Are you interested in unique, delicious local wines but generally try to avoid the North Fork between Labor Day and Halloween — peak pumpkin-picker season? Head to the Hudson Valley, which is anything but all sweet, tourist-focused wines these days. (more…)
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.
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…)
A scene from the 2017 Harvest East End. (Credit: Krysten Massa)
I should preface my thoughts on this past weekend’s Harvest East End event, held at Martha Clara Vineyards, by mentioning that I don’t particularly enjoy these sorts of events. Six hundred-plus people, wine glasses in hand, moving from table to table tasting wine is a lot of fun, yes, but I greatly prefer tasting and drinking wine in a more intimate setting, one where consideration and conversation are more appropriate — and possible.
That said, it’s impossible for me to do anything but commend the organizers of this year’s event. Harvest East End has changed a lot over the years, and not always for the (more…)
Martha Clara Vineyards 2016 sauvignon blanc was a standout for our Lenn Thompson during a recent tasting. (Credit: Madison Fender)
When visiting wineries on the East End, my wife and I have fallen into a bit of a rut. We go to Winery A first, then we go to Winery B and if our kids — now 5 and 10 — are behaving, we may squeeze in Winery C before taking them to Magic Fountain as a reward. Wineries A, B and C rarely (maybe never?) change. We know we’ll like the wines. We know that our kids are welcome. They are the safe bets and there is comfort in that.
The vines at Paumanok Vineyards on Thursday, July 13, 2017. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
We’re two-plus months into the 2017 grape-growing season, a time when I always like to check in with local growers and winemakers to find out how the season is going, how it compares to other seasons and how close to “normal” it’s been so far.