09/21/17 11:49am

Castello di Borghese Chardonette. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

While local wineries are making better sub-$25 wine that ever before, wines that retail for less than $15 are still mostly pretty underwhelming. Generally, they aren’t worth bothering with. And that’s a big reason why this week’s’ “Wine of the Week” Castello di Borghese NV Chardonette caught my attention. (more…)

09/13/17 9:20am

A bottle of 2016 Merliance rosé. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

For some people, rosé is strictly seasonal . You start drinking it around Memorial Day and by Tumbleweed Tuesday (the day after Labor Day), you’re done. But you’ll also find some rosé-obsessed folks who drink it year round. (more…)

09/09/17 6:27am

vineyard grapes

Look at almost any region’s wine industry in America — and in the world, really — and you’ll find some sort of trade organization formed to support it. In the Napa Valley, it’s the Napa Valley Vintners. Next door in Sonoma you’ll find the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance. In the Champagne region of France, you have organizations like the Comité Champagne. Closer to home, the Finger Lakes region has organizations like the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance and Finger Lakes Wine Country. You get the idea.

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08/26/17 6:00am

Our Lenn Thompson notes that tasting room pourers are frequently the public face of any winery. (Credit: David Benthal Photography)

People who talk and write about wine, myself included, often talk about soils, growing seasons, weather, disease pressure and harvest timing. We focus on winemaker decisions about fermentation vessels or yeast strains or barrel aging. But a couple recent experiences at local tasting rooms reminded me of the unsung heroes of any winery — the people pouring the wines in the tasting room.

Over the course of a midweek jaunt on the North Fork, my wife, friends and I visited a handful of tasting rooms — some regular favorites, some that we hadn’t visited in a long time.

At one tasting room, which I’m choosing not to identify by name, we had an exchange with the young lady behind the tasting bar that I will summarize and paraphrase as such: (more…)

08/25/17 10:25am

A bottle of Harbes Vineyard 2014 Merlot. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

During a recent tasting of more than a dozen local merlots (look for the story in the next issue of Long Island Wine Press), I was pleasantly surprised by just how good almost every wine was. They were fruit forward almost without exception while also being clean, bright and absolutely food friendly.  Merlot is maligned here and there by some — myself included — but it’s clear that local vineyard managers and winemakers have zeroed in on what it takes to make local merlot shine.

I can’t include every delicious wine in that forthcoming story, so we’ll make one of the last cuts this week’s “Wine of the Week” instead. (more…)

08/18/17 11:29am

Martha Clara Vineyards Pinot Grigio is our ‘Wine of the Week.’ (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Pinot Grigio, most of it anyway, is barely wine. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but most of the stuff you see on store shelves and on restaurant wine lists is rather insipid. I’d call it more of an easy-drinking inebriant than wine.

On the other hand, maybe it’s better than all of the barrel-bludgeoned chardonnay you’ll find at most bars and restaurants.

That isn’t the point here, though. The point is that most Pinot Grigio is boring and not something that I have use for in my day-to-day drinking rotation. (more…)