Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nautique Esprit de Blanc

One of the last wines I'll write about from Easter was the Peconic Bay series of winescalled Nautique. I brought with me Nautique Esprit de Blanc. This is a series of great value winess with exceptional flavor. I was thrilled to impress everyone with this little ditty, from the cool bottle to the great wine, a super combination.

From Jim Silver's press release: "Nautique Esprit de Blanc possesses attention-grabbing aromatic qualities that are the result of judicious blending. Each of the three components lends individualistic qualities to the finished wine. The “Old Vines” clone of Chardonnay donates its typical lemon-grass and Sauvignon-like aroma. The Pinot Grigio contributes a citrus and orange peel quality and the Riesling adds to the complexity with grapefruit and peach nuances. The result is a vibrant, aromatic white that will make oysters and clams leap out of their shells."

We had ham and potatoes and fresh string beans, and cheese and fresh bread. It was a sun drenched day. And in the warm weather, the cold, refreshing wine with lots of fruit, great acidity, and a nice clean, crisp finish, was a delicious accompaniment. The group really loved this white. I was a real hero.

But the real heroes were Jim Silver and the folks at Peconic Bay.

Alba Vineyards Riesling 2009

Of course, we needed a white wine for the Easter holiday, and again I decided to keep it local, very local, and so I chose a New Jersey wine. The choice was easy. We had a riesling fan in the house, and I neededa good riesling. Alba Vineyards came to mind.

Built in 1805, this historic barn now houses their winery and tasting room, as well as the Musconetcong Art Gallery. Within the old stone walls, the aroma of fermenting and aging wine fills the air. Remarkable care was taken in converting the 190-year-old structure into a modern, efficient winemaking facility. The character of the limestone walls and old oak beam framing has not been lost with the installation of modern equipment; in fact, the new lighting system serves to reveal the inherent beauty of the stonework as never before.

Alba's Riesling 2009 had an exceptional floral aroma, There was honeysuckle, tropical fruits, grapefruit and ineapple. The wine has incredible mouthfeel with lovely green apple and other tropical fruits, and a slightly citrus ending. The fruit is fresh, with a solid amount of acidity, but a sweetness that balances out. It's refreshing, clean, and crisp.

A really, really nice riesling. It was a nice addition to our celebration and was very, very well recieved. Excellent!

Castello di Borghese Private Reserve 2001

So, we traveled for Easter. We packed up the kids, found someone to feed the cat, we packed the car, and off we went to New Jersey for Easter. I knew when I was down there, that I would buy some local wine. Me? C'mon! While we did not have to bring food to the family gathering, we were required, as one might imagine, to brin wine.

I went down into the cellar to decide. California? France? Italy (especially with my family)? Chile? Etc? No, I decided we would have a local Easter holiday. I started hunting around for bottles. Finger Lakes? Virginia? Rhode Island? Nope, I decided on Long Island. I found a dusty old bottle worth taking a shot with - Castello di Borghese 2001 Private Reserve from the North Shore of Long Island.

This wine is from the oldest grapes on Long Island, originally founded by Alex and Louisa Hargrave. Since 1999, the first vineyard on the North Fork has been in the creative hands of Prince Marco and Princess Ann Marie Borghese, who promptly renamed it Castello di Borghese -- Castle of the Borgheses. The 2003 season marked the 30th anniversary of this founding vineyard of the Long Island wine industry. Ann Marie and Marco continue to apply new levels of energy, watching the vineyard evolve graciously under their stewardship.

Easter Sunday in New Jersey was beautiful, sunny, about 80 degrees. Couldn't have been prettier. We started the day off with some Italian cheeses, and some Hudson Valley cheeses, as well as peppers, olives, and Italian bread, followed by hame, sting beans and potatoes, we decided it was time to open the red wine. I opened the 2001 Private Reserve.

The wine was gorgeous. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged two years in French oak, it had a bif nose full of cherries. It also had hints of cranberry, raspberry and subtle hints of vanilla and mocha. On the palate it was fresh cherries, a hint of cassis and plum, and a hint of tomato or saddle leather. It was perfect with the sharp cheeses and the ham.

An excellent choice!

Congrats to the folks at Castello di Borghese!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Silver Decoy's Tenth Birthday Shows Promise of Another Ten Good Years!

In June of 2006 I tasted for the first time the reds made by Silver Decoy. I met Mark Carduner in the bottling room/tasting room, and tried their blush, Sunrise, as well as Retriever, and a number of other estate reds.

This last weekend I went back It was the tenth year anniversary since they began their long trek. The winery threw itself a birthday. Everyone was invited. I went with a friend, Matt Weismantle, as my wife and his were happy gabbing at home, and we both needed to step out for a minute. Silver Decoy was a great excuse.

The winery itself has grown immensely over the years.

From their one two-door garage like structure, they now have an ample tasting room,

with a large party-room, off to the side, as well as a massive wine making room, and a separate barrel room. Where they had ten to twelve barrels before now they have many, many more.

The fields seem to expand with every visit. First it was one block, then a second. Now their fields are covered in beautifully maintained vines. As in my previous visits, I am always impressed by their impeccably kept rows. Such well cared for vines argue for wonderful wines. They are trimmed and stripped, the dirt is maintained in neat rows and the grass is cut almost to putting green length to keep the insect quotient to a minimum. You can see the effort they put into it.

But they have grown in reputation as well. A year after I had first visited them, they had won the 2007 New Jersey Winery of the Year, and their 2005 Cabernet Franc took a Gold Medal at the New Jersey Governor’s Cup Wine Competition.

I was very curious then that this was their tenth year anniversary. I really wanted to go back and see the changes for myself. As ever, Mark was happy to chat away about wine. We yakked. I yakked. He poured. We yakked some more. And the wines were just as impressive as ever.

We started off with Pinot Grigio and then Traminette. Both wines were lovely, and I continue to enjoy Silver Decoy’s Traminette, a light, lovely refreshing wine with a great nose and lovely palate.

The Black Feather Chardonnay 2009 was very nice with big fruit, and lovely, apples and pears, but both Matt and I were blown away by the Chardonnay Alliers 2009. This was a lovely Chardonnay with bright fresh fruit, bursting with green apple and pear and a hint of mango, but also toasty and with aromas of lovely vanilla. The wine had big fresh apples and pears, in a mouth full of light refreshing wine, but also a toastiness to it, with a nice, creamy smooth finish. One of the nicer oaked chardonnays I’ve ever had. Fabulous!

After that we both tasted a very nice Riesling, which was tart and off-dry. Delicious! And a nice, light Viognier.

