and reflects on his new life as a leading man; Paul Solotaroff reports from Yellowstone National Park, where global warming wreaks havoc on flora and fauna; and we present our annual rundown of the best places to live in the U.S.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
What would have been better, what would be incredibly better still is to make friends with local wineries. If most of these farmers had five to ten smaller buyers, maybe they wouldn't be so exposed now when one of them went under. It's called diversification.
I know, 'Don't be so pissy.' I'm not a hard hearted SOB. I do feel for them. Anyone who grows anything from the dirt has my undying admiration. Truly. But to get pulled into Albany's cesspool of politics? That's silly.
There are plenty of wineries looking for grapes - the Hudson Valley, the Upper Hudson Valley, Thousand Islands, and the New England states as well. And then there's Pennsylvania which just elected to renounce quotas on state fruit. Seems Pennsylvania wineries didn't care if they were using Pennsylvania fruit. Maryland and New Jersey too would be willing, I'm sure, to buy some New York fruit. Why aren't the NYWGF and the other area winery associations (MD, NJ, MA, etc.) trying to hook up growers with small wineries? Why isn't the New York State Wine Grape Growers putting a hotline number on their website or setting up chat boards? Don't tell me there aren't wineries looking for grapes. I get calls all the time asking for information on just that subject. 5,000 tons? It's lot to be sure, but I am sure we could find some homes for a bunch of it.
And let's be honest, everyone knew Constellation was cutting contracts. For the last five years Constellation has been letting the grape growers down gently. It wasn't a secret. Constellation made no bones about it, they were getting out of some of these grapes and contracts. The growers have known for years what's been going on. This isn't a surprise. I know of several cases where wineries have taken leases dating back at least two years by now on small blocks abandoned by Constellation. In a few cases Constellation has tried to marry grape growers with other companies to try and stem the tide.
What the New York Wine Grape Growers group hasn't done a good job of is finding homes for their members' grapes. But there is still time.
I think we all genuinely do not want to see these farmers get hurt. Winemakers want to see grape growers succeed. I suggest the NYWGF and the Cornell Extension folks send out an email to all member wineries with all the grapes that are effectively available, and let's help those farmers meet some good old fashioned local winemaking artisans in New York...and in some of the toher states. If someone needs names, I can help give you the names of winery professionals in the other states.
We can all pull together and make something happen.
Finger Lakes grape growers seek new markets
By Julie Sherwood, staff writer
Messengr Post 3/14/2011
“It affects everybody,” said Brahm. “The whole Finger Lakes. Those grapes have to find a home.”
Like other growers across the region this week, the Brahms were pruning vines and planning for a new season.
Constellation Brands informed growers it would buy 5,000 tons fewer grapes from the 2012 harvest, citing changes in market conditions with supply and demand.
“The growers are very important to us,” said Constellation spokeswoman Angie Blackwell. “We very much regret knowing the impact this will have on growers.”
Constellation is working with growers to help them find other markets, she said.
Despite the economic downturn, said Blackwell, consumers are turning to more premium wines. Demand for those calls for fewer tons of certain grape varieties supplied locally, she said. Business is strong at Constellation’s Canandaigua facility, she added, with production of significant company products such Arbor Mist growing.
Constellation plans to buy about 20,000 tons of grapes from growers in New York and Pennsylvania in 2012, a drop from about $25,000 tons currently.
Jim Bedient, a grower from Yates County and former president of New York State Wine Grape Growers, said Constellation has relied on fewer local grapes in recent years.
About 10 years ago, it bought as much as 40,000 tons.
“The situation facing New York wine grape growers has reached a critical point,” said Don Tones, current president of NYSWGG, in a release last week. “We need an immediate, major market expansion to solve the problem.”
Here's a piece on it...
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Submitted by Tina A Torizzo, Haight-Brown Vineyard, on 2011-03-10.
Grayson Hartley, winemaker.Haight-Brown Vineyard, the state's oldest winery, has recently recruited a new wine maker trained in Napa, California, to lead it into the future of wine making.
Sounds like Haight-Brown has he right man though!
