Upcoming Tastings!
Follow on Twitter
Like on Facebook

Articles & Commentary


Thanks for dropping by the articles and commentary page. I encourage everyone to send in questions, comments, and suggestions for article topics. If you send something in, it will be read, and addressed. That's a promise. Cheers!

Send in a Question

Articles & Commentary Archive


Marquette: Vermont's "Malbec"

Shelburne Vineyard's Winery and Tasting Room on Route 7Have you ever tasted a wine that you liked so much that you had to go out and buy a bottle? How about a case? How about two cases? How about an entire winery?

For Ken Albert, founder of Shelburne Vineyard, that was precisely what happened when he first tasted an experimental batch of Marquette at a conference hosted by Cornell in the early 2000's.

"The first taste of it blew me away, and I couldn’t believe this was a hybrid grape," Ken said. "Based on that tasting, and a little bit of research and talking to people, we decided to invest in our winery. So basically, Marquette is the reason we built our building."

Completed and opened for operation in February 2008, Shelburne Vineyard's winery and tasting room (on Route 7 in Shelburne, Vermont) is a prime example of the rapid rise that Vermont viticulture has experienced over the past 5 years. In the summer of 2007, I tasted Shelburne Vineyard's Cayuga White at the Killington Wine Festival. The wine was fresh, crisp, and lively, with citrus flavors and a piercing acidity that was reminscent of an Alsatian Pinot Blanc. "I can't believe this wine is from Vermont," I said to myself.

Back then, the concept of my home state having any kind of quality viticulture and winemaking was a novel concept to me, and I was not alone in my opinion.

Click to read more ...


Whitecliff Vineyards: A Hidden Treasure in New York's Hudson River Valley

Wine production in America has long been dominated by the West Coast. Ever since the 1976 "Judgement of Paris," the wines of California have thrived on the international stage, and the wines of Oregon and Washington were quick to follow in their footsteps. Together, these three states have combined to produce a West Coast centric view of American wines, with the wines of New York State serving as the only evidence that quality wines could be produced on the East Coast. Sadly, faced with distribution challenges, small scale production, and myriad sources of competition in an American wine market that is becoming ever more globalized, most New York State wines have remained an undiscovered treasure for most wine consumers.

Fall at Whitecliff VineyardsHowever, the exposure being afforded to New York wines has expanded rapidly in recent years. This development is not surprising, as Vitis vinifera vines were not planted in New York until the late 1950's, when Dr. Konstantin Frank demonstrated that Riesling, and subsequently other noble grape varietals, could be grown in New York's cold climate. Prior to that time, viticulture in New York had been largely limited to Vitis labrusca grapes (e.g. Concord and Catawba) which are native to the region. When compared to California's viticultural history, where the growth of Vitis vinifera vines can be traced to the 1860's, it is easy to see why New York's evolution as a world class wine producing region has only recently begun to be recognized.

Much of the publicity surrounding New York's wines in recent years has focused on the Long Island and Finger Lakes regions. Lettie Teague, of the Wall Street Journal, and Eric Asimov, of the New York Times, have each written articles praising the emergence of both regions' wines - red and white. Although Riesling has historically been the signature grape of the Finger Lakes, and to an extent, of New York wines in general, other grape varietals, including Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Lemberger (Blaufrankisch), are rapidly emerging as New York varietals to take note of. Yet, with all the attention that has been focused on Long Island and the Finger Lakes, another historic New York region has been largely overlooked.

Click to read more ...


A Bridge Wine for the Fall

It always comes down to this. Each and every fall, as summer fades away, and the promise of winter and the upcoming ski season loom in the distance, there are always those in between days that mark the transition of the seasons, and serve as a stark reminder that summer has come and gone. You know the days I'm referring to - the fourty, fifty, and sixty degree days that are sunny and beautiful, but have a chill in the air that no amount of standing in the sunshine can warm away. While I love the many traditions of fall - watching the leaves change, and waiting for the first snowfall - the wine lover in me is always a little saddened at this time of year, because the cool air marks the end of a favorite summer tradition - afternoon picnics with rosé. I don't like saying goodbye to rosé, and I always keep a few bottles around in case of an Indian Summer day, or to pair with lighter dishes in the winter. I also don't believe that the arrival of cool weather means that you have to say goodbye to rosés and white wines entirely. While I was wine shopping the other day, I was looking at an intriguing new Chardonnay, when a woman approached me and smiled. "Oh, I'm done with those for the year," she announced. "I love Chardonnay in the summer, but once summer goes away, I'm strictly a red wine girl."

Click to read more ...


Life's Too Short For One Wine: In Defense of Wine Education and Wine Adventures

Every so often, I encounter criticism or good natured teasing from some of my friends, who find it enjoyable to poke fun at me for being a "wine snob." Granted, this has become far more infrequent over the past several years, but when I was a 21-year old fraternity president who preferred Chardonnay to Keystone Light, I was the epitome of an easy target for the barbs of many of my friends. 

My personality is such that I want to be educated and knowledgeable in everything I do, and this desire is made even more manifest when it comes to my passions. As a four-year old baseball fanatic, I memorized the uniform numbers, and nearly every relevant statistic for the Boston Red Sox starting lineup. I would wear my oversized Red Sox jersey everywhere, imagined Fenway Park existed both in my backyard and in our house, and would excitedly watch every game I was allowed to stay up for with my dad. I wanted to know as much about the Red Sox as I could, wanted to be the most knowledgeable Red Sox fan, and wanted to eventually make it to the major leagues and play for the Red Sox. When it came to school, I was no different. My parents taught me from an early age that my studies were important, and I applied myself accordingly. I'm fairly confident that I'm one of the only first graders in history who cried on the bus because I received a "check," as opposed to a "check plus" on a math test, and then went home and hid the test in my sock drawer.

Click to read more ...


The Forgotten Source: German Pinot Noir

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Dornfelder, a light-bodied red wine from Germany, that is a genetic cross of Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe, and is distantly related to Pinot Noir. Germany is not known for its red wines, as most casual wine drinkers associate German wines with the country's famous Rieslings. However, Germany has quietly developed a thriving red wine industry, especially for Pinot Noir, as documented by Will Lyons, in this piece in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.

Lyons cited statistics from the German Wine Institute, which place the total acreage of Pinot Noir in Germany at approximately 29,049 acres. These figures make Germany the the third-largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world, trailing only France and the United States. Perhaps the reason that so many consumers are unable to associate Germany with red wine and Pinot Noir is that the country only had 4544 acres of Pinot Noir in 1964, meaning that Germany has experienced a 539% increase in its Pinot Noir acreage in the last 48 years.

Click to read more ...

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 9 Next 5 Entries ยป