The Wine Undertaker
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Summer has been in full effect for the last month or so. The triple H’s are on the island. And here at Notrog Cellars that means that we better have enough sauvignon blanc to wet our whistle while we relax in our back yard.
2011 was a tough year for some whites here on long island, it was even tougher for some reds. The lack of interesting and delicious white wines from our neck of the woods may be the number one reason I shifted my attention to beer.
The 2012 vintage for white wines, seems to be off to a great start from what I read and from the few I have tasted recently. One sauvignon blanc that is going to be in rotation here is Shinn Estate Vineyards 2012 First Fruit ($23).
The nose bring aromas of grapefruit, citrus, tropical fruit, pear minerality and a hint of fresh-cut herbs. The palate offers hits of gooseberry, citrus and salinity. Packed with acidity, this clean, balance and refreshing white wine is one that will go nicely with some grilled fish or chicken.
Make sure you serve this just off chill to bring out more of its fresh deliciousness.
New York Cork Reports “Drink New York Dinner” featuring Arrowhead Spring Winery Dinner at the Riverhead Project Thursday, July 11th at 7pm
As you know, I joined the team at the New York Cork Report about a month ago. Part of the reason I was brought on was to help the Cork Report cover more of Long Island. To bring you the stories you may not have know about or an interesting view into an event.
Another reason I joined the NYRC was to help out with organization of events the Cork Report was working on or planning. This was the one aspect of the job i was looking forward to. No sooner that I came on board I rolled up my sleeves and began working on a wine dinner with one of the Niagara Escarpment premier wineries, Arrowhead Spring Winery in Lockport, NY.
Run by the husband and wife team of Robin Ross, who runs the vineyard and Duncan Ross who is the winemaker, year in and year out the produce some of the more interesting and delicious wines from the Niagara Escarpment.
When Lenn Thompson, editor and publisher of the NYCR, Lia Fallon, executive chef at the Riverhead Project and I sat down to taste the Arrowhead Spring wines and brainstorm a menu, it kinda came together quickly and it was hard to leave a wine out of the mix. With that being said, I think that Lia has come up with a spectacular dinner and one that with entice the taste buds and satisfy your palate and hunger. In fact, it may want you to beg for seconds.
The real thrill of the evening will not only be the menu, which is below, but the fact that Robin and Duncan will be on had to talk about the wines and answer any questions you may have. Reservations must be made with tRP by calling 631-284-9300 and letting them know you want a seat at the New York Cork Report Dinner on July 11th with Arrowhead Spring Winery. If you made earlier reservation at another restaurant, please cancel them and make your reservation with the Riverhead Project. Really sorry for that inconvenience.
So until then, I can tease you with this menu. You really don’t want to miss out on this dinner. Go make reservation now, if you have not done so already at the Riverhead Project. Seriously — Pinot Noir and Syrah from NYS along with a Raw Bar, Frogs Legs Pork Belly and Lamb Loin — how can you say no.
Shrimp Cocktail, Clams and Oysters on the Half Shell, Calamari Salad
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 “Naked” Chardonnay
Lemon oil, grapefruit, blue cheese, oatmeal crumbs
Caramelized Frog Legs
Thai Chili Sauce, Kaffir Lime and Ginger Jus, Coconut Foam
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Reserve Chardonnay
Smoked Berkshire Pork Belly
Creamy Polenta, Crispy Leeks and Sweet Potatoes
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir
Tri-color Quinoa, Roasted Cherries, Catapano Dairy Farm Feta
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Syrah
Bacon and Honey-Glazed Doughnut Holes
Maple-Black Pepper Whipped Cream
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2008 Meritage Reserve
$85 per person. Plus NYS Tax and 20% Gratuity
A beer review on Undertaking Wine?! What the heck is going on here!
Yes, this is not a mistake. This is a review of a bottle of beer that is no ordinary bottle of beer. Southampton Pulick House Imperial Russian Stout bottle offerings every year snatch up and disappear sometimes before we get a chance to look for Easter Eggs.
This bottle was given to me by Lenn Thompson of the New York Cork Report shortly after he moved the world headquarters to Miller Place. Lenn and those of you who know me, know I am a huge stout fan. I can’t get enough stouts. Yes even in the summer with a grilled rib eye. Though, once the cooler temperatures arrive, Stout Lane is where you will find me living. When Lenn gave me this bottle he gave to me with a condition attached. Write about it.