Next were the reds. I was worried we experience that – it’s not as good as last time experience. But this was not the case.

The first thing we tried was the Chambourcin 2008. This was a big red wine, with dark purple-maroon coloration, and big notes of cherries, black cherries, vanilla and pepper. The wine was full and lush in the mouth, with a nice mouthfeel. Medium bodied, with nice acidity and medium tannins.

The “10” Marchel Foch remains the best example of the grape I have yet tasted, no matter what state I have tasted in (although the Haight-Brown by Grayson Hartley is a solid contender). And the Merlot was also lovely.

Next came the Cabernet Franc 2008. Again, this was a powerful wine that would stand up to any other east coast Cabernet Franc. Big, with cherry and vanilla, this Cabernet Franc is a wonderful, big deep wine in the hands of the Silver Decoy folks. Tremendous!

Retriever was next. This is made from non-estate grapes, but is a solid winner from year to year. This is a nice, California-styled wine, made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera. This is an American version of a Super-Tuscan. Very, very nice.

Next was the estate grown Syrah 2009. This was a lovely wine with lots of big berries, nice acidity, and medium-to-low tannins. A nice soft finish. A lovely version of the varietal every bit as good as wine from Santa Barbara.

The Sangiovese 2009 was incredible with bright red Bing cherry done in a Chianti style. The notes were wonderful with exotic spices and hints of vanilla. Wow!

But that was not the end of he show. Mark, ever excited, decided to take a small group of us over for a small barrel tasting. As always, with Silver Decoy, the promise of what’s in the barrel is always something special.

We started with the estate Merlot 2010. Big whiffs of dark cherry and dark raspberry. Nice touches of vanilla on the nose. The cherry and raspberry come through on this incredible wine, as well as a little hint of plum.

The Cabernet Franc 2010 was even better. It was big, and dark, and rich. It was very lush in the mouth with a big damsom plum flavor and a hint of cassis. No pencil shavings or hint of grassiness on this wine. It was outstanding!

And the real capper was the 2010 Syrah This is a Santa Barbara styled Syrah, with big dark fruits, huge fruit, big and jammy, it tasted like a plum/prune Pop Tart in the best sense of the flavors I’m trying to get across. Nice acidity. Dry finish with nice tannins. This is a beautiful wine! Incredible! Fantastic!

All three of these wines are what I am talking about with 2010. 2010 will be the best vintage on the east coast in 20 years. The 2007s were nice. 2010 will blow them away.

And Silver Decoy will be one of the east coast wineries that will lead the way for reds….as suspected.

I walked out with more than a few bottles.

Happy birthday Silver Decoy Winery!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Preservation magazine (April, 2011) Features Shinn Estate (North Shore, NY)

The newest issue of Preservation magazine features the story of Shinn Estate winery on the North Shore of Long Island. Features Barbara Shinn and David Page in a winderful article about land preservation and wine.

Great story! Congrats!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

4JGs Chambourcin Riserva 2005

So, while I was in New Jersey for the East holiday, I decided to go visit some of the wineries from the old neighborhood. I bought bottles from many different wineries. One of my old favorites was FourJGs winery in Colts Neck.

Four JG's Orchards & Vineyards is located in Central New Jersey in a historic farming area. The winery is named after the four owners, John and Janet Giunco and their two children, John (who most know as "Bert") and Jill. The Giunco family has farmed in Monmouth County for over 60 years. Four JG's seek to grow quality fruit and make the highest quality wine. The estate produces wines that are bold in character and rich in fruit. Founded in 1999, Four JG's Orchards & Vineyards is located on a farm with barns and houses that date back to the early 1700's.

I bought several bottles, and then returned to Freehold, where we dined at Angelos and I opened a bottle of the FourJGs Chambourcin Riserva 2008. I ordered a beautiful plate of Frutti di Mare in a rich red sauce, filled with clams, calamari, shrimp, and mussels. It was spicy and delicious. And I needed a red wine to live up to it.

The Chambourcin Riserva 2008 was just what was needed. This wine is Four JG’s fladship wine. The Chambourcin grape is a French Hybrid with Rhone origins. It is a winter hardy variety that has become the favorite of growers in the Middle-Atlantic states. Chambourcin has a soft texture and spicy attributes. Four JG’s Chambourcin Riserva is a delicate blend of Chambourcin and the vinifera grape, Cabernet Franc wood-aged in American oak for eighteen months.

This is a big lush wine, with big plum, blackberry, and dark raspberry notes. Hints of mocha as well and hints of vanila. Very nice, low acidity, with soft tannins. It finishes with a hint of peppper.

This has won numerous awards:
- Silver, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (2004 vintage)
- Silver, 2006 Los Angeles County Fair World of Wines Competition (2002 vintage)- Bronze, 2003 American Wine Society National Competition (2002 Vintage)- Bronze, 2004 VinoChallenge International Wine Competition (2002 Vintage)- Gold, 2004 New Jersey Wine Competition (2002 Vintage)- Silver, 2004 American Wine Society National Competition (2003 Vintage)
- Bronze, 2005 New Jersey Wine Competition (2003 Vintage)

Great stuff. Still a favorite of mine!

Lurita Winery Benefit for Lukemia on May 6, 2011

Luraita Winery in New Egypt, NJ, is sponoring a tasting to benefit the NJ Lukemia society. Call the winery for more information. The event takes plce May 6, 2011.

Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery

Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery by John C. Hartsock is a new book about what it's like to own and work at a winery. Though it takes place in the Finger Lakes, its story, I can assure you, is transferable. Starting a winery is never about amassing a fortune. In fact, the most common traits among wineries, is that they are not infact virtual ATMs. It's more about the passion the owners and winemakershave for their craft and industry.

In 1998, Gary and Rosemary Barletta purchased seven acres of land on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. It was the perfect place to establish a vineyard, and the Barlettas immediately began to plant their vines and build the winery about which they had dreamed for years. John C. Hartsock covers all the topics one expects, like winemaking, the harsh realities of business plans, vineyard pests, brutal weather conditions, producing the first vintage, to greeting enthusiastic visitors on a vineyard tour. In fact Long Point won a gold medal from the American Wine Society for a Cabernet Franc.

I am thrilled that this book is out. Anything that promotes New York, or any kind of local wine, is alright in my book. However, it goes far beyond that. It's a wonderful read. There is nothing like the first hand expereinces Gary and Rosemry relate in the business of making wine. From the hardships of planting and vineyard management, to the hilarity of reading about Gary pulling bottles of wine from table tops in a restaurant, spurned by the thought that he has sold wine wholesale without the appropriate license, and the resulting shocked customers.

