Tuesday, November 23, 2010
He and I recently caught up with one another via an email exchange. Though I wish it could have been more, with the holiday season, etc. I thought it would be best to just go with what we had.
Christopher has taken a small idea, and now in two-and-a-half years he has helped expand Virginia's reputation in the UK. Christopher is, in short, a visionary. Who knows where this will lead, but it can only lead to better things. It already has!
"I established my company specifically to build the international market for wines of Virginia. I am from the UK and moved to Virginia 21 years ago. I came here for business reasons and discovered wineries - who knew!!," Christopher wrote me.
"I established an import company in the UK to create the channel to market for Virginia wines and have a growing network of merchants there selling Virginia wines.
"My prior businesses have been in technology and software, but I have always loved wine, the art and science of winemaking, and the rich and positive lifestyle associated with it. My decision to create New Horizon Wines evolved over a few years. Having worked with winemakers in Virginia and tasted wines from many wineries over many vintages, I sensed a significant shift and upward trend in quality. It was as if, after 40 years of experimentation, trial & error, and deliberate steps taken by some wineries, everything was coming together. It was visible to me about 7 years ago.
"It was at that time I started to think about the possibilities. It was not until 2006 that I seriously started to form the strategy for creating the international market for Virginia wines. I sold my software company in 2007 and New Horizon Wines was born in 2008.
"I launched at the 2009 London International Wine Fair with winemakers from across the State of Virginia presenting their wines in London. This summer I organized and coordinated the wine events for the Governor McDonnell's Trade Mission, including briefing Oz Clarke to prepare for his guest appearance at the Fortnum & Mason event in London," related Christopher.
Winemakers included, Barboursville Vineyards – Luca Paschina; Veramar Vineyards – Justin Bogaty, Winemaker; Veritas Winery & Vineyards - Andrew & Patricia Hodson; White Hall Vineyards – Tony & Edie Champ, Owner; Breaux Vineyards – Chris Blosser, General Manager; Corcoran Vineyards - Jim Corcoran, Winemaker; Pearmund Cellars – Chris Pearmund, Owner and Williamsburg Winery – Matthew Meyer, Winemaker.
"Most recently I initiated and coordinated a visit by the Circle of Wine Writers to visit Virginia. I encouraged the support from the Virginia Wine Marketing Board and had the pleasure of working with Richard Leahy who worked with us to organize the wine tasting events."
New Horizon Wines Ltd.
72, New Bond Street
London, W1S 1RR
Tel: +44 (0)7528 217 249
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Add tortellini and simmer, partially covered, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Add spinach and simmer, uncovered, 1 minute. Divide among 4 soup plates, then shave cheese over soup to taste. I would suggest serving this soup with a nice crusty peasant bread.
by Anthony Vetri
Our methods are somewhat simplistic; all vines are dry-farmed, harvesting is done by hand, and the bins transported by lawn mower and trailer directly across the field for sorting and crushing. During the first week of September, we began harvesting the southeastern slope of our hill for the varieties that go into our single white wine. Harvest of reds began in the darker soils on September 11, and was completed on October 10. By this time we had accumulated over 4000 Growing Degree Days since March 15. In comparison, last vintage we began harvest on October 10 and completed it on November 11.
Some miscellaneous observations from our hill:
Fruit Set was dangerously efficient this year, with well-packed clusters that would have suffered rot stress in a wetter year. However clusters in general were under our ten year average for this site, and berry size was reduced in almost all clones and varieties. Seed scores were excellent throughout the vineyard. Canes lignified almost fully by mid July. First leaf senescence was noted on September 24, about 17 days ahead of schedule. Incidence of rot and mildew was of course low, but bunch stem necrosis was actually higher than normal in the northeast areas of the hill. (We hypothesize this was due to declination, reduced spraying, as well as heavy reliance on low impact materials.) Berry shrivel was common place. Robin, Starling, and Yellow Jacket predation were elevated and intense, as was Brown Stink Bug presence. Lady bugs and Japanese beetles were a relative no show.