I don’t write about beer. I am a beer geek, but what the heck do I know about beer writing (you could say the same about my wine writing too).
Well, I finally opened the bottle and here is what I discovered. That I really like stouts and in the future, I need to buy some and cellar these Imperial Russian Stouts.
I held on to this bottle and decided to open it and share it with my family over Easter Dinner. Every Easter we gather above the funeral home in Medford and share in our traditional sauerbraten and potato ball feast. Not your traditional Easter Dinner for sure, but we’re not traditional. I figured this bottle would go nicely with dinner.
The nose was malty for sure flavors of roasted malt, coffee and dark caramel dominated with hints of cocoa powder and brown sugar.
THe palate brought more to the table so to speak with notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, black cherry and candied fruits. Candied Ginger appeared as it warmed a bit with a interesting dried citrus note.
The finish was try and tasty with toffee and roasted nuts.
I think this was starting to come together, the hops mellowed, but were there. The malt was taking center stage. I would have loved to have tried this in it’s youth and defiantly try again a few years down the line.
Thanks Lenn, for giving me this bottle. Thanks Southampton Publick House for making sure I secure some bottles in the future!
If you wanted to find out more about the current 2013 release, read it over on the New York Cork Report.
- 20 most coveted craft beer releases (matadornetwork.com)
- What’s a Stout? What’s a Porter? What’s the Difference? (thisiswhyimdrunk.wordpress.com)
In case you missed it a couple of weeks ago, I have joined the great team over at the New York Cork Report as a correspondent. This has been a bit of a dream come true for a locavore, NYS wine lover like me.
When I started to get into wine more seriously and look to the vineyards out east, Lenndevours was one of the first tools I used in my study. For those of you not in the know, Lenndevours used to be the New York Cork Report.
There was not a day that went by where I did not eat lunch, have a cup of coffee or sip on a glass of wine while reading the NYCR. In fact, when I ventured into this blogging life, the NYCR was an inspiration. And it still is today.
What will I be bringing to the NYCR? The inspiration I have for the NYCR will hopefully turn into energy to help organize and get some activities and events off the ground and be successful. I will be doing some reporting and story coverage out east as well. I am ready to hit the ground running for Lenn and the rest of the awesome team he has assembled. We have already started talking about some things and I am very excited to be a correspondent for the NYCR.
UndertakingWine.Com will not vanish into the blogosphere, as some may have think it already did. I will still do my reviews on what is open on my table for dinner. I will still let you know when things are going on that I may be at and I hope to bring you more stories, as I always strive to do, but fail miserably.
I am super excited to get to work on many things for the NYCR and I hope to continue to make the NYCR as the go to place for news and info on NYS wine.
It’s been awhile since a post appeared here.
I’ve said time and time again some of the things that hindered me from blogging, I’m not going to rehash them and remind you of my outside influences. Boring.
Tonight is my last night in Mexico. I have been here on an eight day vacation. With the lack of good beer and wine, I am eager to return and get my hands on the keyboard and let you know what thoughts and tastes are running around my mind.
Stay tuned and right after Memorial Day, you should see more frequent posts.
Imagine if Long Island wine region had rules and regulations like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Loire or Mosel. A project like this would not happen. The DOCG would not let this happen. We are kind of lucky we are on Long Island and we are lucky to have these guys here.
Regan and Carey Meador, owners and of one of the newest vineyards on Long Island, SOuthold Farm + Cellar have started and at the time of this writing have completed their Kickstarter campaign. They want us, you and me, to help bring Weird Grapes to the North Fork.
You won’t see chardonnay on their land. You won’t see merlot either. And I probably won’t see cabernet franc either wich is a real bummer. But you will see some legrein, goldmuskateller and syrah — for starters.
What The Meador’s are asking for is for you tho help them plant one acre of teroldego.
HUH? What’s teroldego, well it’s a wierd grape. You can find more about it from New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov.
The money they raise will not only go to plant some teroldego, according to their Kickstarter page:
But helping us raise this money is about more than just Teroldego… it’s about…
– helping a fledgling start up.