Virginia (State Appellation)
Mountain Rose, Mountain Rose Vineyards, Inc., 09 Traminette, Mountain Rose Vineyards, $13.5
Williamsburg Winery, 08 Adagio/Merlot, $65
Annefield Vineyards, Annefield Plantation, LLC, 09 Cabernet Franc, Arrowhead, $24
Annefield Vineyards, Annefield Plantation, LLC, 09 Cabernet Sauvignon, Arrowhead, $26
Chateau Morrisette, 08 Frosty Dog, $18.99
Cooper Vineyards, 09 Soleil; Viogner, $25.00 (375 ml.)
Cooper Vineyards, 09 Viognier, $23
Cooper Vineyards, 08 Coopertage, $23
North Gate Vineyard, 09 Meritage, $20
Sunset Hills Vineyard, 08 Cabernet Franc, $24
Sunset Hills Vineyard, 08 Cabernet Sauvignon, $25
Williamsburg Winery, 06 Gabriel Archer Reserve, $32
Williamsburg Winery, 09 Acte 12 Chardonnay, $18
Williamsburg Winery, 07 Merlot Reserve, $28
Annefield Vineyards, Annefield Plantation, LLC, 09 Chardonnay, $18
Annefield Vineyards, Annefield Plantation, LLC, 09 Viognier, Arrowhead, $22
Barrel Oak Winery, 09 Viognier, $28
Barrel Oak Winery, 09 Chardonnay, $28
Barrel Oak Winery, 09 Merlot, $33
Chateau Morrisette, 08 Petit Verdot, $29.99
Chateau Morrisette, 08 Cabernet Sauvignon, $18.99
Chateau Morrisette, 09 Vidal Blanc, $9.99
Cooper Vineyards, 08 Petit Verdot, $20
Gray Ghost Vineyards, Gray Ghost Vineyards , 07 Cabnernet Sauvignon, reserve, $40
Gray Ghost Vineyards, Gray ghost vineyards, 08 Cabernet Sauvignon, $28
Gray Ghost Vineyards, 09 Chardonnay, reserve, $25
Mountain Rose, Mountain Rose Vineyards, Inc., 09 Merlot, Mountain Rose Vineyards, $15.25
North Gate Vineyard, 09 Meritage, $18
Sunset Hills Vineyard, 08 Petit Verdot, $24
Sunset Hills Vineyard, 09 Chardonnay, $22
Williamsburg Winery, 07 Virginia Trianon, $32
New Jersey (State Appellation)
Coda Rossa, NV Cabernet Franc, Coda Rossa, $12
Coda Rossa, NV Meritage, Coda Rossa, $18
Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 08 Chambourcin, Hopewell Valley Vineyards, $18
Unionville Vineyards, Unionville Vineyard LLC, 08 White Montage, Artisan series, $16.95
Unionville Vineyards, Unionville Vineyard LLC, 08 The Big O, Artisan series, $25.95
Outer Coastal Plain (AVA)
Heritage, Heritage Vineyards, 09 Chardonnay, $25
Warren Hills (AVA)
Alba Vineyard, 09 Riesling, $12.99
Alba Vineyard, 08 Chambourcin, $16.99
Alba Vineyard, 07 Vintage Port, $19.99
Alba Vineyard, NV Dolcina, $14.99
Alba Vineyard, 09 Gewurztraminer, $14.99
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Working alongside his father Nick, planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Chambourcin, Pinot Grigio, and Merlot grapes, to the already existing varieties, Adrian Mobilia helped the family winery come to fruition. In 1999 the first bottle of the Mobilia family winery was produced, bottled as Arrowhead Wine Cellars. The winery added another facet to the already existing strong family legacy of farming. Today Adrian and his wife Shannon run the winery together.
According to the website, "The atmosphere is Tuscan chic, from the stone accents, to the orange hued walls; you may envision yourself in a winery in Tuscany, Italy, instead of Fenwick island. That's just what Fenwick Wine Cellars wants you to think! Take your perceptions on wine; your visions of the perfect sip, and visit Fenwick Wine Cellars. They're ready for your palate."
