New York Wine & GrapeThe Wine Press
The Press Deck - 8/14/2019 | Field Notes: New York Wine Classic 2019
From Sommelier Erin Barbour Scala, New York Wine Classic Judge
The group of 21 judges converged at the foot of Seneca Lake, some coming from as far away as London. We’d gathered for the New York Wine Classic, and our mission was to taste and rank the roughly 885 submitted wines.
New York wines have played a vital role in the larger US wine story since at least the 1600s, when Dutch settlers planted vineyards in the Hudson Valley. 1860 marked the first US bonded winery in New York (Finger Lakes), and today, the oldest continuously operating winery in the US-- Brotherhood Winery-- still operates in Orange County.
But last week, at the foot of Seneca Lake, we met to explore a more contemporary iteration of New York wine. Tiny ripples brought the surface of the deep lake to an electric quiver. Thick, grey clouds pressed down upon the surrounding hills, enshrouding them in deep blue shadows that melted into the lake. This time of year, grapes still clung to vines, and the entire community had a palpable sense of pre-harvest anticipation.
Local teens in hope of bass cast their lines with little luck. A yacht readied sails for a pleasure cruise. And just outside the lake’s edge, new sidewalks, updated streets, and revived lots spoke volumes about Seneca Lake’s wine renaissance and the impact on the community. Nearby, mesmerizing waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park cascaded down walls of layered rock, highlighting the sense of timelessness to the landscape, the farming, and the community.
In smaller groups, we divided and conquered the task at hand. The first day, each group tasted through about 125 wines, carefully selecting the top wines to continue on to the next day’s tasting. Of course, we tasted completely blind, keeping cryptic notes about our favorites, so we could identify them after the wines were revealed. We thoughtfully considered flights of Diamonds, Rieslings, Ice Wines, Cab Francs, and much more. After the last drop was tasted, the top rated wines moved into the final round, and the group juried them to select the Governor's Cup.
Shortly after, when Sam Filler (NYWGF Executive Director) announced the winning wines, we were surprised and delighted by some of the final selections.
Who would have suspected that childhood sweethearts who started a family farm in the ‘70s growing potatoes and cabbage would have expanded so successfully into wine? These underdogs — Harbes Family Farm (North Fork of Long Island) — won Best Sparking with their deeply aromatic and richly textured traditional method sparkling wine from Mattituck; they also captured Best Syrah.
A taut, flavorful Cabernet Franc from Six Mile Creek Vineyard (Ithaca) won the top award: The Governor’s Cup. As a group, this wine seemed to resonate deeply with most judges.
I particularly enjoyed the Rieslings that made it to the final round, which included a compact and versatile dry Riesling from Wagner Vineyards (Finger Lakes), a complex, lush, and peachy medium-sweet Riesling from Anthony Road with a touch of age (Finger Lakes, 2015), and a haunting off-dry Riesling from Baiting Hollow Farm (Long Island).
And just like that, the NY Wine Classic was over. The judges dispersed to the various cities and towns from whence they came. I, too, headed back home, but with a renewed sense of wonder for New York wine. The plane rose high above the Finger Lakes. From the heavens, the deep glacial gauges etched into the landscape seemed more magnificent and spectacular than the tranquil shoreside perspective. As the plane wove down the Atlantic coastline, slinking between layers of thick clouds, the sting of acid and tannin still warmed my cheeks— a memory of the enduring magnetism of New York wine.
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From July 21-23, Geneva was the center of the vinous world as 150 winemakers, wine writers, sommeliers, and experts from across the globe came into town. The occasion? The first ever FLXcursion: A “roving” conference that celebrated Riesling wines from across the world, while taking visitors across the Finger Lakes for three remarkable days. Read more...
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Welcome to Our New Business Associates and Winery Members!
The Wine Marketing Association of Ontario is dedicated to promoting the VQA Wines of Ontario - both the vintners and the unique qualities of our authentic VQA wines that are made exclusively from 100% Ontario-grown grapes. Wine Country Ontario is dedicated to promoting Ontario’s wine-growing regions - from the wines and wineries themselves to the complete experience of each destination: local cuisine, year-round activities and warm hospitality. Wine Country Ontario is a brand trademark of the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario.
Nine-Four Wines is a small 'chosen family' winery firmly grounded in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Established by three good friends with a passion for excellent wine and great community, we make our homes and craft our wines on the shores of Seneca Lake. Each harvest offers us the opportunity for one great exploration, and we are committed to making the most of it by always asking questions, always investigating methods, and always engaging intimately with the fruit of the season. Our wines are the results of that exploration, and we are delighted to share them with you.
Member Corner: News, Benefits & Events...
Sign Up For The "Value of Sustainable Winegrowing" Webinar
Join the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and Lisa Francioni-Hai, Program Director for the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance on Thursday, September 5 for a webinar on the value of sustainable winegrowing. The webinar will cover the benefits of adopting sustainable winegrowing practices and why documenting sustainable practices in use by growers and vintners is important. Hear about the latest consumer research on sustainable winegrowing and why communicating about your practices is important for a growing segment of wine buyers and consumers. Register here.
Enter in the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition
The New York World Wine & Spirits competition is back for 2019. In the Competition’s nine-year history, the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition (NYWSC) has established itself as one of the most respected judging events in the eastern U.S.A. The NYWSC is a member of The Tasting Alliance, the parent organization of the world-renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, and Singapore World Spirits Competition. The entry deadline has been extended to August 14, so register now! Enter here.
Register for the LISW Sustainable Wine Professional Course
Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing (LISW) is excited to announce the release of an online training course for winery tasting room, sales and hospitality staff – the Sustainable Wine Professional course! The goal of this course is to provide winery staff with a greater understanding of sustainable winegrowing so that the value of sustainable farming can be communicated to consumers, trade and media. To save 20% off, New York Wine and Grape Foundation Members can email Julie Hosbach to receive a discount code! Register here.
Wagner Vineyards' 40th Anniversary Celebration
Wagner Vineyards will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary at our annual family-friendly Sun-Sational Summer Sendoff! This event will be held on Saturday, August 24th from 1pm-10pm. To celebrate 40 years of excellence at Wagner, we will have special, very limited production magnum bottles of two of our signature wines: Meritage and Caywood East Vineyard Riesling with replica labels from our very first vintage. This event will have no cover charge but will be a fundraiser to benefit the Humane Society of Schuyler County. This event will largely take place on the grounds of the winery, adjacent to the vineyard with various lawn games, live music all day, food by the Ginny Lee Cafe, wine and beer for the adults (your first purchase of wine or beer includes a commemorative glass), root beer floats for the kids, custom wine-flavored ice cream, local vendors, and more!
Leaves & Lobsters on the Lawn
Glenora Wine Cellars is hosting their Leaves & Lobsters on the Lawn event on September 14 & 15 from 12:00 - 5:00 PM. Lobster Dinner ticket holders will receive a whole Maine Lobster, steamed clams, potatoes, sweet corn, coleslaw, rolls, brownies and iced tea. In addition to lobster dinners, a la carte choices will be available. Guests can enjoy live music from 1:00 - 5:00 pm on each day.
Treleaven Wines Looking for Winemaker
Treleaven Wines is a boutique winery that specializes in Riesling and Chardonnays. Treleaven prides themselves on a high quality product as well as a unique experience that the customer will never forget. They are looking for a winemaker who is interested in joining a diverse and unique team. The growth of their new premier club allows for exciting one offs and small batch production to meet demands. The expansion of the winery into something new and innovative brings a diverse product line that keeps the customers returning. For more information visit our website.
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