– fostering even more diversity in the wine world.
– planting the first of a variety ever on the North Fork and bringing more Weird Grapes to the North Fork of Long Island.
– joining our Planter’s Club. Some wineries have wine clubs and someday we will too, but our Planter’s Club will always be a special group of people to us. Perks abound, first access to our estate wines and no monthly purchase will be required.
Again our plan is to plant two acres of this varietal come spring 2013. Normally that would cost upwards of $30,000, so we wanted to put it out to our friends, family, the greater wine and Kickstarter worlds to help us raise $15,000 to help get one acre of these suckers into the ground, but we have to hit our goal and deeply need your help!
Imagine they reach $30,000 with this campaign they only need about $6000 more. That would be weird and cool all at the same time. The fact that something like this can happen here, in America, on Long Island makes this a worthy thing to consider. I contributed, I hope you do to.
- weird grapes, good wine, medium money (grapefriend.com)
- Former Agency Guy Wants To Bring ‘Weird’ Grapes To Long Island (psfk.com)
- weird grapes, good wine, medium money (salentoallseasons.wordpress.com)
- weird grapes, good wine, medium money (itastespain.com)
I am the only one in this house who drinks rose. My wife is just not a fan and has said time and time again, “what’s the point”. We argue over it, and it leads me to drink the bottle myself — not that there’s a problem with that.
I enjoy my rose dry. Bone dry. Don’t offer me anything with a hint of residual sugar. Not going to touch it. I prefer my rose to have a bit of a tannin bite with big bright acidity. I love rose with roasted chicken or even better at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead is one of the few Long Island producers that release 4 Rose wines. One sparkling and three still. This rose that I tasted was and is the driest of all. And quite frankly it was delicious.
Martha Clara Vineyards 2010 “Five-O” Rose, ($18) a blend of 49% Merlot, 38% Syrah, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot. The wine shows a nose of Strawberry, ripe berries, black pepper, fresh herbs and a distinctive fresh-baked rhubarb pie note.
The palate showed cranberry, raspberry strawberry and spice with more fresh herb. As it warmed up to room temperature, a note of watermelon and mint appeared.
Fresh acidity and ripe tannins made this wine delicious, mouth-watering and perfect with food. There was a hint of effervescence to the wine which I enjoyed.
There may not be much of this left, it is from 2010 and some vineyards are ready to release some of their 2012, if they have not already. But if you find some, it will ease you out of your wintry blues soon and make you think spring.
Sláinte!*I received this bottle as a sample from the vineyard
This is not Paumanok Vineyards current Festival Red release, they are currently offering the 2011. Never the less, this is intended to be had young, and boy was this young.
Paumanok Vineyards 2010 Festival Red ($22) (Sold Out) captures the essence of the great 2010 vintage. A blend of 42% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot it never lets down and shows all varieties mingled together in one glass.
The nose brings cherry, plum, ripe sweet red fruits, herb, and a bit of the 2010 heat at first open. 24 hours later the aroma’s are more concentrated with hints of savory herbs showing.
On the palate you are presented with the same notes as the nose brought but with time open, you can pick up more exotic spice and more cherry then berry notes.
Bright and clean with some gripy tannins. It carried a lengthy finish with hints of dark cherry, plum and tobacco. There was a hint of dried flowers on day 2.
My palate enjoys a cabernet sauvignon in a blend much more than the varietal offering from most east end vineyards. Probably because the other varieties that are blended with it, like merlot or cabernet franc, do ripen.
That being said, I will still taste and experiment with cabernet sauvignon. And that’s exactly what I did with Martha Clara Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($29). Martha Clara Vineyards does not produce a cabernet sauvignon in every vintage, in fact the last time they did was in 2007.
The palate brings notes of blackberry, cassis, tobacco, leather, tar and grilled figs
More cassis or currant leads the way with blackberry, black cherry, vanilla tobacco, bay leaf and toasted spices.
Chewy tannins and bright acidity round out the finish of cassis and chocolate.
If you have not noticed, Martha Clara Vineyards changed their wine labels. I really like the new look. Classy and now you know what your drinking and where it’s from and who produces it. With the old labels, that was lost.