Zinnavo was or is, which ever you prefer, Maryland's first bi-coastal proprietary blend. Over the years the blend has changed, with differing amounts. The blend I most recently tasted is made up of 75 % Maryland Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with 25% Zinfandel. The wine is aged 18 months in a combination of Hungarian and Pennsylvanian oak barrels. It is then blended together in a single stainless steel tank and bottled without filtering.
Silver Medal 2008 Maryland Governor's Cup Competition
Silver Medal 2007 Maryland Governor's Cup Competition
Silver medal 2007 Amenti Del Vino international wine competition
Silver medal 2006 Amenti del Vino Wine Competition
Silver medal 2006 Tasters Guild International
Silver medal 2005 2005 Los Angeles County Fair-Wines of the World Competition
Silver medal 2005 Maryland Governor's Cup Competition
Silver medal 2003 Amenti del Vino International Wine Competition
Bronze Medal, 2010 Maryland Winemasters Choice Awards
Bronze Medal 2006 Maryland Governor's Cup Competition
Bronze medal 2005 Tasters Guild International
Bronze medal 2004 Maryland Governor's Cup
Bronze medal 2003 International Eastern Wine Competition
We all know I love big bottled beer. And one of my favorite lines is Flying Fish. The newest addition to the Exit Series is Exit 6. Founder and GM, Gene Muller, of Flying Fish Brewery reported that the company produced 1,400 cases and less than 100 kegs of Exit 6 Wallonian Rye. The beer was distributed in NJ, PA, MD, and DE.
According to the label description: “The fifth stop on our trip to explore New Jersey takes us to an area that puts the green in the Garden State. This part of Burlington County was settled in 1624 by Dutch Walloons (now Belgians) whose first order of business was to build a fort-and then a tavern. The area has always had a rich agricultural heritage and we’re using locally grown rye as an appreciation of our farmers past and present."
"Exit 6 is a deceptively simple recipe- pale malt augmented by 20 percent rye, fermented with a classic Belgian yeast. But then it gets interesting with the hops: English East Kent Goldings, Slovenian Styrian Goldings and Japanese Sorachi Ace. The result is a rich saffron color with a spicy character from the rye and lemony citrus notes from the unique Sorachi Ace hops.
Since this beer is being released during Philly Beer Week, we’ve made it a collaboration brew with Ric Hoffman from Stewart’s in Bear, DE and Gordon Grubb from Nodding Head in Philadelphia.”
Shared my most recent bottle with publishing guru and industry expert Bo Sacks and his lovvely wife Carole at their house in Copake, NY. We shared the big bottle with his signature Bo-ritos, which were spicy, flavorful, and delicious.
The beer went down easy with al the flavors and tastes described above. I cannot express enough my absolute amazement with the absolute quality Flying Fish has put into this series. It's what makes the craft revolution so important and fun. Absolutely delicious!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Long Island Merlot in Context
Ma 12, 2011
by Jim Trezise
The Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA), whose winery members produce the unique "Merliance" wine, will be sponsoring a special tasting of the local wines in the context of some of the world's best known Merlots from Bordeaux, Napa, and Italy. The tasting is for wine media and trade.
The open-house style event runs from noon to 4 pm on Wednesday, April 27 at City Winery in Manhattan, and will feature a blind-tasting and rating of 14 wines from the 2007 vintage which will be either varietal Merlots or blends with Merlot representing at least 75%, and all in the same overall price range. Half of the wines will be from Long island, and the others from notable Merlot regions will be selected with the guidance of renowned wine importer David Milligan. All the wines, and their respective scores, will be revealed the next day.
For more information, contact LIMA Executive Director Donnell Brown at email@example.com
Sunday, March 06, 2011
I also enjoyed the Chardonnay Reserve 2009. This had won a gold medal at the 2009 Lodi Wine Awards. This was a minerally chard, with big fruit up fornt - green apple, crisp pear, a touch of citrus. Great acidity and nice balance. Refreshing. Not real heavy. Absolutely lovely.