The book is written by John C. Hartsock who has worked as a staff reporter for United Press International and various newspapers, including the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle. His freelance work has appeared in Audubon and the San Francisco Examiner. He resides in Homer, New York, in the Finger Lakes region, and he teaches communication studies at SUNY Cortland.

This is the second book about Finger Lakes wineries. Evan Dawson's Summer in a Glass is a much bigger, overview of winemaking in the Finger Lakes. Where Dawson's book is a macroview of the region, Hartsock's book is a down and dirty portait of winery life and it's cyclical nature. Both books are great reads, and one does not proclude the other. They are in fact complimentary. When visiting the Finger Lakes, you should either read both books before you go, or buy the books within the region, and bring them home with you.

I interviewed John, here's the interview:
a. How did you get together with Long Point?

A number of things came together for me with Long Point. I had kicked around the idea of doing a book on a Finger Lakes winery for a couple of years before deciding on Long Point. One thing I wanted to do was make sure there was a strong human interest element. I didn’t want it to be only a book about wine, but a book about the people who struggle through the course of the year to make wine happen. To me it’s that interaction I found fascinating. One thing that intrigued me about the Barlettas was that they were baby boomers who had raised their family and were, as I say in the book, “on the other side of the second half of their lives.” When the empty nest hits, that can be a bit existentially daunting: What do you do with your life now? Their answer: Start a winery. I saw that as courageous and even dignifying, kind of like Zorba the Greek erupting into dance when things are down. Another part is that the winery had just started. It was a young winery. The Barlettas were very much struggling. And you saw the vines maturing from initial planting—that’s a pretty amazing experience. Then there were some practical reasons. First, the winery looks out on one of the Finger Lakes. Well, it seemed only natural that a winery should, although I know that doesn’t necessarily make a difference in the wine. But from their location above the lake it looks like the whole universe is opening up. It had a mesmerizing quality to it, something magical that to me said something about humankind’s relationship to the land and the larger cosmos. Second, and a practical consideration for me, the winery is on the east side of Cayuga Lake, about 35 minutes from where I live. If I were to spend much time at a winery, it had to be reasonably close. If I had to drive around the lake, that would have been too far. At the time, there were only two wineries along the eastern shore—Long Point and King Ferry. More broadly, I was attracted to the subject of a winery because wine is such a powerful cultural metaphor. Sorry, that’s my English lit background creeping in. But you see it reflected in the history, which I found fascinating and which I realized the average wine drinker would likely not know. Winemakers are part of such a rich historical tradition. It’s paradoxical: On the one hand they are implicated by history, but on the other, when they prune and crush, history is implicated by them. What they do is a re-enactment of what winemakers did more than 5,000 years ago in the Zagros mountain region of ancient Mesopotamia, and it locates them in the endless unfolding of time.
Anyway, it was a combination of these different factors.

b. you must have spent some long hours at Long Point...did you do any volunteer work while you were there? prune? harvest? do you have a story or two of this kind?

For the first year I was going out about two or three times a week to observe, and yes, at times I helped out. But I didn’t want to emphasize that. I wanted to keep the emphasis on the Barlettas’ experience. Background: I’m a former newspaper and wire service journalist and I went first and foremost to observe. But certainly I would help out because I would see Gary doing something and he would need help and of course you lend a hand. Most of that didn’t make it into the book. But I did some light pruning and harvesting. I remember dumping lugs of grapes in the crusher and by the end of the day I had pulled my back out so that the next day I ended up in the hospital where Gary and Rosie worked in the x-ray department (they’ve recently retired). Fortunately they weren’t there when I was x-rayed, otherwise I don’t know how I could not have put that in the book. I was driving the tractor during harvest one time while we were picking up lugs, looking forward, looking back, when I almost crashed through a row of grapes. It doesn’t take a lot to destroy several years of hard work. But again, I wanted to keep the focus on Gary and Rosie.

c. are you a wine drinker? assuming you are...what are some of your favorite Long Point wines?

That’s a good question. I started out on this project as a pretty average wine drinker—remember, I was coming at this as a journalist. But certainly, over time, I learned a great deal about wine. Gary and Rosie were my teachers. Do I consider myself an expert? Not really, even though my friends may consider me to be because I talk about the qualities of wine. But to me it’s all relative and I find that I’m still learning—wine is that complicated and “complex.” Yet that’s part of the pleasure of it all. See, I tend to view wine as something of a tease, and that’s what I like about it when I taste. But I began to see that this could be important to the book, too. I can’t tell you how many people, friends and acquaintances, have told me they are put off by the mystique of wine—what they see as “wine snobbery.” And I began to see that as an opportunity, to share with them the process of how I learned about tasting wine in order to take some of the unnecessary mystery out of it. Wine is mysterious, but we don’t have to make it worse than it is. Regarding Gary’s wines, I have really come to appreciate Cabernet Franc as a red that does quite well in the region. I actually like the fruit. I had never had it before—I had the usual biases of the average dry wine drinker—until he shared his with me. At the time he was buying his grapes from Knapp until his own were ready. Then his Cab Franc matured and it’s been fun to see how the vintage changes from year to year. And of course one can’t help appreciate dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes. It’s what I call “Rieslingland” in the book. I never cared much for white wines until I started this book. Then I discovered dry Riesling, and couldn’t help but fall in love with the dryness—such a contrast to the sweeter German version. Actually, my first was a Ravines recommended to me by Gary’s brother, but now Gary’s Riesling grapes are mature, and once again it’s fun to see how the vintage changes from year to year. It’s really been a delightful journey of discovery for me.

d. can you enumerate your thought on the finger lakes wine region and how and why it's growing in size and reputation

I have a couple of thoughts on that. There’s no doubt that wines are getting better. For that reason I think the region will continue to grow in the estimation of serious wine enthusiasts. And garnering more attention, even international. For example, I’m meeting a French colleague at a conference in Brussels in May. He asked me to bring a bottle of dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes! He’s bringing a bottle from Alsace, which of course sets the standard. We’re going to do a tasting. We call it “Judgment at Brussels.” Obviously we’re not professional wine tasters. But it’s part of the fun of the amateur and what makes wine tasting so enjoyable. I’m tasting now, trying to decide what to take. I have a bottle of Hermann J. Wiemer and a Glenora, which have come highly recommended. And I had a delightful Hazlitt recently. We’ll see. But the word is slowly getting out about the Finger Lakes.

