Saturday, September 16, 2017

'Riesling Road Show' taking Finger Lakes statewide

With more than 200 brands produced in the region, Riesling has put the Finger Lakes on the serious oenophile's map. To return the favor, the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance is in the process of hosting a "Riesling Road Show" this month to shine the spotlight on its star varietal.

The month-long series of trade tastings celebrating the exceptional range of Rieslings produced by Finger Lakes Wine Alliance member wineries spans New York State, and will culminate with a restaurant takeover in New York City. Some are trade-only events. Others are open to the public. The series already has stopped in Buffalo and Rochester. Remaining events:
• Tuesday, September 19 -- Trade tasting , 7 to 10 p.m., at The Point, Albany

• Tueaday, September 26 -- Trade tasting 7 to 10 mp.m., p.m. –10 p.m. Xaviars X20 on the Hudson, Yonkers

• Wednesday, September 27 -- Trade luncheon , noon to 2 p.m., 12 p.m. –2 p.m. Pierre Loti Wine Bar, Chelsea (Manhattan -- 258 West 15th at 8th Avenue)

• September 24-30-- Trade luncheon, noon to 2 p.m., in conjunction with the Chelsea Drinks Project, the FLWA will collaborate with Pierre Loti Wine Bar to host eight wines from the Finger Lakes.

•  September 24-30 --Finger Lakes Rieslings will be featured at Pierre Loti Wine Bar's three locations in New York City. To begin the week, Wine Lovers of NYC will host a public wine tasting (reservations are required)
• Sunday, September 24 -- Pierre Loti, Union Square (53 Irving Place), a sit-down Riesling tasting 2 to 4 p.m.
The cool climate and shale-rich terroir of the Finger Lakes has proven over the years to be very conducive to cultivating the Riesling grape. Allowed to develop slowly, it produces a complex, aromatic and balanced wine. As many as 950 acres in the region are devoted to Riesling grapes, with most producers making two or three styles, for a total of 230,000 cases.

Fourteen of those producers are showcasing their wines during the Riesling Road Show: Atwater Estate Vineyards, Boundary Breaks Vineyard, Buttonwood Grove Winery, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, Finger Lakes Wine Co., Glenora Wine Cellars, Heron Hill Winery, Knapp Winery, Lakewood Vineyards, Rooster Hill Vineyards, Sheldrake Point Winery, Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, and Wagner Vineyards.

The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance was Founded in 2004 as a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to increase the visibility and reputation of the Finger Lakes region, its wines and wineries. The alliance is comprised of359 members and 15 affiliated businesses and vendors, and it is guided by a board of directors comprised of principals representing all four wine trails and non-wine trail wineries of the Finger Lakes.
• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fox Run hosting educational seminar on ports, sherries

Fox Run Vineyards is teaming up with the organization Women for WineSense to host an educational seminar on ports and sherries of the world.

Each guest will have the opportunity to taste four sherries and four ports selected by winemaker Peter Bell. Chef Brud Holland will pair the wines with small plates.

The event is scheduled for Monday, September 18. Check-in will start at 5:30 p.m., and the event will begin at 6:30. Tickets, available online, are $45, or $35 for Women for WineSense members. (Not familiar with Women  for WineSense? Click here for details.)

Fox Run Vineyards is located at 670 State Route 14 in Penn Yan, overlooking Seneca Lake. Phone: (800) 636-9786.

• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

Interview with first U.S. female Master of Wine

Nova Cadamatre (photo provided)
Nova Cadamatre, director of winemaking for Canandaigua Winery and owner of the boutique Trestle Thirty One winery, has become the first female American winemaker to pass the Masters of Wine exam administered by the Institute of Masters of Wine. There are just 369 Masters of Wine living in 29 countries. She was interviewed by Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.
Question: So, how does it feel to be the first female winemaker in the United States to pass the Masters of Wine exam?

