Wine & Spirits magazine has published a special issue and 1st Annual Insider’s Guide with the cover title, “Conversations&Tastings with 50 Masters of Place”.
The various writers, sommeliers, and others divided up the world, with international Riesling authority Stuart Pigott profiling the Finger Lakes as a region that has changed dramatically in the past dozen years due to a passionate focus on quality and experimentation, especially with Riesling wines but others as well.
His narrative is sprinkled with specific examples of his points from several wineries: Boundary Breaks, Red Newt, Red Tail Ridge, Hermann J. Wiemer, Keuka Spring (Gewurztraminer) and Anthony Road (Vignoles). His first visit was in 2004, when he was blown away by the region’s natural beauty, though not many of the wines; but on his next visit just six years later (and now six years ago) it was clear that major change–dramatic improvement–was underway.
New York Wine and Grape Foundation newsletter, August 21, 2016
On Monday evening at Lakewood Vineyards, we’ll have our annual Welcome Dinner for judges and staff of the New York Wine & Food Classic, with the main judging on Tuesday and the Sweepstakes round on Wednesday morning.
This year we have another record number of entries (969) that will be evaluated by 22 expert judges from around the country and beyond. They include wine educators, retail wine buyers, restaurateurs, wine writers and others whose professional lives revolve around wine. But they couldn’t do their job–swirling, sniffing, sipping, and spitting–without an incredible backroom crew
The Classic is essentially “The Oscars” of New York wine, and the winning wineries get huge immediate sales. The Governor’s Cup award goes to the single best wine in the entire competition, while Winery of the Year goes to the winery with the strongest overall showing. For the past several years, by total coincidence (all wines are tasted blind), the Governor’s Cup has gone to a Finger Lakes wine and Winery of the Year to a Long Island winery.
If all goes as planned, we’ll announce this year’s winners on Wednesday afternoon. Stay tuned.
Portions taken from New York Wine & Grape Foundation newsletter
Chateau Frank, the historic house high above Keuka Lake just down the road from Dr Konstantin Frank Winery, now includes an “1886” Reserve Tasting Room for VIP events.
Chateau Frank was the dream of the late Willy Frank, son of Konstantin, father of Fred, and grandfather of Meaghan. Willy planted the classic Champagne grape varieties on neighboring Seneca Lake, and converted the home’s basement into an incredibly space-efficient sparkling wine production area. Chateau Frank’s elegant sparkling wines have won dozens of top awards in competitions around the world.
The newly renovated 1886 room, named for the year the house was built, is directly above the sparkling wine cellar. The elegant space will be the site of special, rotating wine and food experiences every Friday and Saturday. www.drfrankwines.com
From New York Wine and Grape Foundation newsletter
Anyone who has been around for more than a few years knows that the quality of New York wines has improved dramatically, and consistently, among vintages and wineries. This is a tribute to the grape growers who focus on quality, the winemakers who maximize it, and the many people who work together toward that common goal.
Wine & Spirits August edition found lots of New York wines to love, starting with Hermann J. Wiemer 2011 Seneca Lake Cuvee Brut (94, the highest score of any of the “Year’s Best Summer Sparklers”) joined by Atwater 2010 Finger Lakes Cuvee Brut (91). Brooklyn Winery 2012 Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc received 90.
But once again it was the Rieslings which dominated, starting with 94 each for Hermann J. Wiemer 2014 Seneca Lake Late Harvest Riesling and 2013 Tierce Finger Lakes Dry Riesling, the unique collaborative wine made by three winemakers of which the 2010 vintage was the only white wine served at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration luncheon.
Anthony Road 2014 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling, Sheldrake Point 2013 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling, and Standing Stone 2014 Finger Lakes Riesling Ice each received 93, with scores of 92 going to Dr. Frank 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling; Lamoreaux Landing 2014 Finger Lakes Riesling Ice; Hermann J. Wiemer 2014 Seneca Lake HJW Vineyard Riesling, 2014 Seneca Lake Josef Vineyard Riesling, 2013 Seneca Lake Magdalena Vineyard Riesling, and 2013 Seneca Lake HJW Vineyard Riesling. That winery also received 91 for its 2014 Seneca Lake Magdalena Vineyard Riesling, and 2013 Seneca Lake Late Harvest Riesling, and 90 for 2014 Seneca Lake Dry Riesling. Bellangelo 2014 Seneca Lake Late Harvest Riesling also received 90!
Information received from New York Wine and Grape Foundation
According to Jim Trezise of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation:
Happily, this week brought some more good news about the business climate for our industry. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that a sales tax exemption on samples of beer will also be extended to the wine, cider, and spirits sectors, saving money which can be invested into the businesses. Second, the State of Pennsylvania finally became the 44th state to allow direct-to-consumer shipment of wine, which will begin as of August 8. This is especially important for New York wineries because a huge number of out-of-state visitors to the regions are from Pennsylvania, yet their State’s bureaucratic, antiquated government monopoly system for wine sales essentially locks out New York wines. Now, finally, consumers in the Quaker State can be free.
The first major law that demonstrated the importance of a positive business climate to the growth of the New York grape and wine industry was enacted 40 years ago: The Farm Winery Act of 1976.
It was a lifeline for struggling grape growers, a stimulus for industry growth, and a major event in the development of the modern New York wine industry.
In the late 1970’s, New York’s many winegrape growers were hit by a perfect storm: major changes in corporate ownership of the large wineries, a flood of cheap subsidized imported wines, and changes in consumer tastes. Prices for grapes were plummeting, and the market was drying up.
At that time, all wine grapes from independent growers went to a handful of large wineries, most in the Finger Lakes.
The Farm Winery Act created another option: Make and sell your own wine. It had to contain 100% New York-grown grapes (not necessarily your own, however), and at first the annual limit was 50,000 gallons (now 250,000 gallons), but you could sell your wines directly to consumers, as well as directly to restaurants, wine retailers, and of course wholesalers.
This was new freedom!
Information taken from New York Wine and Grape Foundation Newsletter, May 22, 2016
According to James Tresize at the New York Wine and Grape Foundation:
Wine & Spirits magazine’s “Top 100 Values of the Year” included both Dr. Frank 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling (92*, $15) and Wagner Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Franc (88*, $15).
Wine Enthusiast’s “Spring Ahead” article touting the delights of Dry Rieslings as a summer sipper included several recommendations from major Riesling producing regions around the world. Keuka Spring 2014 Dry Riesling (90*) from the Finger Lakes.
The numbers in parentheses* are the score from each wine magazine. Any score in the upper 80’s or 90’s is extraordinary. The top rating would be 100, but this is a nearly unattainable score.
It’s a great time to enjoy Riesling in the Finger Lakes!!!!
Castel Grisch at the Southern end of Seneca Lake is having a Grand Opening on May 6 for the new restaurant theme. Stop in and see the changes that have been made.
Hops are in short supply because of increase in the popularity of craft breweries. Therefore, farmers throughout the region are coming back to this age old industry of growing hops. Hops are cone shaped plants that are grown on an 18 foot tall trellis system. With new laws in New York State, there is a huge need for more hops. The new laws require that local craftsmen use an increasing percentage of local hops, barley, and oats. Maple and Hickory sap are also used to give the crafts beers additional flavors! Wow! Who knew?!!!!