Friday, January 08, 2021

Newsday: Montauk Daisy, A New Winery on Long Island (NY)

Glad to see Juan E. Micieli-Martinez, and his wife, Bridget Quinn Micieli-Martinez, and their new venture Montauk Daisy Vineyard, start to take shape! Rooting for them!.

NEWSDAY newspaper

By Mark Harrington

Updated January 7, 2021 2:22 PM

A new wine brand has arrived on the North Fork, with a nod to the South Fork in its name.

Montauk Daisy Wines debuted last month from the former wine maker of Martha Clara Vineyards, Juan E. Micieli-Martinez, and his wife, Bridget Quinn Micieli-Martinez.

The couple will be working with grapes produced at the Comtesse Therese Vineyard in Aquebogue, which is owned and operated by Theresa Dilworth and her husband, Mineo Shimura.

Juan Micieli-Martinez said Dilworth and Shimura will continue to cultivate their 15.4-acre vineyard in Aquebogue, while he and his wife will direct the wine making. He currently serves as wine maker and special projects manager of the Premium Wine Group in Mattituck, the regional wine-production cooperative where Montauk Daisy Wines are being produced. The couple has already bottled three releases from grapes harvested in 2019 — a chardonnay, a rose and a "portly" blended red wine. Montauk Daisy Wines sell for $22.

Juan Micieli-Martinez, the former winemaker and general manager for Martha Clara Vineyards before it was bought in 2018 by the Rivero-Gonzalez family to become RG|NY Wines, said the wines will be marketed direct to consumers via the Montauk Daisy Wine website. There, customers can also purchase Dilworth's Comtese Therese branded wines. The company will start with production of around 350 cases a year, Juan Micieli-Martinez said.

"We're making expressive wines to the region, and trying to educate people as to how wines are made," he said of his plans.

As Montauk Daisy brand gets established, Micieli-Martinez said the brand will be marketed at wholesale, and he'll work to establish a wine club that would offer members the opportunity to tour the Aquebogue vineyard and buy wines direct from the farm. Because the property has only a farm-winery license, tastings won't be offered at the vineyard. Dilworth, who also sells homegrown vinegars and honey at her website, also keeps bees on the farm, he said.

Selling wines from stainless steel barrels and kegs will be part of the company's efforts to reduce waste, Micieli-Martinez said, a priority for the operation. He'll also eliminate the foil wrapper that normally covers corked bottles, opting instead for a wax seal.

In addition to making the wines, Micieli-Martinez said he plans to work the fields of the vineyard with Shimura, who actively manages the vineyard.

Dilworth, who is a tax attorney for Marsh & McLennan, has owned the Union Avenue vineyard since 1999, and made wine from the grapes there at Premium Wine Group, and with Micieli-Martinez, since 2003. She said while she won't be a formal business partner in Montauk Daisy Wines, she will work with Micieli-Martinez to sell some of her older vintages, as well as her vinegars and soaps and other products.

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Thursday, January 07, 2021


The other night I tasted two wines from Fossenvue Winery that were single vineyard designate (I love single vineyard wines). They were Fossenvue Winery Airy Acres Riesling 2018 and Fossenvue Airy Acres Riesling 2019.

Airy Acres is a family-owned vineyard in Interlaken New York, growing and selling grapes to local wineries. Their first plantings were in 2016 and they now currently have 15 acres consisting of Gew├╝rztraminer, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Lemberger, and Chardonnay. 

Fred Bassette Pam and Noah are the owners of the vineyard. The farm has been in the family since 1918. Fred grew up in the farm house there. According to them, the name Airy Acres Vineyard comes from the fact that there's a private airport on the farm, named Airy Acres Airport, " ... dad built it in the 50's." The vineyard is on the classic West Side of Keuka Lake, next door neighbor to Sunrise Hill vineyard of Forge Cellar fame. 

Currently they are selling grapes to local wineries such as Damiani Wine Cellars, Montezuma Winery, and Buttonwood Grove Winery.

Fossenvuew winemaker Phil Plummer made both wines. He's been growing as a winemaker by leaps and bounds. But I loved these two Rieslings. 

Plummer used the South African made Anchor Mosaic yeast. Stainless steel. 

These are two classic Rieslings, priced very reasonably at $19.99. And I say that because they taste like Rieslings that fetch much, much higher prices. Both wines used International Riesling Foundation sweetness scale. Both were rated slightly sweet. They were appropriately rated.

The Fossenvue Airy Acres Riesling 2018 was bottled in April 2019. This had an overwhelming nose of fresh green apple, tropical notes, nice touch of Kiwi, and a whiff of classic petrol. Beautiful fruit. Soft but luscious. Still nice acidity but not an acid bomb.

The Fossenvue Airy Acres Riesling 2019 was bottled in January 2020. This wine had big fruit up front  with slightly more acidity. The fruit was much bigger, but I felt like it was still too young, especially after you saw what the 2018 tasted like. I'd love to taste the 2019 in a year. Don't get me wrong. The 2019 was a tremendous wine, but I felt it was still too young to understand it's full potential. I think in the long run, the 2019 would last longer in the cellar and outdistance the 2018 easily. Just needed a little bit more time to reach that full potential. If you you open it now, you will be very very pleased. 

I was not alone in my tasting. The virtual tasting included a number of folks, not the least of which was one of my favorite people, Finger Lakes journalist and photographer, Martha Gioumousis, who remarked, "I’m seeing the similarities in the fruit and structure from both these vintages. Definitely fruit forward, nice balance, good acid (I see the 2018 with a tart finish, 2019 smoother mouthfeel.)"

I love vineyard designate wines. And I especially, after tasting, see the value of using the farm's name. Soon, this will be one of those farms that will find its name on many labels around the Finger Lakes.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Paul Vigna, Allegro Winery Purchases Pinnacle Ridge

Huge news out of Pennsylvania wine country. Allegro Winery has bought Pinnacle Ridge winery!
Veteran mid-Atlantic wine writer Paul Vigna had full details!

Allegro Winery purchasing Pinnacle Ridge, with plans for new tasting room

Updated Jan 04, 2021; Posted Jan 04, 2021

By Paul Vigna |

After 25 years, Brad Knapp at Pinnacle Ridge Winery in Berks County says he has had enough.

The wines? They’re not going anywhere, thanks to an agreement with longtime friend Carl Helrich from York County’s Allegro Winery, who will take over production of the wines and maintain what is a well-entrenched brand across central and eastern Pennsylvania including Philadelphia.

The two expect the acquisition to be completed early this year and will include the rights for Allegro to produce and sell Pinnacle Ridge wines. The sale does not include the Pinnacle Ridge Kutztown property, which is for sale. The vineyard and tasting room can be seen by those traveling I-78 on the far western edge of the Lehigh Valley.

Paul Vigna

The sale is expected to lead to the opening of a new Pinnacle Ridge tasting room somewhere in suburban Philadelphia, with a projected opening date in either the late spring or early summer. Pinnacle Ridge wines will continue to be sold in grocery stores and Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores as well as in restaurants and breweries.

Knapp, the owner and winemaker, said he couldn’t be happier to keep the name going and put that job in the hands of someone he knows and respects. “Pinnacle Ridge wines will continue to be available in the southeast region of Pennsylvania so that our established customers can continue to enjoy our products,” he said. “Carl and I have known each other for years and I am confident that he will continue to offer the same high level of quality that people expect from Pinnacle Ridge.”


Says Pinnacle Ridge Winery owner and winemaker Brad Knapp: 'I couldn’t be happier than coming to an agreement with Carl and Allegro to continue the Pinnacle Ridge name.'

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