Fermentations are now nearly completed in the winery. We are readying the wines for barrel. Over all, we view the quality of the 2010 harvest as having potential for us to be surpass the previous quality vintages of 05, 07, and 02.
Anthony and family
Friday, November 19, 2010
The bar was lovely inside, but more importantly, you could order a wide number of wines by the glass, in both 3oz and 6oz pours. And they had some Virginia wines on the list! I had some exquisite bruschetta, a plate of escargot, and a main course of braised porkchops.
As it turned out I had a number of wines from which to choose, which was fun. But in the end, I chose the final two wines I tasted based on the winemakers themselves - Jim Law and David Pollack. Law is known as a fastidious winemaker and a touch of a curmudgeon. Pollack is an experienced California winemaker, who with his wife, chose Virginia as his newest project.
Linden Vineyards is located in Northern Virginia, in Warren County, in the town of Linden.
The winery sits on a high mountain ridge surrounded by vineyards. They grow grapes at four different sites on the Blue Ridge. They are located on the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia only one hour from Washington D.C., but it seems like a million miles. They specialize in small lots of single vineyard Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and red Bordeaux blends. Jim Law, winemaker and owner says, "We are respectful of the unique character and personality of each of our vineyard sites. " Law is a fastidious winemaker who keeps and publishes copious notes, and one also gets the hint he might be a bit of a wine-wise curmudgeon. Regardless, his attention to detail results in some incredible wines.
David is the winemaker. For David, this venture drew upon his experience in the late 1970s with vineyards along the Russian River in Sonoma and then his establishment of one of the first wineries in the now famous Carneros region of the Napa Valley. In Virginia, the Pollaks saw the potential to create great wines from well-sited and meticulously maintained vineyards. They sought the experience of other vintners and growers to seek an ideal site and then applied the best agricultural and winemaking practices.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Of course I am saving the best for last. Dionysus is made from Touriga Nacional, uually grown on the Iberian Penninsula. This has big deep fruit up front. As promised, the dried dark cherries, damson plums and mocha aromas some through, with whiff of vanilla and smoke. The deep red wine has a nice dry finnish, with some pop, but more a smooth, soft finish.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Heron Hill Winery
Fox Run Vineyards
Imagine Moore Winery
Eagle Crest Vineyards
Robibero Family Vineyards
Chateau LaFayette Reneau
Cascade Mountain Winery
Buttonwood Grove Winery
Vetter Vineyards Winery
Sheldrake Point Vineyard
Spring Lake Winery
Bella Vita Vineyard
Waters Crest Winery
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
Martha Clara Vineyards
Long Island Meadery
James Brown singing: Get up, get on up. Get up, get on up.
Cotton needed to fight back. So a group of growers and importers created Cotton Incorporated. The organization took a tiny cut of every bale of the fiber bought or sold in the U.S. It hired a team of ad execs. And it launched a PR assault at a time when branding a commodity was virtually unheard of.
Jeff Saunders and Tom Edwards have done a great job making a holiday push to inspire their fellow retailors to promote New York wine. At a recent round table at the Marriott Courtyard in Elmhurst, Queens, at a tasting of New York wines for local retailors from Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island, the two unfurled the first of more than 1,000 posters with the tagline: Give a New York Wine This Holiday Season.
The poster is a crowd pleaser. It's been distributed to more than 1,000 New York state wine and liquor stores. It's a shame they didn't print more, because the wineries would have loved it for their tastingrooms as well. If you want one, click the URL below, and see if there are any left.
And in the mean time, follow the message!!! Give New York Wine This Holiday Season!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Nautique is a new line of table wines priced aggressively, packaged beautifully, and most importantly made with great tasting wines!!!!
Peconic Bay Winery, recognized for producing great wines on the North Fork of Long Island. Winery General Manager Jim Silver states, “Nautique is a new way forward for us. Here is a brand that permits us creativity in blending, and flexibility in wine making, while providing the consumer an exciting new style of wine. It is a crisp, aromatic, light and fresh style that is in keeping with the modern consumer’s tastes, and all at the right price.”