Sláinte!*I received this bottle as a sample from the vineyard
The goal of any winemaker or at least what I think a winemaker tries to do with grapes brought in from the vineyard is a simple one; Capture the essence of the vintage in the bottle. When you taste a wine you want to be supplanted back in time to that vintage when you are about to harvest grapes and make wine from them.
Sure, other elements come into play thanks to the aging of the wine, but really, if I were a winemaker, I would want to bring people back to that vintage with as little outside influence as possible. When I say outside influence, I am talking about oak influence.
Medolla Vineyards 2007 Merlot ($22) captures the 2007 vintage in the purist of forms. In my opinion this is one of the best bottles from the 2007 from the North Fork especially for this price. I remember visiting and hanging out at harvest time and alot of Merlot grapes that were just picked tasted just like this.
The nose brings ripe notes of plum, cherry, raspberry and blackberry. Juicy fruit with hints of smoke, vanilla, clove, dried herb and earth mushroom like notes.
The palate brings more plum, blackberry, cherry, grilled fig and espresso. Dried savory herbs, cocoa and sweet vanilla round out the palate.
Great acidity with velvety tannins make this a wine that goes perfectly with food. The wine finishes up with a lengthy finish of cherry and clove.
2007 was one of the best vintages of Long Island and this represents it well. It take me back to 2007 as if I just picked a few Merlot grapes off the vine. John Medolla with the help of Eric Fry have made one fine Merlot that captures the vintage well. At the price of $22, this is bargain and has tremendous value.
There is no question that merlot is king on the North Fork. All vineyards have a percentage of their land with it planted. Year after year it shows very well.
In 2009, the weather was not as hot as say 2007, 2010 or more recently 2012, but the year was long and warm steady dry temperatures and conditions allowed vineyards to hang fruit into November to make up for some not so pleasant mid summer growing days.
Shinn Estate Vineyards 2009 Estate Merlot ($27) is their entry-level merlot. Their reserve merlot is called Nine Barrels. This is Shinn Estate Vineyards, everyday merlot that is delicious with a roast chicken or just as nice with a group of friends and some good conversation.
Aromas of blackberry, plum, black pepper and subtle herb dominate the nose. Hints of ripe fresh sweet berry fruit mingle in the background as well. after some time in the glass exotic spice, meaty, Unami flavors like mushroom and hints of fresh earth appear along with some sweet vanilla and cigar box cedar.
The palate shows more ripe fruit flavors like plum, blackberry, dark berry fruit and black cherry. Great chewy tannins and delicious mouth-watering acidity brighten the palate. bright. Flavors of spice, clove, cardamom, whole peppercorns, smoke, and fresh espresso round out the back-end of the palate. Subtle hints of bay leaf and tobacco appear.
The finish which is lengthy, brings flavors of cherry, vanilla and savory herb.
A solid wine that despite the price just shy of $30, it does over-deliver.
In case you have been living under a rock or not on Facebook or twitter or do not have access to network television or even daily news papers, Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue will have the honor of having its 2009 Merlot poured at the Inauguration Luncheon. A great honor for Bedell Cellars, Long Island Wine Country, North Fork Merlot and anyone who had a hand in making this wine, past and present.
I was not going to review this, I figured it would be hard to come by. I also figured with all the media surrounding this, why write about it. However, with my recent visit to Empire State Cellars, they just got a shipment in of it so I figured, why not. I wanted to see if this was indeed presidential.
Bedell Cellars 2009 Merlot ($30), now sold out at the winery, comes from some of the oldest vines on Long Island.
The nose brings aromas of cherry, raspberry and dried herb with notes of fresh soil, spice, cedar and subtle vanilla .
The palate brought more to the plate. Cherry, raspberry plum and vanilla intermingle with each other. The flavors were ripe, juicy red berries. Nice acidity and good tannins gave some good structure.
It had a lengthy finish of plum and spice. It did show some heat at the start of the finish.
I had really hoped I would not get caught up in this whirlwind, but I could not resist. Today this will be served at the White House during the Inaugural Luncheon. Was this wine presidential? Who am I to say. What I do say and I do hope is that both sides of the aisle can agree that Long Island is making some fine wine these days.
