New York Wine & GrapeNews
The Press Deck~9/26/18~Harvest Time In NY Vineyards~What Wine Trend Needs To Die?~48 Hours in the Finger Lakes with Thomas Pastuszak~Verasion to Harvest~Selling Wine in Mainland China and Hong Kong
Greetings from Brooklyn. This past weekend was atypically symbolic for me -- it included my birthday always in conjunction with the fall equinox, indicating not only that summer had come to a close, but inevitably inviting me to reflect on the last few months. So, what did I do this summer? I visited over 50 wineries across our state in less than three months: certainly a record high for me.
Highlights? Viewing the ubiquitous effort among our state’s vignerons to constantly be striving to maintain and improve sustainable vineyard practices with a nod to mother earth’s well-being; experiencing the unquestionable ageability of our state’s wines (I was able to taste stunning examples going as far back as the 1991 vintage); and, without question, the most positive phenomenon of my summer was being involved presenting New York wine classes at our State Fair in Syracuse to well over 600 enthusiastic tasters over the course of 10 days. A special thanks need again go to the staff and volunteers of the fair -- an incredible aggregate of organization -- and to all those who donated their time (and wines) to help teach the classes. I’m already looking forward to next year.
But amidst all the rental cars, hotels, and meetings, I did manage to keep up with my reading -- Wine Growing In Eastern America, by Lucie T. Morton, never leaves my bag, and a re-read of both Evan Dawson’s Summer In A Glass, on the subject of the Finger Lakes, and Richard Figiel’s Circle Of Vines, a narrative of our entire state’s viticulture history, both resurfaced this summer. And I’m itching for more.
Which brings me to mention the serious praise that New York Times Wine Critic, Eric Asimov, continues to devote to our state’s wines. In his latest column, “20 Wines Under $20,” Asimov features the 2017 Dry Riesling Classique from Forge Cellars of the Finger Lakes, on a list that includes only three American wines in total (the other two are both cabernets from California). And in an earlier column this summer, Asimov also cited the Ravines 2009 Argetsinger Riesling as “maybe the best American riesling I’ve ever had.”
And who better to present the current vintage of the Ravines Argetsinger to the world than the man affectionately known as the “Emperor of Riesling,” Paul Grieco? After Asimov’s story surfaced, Mr Grieco, the well-known owner and wine director of Terroir Wine Bar in Manhattan, jumped at the opportunity to curate and present a flight including the Argetsinger along with six other highly site-specific, single vineyard Rieslings from Keuka Lake Vineyards, Red Tail Ridge, Hermann J. Wiemer, Wagner Vineyards, Boundary Breaks, and Hosmer Winery, during the last week of his annual Summer Of Riesling. As an alumnus of Terroir Wine Bar, I too jumped at the opportunity to guest Sommelier alongside Paul and his staff that evening, which was just like old times -- intense and fun, with happy guests, and never a shortage of glasses to be polished!
It seems indeed it was a summer of Finger Lakes Riesling for Asimov and Grieco, and by proxy their expansive ecosystems -- a boon for us in the New York State Wine industry. But for me, it was also a summer of new experiences. The diversity of wines that our state showcases from the far east end of Long Island to the northwestern corner of the Niagara Escarpment and all that is between would be unbelievable, if I hadn’t seen it for myself.
And there is still so much more to see.
Paul Brady, Brand Ambassador
New York Wine & Grape Foundation