“The Nautique line allows me unlimited freedom as far as blending and creativity is concerned”, states Peconic Bay Winemaker Greg Gove. “Esprit de Blanc will enable me to explore the synergistic effects of combining a variety of aromatic white grapes. Esprit de Rosé gives me an opportunity to make Rosés that rival those of the Provence region, and the Esprit de Rouge allows me the freedom to employ a variety of maceration and extraction techniques coupled with judicious blending of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.”
“This release marks a sudden departure from the straight path usually pursued by wineries in this region. Here is a conscious attempt to produce wine that inspires the consumer to find pleasurable experiences outside of the conventions of varietal” states Jim Silver.
Silver continues, “The bottle and label are a fresh new design – a spirited interpretation of the nautical themes derived from this wonderful place, the North Fork of Long Island. The vertical label is a boat’s sail – quite a common sight along the shores here – and the heavy, wide-base tapered bottle demonstrates solidity, stability, and confidence. It’s just beautiful.”
So it was with a great thrill, that Dominique and I decided we were going to have a Nautique inspired wine dinner. It's November in the Hudson Valley, so the days grow dark fast, and the kitchen takes on a whole new meaning in the fall. The room filled up with warm light, we had jazz music on as the kids bustled about and the dog's nails click-clacked across the linoleum floor. The warm glow of the kitchen, with it's fall buzz of industry, was set off against the last vestiges of night, and the bare branches of late autumn.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Great Retailing Suggestions for New York Wine Retailors (and other wine retailors from all states) from Jim Silver of Peconic Bay
Many wine critics and writers tend to specialize, or at least lean toward the more high stakes games (the big houses in the big regions). But Dave, while he knows, undertsands, and appreciates those, is also fascinated by local wines.
"If you're not willing to splurge - and miss - once in a while, you can sit out this revolution. You'll do just fine drinking French wine, and I will be right there with you most of the time. But I will still be trying to persuade you to try something new."
I had a trunk full of Virginia wines, but Dave said no, he'd pull up a few from his cellar. And boy was I glad he did.
The first thing Dave poured me was a Veritas Sauvignon Blanc 2009.
Veritas Winery, based in Afton, Virginia, is a family business owned by Andrew and Patricia Hodson, which they opened in June 2002. With the help of their daughter Emily, the winemaker, they have succeeded in consistently producing a range of complex and elegant wines. The winery is located just off I-64 at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Veritas makes high quality wines. They use almost exclusively vitis vinifera vines with the exception of one French hybrid. Their philosophy is to make wine with the classic, old-style principles of Viticulture and Vinification, at the same time using state of the art technology to capture varietal and regional character. Wine-making is the domain of Andrew and daughter Emily, who are committed to capturing the varietal character of the grapes.
It was amazing! It was bright, crisp, and clean, with a light whiff of melon, some floral notes, and a hint of tangerine. I am not usually a white wine drinker, but this was amazing. I had the wine with two local cheeses Dave and Lilly had served with the wine. A semi-soft rind cheese, and a goat cheese with a hint of ash. I would have drank the whole bottle, except for the fact that we had to move nto the actual meal, which would require different wines.
Next was the Glenn Manor Hodder Hill 2007 is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot and 7 % Cabernet Franc. This was a fascinating wine, filled with dark blackberries, cassis and cedar. A touch of saddle? This was a full-bodied, concentrated, complex deep red, with great acidity, nice tannins. A tremendous wine. Glen Mannor Hodder HIll is located in on the west slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, around 1,100 feet above sea level. This planting consists of 4.3 acres of 4 to 12 year old vines growing in deep and well drained soils. This is made by winemaker Jeff White. Fabulous!
