Thursday, July 8, 2021

In A New York Rosé State of Mind


New York is home to some wonderful vineyards and wineries. Spread across seven AVAs there are 471 wineries covering 35,000 acres of vineyards and many different microclimates.

There are many different grapes grown throughout New York State and Rosé wines are made with a variety of grapes. Some a blend some with a stand-alone grape all showing different expressions of the grape, the blend and the terroir of the region it was grown in.

I sat in on a webinar hosted by New York Wine & Grape Foundation with Wanda Mann all about New York Rosé wines. We got to taste Rosé wines from the Fingerlakes, Hudson Valley and Long Island. Joining us were winemakers Roman Roth of Wölffer Estate Vineyard (Long Island), Bruce Tripp of Melia Estate Vineyard (Hudson Valley), Peter Bell of Fox Run Vineyards (Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake), Peter Becraft of Anthony Road Wine Company (Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake), and David Breedan of Sheldrake Point Winery (Finger Lakes, Cayuga Lake).

It is Rosé season, so to speak and as Roman Roth says “Rosé is a way of life in the Hamptons!” Let’s taste and talk New York Rosé wines.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard Estate Rosé 2020 SRP $18 is a blend of 44% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16.5% Chardonnay, 5.5% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Riesling, 0.3% Pinot Noir and 0.2% Gewurztraminer.

Wölffer Rosé wines are created in homage to summertime in the Hamptons. The fruit is harvested in waves to capture the aroma and flavors the winemaker is after.

Very pale in color with aromas of mandarin orange, and kiwi, lead to a palate fresh with hints of minerality, nice acidity and a touch of salinity. Will pair nice with a lobster roll.

Melia Vineyards 2020 Pinot Rosé SRP $21 is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir 15% Pinot Meunier and 5% Valvin Muscat. Winemaker Bruce Tripp explained that the Pinot Meunier adds to the complexity of the wine nad the Valvin Muscat adds to the aroma.

The wine had notes of white cherry and a soft finish of strawberries. Bruce adds that his Rosé is a good pairing for Grilled Striped Bass.

Sheldrake Point Winery 2020 Dry Rosé SRP $18 is 100% Cabernet Franc. Dave Breeden says this was his best vintage of Rosé in the Finger Lakes. The wine was beautiful salmon pink, light and refreshing. Notes of cherry, juicy watermelon, strawberry and raspberry with bouncing acidity. Will pair well with local cheese, summer salads, grilled pork and shrimp.

Fox Run Vineyards 2020 Dry Rosé SRP $18 is a blend of 60% Lemberger and 40$ Pinot Noir. The grapes were harvested in the morning with skin contact between one and four hours to extract color and flavor.

The wine is beautiful, smooth and well balanced with notes of strawberry fields, cherry and raspberries. This wine will pair nicely with your summertime meal.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Winephabet Street Q is for Wine Questions

Welcome to Winephabet Street Season 2 Episode 17- Q is for Wine Questions

Winephabet Street is a monthly series where Lori Budd of Draceana Wines and I work our way through the alphabet exploring wine and wine regions one letter at a time. The show is live on the third Monday at 8pm and is free, but you must register to attend. Put it on your calendar, pour yourself a glass of wine and hang out with us.

The month of Q we decided to change it up a bit and answer your wine questions. The letter Q is tough, but we know there are always wine questions. Moving forward when we reach the letter Q it will be all about you and your wine questions. Make a list and we’ll answer it.

Sit back and relax with a glass of wine as we answer your wine questions.

The Webinar  

The Podcast

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Picnic & Prosecco: Introduction to Ca’ di Prata Prosecco

One of the things I enjoy about the summer and living at the beach is a beach dinner picnics. It doesn’t get any better than bringing your dinner down to the beach and watching the amazing sunsets. Bring down some Prosecco to pair with the sunset makes for a perfect evening.

