Evan Dawson: Long Island Wines
This is the natural time to reflect on the calendar year. My wife's parents make their first journey to Long Island wine country and for Christmas we enjoyed the wines they discovered.
Long Island's sparkling wines are similar to the best Finger Lakes sparkling wines: solid, impressive, under-appreciated.
We paired the Paumanok 2009 Sauvignon Blanc with shellfish and, even in the dead of winter, the pairing sang a near-perfect harmony.
Wines from Hermann J. Wiemer offered a nice counter-balance. The evening concluded with a pile of emptied bottles, including some from Peconic Bay, Shinn, Roanoke, Paumanok, and Wiemer. It was a very New York wine Christmas, and with the entire state to choose from, nothing was lacking.
When we head up to the small country town of Schoharie, NY to visit my in-laws for the holidays, multiple cases of (largely NY) wine come with us.
Over the course of a four-day visit, we went through quite a few wines (some pictured here) and we did well this year -- most of the wines were good or better.
Highlights included array of 2009 rieslings from Lamoreaux Landing, a smooth, supple Bordeaux-style blend from Swedish Hill, a high-end Italian blend of merlot and sangiovese (Luce 2007) that is obviously well-made though not in my wheelhouse, and some great value bubbly from South Africa.
Mostly, I was reminded once again of the extreme variety and versatility of New York wines. There really is a New York wine for every occasion or meal. I think we get caught up in "signature" grapes, but maybe New York's diversity is just as exciting.
Christmas dinner featured a South African Syrah/Mourvedre blend and this Friulian merlot this year.
I’d had the 2002 vintage of Conte Brandolini d'Adda Vistorta in the past so I generally knew that it would go well with the bracciole we were having that night.
It had a truly seductive nose of dark plum, chocolate and toasty oak. While elegant on the nose, it was anything but graceful on the palate with abrasive tannins and more acid than I usually associate with merlot.
After half a glass I began to wonder if all the rich foods I’d had had ruined me for wine.
In hindsight this was not a wine to open up halfway through dinner. It needed decanting and maybe another 24 hours to mellow out. It had all the aroma elements I was hoping for but it was still way to aggressive for the plate of rich food in front of me.