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The Press Deck - 7/3/2019 | Field Notes ~It’s Time to Rethink Wine Criticism ~Two Words That Matter To Wine Lovers, But The Wine Industry Largely Avoids ~Wine VIPs Coming to the FLX, Tasting Event Tickets on Sale
Field Notes ~
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Greetings from New York City! I’m excited to report that we’ve officially begun this season’s NY Drinks NY phase even earlier than planned, with an extraordinary joint event with the Washington State Wine Commission (WSW). Our counterparts in Washington reached out to us a few months ago with an idea for this collaboration, an offer which we happily accepted. This began a series of many conference calls, emails and rather fun brainstorming sessions as to what we might do together. Throughout this project planning phase, I was initially joined by the head of marketing for WSW, David Flaherty, who I knew from his decade’s long career in the New York City hospitality industry as a beverage professional. We immediately knew Riesling had to be a focus given our state’s reputation for the variety and given that the Washington state winery Chateau Ste. Michelle is currently the world’s largest Riesling producer. David was also keen to work on this with Greg Harrington, the owner and winemaker of Gramercy Cellars in Walla Walla, as well as a Master Sommelier and a Cornell University graduate! Greg suggested a Syrah comparison could also be a focus, as he was familiar with fellow winemaker and Master Sommelier Christopher Bates’s Element Syrah. So, after much discussion, a trade lunch that included a comparison seminar of Riesling and Syrah was on the schedule, at the one of a kind Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
This was an excellent opportunity to also work with members of our NY Drinks NY advisory committee. For the seminar, Peter Becraft, winemaker at Anthony Road Wine Company, spoke on Riesling; and Whitney Beaman, brand manager at Bedell Cellars and program manager for Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, spoke on Syrah. Both are currently consulting on our NY Drinks NY advisory committee. They were joined by Harrington, and David Rosenthal, Riesling winemaker from Chateau Ste. Michelle. The sommelier, Riesling fanatic, and owner of Terroir Wine Bar in Manhattan, Paul Grieco, moderated.
Both Peter and Whitney worked closely together as well through the planning phase, and with NYWGF staff selected the following wines, in addition to their own, to be shown with Washington counter-wines:
2017 Forge Cellars, Leidenfrost Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes
- 2014 Anthony Road Wine Company, Artist Series Riesling, Finger Lakes
- 2013 Bedell Cellars Syrah, North Fork
- 2014 Element Winery Syrah, Finger Lakes
A further five more wines from across NY were selected for the lunch that ensued, and included:
- 2017 Lakewood Vineyards Blanc de Blancs, Finger Lakes
- 2018 Fjord Vineyards Albarino, Hudson River Region
- 2017 Hickory Hollow Wines Cellars Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes
- 2010 Paumanok Vineyards Grand Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, North Fork
- 2017 Keuka Spring Vineyards Vignoles, Finger Lakes
And for your reference, the wines from Washington included the following:
- 2017 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley
- 2017 Dunham Cellars, Lewis Vineyard Riesling, Walla Walla
- 2016 Gramercy Cellars, Lagniappe Syrah, Walla Walla
- 2016 Rotie Cellars, Northern Blend, Walla Walla
- 2014 Analemma, Blanc de Noirs, Columbia Gorge
- 2017 Reynvaan Family Vineyards, Grenache Blanc, Walla Walla
- 2017 Syncline Cellars, Gamay Noir, Columbia Gorge
- 2010 Cadence Winery, Camerata, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
- 2013 Hedges Family Estate, DLD Syrah 2013, Red Mountain
The wines, of course, all showed well and spoke of their time and place. Comparison discussion amongst the trade involved the topic of the well-known “petrol” and “reductive” notes that can show in Rieslings, young or developing; how well the WA Gamay Noir and the NY Cabernet Franc complimented each other… But, I believe the collaboration also speaks of our own time and place as an industry.
As the reality of a highly competitive beverage landscape continues to dominate our economy, why not work together as like-minded wine regions to educate our trade and consumers by co-presenting the richness of diversity that our country can produce with its wines? I was flattered that Washington reached out to us -- they could have easily arranged a powerful alliance with California or Oregon for their annual east coast appearance.
I’d look forward to continuing our already on-going dialogues with nearby regions like Ontario and Michigan as to how we can work together toward everyone’s benefit. We’ve already had inquiries from Virginia, Vermont, and even Wines of Germany. There are many possibilities and, thankfully, many who want to work with us.
Happy July 4th to everyone from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and the Washington State Wine Commission!
Cheers to Washington, New York, and to collaboration.
Paul Brady, New York Wines Brand Ambassador
New York Wine & Grape Foundation