This is a list of just some of the wine-related things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Feel free to leave comments about the things you are thankful for this year!
The 2007 Harvest. Just like the local winemakers who can't stop
talking about the healthy, ripe fruit they've been given to work with
and the local wine lovers who will enjoy the result of that work, I
too am thankful for the 2007 season. It promises to be one of the best
vintages ever. That means I'll have plenty to write about for years
Small Producers. I'm thankful for the tiny, family-run wineries that may only make a few hundred cases each year. Their intrepid energy is inspiring and their wines can be as well. I'm talking about places like Medolla Vineyards, Scarola Vineyards, Diliberto Winery and Waters Crest Winery. Thank you for keeping the family in family wineries.
Eric Fry. The merlots Fry crafts at Lenz Winery have matched First Growth Bordeaux in blind tastings, but I'm thankful for the sparkling wines he makes for Lenz as well as for Lieb Cellars and The Old Field. Bubbly is great any time of year, but they seem to find their way into our glasses more this time of year. Cheers!
The Experimenters. Of course wine is a traditional product, but it's always great to see innovative and new ideas applied to it. Like Paumanok bottling some of their 2007 vintage under screwcap closures. Martha Clara Vineyards making their first Syrah-Viognier blend in the tradition of the Cote-Rotie region of France. Palmer Vineyards creating a chardonnay meant to pair specifically with Pipes Cove Oysters. And, of course all of the unique, interesting blends and techniques being employed by Chris Tracy down at Channing Daughters Winery.
Grapes of Roth. Winemaker Roman Roth's private label has already given us one of the region's best merlots. But, the German-born winemaker will add a riesling to the portfolio this spring. It's a wine I'm very much looking forward to.
Local Cabernet Franc.
Merlot still gets much of the press in these parts — and deservedly
so. But I'm absolutely and hopelessly hooked on local cabernet franc.
The best ones bring together fruit, earth and herbs — all with just
enough structure. Look for varietal bottlings by Raphael, Pellegrini
Vineyards, Opsrey's Dominion and Wolffer Estate. The cab franc-heavy
blends from Roanoke Vineyards show the grape off well too.
My Readers. Over the past year or so, I've had the opportunity to meet more of you than ever before. It's always great to meet people who are as passionate about wine (local or otherwise) as I am and I hope to meet many more of you in the coming year.