I had the wonderful opportunity to bring with me three bottles of Ca’ di Prata Prosecco for dinner and the sunset. Ca’ di Prata are a new line of Prosecco from the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy. The label pays tribute to the municipality of Prata di Pordenone where the wines are from. It is famous for its historic bell tower which is featured on its label.

The wines are produced by Latentia Winery, whose brands are a symbol of creativity and excellence in the Italian winemaking tradition. The wines tell the stories of the land.

This is Ca’ di Prata first introduction to distribution in the states and so reasonably priced. They will be a great addition to any table, picnic, boat ride or pool party.

Ca’ di Prata Prosecco DOC Brut $15.99- Made wtih 85% Glera grapes and 15% other permitted varieties. Soft with nice acidity and hint of minerality. Notes of green apple jolly rancher and delightful passion fruit.

Ca’ di Prata Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry $17.99 - Made from grapes from the Valdobbiadene DOCG area, comprised of 85% Glera and 15% other permitted varieties. The Prosecco is nicely balanced with nice mineral notes. Flavors of golden apple and citrus dancing mid-palate. This Prosecco is a nice expression of the land the grapes are grown in.

Ca’ di Prata Prosecco DOC Rose Extra Dry Millesimato $16.99 This blend is 85% Glera and 15% Pinot Nero. Nice refreshing acidity with hints of strawberry. This would make a nice brunch bubbly.

Ca’ di Prata are imported by Mack & Schuhle and distributed nationally. If you don’t see it in your wine store, just ask for it.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Take Me Out To The Ball Game


It’s Memorial Day Weekend and boy do we deserve to enjoy ourselves! We may have a new normal but we will always have our pastimes like baseball.

I grew up going to the “House That Ruth Built.” The next historic ballpark in my mind is Wrigley Field. Actually, Wrigley Field is older as it opened in 1914, nine years before the original Yankee Stadium. Back then it was Cracker Jax, Beer and Hot Dogs.

Today stadiums have really stepped it up. You can order wine, they have all kinds of different food items and specialty popcorn.

The Chicago native Terlato family spent time at Wrigley Field so it’s only natural for their wine The Federalist to be featured at select Wrigley Field restaurants, suites and stadium concessions. The Federalist is an American Craft Wine that fits right in with baseball, hotdogs, and popcorn you get at the stadium.

If you don’t feel comfortable heading to the stadium just yet, you can bring the ballpark home to you. Order yourself a Yeti with your team logo on it. Some Garret Popcorn which is Chicago’s original gourmet popcorn. The Garret Mix is a mix of CarmelCrisp and Cheese Corn and is amazing!! Grill yourself up some hotdogs and pour yourself a glass of the Federalist as you watch the game.

The Federalist wines capture the revolutionary spirit of our nation’s founding fathers. They pair well with America’s pastime, baseball, hotdogs and popcorn.

Let’s Play Ball!

The Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon SRP $23.99 - Notes of black cherry, cherry cola, plum and a mix of red fruit. Medium tannins with a hint of baking spice on the finish.

Friday, May 21, 2021

A Fun Wine For A Good Time - Maison Noir - O.P.P

It’s Oregon Wine Month and I’m a bit behind with the restaurant opening. We were going at a slow pace and then we were 3 weeks until opening day and there was a lot of shit to be done. I had to put my pen down for a few weeks, but I’m back.

A good friend of mine Sharon came down to help me with some of the last-minute details,like picture hanging and stenciling. Since Covid, it’s been a long time since we saw each other and got to get in trouble together. We did it with Other People’s Pinot and a 9-course dinner at the Jardin Restaurant at the Hugh.

This is my first time being introduced to Maison Noir’s wines created by Sommelier Andre Hueston Mack. He calls these wines distinctive garage wines. By that term he means his focus is on specific terroirs in Oregon, sourcing his fruit to produce wines that reflect the terroir of their sites.

Andre got bitten by the wine bug while working for Citicorp. He left his day job to pursue his passion for wine. He was the Head Sommelier at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry and went on to head up Per Se in New York City. Then he made his dream come true in Oregon as winemaker/owner of Maison Noir Wines.

Andre sources grapes from some of the Willamette Valley’s well-known vineyards. Roserock and Zena Crown in Eola-Amity Hills, Hyland in McMinnville, Elvenglade and Guadalupe in Yamhill-Carlton AVA and Thistle in the Dundee Hills.

The OPP Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris paired so well with our 9 course meal.

2019 O.P.P Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley - Fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak which 30% was new for 10 months. Tart cherry, raspberry, hint of earth and smoke with white pepper on the finish.

2020 O.P.P Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley - Soft flavors of apples, pear, peaches with nice minerality. Soft white pepper briny finish. Paired really well with the seaweed butter.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Celebrate Earth Day with Veramonte Organic Wines

As Earth Day approaches it’s time for us to recognize the importance of the earth and what it gives us every day. Growing up, I didn’t think of anything about my surroundings and the impact we have on it, but I did know, not to swim in the Hudson because of the PCBs. I didn’t fully understand the effects of pollution of all kinds until I was an adult.

Fast forward to last year when the pandemic hit. All of a sudden there wasn’t as much traffic and the air quality improved, the sky bluer and you could hear nature more clearly.

Now let’s think about our soil. Each layer of soil contributes nutrients to the grass, flowers and vegetables you grow. It is reflected in what you eat and the beauty of the landscape you look at each day. It is so important to watch what we put into our earth.

Growing grapes is hard and growing organic grapes even harder but many wineries are opting for organic methods. It is better for the environment and we have to take care of the environment, just like we care for our children.

In celebration of Earth Day I am celebrating with Veramonte and applaud them for what they are doing to save the environment. Veramonte is located in the Casablanca Valley of Chile. They follow organic and biodynamic practices to ensure the best conditions for their vines to develop. The vines truly reflect the soil they are grown in.

What are some of the characteristics of an organic vineyard? Well, the soil is healthy. Many times the animals and insects that occupied the soil before humans began messing with it return. As the vine develops it is aided by all the natural agents of the environment.

Veramonte banned the use of pesticides to protect and care for the ecosystem. By eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides the earth is more nourished, the soil regenerates itself, is healthy and reflects the true terroir in the grapes and wine. They incorporated the use of animals in the vineyard. They fertilize the land, mow the grass and aerate the soil with their hooves as they walk through the vineyard.

Veramonte Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2020 SRP $11.99 - This wine says summer in your glass all the way. Light straw in color with aromas of lime zest and white citrus lead to a palate of juicy grapefruit and white peach

Veramonte Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 $11.99 - This Cabernet spent 8 months in neutral oak. The wine really expresses the terroir it’s grown in. Slight balsamic notes on the nose with red and black fruit and a hint of vanilla. On the palate, the wine was smooth with mouth-watering tannins, a mix of red and black fruit and a touch of herbs.

Thank you to Donna White Communications and Gonzalez Byass for providing me with samples of this wine.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Lugana Wines - As Fresh as Spring Flowers

Last week I traveled to Lugana DOC on the shores of Lake Garda, Italy. Well, virtually I did as I attended a virtual masterclass on the region invited by Gambero Rosso the global authority on Italian wines and publisher of the annual Vini d’Italia guide. The masterclass and tasting was hosted by Marco Sabellico Senior Editor of Vini D’Italia and I would love to one day be in a room tasting with him.

The Lugana DOC is located in Northern Italy on the southern end of Lake Garda. Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and has its own microclimate. The region is known for its white clay soil and the Turbiana grape which is native to the region. In Lugana they only grow white wine and it’s produced in 5 different styles:

Lugana DOC - This is the keystone wine that covers 90% of the DOC. These wines are young and released a few months after harvest. These are the youngest wines.

Lugana Superiore - This wine must age for at least one year before it is released

Lugana Riserva - These are age-worthy wines and must be aged for 24 months before release. Six of those months must be spent in the bottle.

Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva - This is your late harvest wines. The wine made in this style is made with “over-ripened” grapes. They let the grapes remain on the vine until the end of October, early November and then harvest them.

Lugana Spumante - Get out your saber, this is Sparkling Turiana maid in the Charmat method and classic method.

Last year there were 2 million cases of Lugana wine produced.

Sitting in on these seminars never gets old. This isn’t my first time with Lugana and the Turbania grape. I learn something new each time. We tasted wines from 2015 to 2019. My big takeaway from this seminar is the age-ability of this grape. Normally I wouldn’t think to age this white wine for more than 3 years and would probably shy away from purchasing an older vintage, but boy am I wrong! The 2015 was wonderful and still had lots of acidity and freshness going for it.

If you are wondering what to pair with this grape - all-out seafood. No matter how you prepare the seafood, baked, broiled, fried or raw, this wine will be wonderful with it.

Let’s explore the wines of Lugana.

Tommasi lugana Doc Le Fornaci 2019 They have 45 hectares of grapes in three main vineyards located in different areas of the Lugana DOC. One parcel is on calcareous soil and the other two sit in soil that has more sandy composition and is rich in silt. This all contributes to a wine that is fresh, crisp and clean with citrus, stone fruit and minerality.

Pasini San Giovanni Lugana Doc 2019 Founded in 1958by Andrea Pasini they have kept and maintained the buildings where the name of the family. 1958 created. San Giovanni small building from the 18th century where they started to grow their own vineyard. 2009 went organic. Having vineyards in different villages brings different taste in wine. Piscara is full of touch white clay soil, the other desanco is more morain stoney that brings richness and strength, and crispy from the stones. Beautiful notes of tropical fruit, lemon, white grapefruit and hints of Mediterranean herbs with a slightly oily mouthfeel.. If you happen to eat some salami with this wine, it will really bring out the herbs.

Marangona Lugana Doc 2019 This family-run winery sits on the border of Lombardy and Veneto, close to the southern shore of Lake Garda. The vineyards are between 10 and 50 years old and sit on calcareous and silt-rich clay soil. The wine was aged sur lie in stainless steel for 3 months followed by two months in the bottle. Fresh orange blossom leads the way to a very lively palate full of tropical fruit, fresh acidity and minerality and salinity notes of the finish. This will be a great brunch wine.

Ca Maiol Lugana Doc Molin 2018 Ca Maiol was founded in 1967 by Walter Contato but the farm dates back to 1710. The oldest vines sit outside the cellar doors located 1.5 miles from Lake Garda. A lovely wine with notes of citrus, lavender, stone fruit and orange zest on the finish with lively acidity.

Perla Del Garda Lugana Doc Madreperla Ris. 2018 - Fairly new winery that began in 2000 with Giovanna and Ettore Prandini revived the viticulture on the family estate. Production began in 2006 in a new gravity-flow winery. This wonderful Lugana wine will be great for afternoon drinking. Nice complex aromas of orange, lemons Mediterranean herbs lead to a palate of fresh fruit with grapefruit on the finish.

Corte Sermana Lugana Doc Ris. Sermana 2015 - Located on the shores of Lake Garda Corte Sermana produces 2000 cases of wine in chalk and clay soil that is influenced by the micro-climate of the breezes coming off Lake Garda. This wine blew me away with its age-ability. Ten percent of the wine was aged in two-year-old French oak the rest in steel for 18 months on the lees and 12 months in the bottle. There is so much freshness coming out of the glass and the with the acidity beaming. Notes of pear, white flowers and hazelnuts with hints of chalkiness. Goes well with Brie cheese as it balances out the acidity and creates a smoother and creamer cheese on your palate with no bitterness. Pair this wine with a heavy cream sauce.