- FOX-TV Covers Bedell Cellars at Innaugural Lunch (eastcoastwineries.blogspot.com)
- Suffolk Times: Bedell is on Obama’s Innaugural Table (eastcoastwineries.blogspot.com)
- Long Island Wine Chosen For Lunch At Obama’s Second Inauguration (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- inaugural wines spur a white house beatdown (grapefriend.com)
It’s what I need.
It has been almost four months since I posted something to this blog. A real shame. Not only for me and for those that follow my writings, but for the region and hobby I love.
I could go on and on about what caused this lack of postings, but the fact that there is only 24 hours in a day, really limit the ability for me to get something up. Fatherhood, husband-hood, community involvement, work and the loss of my Grandmother have all affected this blog.
So what I am about to embark on here is a new way of posting and writing.
I used to write posts after tasting a wine over the course of 3 days; if the bottle lasted that long. Now, I might just post the next morning. After 3 days, I may have lost interest in talking about the wine. I am going to be more relevant to actually what I am drinking that day, that moment.
Why? I have used Untappd, a beer world app, where you post your thoughts immediately upon what is in your glass. There is not much time to ponder, not much time to think about what you are tasting. You share it with the world that moment. It has been more useful and less time-consuming. Quick, short, posts about what you are enjoying or not enjoying. I want to bring that to you.
Another issue I have wrestled with is my writing, spelling and flow of the posts I write. I am not a professional writer. I have no writing training or ability. I am a horrible speller and fail at grammar and punctuation Those things have always plagued me. I have always worried about them in every post. There are times that I spend hours editing something that I lose interest in it and it never gets posted. I’m not going to worry about that anymore. It is what it is.
I have also worried about being a cheerleader for my region. It’s an easy thing to do. While I am comfortable at being one, I am also uncomfortable about being one. If that makes sense. Bottom line is this, I never want to be called a critic and I never want to speak badly of one, but because of that, I have had some issues. I always look for the positive in things and the glass is always half full. Going forward, I am going to tell you what I am tasting, and that is basically all I want to do. In the past, I have used my rule: if I did not like it, I won’t post it. I only posted the wines I like in the past. You would be hard to find a negative post here. If I like it, I will tell you, if I don’t I will tell you. It’s just that simple.
And lastly, I want to tell you about me. How I came to this, what I enjoy and what I feel and think about the North and South Forks. That is something missing from here. It’s not as personable as I would like it to be. While you won’t exactly know if I wear boxers or briefs I think you will get to know how cabernet franc evolved in my wine world.
So here is my clean slate. We all need this. We all need to restructure, review and look at what we do. I took a step back and thought about it. I hope you enjoy what will be coming out in the future.
2008 marks the last vintage of Roanoke Vineyards Blend One and Blend 2 series. Starting with the 2009 vintage and moving forward you will find one main blend or prime blend now know as Prime Number.
Blend 2 is known as the Cabernet Franc dominated blend while Blend One is the Cabernet Sauvignon based blend. I have always liked Blend 2 more, mainly because I am a Cabernet Franc fan. However, I thank that Blend One represents Roanoke Vineyards well and gives people who are not familiar with Roanoke, an insiders look to what you will find in the offerings from Roanoke Vineyards.
At Roanoke, they love their blends. Heck, they are one of a handful, if not the only Long Island vineyard that has two releases of their Cabernet Franc and the only one on Long Island who have a single vineyard Cabernet Franc release Gabby’s and the standard.
Roanoke Vineyards 2008 Blend One ($43) is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, this according to Roanoke’s Blend Tech on their website.
The nose brings elements of ripe blackberry, cherry, plum and Cassis. Hints of earth, sweet vanilla, clove and ground spices, tobacco. Notes of cocoa and dried herbs linger as the wine opens up after some time in the glass.
The palate brought more of the fruit notes that I found in the glass but blackberry and Cassis dominated. Bramble notes with hints of cinnamon coriander nutmeg earth and vanilla mingled on the palate with some dried bay leaf and thyme.
Well balance with bright clean acidity and smooth tannins. The finish brought some bramble like flavors with ground spices and dried herbs.
2008 was not a banner year on Long Island, but as I have been told and I will now tell you, seek out wines from top producers from down years, you can’t go wrong.