Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ed McCarthy On Cool Climate Wines and A Recommendation of Cool Climate East Coast Wines!

Recently esteemed wine educator and writer Ed McCarthy (Wine for Dummies with Mary Ewing-Mulling, among many others) wrote the seminal piece on a trend that has been developing in the wine industry over the last three or four years – the pendulum in the US among wine aficionados and foodies is swinging back from big, powerful, West Coast styled wine to a more reserved palate more on par with German, Italy, and France, citing a love of cool climate wines. There is no question this trend is in full swing and still has lots of momentum to go. Ed is 100% right on the money! Bravo for the essay. It’s right on the spot.

Here’s a small sample, but I do recommend you read the whole thing:

The U.S. East Coast versus West Coast Palate
By Ed McCarthy
Jan 29, 2013        Wine Review Online

Is there a difference in the palates of wine drinkers living on the East Coast of the U.S. as opposed to those west of the Mississippi River, especially those on the West Coast?  In other words, does geography make a difference in wine tasting?

Judging by my own experience and observation, I believe that many wine drinkers living in the East Coast cities, such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., do taste and/or appreciate wines differently from those on the West Coast.  Not really because of their different geographic locations, of course, but more so because of the wines that each group has been exposed to in their environment.

For example, let’s consider the columnists of our own publication, Wine Review Online.  It is no coincidence that the three columnists on the East Coast, Michael Apstein, Michael Franz, and I, write primarily about European wines, especially those from France and Italy.  And conversely, those columnists living in California write mainly about California wines.

We all tend to write about what we know and like.  Many of us on the East Coast have had more exposure to French, Italian, and Spanish wines than those from California, and we have formed our own palates accordingly.

There are fundamental differences in the mainly cool-climate wines of Europe--also known in wine parlance as Old World wines—than in the warmer-climate wines of California, South America, and Australia, the so-called New World wines.

Really, read the rest at:

Now, I have met Ed. Had dinner with him and Mary. I have tremendous respect for him, and I would posit that he is probably one of the two best experts on Champagne in the world. I would love to work with Ed someday. Ed has forgotten more about wine than I know. He has a excellent wit, and is a wonderful dinner companion. And he has devoted his life to studying and understanding and teching wine. And he’s not the only one saying these things. Dan Berger recently spoke and has written about the trend swinging back towards more balanced, cool climate wines. Hooray! Truly, I am thrilled Ed wrote the article.

But here’s where I have an issue: Ed, what about east coast WINE? Where is the love? There are more than 800 wineries on the east coast. Nothing of the Finger Lakes? The North Fork? The Hudson Valley or Niagara? How about Virginia? Perhaps I am only splitting hairs, but at the same time I feel like I must amend Ed's article just a touch...My word isn't as good as Ed's (I mean that, he is a brilliant wine expert...and I do mean expert), I'm not even the Sorcerer's apprentice.

Chardonnay from Long Island is every bit as exquisite as that of Burgundy. The Pinot Noirs of New York and Virginia are improving daily, and can compete without question. And the elegant red Meritages and blends being produced by those states also are producing wines that show sophistication and complexity, as well as promise.

So here’s a recommendation. Instead of walking in and asking for a cool climate wine, and letting some wine shop steward steer you to the French or Italian section, insist on trying a cool climate LOCAL wine.
Pinot Noirs such as McGregor, Heart & Hands, McCalls, Tousey, Millbrook, Whitecliff, Rooster Hill, Oak Summit, Red Tail Ridge, Jamesport, Unionville, Brotherhood, Shaw, Ravines, Dr. Konstantin Frank, Arrowhead Springs, Billsboro, and Baco Noirs such as Benmarl and Hudson-Chatham. Or red blends from Bedell, Wolffer, Valhalla, Barboursville, The Winery at La Grange, Black Ankle, Boxwood, or Pellegrini, just to name a few.

And light whites? Try Chardonnays, Riesling, and Viogniers from Unionville, Sherwood House, One Woman, Channing Daughters, Pellegrini Vineyards, Roanoke Vineyards, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Rooster Hill Vineyards, Bedell Cellars, Red Tail Ridge Winery, Peconic Bay Winery, Lamoreaux Landing, Macari Vineyards, Wolffer Estate, Fox Run Vineyards, Whitecliff Vineyard, Hermann Wiemer Vineyard, Channing Daughters, Heron Hill, Bedell Cellars, Barboursville, Breaux, Tarara, Jefferson Vineyards, Veritas, King Family, Monticello, and others.

And tell them that Ed sent you (and keep reading his articles on Wine Review Online), because it was indeed his idea, but that Carlo made the recommendations (like I!).

And show the east coast some love!!!