Anna Rae married Alpheus Lee White and the portion of her parent's farm in Front Royal that Anna Rae inherited is where the vineyards and winery are now established. The Whites have three sons and together own the winery business. It is managed and operated by their youngest son, Jeffrey Raymond White, who developed an interest in and an appreciation for fine wines while working for a nearby Virginia winery. He established our original vineyards in 1995 and envisioned what is today Glen Manor Vineyards. This was a tremendous wine, and just really, really impressive.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Saturday, November 06, 2010
God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise: Time Is Now for East Coast Wineries - 10 Reasons East Coast Wines Will Shine in Coming Year
But I am here today to tell you that Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, "Good times are coming!" I am telling you now that great things are about to happen! I am here to tell you that the promise land is around the corner. And you better be ready, or you will miss heaven!
The 2010 growing season on the east coast is one of the best in more than two decades. From Virginia to Long Island to Pennsylvania to Connecticut and Rhode Island, winemakers harvested happily and early! The Brix were high, and the grapes were sweet!
Now is the time for the East Coast to rise up, and stake it's claim. Lenn Thompson wrote that East Coast wineries need to stake their claim with their own Terrior. This vintage is a golden opportunity to see where we are.
Here are 10 reasons why East Coast wines are near taking their rightful place on the world wine stage:
1. East Coast had a great winemaking season in 2010 and the 2009 vintage, a tough one, has shone pretty well so far. The 2010 vintage will be one for the ages. Yet another sign of the rising tide of quality on the East Coast.
2. I'm tired of hearing about all the star power California and other wine regions have. East Coast has it's own star winemakers like Richard Olsen-Harbich (Bedell), Eric Fry (Lenz), Roman Roth (Wolffer), Russell Hearn (PWG), Tom Higgins (Heart & Hands), Eric Miller (Chaddsford), Jonathan Edwards (Jonathan Edwards), Adam McTaggart (Boxwood), Luca Paschina (Barboursville), Cameron Stark (Unionville), Andy Reagan (Jefferson); Bob Bartlett (Barrtlett Estate), and many others. Apologies. there's many more...can't list them all. I put this list of people up against anyone. This is my East Coast Wineries Justice League.
3. Better winemaking know-how and knowledge across the board from Virginia all the way to Maine are better than ever. Period. Not even a discussion.
5. Even if the New York legislature still doesn't get it, Virginia, Maryland, and a number of other wines states do. More money will be spent in 2010 to promote east coast winemaking than ever before.
6. Great marketing people. In the past, the east coast had inexperienced wine professionals promoting their wines (and in some cases no one), but now there are a maturing crop of wine professionals who have the funds to create demand and drive more wine into consumers hands, like Morgan McLaughlin of the Finger Lakes; Kevin Atticks of Maryland; Richard Leahy and Annette Ringwood Boyd of Virginia; the people who created the Maine Winery Guild; and of course Jim Trezise (who is currently over-matched by his demands and severely under-funded by the state - and who could use some help).
8. It's Local! This is one of the biggest boosts East Coast wineries have ever had. And it's more important than ever. Consumers want to support local. A little state pride is a good thing. Local dirt tastes better. It tastes and smells like home. It's unique.
9. Quality. The over all quality is better than ever. I can't tell you enough how wine quality has improved over the last 15 years. Part of this has to do with a better understanding of chemistry, but more importantly, the wines are better made, with more oeniological understanding, and many are truly cellar worthy.
10. The east coast has great, dedicated bloggers, starting with Lenn Thompson and the gang at New York Cork Report; your truly, East Coast Wineries; a slew of great Viriginia blogs including Virginia Wine Time, Virginia Wine In My Pocket, Virginia Wine Dogs Blog, and My Vine Spot among others; Vinotrip; The Wine Classroom, The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, and many, many others. These dedicated men and women are the engine that help promote and celebrate the many things going on in and around local wine.
BONUS 11! And the biggest reason is? Taste! East coast wines have never tasted so good! And now, with a vintage like 2010 under their belts, East Coast wineries are in fact second to none. Will some of the wine regions continue to evolve? Will new varieties inevitably rise up? Yes, yes, and yes, I say again. But for now, this is as good as it's been - and it's only going to get better. No more apologies. No excuses. We have great wine, come and drink!