Also, people will continue to be drawn naturally to what is grown and made in their backyard. And being so close to New York City, the Finger Lakes provide an opportunity to get back in touch with how things are really made, in this case wine. As Bill Nelson, the former executive director of WineAmerica, told me, “In a world where people have no idea how things are made, they can understand wine.” I think as human beings we like to know—we like to feel in touch with and the touch of—how things are made. It’s like baking your own loaf of bread and it’s fundamental to who we are as humans. Wine provides that. And it brings such delight, savoring its nuances. There’s an appreciation for cherishing—savoring again—the refined things of this world while we’re here. It’s life enriching.

* * *

Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery is very well written, and fun to read. For those who have often dreamed of what it is like to start and run a winery, Hartsock's book is a charming, funny, and ultimately happy rending of life in wine country.

Here are some other great reviews about this book:

"Everyone who savors the flavor of a fine glass of wine likely has at one time or another dreamt of producing their own. . . . Organizing his book by season, John C. Hartsock shares vignettes that illustrate the hard work and perseverance required as well as the heartbreak that comes when one tiny mistake ruins a year's output. This detailed book . . . will be of great interest to those contemplating the winery business, even if just someday to tinker in their basement."
— Library Journal

In telling the story of Gary and Rosemary Barletta and their Long Point Winery, John C. Hartsock captures the essence of the small farm winery experience with all of its hard work and ample rewards. The seasons of growth and labor in the vineyard and winery are described in a narrative that encompasses the interesting history of the winery. For the reader who wants to understand the fundamentals of grape growing and winemaking and what it takes to open a successful winery, this is an excellent book. Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery is also a story of dreams and aspirations, and wine enthusiasts will be inspired by these pages.
- Hudson Cattell, editor of "Wine East" in Wines & Vines and coauthor of Wine East of the Rockies

Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery is a delightful account of the agrarian life and cycles of the winemaking life. Gary Barletta has succeeded in creating wonderful wines from the Finger Lakes that stand up beautifully in the world of wine. Reading about the behind-the-scenes creation of grapes and wine is a delectable treat to savor.
- Louis Damiani, Damiani Wine Cellars, Hector, N.Y.

Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery is a very compelling, complete, and accurate portrayal of the workings of a small family-operated estate vineyard and winery. By looking at grape growing and winemaking through the narrative of the Barletta family, John C. Hartsock vividly shows the hardships and satisfactions that come from planting grapevines in the fertile yet demanding environment of the Finger Lakes. This book is an exceptional addition to the burgeoning literature about wine grapes and the people who grow and ferment them.
- Ian Merwin, Professor of Horticulture and the Viticulture and Enology Program, Cornell University, and manager of Black Diamond Orchard and Vineyard

Gary Bartaletta of Long Point Winery: The East Coast Wineries Interview

Gary and Rosemary Bartaletta established Long Point Winery in 1999 when they constructed their winery. Long Point Winery is located on the east side of Cayuga Lake on scenic Route 90 in Aurora, New York. The winery sits on 72 acres of land overlooking beautiful Cayuga Lake. Guests are treated to a tasting of fine wines and the spectacular view that the tasting room provides. Long Point was almost an instant success, or so it seemed, until I read the book. It was frought with a lot of work, a host of setbacks, and lots of passion. Since we're reviewing the new book SEASON OF A FINGER LAKES WINERY by John C. Hartsock, I thought it would be a good idea to get Gary to respond to the East Coast Wineries Interview. Here are his responses:

What is the biggest challenge facing wine in your state today?
Competing with imports and other alcohol beverages.

What is the difference between wines in your region from tenyears ago to today?
Quality has become better.

Where do you think wine in your region will be 10 years from now?
Where California was when it made its impact on the world.

What's the trend in wine in your region that has surprised you the most in the last 2-5 years?
Mid-priced wines leading over low or high-endwines

Is there a new trend you expect to see in the next 2-3 years?
Bargain priced wines; good quality for goodprice instead of high priced wines

Do you find liquor stores and wine shops have been a good partner for your state grown wines?


What have been some challenges?
Not enough shelfspace.

Regional wineries sometimes find it hard to sell wines outsideof their state. How easy or difficult is it for your wineries to export their wines to other states?countries?
Very difficult due to different licensing fees, excise tax and sales tax.

How big a part do festivals and farm markets play in your state's wine distribution?
Big part creates a one stop shopping toexpose wineries to buyers market

What are the challenges of getting your wines covered by local press and the wine media?
Local press and media do a greatjob in our area.

Are their any media streams that you have found that aremore effective than not?
Radio and Internet advertising.

Are there any fears you may have too many wineries in yourstate?
No, wine consumption is up.

Do you have any wine trails in your state? If so, howeffective have they become? If not, why? How do your wineries effectivelymarket themselves in groups? Or not? If not, why not?
Yes. Cayuga Wine Trail oldest Trail in US. Collective advertising and trailevents.

Are you finding there are enough grape growers to fill the demand created by wineries in your state?
Yes at this point.

Long Point Winery Zinfandel 2006

Gary Barletta (who co-owns the winery with wife Rosemary) was introduced to the joy of winemaking by his grandfather at a young age. Like many Italian grandfathers he made wine out of his basement in Syracuse, New York.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Gary returned home to his native Syracuse. In 1981 Gary began his employment at Cortland Memorial Hospital (now Cortland Regional Medical Center)and there met his future wife, Rosemary. They eventually made a home together and Gary moved the wine equipment that he inherited from his grandfather into their basement. Gary continued the winemaking tradition that had been passed down to him from his grandfather.

Gary and Rosemary's dream to build a winery was realized in January of 1999 when construction began for what would become Long Point Winery, near Cayuga Lake. Today, Long Point winery is considerably larger, and very well established.

The other night, while admittedly looking for another wine, I happend upon a a dusty bottle of Long Point Zinfandel 2006. It was like fate had handed me an easy win.

The color was gorgeous, with a dark garnet color. And the wine smelled wonderful, with big deep breaths of black fruits likeblackberries, dark raspberries, and eve a hint of cassis. There were also whiffs of anise, coffee and a slight touch of cocoa. The wine was a big, jammy glass of dark raspberry and blackberry, as promised, with hints of black tea and mocha. Big fruit up front, with nice acidity and medium tannins. This was a lovely red. Very lovely.

