06/17/17 6:01am

A bottle of Macari Vineyards 2013 Reserve Cabernet Franc. Our Lenn Thompson recommends it for Father’s Day. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

With Father’s Day coming this weekend, I’ve been bombarded with pitches from PR hacks about wines and wine pairings that are “perfect” for Father’s Day. Ignoring for a second the myth of the “perfect pairing,” most seem to center on cabernet sauvignon and the steaks that every father will apparently be enjoying on Sunday. (These same pitches sometimes get reused for July 4 and then Labor Day, by the way).

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06/03/17 6:02am

A glass of merlot at Bedell Cellars. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

I spent a few days in Charlottesville, Va., last week taking part in the Virginia Wine Summit, a celebration of the Commonwealth’s wine and wine culture. I was invited to speak on a panel titled “Defining Local on the East Coast,” a vague and somewhat nebulous topic that I’m not sure we really tackled during the session, but I digress.

The summit itself was only one day but, as a speaker I was able to join my fellow panelists — mostly sommeliers and restaurateurs from up and down the Eastern Seaboard — on a tour of some local vineyards and for some walk-around tastings of other Virginia producers.

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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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