This is what our editors are drinking right now:
There is a lot of cabernet franc grown and made in Virginia, so you'd think I'd come back from my trip with a long list of killer wines.
Not so, at least not when it comes to the cabernet franc I tasted.
Sadly, it seems as though the prevailing style is to oak and manipulate the "green" out. Too many tasted like lighter cabernet sauvignon, or at least didn't display any of the vegetal/herbacious edge that defines cabernet franc.
This Windham Winery 2004 Cabernet Franc (the winery is now known as Doukenie Winery) had that edge and was easily my favorite Virginia cab franc. It showed just-ripe fruit with "green" that was more herbal and roasted jalapeno than bell pepper, with nice spice, balance and restrained oak.
We (me and the VA wine mafia) tasted probably 25 wines from a wide array of states that night -- Utah, Colorado, Virginia, Hawaii, Maryland, North Carolina, and New York -- and this was far and away my favorite non-Long Island red wine.
How cool to see these wines on the list at Solera Wine Bar in Rochester. Solera, which offers a vertical of Hermann J. Wiemer Riesling dating back to 2001 (with even the 1990 available by the bottle!), carries a diverse and ponderous list.
We'll feature their thoughtful New York wine selections on the Cork Report soon, but for now, a note on these older German rieslings.
These are not wines of soaring price or pedigree, and if you look up their scores in the past, you'll find that they're considered solid but certainly not spectacular. But add two decades, and what do you get?
I can't imagine anyone arguing that these rieslings are anything but much, much more complex and enjoyable in this mature stage.
From the burst of still-fresh acidity to the rich, creamy finale, there is so much to love about mature riesling. Are you laying bottles down yet? I truly hope that the world does not experience complete annihilation over the next two decades, because I can't wait to see where the best Finger Lakes rieslings go.
Bryan Calandrelli: Ithaca Brewing Company Ground Break Ale
Since I'm still a sucker for seasonal beer I picked up Ithaca Brewing Co.'s Ground Break Ale last week. The package describes it as an American-Style Saison.
If you know my beer habits than you'd know that I appreciate the farmhouse ale as my session beer of choice.
Golden yellow with some noticeable turbidity, it showed aromas of citrus, spice, yeast and pine. I'm not sure if it's the marketing or my aroma associations but the nose was simply spring-like.
Overall good stuff from Ithaca Brewing although it isn't something I'd drink all year long but I'll probably have to pick up a few more before the season ends.