Saturday, April 27, 2013

Howard G. Goldberg Raves About Long Island Sauvignon Blancs in the New York Times

Sauvignon Blanc, Suited to the Season
Published: April 26, 2013
New York Times
Few vegetables are tougher to match with wine than green asparagus, which is synonymous with spring. My go-to white for the job is sauvignon blanc, because its characteristic aromas and flavors — commonly called green, herbal, herbaceous or vegetal — echo those of asparagus.
Many Long Island producers offer sauvignons, and the 2012s have begun to enter the market.
My preferred preparation of asparagus at home involves poaching and serving the stalks with slightly browned butter or olive oil and lemon. The idea is to keep things simple; too much complexity can overly complicate, if not defeat, a wine-and-asparagus match. If you want to add a complementary ingredient, sprinkle bits of tangy goat cheese over the cooked stalks, as chefs in the Loire Valley of France do.
I tasted five East End sauvignons, all 2012s, last week. Each was distinctive; all were awash in fresh acidity, which clears the palate while whetting the appetite. Steady chilling kept them brisk on the palate.
The vividly flavorful, grassy sauvignon ($15) from Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards in Peconic was the closest match to cooked asparagus. This winning wine was round and full-bodied.
The almost plush sauvignon ($23) from Macari Vineyards in Mattituck, a personal favorite for many vintages, had a rewardingly rich fruit-salad flavor redolent of Granny Smith apples, with hints of lime.
Raphael in Peconic makes two usually stylish sauvignons. The regular, complex version ($20) had a particularly inviting, slightly smoky aroma and a generous, earthy flavor. The First Label sauvignon ($26) was lean, piquant, graceful and subtle.

The lightest sauvignon in the group was the perfumed, just-released one ($19.99) from Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead. Its delicacy implied versatility, so after the asparagus it accompanied baked Tasmanian sea trout. The combination clicked.

Read more at:

Howard G. Goldberg Raves About Long Island Pinot Noir in the New York Times

Seven Pinots to Pair With Duck
Published: April 12, 2013
New York Times

Many red wine lovers consider pinot noir and duck an ideal combination. And many fans of duck think the white Pekin breed farmed on Long Island is America’s best. That’s where East End pinot noir producers come in.
But there are only a few. The simplest explanation for that lies in pinot’s nickname: the heartbreak grape. It is notoriously difficult to grow successfully, and its wine can be unpredictable. In Suffolk County, long-established reds — merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon — cause growers less worry.  

When Louisa and Alex Hargrave, pioneers of Long Island’s wine industry, founded the Hargrave Vineyard in Cutchogue 40 years ago, they planted pinot noir. In 1999, they divorced and sold their estate. The new owners renamed it Castello di Borghese Vineyard, and kept pinot noir as a highlight of their wine roster. 
All of the seven pinots tasted last week would complement the dark meat and crisp skin of rotisserie-cooked, oven-roasted, grilled or smoked duck, as well as braised duck legs, pan-seared duck breast with a fruit sauce and duck with black pepper. 
The star was the sophisticated 2010 Corchaug Estate reserve ($60) from McCall Wines in Cutchogue, which specializes in the grape; its combined breadth, depth and length was world-class (as its price might suggest). McCall’s regular 2010 Corchaug Estate ($39), almost as serious, was round and plummy.
Close behind was the sultry, fat and assertive 2009 Sarah’s Hill pinot ($39.95) from Jamesport Vineyards, in Jamesport. The 2008 Sarah’s Hill ($39.95) was bright and, pleasingly, slightly funky. 
The versatile 2010 pinot ($28.99) from Martha Clara Vineyards, in Riverhead, was spicy and near-sweet. Castello di Borghese’s lightweight 2008 ($28.99), made in a basic Burgundy style, was easy-drinking. And the amiable, refreshing 2009 reserve pinot ($30) from Laurel Lake Vineyards, in Laurel, was redolent of black cherry and slightly smoky. 
For maximum enjoyment, these wines should be decanted at least an hour before being served.
Read more at:

Monday, April 22, 2013



The Drink Local Wine 2013 wine conference is over. Two mightily packed days of fun and information all downloaded with a glass of wine or two. Of course, Maryland wine was the big winner. It was the recipient of much love and affection, and rightfully so. It was an absolute triumph for Kevin Atticks and his crowd. The wines, for the most part, showed beautifully And what really shown was that Kevin and his marketing team have the message and the showcasing well in hand. And the winemakers are growing in number, and making better wine than ever before.

But for me one of the really fantastic moments was a small one a lot of other people ignored. When Robert Deford was on stage talking about the history, the legacy of Maryland wine. He mentioned all the appropriate people.  Etc.
Robert Deford of Boordy Vineyards
Bob has been at the head of Maryland’s oldest and largest winery for 33 years. He has over seen a massive transformation. He has been at the forefront of conservation and sustainability. But he’s also been deeply engrossed in fighting the legal system in Maryland that held sway for a long time, and really proved to be the barrier for the state’s wine business.

Bob said that Maryland wine had come a long way during his tenure. And he had four “legs” that Maryland winemakers had identified as being key to turning around their industry.