Answer: It feels amazing just to pass, but to be the first female winemaker to achieve it is still pretty unbelievable. I’d like to think that it means women are taking on a more prominent role in the industry overall. I have worked with so many talented women, so I’m always a little skeptical of the numbers that only show 10% of the winemakers in this industry are women.
Q: There are many certificates and programs for wine and wine and spirits education at this point. Can you tell us a little bit about the difference between the Masters of Wine program and the Master Sommelier program, for instance.

A: Definitely. The Master of Wine (MW) and the Master Sommelier (MS) programs are the top certifications for this industry. The MW is more production and industry focused while the MS is more service oriented. I think each serves a very important role but are quite different in their approach to wine. There are many other certifications, including the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) out of London, the lower level Sommelier certifications, Certified Specialist of Wine, and Certified Wine Educator certificates. I’ve gone through the WSET program and I highly recommend that for increasing general wine knowledge. I started with level 3 and then went on to my diploma as a stepping stone for my MW.

Q: What advice would you have for recent college grads who would like to enter this field? 
A: Try to get internships in as many different areas of the world as possible. It’s important to learn widely and from as many winemakers in as many styles as possible when you are young. By having this wide breadth of experience, you can draw on it later in life when you begin to specialize.

Q: A lot of people have seen the movie "SOMM" by now and know how rigorous that exam process is and how dedicated the professional must be to pass. Tell us a about the level of commitment needed to study for the MW exam. How did that affect you?

A: Over the eight years I studied to become an MW, it became part of my job and home life. There were weekend mornings that were totally dedicated to tasting with a group when I was out in California. I traveled extensively to learn as much as I could. I spent late nights up studying and lunch breaks mind-mapping theory questions. Every time I flew I took theory questions with me to mind-map and write full essays for. My family was incredibly supportive although I know by the time I passed both the Theory and the Practical (tasting exam) seven  years in, it was starting to wear on all of us. 
Go here for the rest of the interview.
• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Heat wave 'raisining' California grape crop

Heat-shriveled California vineyards.
From Food and
... California vineyard owners aren't worried about hitting the beach; they're concerned about the grape harvest. ... Unseasonably hot weather played havoc throughout California wine country, with some winemakers complaining that their grapes have shriveled into raisins.

Temperatures on September 1 spiked to between 105 and 109 degrees in major wine regions, including Napa and Sonoma, the hottest weather those two areas have seen on the first day of September in at least 40 years, according to Farmer's Almanac data ... .

"I've been making wine for 34 years, and I don't think Napa's ever seen this excessive heat at this stage of ripeness," said Pam Starr, co-owner of Crocker & Starr Wines in St. Helena. In her part of the Napa Valley, temperatures were over 110 degrees three days in a row. ...

The result of such heat is a well-known phenomenon: The grapes can turn to raisins while still on the vine.
Go here for the full story.
• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

HV wine competition ends with a tie at the top

The outcome of the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition this year produced something we don't see very often. A tie for "Winery of the Year" honors.

The event, held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in  Rhinebeck as part of the annual Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival, drew 111 entries -- 94 wines, 13 ciders and four spirits, evaluated by 16 judges.

To qualify for the competition, all entries were required to be produced and bottled in the Hudson River Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) with fruit from the Hudson River Valley or elsewhere in New York State. The event was organized by the Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association, under the leadership of Debbie Gioquindo. The major results:
Winery of the Year: Tie between Tousey Winery of Germantown and Benmarl Winery of Marlboro

Best in Show/Best Wine: Whitecliff Vineyard's 2016 Vidal Blan

Best Rosé: Tousey Winery's 2016 Rebellion Rosé

Best Sparkling Wine: Benmarl's 2012 Blanc de Blanc

Best Red Wine: Robibero Family Vineyards' 2013 Cabernet Franc

Best Fruit Wine: Christopher Jacobs Winery's Appleoosa

Best Dessert Wine: Brotherhood Winery's Late Harvest Riesling

Best Cider: Brooklyn Cider's 2016 Half Sour

Best Spirit: Hudson Valley Distillers' Clear Mountain Gin 
Go here for a complete list of wineries and awards.
• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

Friday, September 8, 2017

Saving precious wine collections from nature's fury

Xpeditir founder Adam Gungle (photo provided)
From the Reuters news agency
Swooping in ahead of Hurricane Irma's feared weekend arrival, an emergency response team is rescuing rare treasures -- some of them survivors of world wars and all of them liquid -- from harm’s way in Florida and Louisiana.