And of course, my favorite, the Meritage 2007. This is usually a blend of about equal parts Cab Franc and Merlot, with a siable dose of Petit Verdot, and about 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, big black fruits, but a while the Petit Verdot has a much stronger up front blast, this was a mixture of blackberry with bright cherry, bright raspberry, and maybe a hint of red currant. These fruits came across on the palate as well, but they were rounded out by hints of mocha or esspresso? A hint of fall leaves. This is an elegant wine, that finishes delicate and beautiful. A real sophisticated red bordeaux-styled meritage. A really outstanding wine.
After years of gaining support in Maryland's General Assembly, we are closer than ever to passing a law to allow Maryland citizens to receive wine by mail from wineries and wine-of-the-month clubs.
Read much more about the topic, the history of direct-to-consumer shipping!
CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR. If you want to be able to receive wine by mail from wineries and from wine of the month clubs, please CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR now using this form from Free the Grapes. Or call your legislator directly—they need to hear from constituents in support of HB234 and SB248.
by Jim Trezise, The Wine Press
New York wines brought home 62 medals from this week's Grand Harvest Awards in Sonoma County, CA, including 16 Gold, 23 Silver, and 23 Bronze awards.
Nine of the 16 Golds were Rieslings of various styles, with the other seven representing a rainbow of varietals and flavors within the context of high quality. In addition, two wineries--Liberty Vineyards & Winery in the Lake Erie region, and Thirsty Owl from the Finger Lakes--each won four Golds with a range of different wines.
Gold medals were awarded to Anthony Road Wine Company 2008 Tierce Riesling (a collaborative wine made by the wine makers from that winery along with Fox Run Vineyards and Red Newt Cellars); Belhurst Estate Winery 2009 Dry Riesling and 2009 Semi-Dry Riesling; Hunt Country Vineyards Classic Red; King Ferry (Treleaven) 2008 Late Harvest Riesling; Liberty Vineyards & Winery 2010 Dry Riesling, Cat Noir, Diamond, and 2009 Traminette; Lucas Vineyards 2009 Dry Riesling; Thirsty Owl 2009 Dry Riesling, 2009 Riesling, 2009 Diamond, and 2009 Vidal Blanc; Ventosa Vineyards 2009 Riesling; and Winery of Ellicottville Vidal Blanc.
Grand Harvest is a unique competition focused on "terroir" and conceived by Bill Moffett and Hope Merletti, former owners of the Vineyard & Winery Management empire now owned and run by Rob Merletti. The concept, in addition to evaluating wines and awarding the best, is to try identifying common aroma and taste characteristics which may be reflective of the climate and soil in a particular region. When a sufficient number of entries from a region warrants it, they're grouped into "terroir" flights which include a range of varietals, styles, and colors, and the judges are asked to cite common characteristics. Sometimes it's simple, sometimes not, but it always stimulates discussion and the excitement of learning the region after guessing what it is.
I had the pleasure of judging with California wine journalist and winenut (that's his chosen email name) Dan Berger, one of the most knowledgeable, insightful and passionate wine people on the planet. He has also done more than anyone else in opening the minds and palates of wine judges nationwide to the wonderful diversity of grape varietes that can produce stunning wines if the grapes are great and the wine makers talented. His Riverside International competition was the first, years ago, to award "Best White Wine" to a non-Californian French-American variety (a Missouri Vignoles), as well as a Native American variety (a New York Diamond). We both identified the Finger Lakes "terroir" flight (and not just because of Rieslings), I got the Lake Erie one, he got a different one, and we both missed some but learned a lot in the process.
Grand Harvest is expertly organized by veteran wine judge Bill Traverso, supported by a terrific backroom crew. With the recent acquisition of the International Women's Wine Competition and the NextGen Wine Competition for Millennial Wine Drinkers, VWM has become the largest sponsor of wine competitions in the world. Other VWM competitions include the long-time International Eastern Wine Competition and the West Coast Wine Competition.