1.       Science and research were key. Without these, winemaking was still in the dark ages, and quality would never improve.

2.        Organizing or organization of the wineries was key. You could fight like family behind closed doors, but when you went out side, everybody had to smile and be on the same page.

3.       The wineries needed a political voice. The laws were set up to prevent the wine industry from growing, and it took a lot of political wrangling to get the state onboard with growing the wine business as an extension of the agratourism movement.

4.       Last was that he industry had to learn how to market their wine together.

No matter if your wine industry is in Maryland or Kalamazoo, these legs are all super important. But more importantly, Deford had an epiphany at the conference, when he realized that 2001 was a watershed year for Maryland wine.
Kevin Atticks with Sarah O'Herran of Black Ankle
That was the year the Maryland Wine Organization hired Kevin Atticks and Joe Fiola. Kevin Atticks took care of the marketing. He’s smart, savvy, funny, and has a sharp, light footed marketing team around him. Atticks has helped promote the industry by promoting festivals, trails, and awards. He’s done a great job being cheerleader to a winning team. Attick’s troopers know twitter, facebook, and keep the media going at all times, sending out electronic news letters to wine writers, and parading a steady stream of successful wineries out every month of the year.
Joe Fiola
The other accomplishment was in hiring the winemaking-est Wine Prof on the east coast, Joe Fiola. Fiola’s arrival, like that of Mark Chien in Pennsylvania, created the chain reaction Deford was talking about.  Fiola is an odd hybrid of Extension expert (he can assist in site selection, planting selection, and vineyard planning) as well as a master winemaker (he makes more experimental wines, with more practical applications than any other wine prof on the east coast). He is fantastic!

These two combined hirings amounted to a watershed moment in Maryland wine. One helped create the best practices for vineyard management and winemaking, and the other for promoting the accomplishments of the industry.

I thought this was an important thing to impart. It’s the kind of thing that gets lost…that a region…and wine start in the same place.

Reid's Orchard Zin on Skins (PA)

I was Eastern Wineries Exposition 2013 in Lancaster, PA, tasting at the opening evening gala. Wines from all over the east coast were there, especially Pennsylvania and the north east. As I was going through the tables, I saw a bottle that intrigued me. Reid’s Orchard Zin on the Skins.

Reid's Orchard & Winery is located in beautiful and historic Buchanan Valley, in Adams County, Pennsylvania, which was settled by pioneers as early as 1750.  It was here in Buchanan Valley that young Mary Jemison, the White Squaw, was taken from her family during a tribal raid on white settlers.  She came to be known as the White Squaw and spent the rest of her years living with her captors.  St. Ignatius of Loyola Church, the Catholic Church in Buchanan Valley, is also referred to as the White Squaw Mission. 

This farm was originally settled back in the 1850's by descendants of the Hall family.  The smoke of muskets and cannons, as well as the sound of the battle itself, infiltrated the peace of this valley and this farm during those three horrible days in Gettysburg during the Civil War.  Over the years, parcels of land were broken off from the original tract and put to various uses. 

Dave Reid purchased one of these tracts from June and Donald Hall in November, 1976.  Eventually we recovered three other tracts of the original farm and now farm 100 acres of the original tract in this historic valley. 

Our farm's soil type is unique within Adams County, classified as Highfield Channery loam, and possesses many of the same desirable characteristics of the soil found in some of the best and most productive areas of farmland in France. 

Reid's Orchard & Winery is our family owned and operated fruit farm and winery located in beautiful Buchanan Valley, Pennsylvania.

Reid's Orchard came into existence in November 1976 when Dave purchased the home farm. Since that time, Dave’s family has grown and so has his farm! From the beginning they have direct marketed their produce at farmers' markets in the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia area. In addition to our more traditional plantings we also have a large selection of heirloom apples and tomatoes.

In March 2009, they opened the doors to our winery tasting room and began doing business as Reid's Orchard & Winery. They are on the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail that weaves through the Pennsylvania/Maryland border. In addition to their farmers' markets, Ried’s Orchards now have two winery tasting rooms - the Winery Tasting Room at the Home Farm and the Winery Tasting Room at Jennie's House in Gettysburg, the historic birthplace of Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed during those three days of battle in Gettysburg.

Dave and his family have a belief in stewardship of the land. “Reid's Orchard & Winery farms with the knowledge that we are stewards of the land. The land that we farm today is land that has been farmed by the generations that came before us. The land that we farm today is ours to cultivate and nurture for the time we are here. The land that we farm today will be farmed by those generations who choose to follow us as farmers and vintners. As responsible stewards, we make choices in land and crop management based not only on the needs of this year's crop but also considering the long-term effects of our decisions on the land and on the environment.”

According to K.L. Sullivan in The Wine Traveler, “Reid believes that the wines in this region of Pennsylvania have the potential to be the best in the state. Reid produces red, white and fruit wines. Some of these include Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Strawberry, Cherry, Peach and Blueberry. We visited at a time when the winery tasting room was closed and only one wine was available for tasting. Troika was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. This ruby colored wine offered dark fruit notes including blackberries and plums. The fruit yielded to earthy tones with mild tannins.”

