Discovering New York Wines

Finally I am writing from home. I have time, I have good pictures, I also have a jetlag…but I will write something anyway. I have been super excited reading up on two new wine regions (new for me) in New York county. When traveling we always aspire to try wines from the area. If there are some. I did not expect New York to be anything special, but was proven wrong when trying produce from Finger Lakes  and North Fork of Long Island AVA (American Viticultural Area). We ended up gulping up wines from the region all trip long and bought a bunch of great bottles to take home (only 16 bottles this time).

The Finger Lakes AVA is located in Upstate New York, south of Lake Ontario. The Finger Lakes encompass eleven glacial lakesand 11,000 acres of vineyards. Its the largest wine-producing region in New York State. The climate in the area is often compared to that in Germany, and Riesling is the most important grape varietal produced there. The deep lakes int he area contribute to the local microclimate. In the winter, the lakes release stored heat preventing early season frosts.

The North Fork of Long Island AVA is located at the eastern most tip of Long Island. Its a small winegrowing region with reportedly 38 winemakers in the area. There is a variety of grapes grown in the region: eg. Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Beajoulais, Gewurtstraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunieur, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The combination of the three last varietals is quite interesting as they are the main grapes used for the production of Champagne. And believe it or not, we tasted one of the best non-champagne sparkling wines I have ever had from this region. Yes, I mean it. And I wasn’t completely drunk, it was the first glass.

With this new knowledge we have sworn to make a new trip to New York as soon as possible. This time we will rent a car and drive to the wine regions. Here are also my top-tips for New York wines to try out on the town. We tasted all of these wines at the fantastic wine bar at 11 Madison Park. Great thanks to the sommelier who picked these for us!

Sparkling Pointe 2006 Brut Seduction. This wine is from Sparkling Pointe winery located in North Fork owned by champagnelovers Tom and Cynthia Rosicki. This Cuvee is aged for eight (8) years on the lees.  Eight Years! And the result is this fantastic, deep and toasty bubbly with a fine mousse. If I hadn’t seen the bottle I would have picked this as a champagne.

Where to buy? Directly from the winery

2014 Empire Estate Finger Lakes Dry Riesling. A great fruity Riesling with fresh tangerine and honey, and lemon-lime acidity. Great for cooling down on a hot day, or even for a three-star dinner at 11 Madison Park.

Where to buy? Several shops carried this wine. We bought ours from Chambers Street Wines in Tribeca.

Herman J. Wiemer Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes). On a warm summer, the conditions for growing great Caernet Franc are optimal in Upstate New York. This wine was a companion for our final main course, the lamb. The wine has tastes of crushed raspberry and blackberry with an underlying spicy-savory quality and a light note of herbs. Omnom.

Where to Buy? Garnet Wines & Liquors on Lenox Hill.

xx Soile

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