By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
The May shipment of the Empire State Cellars Wine Club won't ship for a few weeks, but from now on, we're going to announce the selecitons at least a few weeks beforehand. That way, if you're not already a member but want the wines, you'll have time to join!
If you're not familiar with the club, you can learn more here.
Channing Daughters Winery 2010 Scuttlhole Chardonnay: I prefer my chardonnay unadorned and clean -- usually the less oak the better. Winemaker Chris Tracy makes an array of chardonnays, but this one is my favorites -- all steel with ample fruit, a minerally vein and juicy acidity.
Medolla Vineyards 2007 Merlot: You may not know this one-wine winery, but Medolla is a name to know when it comes to value merlot on Long Island. Pure and expressive, this merlot is ripe, but not too ripe, showing restrained oak and good length with gently grippy tannins.
"Getting to Know New York" Wines
Lieb Family Cellars 2010 10th Anniversary Pinot Blanc: Complex with layers of almond, white pepper and candied orange peel sprinkled over juicy pears, this wine -- made for the first time to celebrate the winery's 10th anniversary -- balances richness with juicy acidity, resulting in a beautiful mouthfeel.
Lenz Winery 2007 Estate Selection Merlot: Eric Fry's winemaking is decidedly low-tech, and that hands-off approach lets this wine shine. Plump and juicy -- with little noticeable oak -- this is a wine that over-delivers with it's aromas and of red and black cherry, plums and a bit of blueberry compote.
"New York Wine Trail" Wines
Paumanok Vineyards 2011 Chenin Blanc: The Massoud family has a cult following for this wine, one that expresses vintage variation as much as any on Long Island. While the 2010 was rich with sweet tropical fruit, this edition is more citrusy and saline with hints of melon. Local oysters dream about this wine.
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Syrah: Think Rhone rather than Australia with this wine from Niagara. Though young -- an hour or two in a decanter, or a few years in your cellar wouldn't hurt -- it shows beautiful, rich fruit, peppery spice and the kind of heft you want to heartier meals.
Anthony Road Wine Company 2009 Martini-Reinhardt Selection Riesling: Really only available in the Anthony Road tasting room, we were able to procure a small parcel of this pure, complex and lengthy riesling that is absolutely delicious today but will reward those patient enough to cellar it. Simply stunning.
The Grapes of Roth 2005 Merlot: Veteran winemaker Roman Roth's personal label built its reputation on merlot. This elegant, nuanced merlot comes from Sam McCullough's vineyard and features cherry, licorice, tobacco, subtle dried herbs and graphite aromas and flavors. Again -- you can drink it today or park it in your cellar.
If you haven't signed up for the club yet, fear not. You can still get in on this first shipment. Email Katherine Jaeger, Manager of Wine Clubs, at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will take good care of you. And remember, you can customize your club to include just red or whites wines too if you'd like.