Congrats to Gary and Rosemary!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maryland Life magazine Picks Top State Wineries

Deep Creek Cellars - Garrett
Elk Run- Frederick
Boordy - Baltimore
Port of Leonardtown - St. Mary’s
Dove Valley Winery - Cecil
Bordeleaux - Wicomico

Editor’s Pick: Black Ankle - Frederick

WINERIES UNLIMITED Trade Show Boon to the Richmond and Virginia Economy

On March 29 through April 1, the Greater Richmond Convention Center played host to the Wineries Unlimited Trade Show & Conference, the second largest vineyard and winery event of its kind in North America. Event producer Robert Merletti reported that there were over 2,100 attendees representing 38 states, five Canadian provinces, and the countries of France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa. In addition, the show attracted 643 exhibitor reps with 238 exhibiting companies in 317 booths. More products and services were sold at the Richmond event than at any other winery trade show in the country.

"This was our 35th anniversary show, and it provided a great opportunity to unite members of the eastern wine industry," said Merletti who, in addition to producing Wineries Unlimited, publishes Vineyard & Winery Management magazine. "Having industry stars such as Keith Striegeler, Paul Wagner, Bruce Zoecklein, Elizabeth Slater and others definitely contributed to the success of the event, as did the great support and cooperation of Governor Bob McDonnell, Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore, the Greater Richmond Convention Center and the Virginia Hotel and Hospitality industry."

Merletti has announced that Wineries Unlimited will return to Richmond in 2012.

- Frank C. Britt, Publisher, Official Virginia Newsletter, 4/17/2011

YNN TV Reports Saratoga Winery Available at Saratoga Racetrack

Saratoga Winery to be featured at track
By: C.J. Spang

4/20/11 YNN TV

A local winery is headed to the track, less than two years after opening for business. It's no small feat for a winery that still bottles by hand. Our C.J. Spang gives us a taste.

MILTON, N.Y. -- There's a lot of work that goes into that bottle of wine from the Saratoga Winery.

"Nothing in life is free or easy," said owner Tara Nimmo. "It comes with a price. And the price is hard work."

All the work Rich and Tara Nimmo have put into their business is paying off. They are now the featured winery at the Saratoga Race Course.

"There's many ways to push your wine," said Rich Nimmo. "There's many ways to push your product. What's the biggest thing in Saratoga that we can use as a tool to push our product? The Saratoga race track."

"That was our ultimate goal," Tara Nimmo said. "We thought maybe a five year plan was to try and have a relationship with the track. And here we are, a year-and-a-half into our business and we're there. So it's very exciting."

The Nimmos make upwards of 20 different varietals as they experiment with grapes from the Finger Lakes. They'll have at least three wines, a dry riesling, a merlot and a cabernet sauvignon, at the track.

"There's not enough hours in a day to make enough wine," Rich Nimmo said. "There's not enough grapes out there to produce enough wine. So you do what you can do in hopes that people are happy with the finished product."

The Saratoga Winery really prides itself on its melomels, 100 percent natural wine made from grapes and honey and aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. It's a one-of-a-kind family recipe, originally learned from a Hungarian winemaker.

"We have had many customers walk through our door and say, 'How come I can drink your wine? I don't have the allergic (reactions). I don't have the headaches. I don't have the blotchiness,'" said Rich Nimmo. "That's because we're serving them melomel wine, it is the most natural wine you can buy around this region."

Wine tasting is available at the winery from Wednesday to Sunday.

Congrats to the Saratoga Winery!

Silver Decoy Winery in New Jersey Celebrates 10 Years!

Silver Decoy Winery is celebrating it's 10th Year Celebration. Am I that old?! I remember when they started! I was ten years younger! No gray hairs! I was a little less chubby. I was a whole lot closer to my 20s and 30s than I am today. Ugh!

This Saturday, April 23, 2001 they will be celebrating from Noon - 5:00 PM
$5 admission includes tasting glass

From their website:

It's Silver Decoy's 10th Anniversary, and we've got 10 great reasons for you to come out and celebrate with us!

10. Hourly vineyard tours with the winemaker
9. Award-winning wines grown right here in NJ
8. Special $10 price on our refreshing Pinot Grigio
7. 18% discount on a 10-bottle purchase (excludes Pinot Grigio)
6. See the vine that started it all
5. Wine by the glass
4. Live music featuring Dan Sufalko
3. The release of our 2009 Syrah2. Crackers, cheese, savory snacks and cake. Yum!

. . . and the number one reason you won't want to miss this event . . .

1. It's all about FUN!

Could not have said it better myself! They make some wnderful wines there. Congrats to the guys at Silver Decoy!

Chateau Morrisette Chambourcin 2008

Chateau Morrisette is located in a spectacular mountain setting in Floyd County off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 171 and 172. In 1978, William, Nancy and David Morrisette planted the first vines and the vision of Chateau Morrisette became a small reality. Mrs. Nancy Morrisette stated in 1988 that the winery began as a hobby that soon got out of hand. David Morrisette is a graduate of Mississippi State University's first class in enology and viticulture. After a brief stint working for classmate Bob Burgin's winery in Mississippi, David came home to Virginia and became Chateau Morrisette's first official winemaker. In 1982, the first commercial wines were produced, a modest 2,000 gallons, under the Woolwine Winery label.

Not long thereafter, Bob Burgin joined David at the winery which continued to grow both in quality of wines produced and in production quantity. Bob had been winemaker at his family winery and with facilities in Tennessee and North Carolina when he received a call from William Morrisette in 1990. By that time, he was well experienced in Southern viticulture.

As production increased, so did David and Bob's duties. Bob became more involved in the overal operations leaving the duties of winemaker ever pressing. Soon, additional winemakers were added to the staff to assist Bob with increasing production work. In 2001 Chateau Morrisette hired Dan Tallman, formerly of Clos Du Bois Winery in California, as its principle winemaker and recently promoted Rick Hall from Assistant Winemaker to Winemaker.

For nearly twenty eight years, Dan Tallman has dedicated himself to becoming an expert enologist. He has worked in both small and large winery settings and is known as a premium quality winemaker who pays attention to all the details of winemaking, from production to bottling. A graduate of the University of California at Davis, Dan brings 'style and complexity' to Chateau Morrisette wines.

It was many years before Chateau Morrisette saw black ink on its balance sheet. Wine production has increased rapidly each year and has now surpassed 60,000 cases per year. Our exciting and consistent growth rate necessitated a new production facility. The Morrisette's invested a great deal in expanding and modernizing all aspects of the winery in 1999, ranging from a new wine production facility to the spacious hospitality center. Blue Ridge Timberwrights constructed a unique building from salvaged timber from the St. Marie River to create one of the largest salvaged timber frame buildings in North America: 32, 365 square feet with 135,000 board feet of Douglas fir recycled timbers!