VWM is also the sponsor of the largest wine trade show in the Eastern United States, Wineries Unlimited, which will take place March 29-31 in Richmond, VA, with keynote speakers including that State's Governor and Agriculture Secretary along with Andy Beckstoffer, Randall Graham, and Jim Trezise (who's he?). For information and registration, visit www.wineriesunlimited.com.
Palaia Vineyards, pronounced "Pa-Lie-Ahh", is named for the winemaker's grandfather, Angelo Palaia who emigrated here from Italy and passed his winemaking skills on to his son and grandson. Jan and Joe Palaggi bought Sweet Clover Farm that has been in the Hudson Valley for over 200 years. Once a dairy farm, it is now home to over 10 acres of vineyards with more planned for the future. The 200- year old bank barn had been restored over the last 3 years and is now a beautiful, clean winery on the lower level, with storage and a tasting room above preserving the look and feel of the historical building. The barn required major structural re-engineering, and was lovingly restored.
I recently visited Jan at the winery. First I went down stairs to see the tank room. To make the space usable down stairs, they had to lower the floor by almost three feet, and poured a brand new floor.
The size of the barn down stairs provided exceptional space for many, many tanks. At the far end of the barn, they had obliterated the floor, thus giving the downstairs a room that reaches more than 20 feet into the air, where they rested three huge 1,200 gallon variable capacity jacketed stainless steel tanks.
Everything was clean and bright, and well taken care of. Jan was right to be proud of her set up in the tank room.
Upstairs, I was pleased to see a beat-up, dog-eared copy of WOODSTOCK: Three Days That Rocked the World, Edited by Mike Evans and Paul Kingsbury with a foreword by Martin Scorsese on one of the tables in her tasting room, since it was published by Sterling Publishing Company. It might seem silly to point that out, but it's not. It's an important point about Palaia Vineyards - they were into Woodstock and classic rock. Peace signs and tie-dye are ubiquitous in the tastingroom, which is a part of who Jan and Joe are. And they love music.
The tastingroom is beautifully appointed. The walls of the tasting room say "old barn," but the style of the room is much more sophisticated than that. The room is festooned with antique furniture and shelves all of which feature their wines.
OK, the wines.
But first a note about the labels. They are very fun. Each label features a vintage photo that date as far back as the 1800’s on both sides of their family, but sometimes they sneak a modern one in there just for fun. The photos are on display at the winery along the stairway entrance to the tasting room.
The first wine I had was a Merlot 2005. The wine was incredible. It was a light-to-medium bodied red, with a nice medium-to-deep color. There was a lot of bright raspberry and vanilla on the nose, and both came through on the palate. Great fruit, with nice acidity and smooth tannins. It was very lovely, almost Burgundian in style. Wonderful!
The second wine I had was the Cabernet Franc 2006. The wine was a beautiful bright red in the glass. Here, there was bright cherry on the nose, with a whiff of vanilla. Again, beautiful light fruit up front, bright , bright sour cherry, almost like a Pinot Noir. But with the classic touch of pepper so common to Cab franc, it finished smooth, with medium acidity and soft but persistent tannins. Again, very, very nice.
The last one I tried was their Lemberger 2006. I am not a fan of Lemberger. I have had a slew of New York Lembergers and I have not been overwhelmed. The Lemberger I have liked best was down from New Jersey where their number of hot sunny days made the difference for me. Many NY state Lembergers are made into blends, but Palaia's is straight 100% estate grown Lemberger. So I tried Jan's Lemberger with some trepidation. Palaia's wine had a deeper color, with a nose that was a big hit of bright sour cherry. There was a touch of smokiness to it. But the fruit was bright and fresh. This was in actuality a nice, soft wine. The nice thing about Palaia's version of this grape was that the fruit was there, but it wasn't overpowering. Again, it was in the realm of a light-to-medium Pinot Noir. Many Lembergers are high in acidity with tannins of varying degrees. This had a nice combination of acidity and tannins. There was great mouthfeel on this wine. It finished smooth and evenly. A wonderful wine. Instantly my favorite New York state Lemberger!
Palaia is a fun place to visit. They have two large rooms off the tasting room - one is a banquet room, and the other is an enclosed, heated porch where often feature musical guests.