Wine collections worth millions of dollars are being stashed out of reach of the Category 5 hurricane, moved from homes to local bunker-like storage units or shuttled to temperature-controlled warehouses as far away as New Jersey.

Many are owned by philanthropists aging the wine to perfection before donating it to a charity auction, often to raise disaster relief funds, said Adam Gungle, chief executive officer of Xpeditr, a high-end wine transporter based in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Toronto.

“The wrath of a hurricane can ruin delicate pieces of liquid history,” Gungle said. “Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina and Sandy ruined tens of millions of dollars worth of fine wines."
Go here for the full story.
• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

NY wines show well in August competitions

Here is the latest batch of top awards earned by New York State wines in August, according to the New York Wine & Grape Foundation:

San Francisco International Wine Competition

Goose Watch Winery -- Best Rosé and Double Gold for its 2016 Cabernet Franc Rosé, Best Native American White and Double Gold for its 2016 Diamond, and Gold for its 2013 Lemberger.  Click here for all results.

Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition  
Osprey's Dominion Vineyards -- Best Cabernet Sauvignon for its 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.   
Arbor Hill Grapery -- Best Fortified Wine for its Ambrosia and Best Traminette for its 2016 Traminette.  
Coyote Moon Vineyards -- Best Sweet Fruit Wine for its 2015 Razzle Dazzle. 
Thirsty Owl Wine Company -- Best Sweet White Hybrid for its 2016 Diamond.  Click here for all results.
World Wine Championships  

Casa Larga Vineyards -- 92 points (Gold) for its Meritage on .

Drink Outside the Grape

Kaneb Orchards -- Best Cider for its Cranberry Crisp.

Dan Berger International Terroir Trophy

Coyote Moon Vineyards -- The Terroir Trophy recognizing the winery for producing exceptional wine in a region considered challenging for growing grapes.  

• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Cheesemakers tour incudes wine and beer samplings

On last year's tour.
One of early autumn's nicer rural events is the Washington County Cheese Tour with Wine and Beer. And, for the 11th annual event, six different venues are on the itinerary.

On a self-guided tour, visitors can make stops on their own schedule to sample the artisan cheeses as well as sample the craft beverages. Note that despite the name of the event, the trail meanders into Vermont.

The tour is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10. Participating businesses:
  • R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery, Salem
  • Victory View Vineyard, Greenwich/Schaghticoke
  • Argyle Cheese Farmer, Argyle
  • Consider Bardwell Farm, West Pawlet, VT
  • Dancing Ewe Farm, Granville
  • Moxie Ridge Farm and Creamery, Argyle  

• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

One-vine winery flourishes in a Manhattan brownstone

Latif Jiji
What is smaller than a boutique winery? I'm not sure if there is a formal term for it, but I know where it is located.

Meet Chateau Latif, located in a Manhattan brownstone that is home to Latiff and Vera Jiji.

As noted in a feature story in the Jerusalem Post, " ... the winery’s grounds are their 15-by-45-foot backyard. The grapes come from a single vine, measuring more than 100 feet, that grows out of the garden, up the exterior wall and onto the roof."

The fruit produced is a Niagara grape, native to New York State. The first harvest was in 1984, and Jiji has been cranking out his small line ever since.

Go here for a fascinating story about how an immigrant from the Middle East wound up becoming a U.S. citizen, engineer, and smaller-than-boutique winemaker.
• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail