Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Go visit the Finger Lakes region! Talk it up – USA's Eternal Diamond in the Rough – even if it’s been producing grapes for 200 years

You heard it here first OK…well it’s in New York local papers…

Casinos in the Finger Lakes Wine region???

This week, supporters and opponents will deliberate on three proposals in the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region for Casinos! ... which includes a project planned by developer Wilmorite for Tyre in Seneca County and the other two projects are proposed for Nichols in Tioga County and Johnson City in Broome County, which are both in the Elmira-Binghamton area.
If this occurs it will have a significant impact on the already growing Finger Lakes Wine Country!

Johnson City and the whole Binghamton area is really a sleepy area and it's really because a lot of factory jobs have been shipped overseas over the past 20-30 years.

But, the Finger Lakes has always been heavily dependent on walk-in traffic such as tourists, accidental tourists, people who really don’t know much about wine.

Most Finger Lake wineries are apt to see a decent amount visitors a year, yet alot of production is tailored to people who like sweet wines.

Arguably, Casinos would bring a lot more attention to the area.

Let’s be clear here…

The Finger Lakes are incredible and it has taken way too long for it to explode; because, and I know I am not alone in this opinion...

The American wine world is honestly lacking the full-on cool-climate viticulture scene. Just like people know Fall Season is here and leaves change; the awareness to the coming of cool-climate wines should be the equivalent.

The future is bright though; now is the time for more promotion; maybe Casinos will be the tipping point.

Not only is there Late Harvest wines, and a plethora of Riesling styles(Bone Dry to Sweet); there is Chardonnay, Gew├╝rztraminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon and others... 
plus a whole host of Native American and French-American Hybrids.

It wasn’t until the 1950s, when Konstantin Frank, a Ukraine refugee, arrived in the Finger Lakes and started his Vinifera Wine Cellars, and proved that that vinifera grapes could grow in the cool, wet climate of the Finger Lakes. Dr. Frank planted alot of grape varieties to see which would thrive. In the 70’s is when the emphasis on Reisling took hold.

But really… grape vines have been growing around the Finger Lakes since the 19th century so it’s hard to come to grips with how little acreage of planted Reisling there is there, if you come to think of it.

Now that Reisling is so popular and the fingerlakes can make such diverse reisling – really world class, dry or sweet in a multitude of styles. We are talking Mosel and Alsace potential. Now is the time…really.

The thing is that for years, the Finger Lakes wine industry was dominated by big companies that made cheap hybrid wines, along with even smaller wineries that did most of their business selling hybrid wines out of their tasting rooms. It’s been a slow churning path, considering how great the Reisling can be there.

What’s fascinating is that hybrids in the Finger Lakes region (including vignoles, seyval blanc and aurore) far outnumber vinifera grapes, and there are more concord grapes planted than anything else which are intended for grape juice or sugary kosher wines.

Go visit the Finger Lakes region!  Talk it up – a true diamond in the rough – even if it’s been producing grapes for 200 years or whatever…Seek the killer wines!

The Finger Lakes is home to three distinct wine trails, each offering exciting wine and food pairing events throughout the year.  With events that range in theme from chocolate, cheese, herb, barbeque, harvest and holiday as well.  It’s pretty affordable.  Wine trail event tickets usually are for the entire weekend. Also, all three wine trails individually offer tasting discounts too.

• Cayuga Lake Wine Trail | 15 member wineries, one cidery too

• Keuka Lake Wine Trail | 7 member wineries

• Seneca Lake Wine Trail | 34 member wineries

Monday, September 1, 2014

This Fall try wines from the Southern end of the Cotes d’ Or, France… Great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the lesser known appellations!

Burgundy wines are glamorous. Smooth, well-designed and mouthwatering. At their best they are otherworldly and among the priciest wines on the planet; both the Red’s and the Whites.

It’s a combination of powerful and delicacy at the same time.

With that said….

Burgundy, France is overflowing with wine. In fact, some of the best values in Burgundy France come from the Southern end of the Cote d’ Or( which means the 'Golden Slope' and stretches from the city of Dijon running south to Santenay).

The reason I say some of the best values come from the south end of Burgundy is not only because it’s true. It's because the wine is more accessible; softer and very welcoming.

Try this approach. Search for those Burgundy wines that are just at arm’s length from the most famous appellations. Just because you won’t find any Grand Cru’s or large estate wineries does not mean a thing in my book. They are subjected to the same weather conditions, topography, and provide that incomparable taste of Burgundy. This wine is sensational and thought provoking!

By the way, the Northern part of Burgundy (Cote de Nuits) produces red wines almost exclusivlely. Just south of the Nuits is Cote de Beaune (pronounced 'Bone') which produces
the great whites. The area we are talking about is below Cote de Beaune.

Sure, there are some differences in the vintages but not in the 'sense of place'. Which is where it's at; when we talk about the wine region of Burgundy.

Let’s list out the towns to look for... and some might ring a bell; if you don’t know already. These places just don't usually jump out at you in average every day wine talk, you know.

Look for wines from the Southern Cote Chalonnaise, Bouzeron, Rully, Mercurey, Givry, and Montagny(which all have Premier Cru’s by the way…).

Also look the wines of the Maconnais with richer soils just south of the Cote Chalonnaise.

You will see wines from the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape of course…But you’ll also see a refreshing white wine called Aligote and maybe Pinot Blanc. Try it!

Look for Negociants as well...such as Louis Jadot, Drouhin, Louis Latour and Faively to name a few.

Hence, these are the areas of southern Burgundy just before reaching Beaujolais that are not part of the most famous; yet they are incredible. It’s just the way it is…. And a lot of it has to do with history, property rights, inheritance and complex birth right laws that make it these vineyards have less of a spotlight.