Their location on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway has helped introduce thousands of visitors to premier Virginia wines. The restaurant and winery are open year round and special events are held throughout the year. Chateau Morrisette is both a relaxing and exciting experience for anyone who enjoys fine wine, good food and natural surroundings. it has become one of Southwest Virginia's premier destination points.

Dominique and I had first tasted Chateau Morrisette at the Virginia Wine Fetsival back in 2002. We loved Our Dog Blue. It was a light, refreshing white semi-sweet blend of Riesling, Traminette and Vidal Blanc. The nose is pure citrus and melon and honeysuckle, and the flavor is a delicious light fruity white perfect for sipping or with cheese.

But the wine we tried the other day was the Chateau Morisette Chambourcin 2008. We tried the wine with Hudson Valley winemaker Steve Casscels. The color was a deep purple-red. On the nose the wine had notes of dark cherries and blackberries, and a touch of mocha. The wine is a big, jammy wine, filled with bright cherry, strawberry and blackberry flavors, and a gentle hint of tea and pepper. Smooth and velvety. A very, very nice example of the varietal. All three of us were impressed with this extremely nice drinking wine. This was a great find. Unfortunately, I had only bought one when I was last down in Virginia.

Now I have a reason to go back. Excellent!

New York Post Raves About Niagara Trail, Arrowhead Spring, and Canadian Wine

The New York Post recently did a story on the Niagara Wine Trail and the Candaian wines just north of the Niagara Trail. In specific they covered Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in New York as well as Henry of Pelham, Cave Springs, Jackson-Triggs, Peller Estates, and of course Inniskillin.

I haven't been writing about Canadian wine lately because I haven't had any lately. All of the above Canadian wineries make wonderful wines. I have drank them in the past. I used to travel to Canada regularly. Not the case anymore. Cave Springs makes wonderful reds, Jackson-Triggs makes a wonderful chardonnay as well as some very nice reds, Henry of Pelham makes some nice reds, Peller and Iniskillin both make incredible ice wines. I wish I could find more Canadian wines to try in NYC.

Of course, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards is of special interest to me because it's in New York state. Niagara is an exceptional region, and the quality out there has improved greatly. Lots of good wine out there these days, especially from Duncan Ross's Arrowhead Spring.

Says the POST: THE UP-AND-COMER Cross the gorge from Ontario back into New York and you’ll find a similar geographical setup that favors grape growing. But when it comes to wine, let's just say that the folks in Niagara County have a lot of catching up to do. not that you’d have known this up until recently. When it comes to wine, let’s just say, the folks in Niagara County have a lot of catching up to do. They're working hard at it, though — it's really starting to show at wineries such as Arrowhead Spring, which has received high marks for its ice wine and Chardonnay; their attractive little tasting room just outside the historic Erie Canal town of Lockport is a must-visit. Thirteen wineries make up the county's Niagara Wine Trail; two more will join this summer. Other stops should include Freedom Run and Leonard Oakes, where you’ll likely meet the young and energetic people behind the interesting (and sometimes surprisingly good) wines being produced from estate-grown grapes. Early days? You bet. But nothing like getting in on the ground floor (niagarawinetrail.org).


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finger Lakes Rieslings Win in France!

Riesling du Monde is an annual wine judging held in Strasbourg, France which focuses only on Riesling wines from around the world. New York wines have done well in the past, but this year set a new Gold standard.

Medaille d'Or (Gold medals) went to Anthony Road Winery 2009 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling; Belhurst Winery 2009 Finger Lakes Semi-Dry Riesling; and Fox Run Vineyards 2008 Finger Lakes Riesling Reserve. Silver medals (equivalent to Gold in many competitions) went to Keuka Lake Vineyard 2009 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling Evergreen Lek Vineyard; and Red Tail Ridge 2009 Finger Lakes Semi-Dry Riesling.

It's interesting that, except for the Keuka Lake wine, all four winners are from the northwestern end of Seneca Lake, within 10 miles of each other, and within 3 miles for Fox Run, Red Tail Ridge, and Anthony Road. Obviously, something good is going on there! These were the only American wines to win any medals. We are happy to make entries more affordable, and to consolidate wine shipment, through our NYWGF wine competitions program.

- Jim Trezise, The Wine Press (4/16/2011)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Winery a La Grange Cabernet Franc 2008 - An East Coast Parker Fruit Bomb - Tremendous!

I recently bought a bottle of La Grange Cabernet Franc 2008 while I was last down in Virginia.

Very rich in history and very rich in wine, the new Winery at La Grange opened September 2006 as Prince William County's only established winery. The red brick three and a half story La Grange manor house built in the 1790s has survived numerous owners and finally has come to rest with an unique group of investors brought together by Chris Pearmund. While the 5,500 Cabernet Sauvignon vines grow silently, the manor house is completely refurbished, new Winery building is ready and wine is aging.

The Winery at La Grange's current inventory of 5,500 cases of wine include: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier, Rosé of Merlot, Cuvee Blanc, Norton, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Meritage, Tannat, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and a Port styled wine called Snort.

Chris Pearmund is the Winemaker and Managing Partner. Chris Pearmund has been in the wine industry of Virginia for over 23 years. He began his career in the restaurant industry as chef for several restaurants in California, England, and ultimately in the northern Virginia area. He has opened eleven (11) wineries over this period and has helped establish numerous vineyards across the mid-Atlantic states.

Chris graduated to wine steward and manager for several northern Virginia area restaurants and, in 1985, became manager and buyer for a small gourmet wine shop called the Black Walnut in Middleburg, VA. In 1990, Chris began working at a 5,000 case production winery, and was winemaker from 1991 through 1996. During those years, he helped start and manage the first winery mobile bottle line on the East Coast and worked for over 40 wineries in 10 states assembling, final filtering, and bottling wine.

From 1996 to 1998, Chris was a wine buyer and store manager for Total Beverage, a 25,000 square foot wine specialty store. He was also in charge of the wine training classes for all of its stores. This extensive experience provided Chris with a solid foundation for his role as a consultant for The Country Vintner, a fine wine distributor, until 2003. He has consulted with many wineries and vineyards and is currently Managing Partner at both Pearmund Cellars and the Winery at La Grange.

Chris was elected President of the Virginia Vineyards Association in 1996, a post he held until 2000, and he is a former (and the first) chairman of the Virginia Wine and Food Society and former board member of the Virginia Wineries Association. Chris regularly speaks at wine and vineyard seminars and conferences and has published The Grape Press, a quarterly professional vineyard trade publication, for 5 years.

