Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thirsty Owl Wins 2007 Governor's Cup at NY Food & Wine

CONGRATULATIONS to Thirsty Owl Wine Company on Cayuga Lake for winning our Governor’s Cup with its 2006 Dry Riesling; and to Red Barn Winery near Syracuse for winning Winery of the Year accolades at the 2007 New York Wine & Food Classic in Napa , CA .

After a day and a half of swirling, sniffing, sipping and spitting, 24 expert judges ultimately rated Thirsty Owl’s Dry Riesling as the best of 790 New York wines entered, with other “Best of Category” wines including Swedish Hill Spumante Blush, Barrington Cellars 2006 Buzzard’s Blush, Pindar Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Franc, and Mazza Chautauqua Cellars 2005 Ice Wine of Vidal Blanc. In the “Specialty Wine” category, which includes non-grape fruit wines, meads, and other products, Red Barn’s 2006 Raspberry Wine took top honors, with its “Pauley’s Port” (made from Concord) also taking a Best of Class award, its Blueberry wine a Gold, along with several other medals for both grape and fruit wines. Other top contenders for Winery of the Year, which is based on the number and levels of medals, included (in order) Swedish Hill, Fox Run, Thirsty Owl, and Chateau LaFayette Reneau. Due to the increasing numbers of “specialty” wines and wineries, starting next year a new category will be created to recognize quality in those products, but the Winery of the Year award will be based on grape wines (since they are still over 95% of our industry’s production and consumption). Not surprisingly, the top winners started getting calls as soon as the results were posted on our web site, with one large Buffalo retailer immediately ordering 15 cases of the Thirsty Owl Dry Riesling. Many thanks to Teresa Knapp for doing a great job organizing the competition, the entire back room staff, our 24 terrific judges, and Peter Marks of Copia for being such a great and generous host. Next year’s Classic will return to New York State , with the exact location to be determined.

Congratulation to all the winners. Full results are available at www.newyorkwines.org under “What’s New”.

Special thanks to Jim Tresize

Billsboro Winery Enjoys Second Birth!

BILLSBORO WINERY on the west side of Seneca Lake is one of New York ’s newest wineries, enjoying a second birth under the ownership of Vinny and Kim Aliperti.

Billsboro was created in 2000 by the late Dr. Bob Pool, a world-renowned viticultural researcher at Geneva , and a partner. Robert m. Pool earned his Ph.D. in 1974 Ph.D. from Cornell University, after recieving his M.S. and B.S. at the University of California at Davis studying food service and enology. He was instrumental in grape vive research including: Vinifera variety and clone evaluation, mechanization of vineyard operations, crop level related to grape and wine quality, sustainable viticulture, vineyard floor management, cultural practices and rootstock effects on cold hardiness, and interaction of disease (fungal, bacterial and viral) and vine productivity. All of eastcoastwine owes a huge debt of gratitude to Bob Pool

But back to the winery....

Vinny (seen here with wife Kim and family) is head winemaker at the award-winning Atwater Estate Winery on the southeast end of Seneca Lake. His creations there are something quite special. And now he is now making his own wines as well. They include a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and, on the white side, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay along with a “House White” made from Vidal and Cayuga. The winery is in a restored 19th Century barn just south of Geneva , and features local artisanal breads, cheeses and meats.

Go visit the Alipertis and have some fun at a family owned and operated winery, and enjoy some wonderful wines.

For more information. www.billsborowinery.com

Bet The Farm Winery in Aurora, New York

“BET THE FARM” is the unusual name for an unusual new winery in Aurora , on the east side of Cayuga Lake , that is devoted to “local”. Owner and winemaker Nancy Tisch began with the concept of selling local foods and wines together (I remember that phone call years ago), which is only do-able if you are licensed as a farm winery. So she undertook the long and arduous licensing process, makes the wine at a nearby winery, and has the tasting room on Main St. in Aurora , home of Wells College . In addition to her own wine, she sells other local wines along with an assortment of local foods.

For more information, visit www.betthefarmny.com.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Maryland Wine Festival® Sept 15-16 at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster!

The Maryland Wine Festival® Sept 15-16 at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster!

The Maryland Wine Festival®, now in its 24th year, is evolving to benefit MD wine lovers.
• 18 wineries attending
• Ticketless sampling!
• Expanded grounds – more space!
• Hospitality tent with widescreen
so you don't miss the games

This is one of Dominique's and mine favorite wine festivals. The wines are great, the food is fun, and the weather...well, it doesn't matter. We never had a bad time even for all the times we went.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Jonathan Edwards: Bi-Coastal Wine Star

Jonathan Edwards is blazing new territory - the same one the pioneers blazed more than a century ago. He's going transcontinental. A wine maker who came of age as a winemaker in Napa,California, Edwards' New Stonington Connecticut winery sells wines made with estate fruits as well as with fruits Edwards carefuly monitors in California.

Edwards' has long term contracts in California. He leverages this kind of commitment with a demand for quality - a quality he tries to oversee himself. During harvest season his grapes are hand picked under Edwards direct supervision. Their transition into wine happens immediately in California. The young wine is then brought to Connecticut in refrigerated trucks to begin 12-18 months of barrel aging and bottling.

Meanwhile, back in Connecticut, Edwards has selected varietals that flourish to their optimum in the unique New England coastal climate. These grapes are also harvested by hand. Edwards' customers often participate!

The place itself is gorgeous. It is easilly one of the prettiest in New England, and is perfect for weddings and events. The interiors are painted with warm, buttery yellows trimmed in creame and lined with slate and natural woods. The extrior is classic New England white barns. The vineyards are botanical garden perfect. The effects are dazzling.

But what about the wines. Ah, yes. Now, for purists, the California wine connection might seem a little spurious. But Edwards has strong ties to California - so it's not a ploy.

Edwards California wines are very good. HIs Chardonnay is very fine and lovely. And the rest of the west coast menu is mostly big and robust reds. Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Syrah top the list. The Syrah is one of the most intense syrahs i have ever had, with a nose full of cherries and plums and vanilla. It's all berry up front, but this is a big wine and it finishes bone dry. Exceptional!

Edwards also offers a Connecticut estate Chardonnay (also very nice) and Gew├╝rztraminer. HIs Cabernet Franc was exceptional, and is easilly one of the better Cabernet Franc in New England, and probably on the east coast.

A Sunday drive to the Stonington back country, to Jonathan Edwards is defintely a winemaker to watch. And his winery is well worth the trip - a treat for all five senses. Enjoy!