A friend and reader sent this to me this morning. He's a Virginia resident and is on many winery email lists down in that neck of the woods:
Last week/weekend (July 19-23), I took the Acela train up to New York to visit my daughter. On Saturday evening, my friends all drove up to join us for a trip out onto Long Island. I'm embarrassed to say that after all these years I had never visited this other notable East Coast wine region, and we were all excited about visiting and tasting their wines. I envisioned tasting high-quality wines that I thought would be real competition to those from our region.
Well, not to worry, 'cause they've got nothin' on us! I was absolutely surprised that the quality wasn't higher. Many of their wines were overly lean, too thin - lacking body and elegance. Some were just downright mouth-puckering, face-scrunching acidic. Certainly, there was some high-quality, delicious offerings, but frankly, they were the exceptions. Over the years, I had seen many listings in consumer wine publications for Long Island wines and I guess I just assumed that their quality warranted the exposure they received in the press. But that's not the case. Not that they shouldn't be reported on, of course, but what is confusing, I think, is why Virginia is not reported on more frequently and extensively. The fact is that the press is just in the dark about what's happening in Virginia. We're producing many wines of great character, intensity and elegance from those varieties that we can ripen properly here.
They say the tipping point for Virginia wines is near. After my visit to Long Island, I can't help but think that, indeed, we're on the right track and it's only a matter of time.
(Note: Both my friend and I made some edits to protect the somewhat-innocent)
Now, my experience with Virginia wines isn't vast. I've had some very nice viognier and cabernet franc...and even an amazing petit verdot. Beyond that, I just don't have much experience with the wines....and that's why you'll never see me making generalized, blanket statements about Virginia wines.
The fact that this VA winery owner feels the need to bash Long Island wines to promote his own doesn't make me mad, not at all. In fact, it just saddens me. I've been covering Long Island wine for over three years now, and I've never once heard anyone in the industry bash Virginia or its wines. That this winery owner would bash another East Coast region is pathetic and I wonder just how many Long Island wines he tasted in his trip here.
Is every Long Island wine delicious and world class? Heck no. But it's completely unfair, and a bit whiny, to say what he did. If he sees this post, I hope that he'll send me his wines, which I'll taste blind against the same varietals from Long Island. Could be a fun exercise.