Chris is a nationally certified wine judge by the American Wine Society, has taught the Higher Certificate Education course for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Masters of Wine program in London, and has organized and taught courses for both amateurs and professionals in wine appreciation.

OK, so when I read about the wine before we opened it, we knew Chris had cut his teeth in the competitive world of wine in a number of ways. He obviously knows the wine business. Now the tick was to see if he knew how to make wine.

A group of us opened the bottle. The wine a deep, deep maroon red, with a nice hue on the edges. The inside of the glass smelled like stewed red berries. It was dark and deep with whiffs of dark raspberry and plum and blackberry. There was also a hint of cocoa or mocha. On the palate it was all dark fruit, big dark fruit, almost like a California wine. I was shocked by the lushness that was confrotning me. I haven;t had a Cabernet Franc this full bodied before. The fruit was intoxicating. Compounding the big fruit up front, was a relatively low acid, low tannin wine. An eact coast Parker Fruit Bomb. It was especially shocking since it was a Cabernet Franc.

This is not a pot shot. It's the closest thing I've ever tasted of a wine that was made on the east coast, from east coast fruit, that tasted like a Parkerized wine. It was fascinating as it was delicious! One of the tasters said, "I could drink the whole bottle myself, right now." And I have to say, I was right there with him. It was 13.5% alcohol, so it didn;t have the high alcohol of some California wines.

This was such a shocking taste, that I had to wait 24 hours before posting just so I could really think about how I felt about this. This amused the hell out of me. I've really been embracing Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, and a number of Burgundy- and Rhone-ish-styled wines lately, enjoying the high acidity and lighter styles, and then this mac truck of a wine comes rumbling through -and I simply fell in love with it. It was like saying you were tired of reading about Jennifer Anniston, and then she walks into the room, and you drool all over her (I wish).

This is an achievement. I can't lie. This is a wonderful, wonderful wine, and a real shock - a pleasant one.

Old Field Chardonnay 2001 A Rare Treat!

Dominique and I bought this bottle of Old Field Chardonnay 2001 when we visited the farm back in 2005. THE OLD FIELD VINEYARDS, established in 1974 by Chris Baiz, is a family owned and operated vineyard. After years of producing fruit for sale, The Old Field started making wines, first with its 1997 Pinot Noir, and now Merlots, Cabernet Francs, Chardonnays, Blush de Noir, and newly released Blanc de Noir sparkling wines.

THE OLD FIELD, an agricultural area just one mile east of the village of Southold, had been actively farmed by native Americans for at least five hundred years prior to the arrival of “the first European settlers” in 1640.

Chris’s grandfather and his wife, Clara Lang, were potato and cauliflower growers, together with his uncle. When Clara died in 1993 aged 101 years of age, Chris and Ros became the next stewards. In 1997, The Old Field stopped row crop production and was laser planted with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

This is the third vineyard Chris has planted behind his 1974 planting of Hargrave vines and a 1985 planting of Pinot Noir. Today, the wines from these vines are crafted by winemaker Eric Fry, with guidance from Ros and Chris.

THE OLD FIELD legacy continues with Chris, Ros and their two adult children, Perry and Ryan. They are the fourth and fifth generation family members to farm The Old Field. The family celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of its establishment as a wine-growing farm in 2009.

So last night, it was a beautiful spring evening, though a tad chilly, the sun was bright and stayed out long. Dominique decided we would have broiled salmon, with Spanish rice and broccoli florets. And I needed something to go with it.

Though I buy many white wines in tastingrooms and wine shops, we more often drink reds. I thought this the optimum time to try a bunch of older whites I have. I wasn't sure what we were going to get. I've even had some very expensive whites expire in my cellar.

I found a very dusty bottle down there. A 2001 Old Filed Chardonnay. OK, let's give it a ride, I thought. The grapes were grown at Old Field and Eric Fry at Lenz made the wine, so that gave me hope.

I opened the wine and poured a glass. The wine was golden yellow, and still had a good amount of body. The nose was full of apples and pears, a hint of melon, and a nice portion of vanilla. On the palate, the fruit was still lively, with apples and pears coming through, and with a lovely, mellow finish. This had aged beautifully!!!!!!

I happily poured a glass for Dominique, we toasted each other, and tasted the wine together. We were both impressed. It was an incredible experience. The fatty fish that is salmon was fabulous against the older, full bodied wine. It was a terrific experience.

Old Field is one of the most charming vineyard sites you will ever lay eyes on. It is a small, family run concern, with real warmth. Go there, and try their wines and experience their view of Long Island sound set against their old New England styled farm. Beautiful!

Congrats to Chris, Ros, Perry, and Ryan. And congrats also to Eric Fry who continues on as their winemaker. Awesome!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Trump Buys Kluge Winery–But He’s Not The Only One Apr. 8 2011 - 2:14 pm By MORGAN BRENNAN

from FORBES.com

Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump has been making quite the stir in recent weeks with veiled hints at a 2012 presidential run and repeated jabs at President Obama on the “birther” issue. Amid all the media appearances, The Donald has found time to bail out long-time friend Patricia Kluge, the financially distressed ex-wife of late media billionaire John Kluge. Yesterday Trump Organization snatched up land parcels of the 900 acre, Charlottesville-based Kluge Estates Winery and Vineyard, which the socialite-turned-vintner lost in foreclosure to Farm Creditor of Virginia this past December.

But Trump, who’s $2.7 billion personal fortune landed him at #420 on this year’s World’s Billionaires list, isn’t the only knight in shining armor for Kluge. The winery actually has two new owners: Trump and Sal Cangiano, a real estate developer in northern Virginia....

...Trump plans to keep the winemaking going, most likely with Kluge and husband William Moses staying on to run the operation, the Washington Post reported. The tracts already zoned for housing went to Cangiano. The farm equipment also found new owners this morning in an unrelated sale with a different auction house.

According to Newberry, yesterday’s land sale was a success: “We got a fair price that was good for both the buyers and the sellers in this kind of economy.” That’s somewhat good news for Farm Creditor of Virginia, who had unsuccessfully tried to auction the winery in December with a minimum bid set at a lofty and unrealistic $19 million. The lender is out that extra $11 million but $8 million is still better than none.

It’s also good news for Kluge (and current husband Bill Moses), who defaulted on $35 million in loans leveraged against the winery after attempts to both expand wine production and roll out an adjoining luxury real estate development failed. Her wines had received industry accolades and even made their way onto the tables of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding reception last year and if Trump keeps the business open that will continue.