So, I gave the wine a pour. This was a nice big, round wine. Obviously made from  Zinfandel, it was a nice medium-bodied red, with some big dark cherry and plum and raspberry up front. Good balance of acids and tannins. Very, very drinkable. A really, really pleasant surprise!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

David Schildknecht of Wine Advocate Tells Paul Vigna East Coast Is Coming On

Schildknecht: Oregon is Exhibit A of issues that can arise with naming regions
Paul Vigna | By  Paul Vigna |  
April 17, 2013 at 8:55 PM, updated April 18, 2013 at 7:32 AM

David Schildknecht of The Wine Advocate answered a question last week about wine regions and when they are established with a long email that as much addressed developments on the West Coast as in the mid-Atlantic, which is what I had asked about. His answer likely will find a far more interested audience among those in the industry than those buying the wines. Since that group makes up some of my readers, here's a portion of Schildknecht's response that wasn't published earlier this week:

*     *      *

"Mid-Atlantic" strikes me as pretty broad and bland for generating excitement or evoking a sense of place. At the other extreme though, I fear that the A.V.A. system -- while its being essentially an invitation to name and fill empty vessels has the advantage of flexibility --  inevitably tends toward fragmentation and proliferation so that few if any Eastern U.S. A.V.A.s are likely to include enough wineries such that a critical mass for recognition based on those whose wines are qualitatively exceptional could be reached. 

"In regard both to what regional wine names can be(come) evocative for Americans and the influence of A.V.A.s, the situations in Oregon and Washington -- which I have been observing more closely on the ground over the last 12 months - are quite revealing.

*     *      *

"The overall takeaway then is both clear and important, even if I regrettably don't know how to express these issues more concisely and need to rely on examples from parts of the U.S. that are further along in achieving national or international recognition for their wines: There's no point trying to decide by fiat what will count as vinous regional identity. Rather, that will emerge as critical mass of vinous excellence and its glimmers of recognition emerges, at which point accidents of geography, politics and nomenclature are going to be the determining factors.

"Eventually, I am convinced, there will be many more outstanding wines grown in the Eastern U.S. than there are now, and some of those who already grow outstanding wine will, if they can hold on economically, receive widespread recognition for the quality of their wines and by implication the potential quality of their respective regions. But how inclusive these regions will be, how their lines of demarcation will be drawn, and what they will be called, it isn't yet possible to say or even sensibly predict today."

Read the whole thing at:


Drink Local Wine held its fifth annual conference April 13, 2013 in Baltimore, at the Tremont Suites Hotel and Camden Yards. The conference featured Maryland wines. The state’s industry is one of the fastest growing in the country, and its 61 wineries are almost 50 percent more than in 2010.

The state’s four growing regions allow it to produce a variety of wines, including the classic European varietals but also some that are distinctly New World in style. The Maryland Winery Association is the conference’s primary sponsor.

“We’re growing a world of wine styles and varieties throughout Maryland, and we’re excited to share them through Drink Local Wine,” says Kevin Atticks, the Maryland Wine Association’s executive director.

Maryland’s modern wine history dates to the 1970s, but grapes have been planted in the area since the 17th century. Most of the state’s wineries are in the Piedmont Plateau in central Maryland, but grapes also thrive in the Eastern Shore, Southern Plain, and Western Mountains.

DLW 2013 followed the success of the​ first four conferences — in Dallas featuring Texas wine in 2009, in Loudoun County featuring Virginia wine in 2010, in St. Louis featuring Missouri wine in 2011, and in Denver featuring Colorado wine in 2012. DLW also holds an annual Regional Wine Week, in which wine bloggers, writers and columnists from the U.S. and Canada write about their favorite regional wines, ranging from Ontario to New York to Florida to Texas to Colorado.

More media and bloggers attended the Maryland DW 2013 than any previous conference. It was a tremendous success for both DLW and a great coming out party for the new Maryland wine scene.

Lenn Thompson from the New York Cork Report

Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post with one of the owners of Sugar Loaf Mountain

 Owners and staff of Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards, the first stop on the tours.
Blogger Frank Morgan and Black Ankle Vineyard co-owner Ed Boyce. The second stop was Black Ankle Vineyards.

Dave White, Andrew Stover

Michael, Katie, Richard and Dezel

Dave McIntyre, and Ed Boyce and Sarah O'Herran of Black Ankle

Sarah with Kevin Atticks, Exec. Dir. Maryland Wineries Assoc.

Katie and Richard

Bob Deford, Boordy Vineyards

Mike and Rose Fiore, of Fiore Winery

The folks from Serpent Ridge Winery

Bert Basinagni speaking to the assembled.


Joe Fiola of Western Maryland Univ.

Robert Deford talking at the seminars

DLW 2013 included a Grand Tasting and Twitter Taste-off of Maryland wines, featuring two dozen of the state’s best wineries, on April 13.


 David Falchek and his bride to be Rosemary

The ubiquitous and always cool Dezel