Last weekend, we tasted some great wines -- during the tasting and otherwise. Here is just a sampling of what we were drinking.
Last weekend was filled with amazing wine. From the current New York State releases to library selections that our hosts so generously opened for us, the number of memorable wines we tasted was epic.
Even in that lineup of eye opening New York wine, it’s a non-local wine that I will probably be seeking out sooner than later thanks to writer and Greek wine enthusiast, Markus Stolz.
Made from the indigenous Greek grape of Xynomavro, this Ramnista laid down and spooned the tannin lover in me.
Tasting blind I would have guessed it was a Nebbiolo blend and I wouldn’t have been close. This red fruit- and black pepper-forward wine was bright and fruity on the nose and relentlessly chalky and tannic on the palate. When I say tannic, I don’t mean clumsy or grainy tannins, I mean fine and dusty.
I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this grape before last weekend I foresee more in my glass in the near future.
The easiest mistake I could make would be to bestow some insulting title on this Greek white, which is a blend of Assyrtiko and Robola.
The Greek riesling? See, that's reductive and silly.
No, this is simply an excellent wine. I have nowhere near enough experience with Assyrtiko to declare whether this is classic and traditional, and this is the first Robola blend I've tasted.
Clean and cutting, this wine saw no oak (those Greeks are on to something...) and presents itself with a panoply of interesting flavors that fit no predetermined box or matrix. Lime? Sure, that works. Grapeseed oil? Perhaps. Orange blossom? Olive? All possibilities.
I picked up another bottle at Astor Wines in New York City, along with a Xinomavro. I'm told there are 800 wine producers in Greece; I have a long way to go, it seems. But if even a few of them look like Mercouri, well, I'll have to keep exploring in the manner of personal visits.
Lenn Thompson: Paumanok Vineyards 1993 Late Harvest Chenin Blanc
We tasted so many interesting wines last weekend, that it was difficult to choose just one for WWD. Luckily, my colleagues wrote about the two Greek wines that stood out, so I'm going with this older late harvest wine from Paumanok.
In a vacuum, it would still be delicious -- bringing honeyed, dried apricot, dried pineapple and orange marmalade flavors and then sweetness that coats the palate before being scrubbed away by and surprisingly still-fresh acidity.
But, we didn't taste this rare bottle in a vacuum, no no no.
Instead we were lucky enough to taste it just moments after co-founder Charles Massoud and his son, now-winemaker Kareem Massoud, told us how, when and where they discovered that botrytisized wines were possible on the North Fork.
That just elevated the experience to a new plateau of deliciousness. And a day after we tasted a slew of wines blind, it was great to get back to tasting wine the way we normally do -- with context.
I had the pleasure of meeting NYCR Cheese Editor Aaron Estes over our Wines of the Year weekend, and I learned quickly that I had met a fellow beer geek. He brought an exciting array of hard-to-find craft brews including an impressive lineup from this Kansas City brewery. I had never tasted Boulevard beer and I was most pumped for this expression of one of my favorite styles.
It did not disappoint.
Gorgeously acidic but nowhere near over-the-top, with lush florals and tropical notes and a controlled hint of Brett sour-earth funk, the full and complex palate led to a superb hop explosion in the finish.
It was badass enough to command my full attention but drinkable enough to sip during the Steelers game with ease. Versatile yet sexy, it went sublimely with the cheeses Aaron brought, especially a triple cream sheep's milk cheese.
If I ever see anything from Boulevard on store shelves during my travels I'll definitely be snatching it up after experiencing this beauty.