In general, Kluge’s financial woes have been the subject of many a headline in recent months, as she also lost her grand Albemarle Estate (once valued at $100 million) to foreclosure with Bank of America in February and was forced to sell off her jewelry, artwork and furniture through Sotheby’s last summer.

Trump has also been working on acquiring ownership of Albemarle, for which Trump Organization holds the Right of First Refusal. He already owns the 216 acres spanning the grand estate’s front lawn.

also...ready Richard Leahy's version of events:



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tickets on Sale for Hudson Valley Art & Wine, May 21, 2011

Hudson Valley Art & Wine –A Grand Celebration is Friday, May 20 and Saturday May 21, 2011 Tickets on Sale Now at http://www.hudsonvalleyartandwine.com/ (NEW YORK, April 13, 2011, Hudson Valley)—Wouldn’t it be great to know which wine to order at a favorite restaurant and which one will pair well with home cooked dinners? From 5-8 p.m. on Friday, May 20 (Opening Night Gala) and from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, the Hudson Valley Art & Wine – A Grand Celebration will feature wine tastings from the historic Hudson Valley wineries and educational presentations by wine experts and chefs that can turn a novice wine lover into a knowledgeable enthusiast. The Hudson Valley Art & Wine – A Grand Celebration, presented by Hudson Valley Wine Magazine, will be held at Lyndhurst, a National Trust Historic site in Tarrytown, NY, just 25 miles from Midtown Manhattan. Attendees may sample more than 35 hand-crafted wines from the Hudson Valley’s wineries paired with artisanal foods and gourmet tastings. They may casually sip while strolling through the grounds of the Lyndhurst Estate overlooking the Hudson River. Unique to the event is the Grand Art Gallery, an exhibition of original Hudson Valley winery-inspired paintings, photographs, jewelry, and sculptures created specially for this event. Attendees will meet the artists and winemakers one-on-one. And take part in an Art and Wine-themed Cupcake Challenge! Presenters include Wendy Crispell (SWE, SWET), who runs wine workshops aboard the yacht Manhattan; Laura Pensiero, award-wining author and chef of Gigi Hudson Valley; and Ty the Wine Guy, founder of Wines By The Glass. Renowned wine, food and spirits blogger and author, William Dowd, will be the event’s emcee. And Josyane Colwell, executive chef and founder of Le Moulin, the Hudson Valley’s premiere event planner and caterer, brings to the event her worldly sensibilities about food, presentation, and ambiance. Hudson Valley Art & Wine – A Grand Celebration Hours & Ticketing: Each ticket includes a tour of the Mansion, Ravenscroft crystal wine glass, and gift bag. Proceeds benefit the educational programs at Lyndhurst, a National Trust Historic Site. • Opening Night Gala; 5-8 p.m., Friday, May 20, 2011, Single Ticket: $135; Two People: $250; Designated driver: $45. • Grand Celebration, 1-6 p.m., Saturday, May 21, 2011; Single Ticket: $85; Two People: $150; Day of Event Single Ticket: $95; Designated driver: $45. Schedule of Presenters: • Friday, May 20 • 5:30 p.m.: Chef Laura Pensiero opens the festivities on the Veranda of the Lyndhurst mansion with a toast and “Creating A Sense of Place.” • 7:00 p.m.: “The Artistry of Wine”: Wendy Crispell teaches how to heighten our senses of smell, taste, and touch to enhance our wine tasting experience. • Saturday, May 21 • 2:30 p.m.: “Get Experienced: Part 1,” an interactive workshop featuring select Hudson Valley wines. Ty the Wine Guy teaches the basic guidelines for successful food and wine pairings at home or out on the town. • 4:30 p.m.: “Get Experienced: Part 2,” in which Ty glorifies the pairing of the correct wine with…wait for it…popcorn. For tickets, an updated seminar schedule and event information, visit www.HudsonValleyArtandWine.com or call 518.731.1332.

Gabriele Rausse Cabernet Sauvgnon 2005

Gabriele Rausse is the father of wine in Virginia. He was the first winemaker at Barboursville, and was there for quite some time. After that he helped establish anothe winery, and since has consulted for many wineries throughout the state. He now has his own winery and label under his own name.

On February 25, 2011 Gabriele was recognized for his contributions to Virginia wine...see story below. Well done, and congrats, Gabriele!

The only problem is he doesn't have a tastingroom, so the only way you can get Gabriele Rausse is to find it when your searching a liquor store shelf.

The other night we had company over and we were tweeting about some wines. One of the wines we had that night was a spectacular Gabriele Rausse Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. I had found it on a shelf in a VA wine store when I had been down south last month. What a find.

Now with wine friends over, it was the perfect time to pull out this bottle to impress the crowd. And did it ever! It was big and lush, with dark plum, prune, and raspberries on the nose and on the palate. The acid and tannins were beautifully balanced. The wine was rich and luxurious. A fantastic find! Whenever you find a Gabriele Rausse, you have to grab it up. You never know when you'll find another one!

Monticello’s Gabriele Rausse recognized for service to the Virginia wine industry March 31, 2011 by Lisa Stites
http://www.monticello.org/site/blog-and-community/ posts/rausse-recognized
Monticello’s Assistant Director of Gardens and Grounds Gabriele Rausse was recognized for his service to the Virginia wine industry during the 4th annual Virginia Wine Expo, held in Richmond, Virginia on February 25.

Gabriele accepts the VA Agribusiness Council's 2011 Distinguished Service Award Donna Pugh Johnson from the Virginia Agribusiness Council presented Rausse with the 2011 Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented to an individual for meritorious service to the Council and the State’s agribusiness industry.

"Over the years, we have honored many worthy individuals within the agribusiness industry,” said Pugh Johnson. “But none have yet been referred to as “The Father” of an industry sector.”

Rausse was recognized for the significant impact he has made working with vineyards throughout the Commonwealth, including Barboursville Vineyards, which became the first commercial Vinifera winery in the state. Rausse has served as a consultant and mentor to many individuals starting out in the wine industry. He has also served as an instructor for the University of Virginia’s “Travel and Learn Program,” as well as Piedmont Community College’s enology program. Rausse helped to begin the wine competition at the State Fair of Virginia. In 1996, he was named Virginia Wine Person of the Year. He has also received the Gordon W. Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award.

One Agribusiness Council member noted, “Without Gabriele’s hard work and dedication to push ideas forward, what we know is now a leading Virginia industry of wine would not exist. He is, in many ways, the “Father of the modern Virginia Wine Industry.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The most recent issue of Wine Enthusiast features whole article on fun things to do in the Finger Lakes, and highlights a number of wineries in the region. A greta article for local wine enthusiasts. Go New York state!