04/22/17 6:04am
The craft beer scene in Pittsburgh has greatly improved over the years, so says our Lenn Thompson. (Credit: Northforker file photo)

The craft beer scene in Pittsburgh has greatly improved over the years, so says our Lenn Thompson. (Credit: Northforker file photo)

I was born, raised and educated in western Pennsylvania. It’s changed a lot since I moved away in 2000, but despite the high-tech and medical industries there, it still has a decidedly traditional and blue-collar feel. Hearty food. Plentiful drink. We put french fries on top of salads and on top of our sandwiches back home. Yes, french fries as topping or condiment!

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03/25/17 6:00am
Black Ankle Vineyards

Black Ankle Vineyards in Mt. Airy, Md. makes some tasty albariño, according to our Lenn Thompson. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Last week was my 13-year anniversary of writing about wine, both on my blogs and for various print outlets. It’s become a bit of an obsession, but started as nothing more than a hobby, a diversion from my less creatively interesting job in the software industry.

I was, and still am, infatuated with local wine. Back then I felt so lucky to live in a place that had its own emerging wine region with wines that both enticed and excited. I still (more…)

03/11/17 6:02am
Long Island wine

A sampling of Long Island rosés. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Are we tired of rosé yet?

Now that I’ve gotten your attention, the answer for me is a resounding “no.” I love well-made — most often dry — rosé. I drink it year round with myriad foods, which is one reason it can be so great. Good rosé combines the complexity and structure of red wine with the refreshing, thirst-quenching qualities of whites.

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02/25/17 6:00am
Our Lenn Thompson led Roanoke Vineyards wine club members through a tasting of several sparkling wines, including those made in the pétilliant naturel style. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Our Lenn Thompson led Roanoke Vineyards wine club members through a tasting of several sparkling wines, including those made in the pétilliant naturel style. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Last weekend, as part of a series of “Locations” wine salons I’ve been leading at Roanoke Vineyard every couple of months, I guided 34 of the winery’s wine club members and friends through a tasting of eight sparkling wines. All but one was from New York, the outlier being an albariño pét-nat from Mid-Atlantic newcomer Old Westminster Winery in Maryland. These tastings typically focus on a single region-grape combination, like Finger Lakes riesling, or a variety across multiple regions, like when we explored cabernet franc made across New York.

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02/11/17 6:00am
Lenn Thompson and a group of East End winemakers sampled these 2001 Long Island reds. Thompson said a majority of the bottles held up well. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Lenn Thompson and a group of East End winemakers sampled these 2001 Long Island reds. Thompson said a majority of the bottles held up well. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A lot of winemakers — and admittedly, wine writers — like to talk about how long a wine will age. You may see at the end of a tasting note, either at a winery or in a glossy wine magazine: “Drink now through 2030.” I’ve also heard from local winemakers that customers will occasionally make their buying decisions based in part on how long the pourer says a wine will age in their cellar.

There is a lot of confusion and quite a bit of mythology out there when it comes to these sorts of tasting windows and prophecies.

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01/28/17 6:02am
Palmer Vineyards 2015 Pinot Blanc.

Palmer Vineyards 2015 Pinot Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

I’ve been tasting and drinking wines from Palmer Vineyards for many years, but it wasn’t until I visited a couple of weeks ago and tasted through the entire lineup that I realized something: Above all else, this is a white wine house. And that’s OK. It’s great, in fact, because many of the white wines are great.

We all know that Long Island Wine Country is supposed to be about merlot. Or maybe merlot and chardonnay, the two most-planted grapes. They are the cornerstones of many wineries’ production and portfolios. (more…)

01/14/17 6:00am
Snowy Vines

A snowy January day at Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue. In this column our wine writer ponders what 2017 will bring in Long Island Wine Country.

New year. Time to reflect. Time to look forward. A fresh start. All that stuff. It’s that time of year — again.

A lot happened in wine country during 2016, but that’s true every year and it’s not worth rehashing the year that was. I’m a look-forward guy. I like to think about and even try to predict what might come next.

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