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April 13, 2009


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Excellent interview! I love Lakewood wine.

Yo I think someone should write a book about the Taylor Wine Co., they seem to pop up everywhere when one looks into the history of the New York wine industry.


Be patient. I'm on it.

Word on the street is that Gewurztraminer makes your hair fall out. See pic to confirm.

Peter - If that's true, than may we all go balder than a cue ball.


You know that I used to produce Gewurztraminer--and you also know what my hair looks like. I rest my case.

If Chris wants to strike at the wine/chocolate pairing maybe he should talk to that guy at the NYW&GF.
The porterhouse with avocado sauce + Cab Franc sounds incredible. Thanks, Chris.


I felt the same in reading Chris' dismissal of wine / chocolate. Is his opinion shared by most people in the industry? And if it is, how did we get to the point where so many wineries pair wine with chocolate?

I have to say, though, that he and I disagree on this one.

The best thing about winemakers is that they have no opinions and they are shy about expressing them when they do have opinions. Right?

Chris thinks Gewurztraminer can be done and done well in the FLakes. I do, too. Ask the same question of Morten at Ravines.

Chris cannot fathom dry red wine with chocolate. I can. Maybe that's because I've tasted many that didn't work, but also a number of them that did. In fact, I particularly remember a 1999 Paulliac (Fonbadet) that, with a 95% cacao, was a wonderful experience. I stand condemned.

Actually, I've had a few bramble-like Zinfandels with a raspberry quality that seems to have been intended for wrapping in chocolate.

Then again, I remember in my first year in the Finger Lakes wine business. I had a visitor to my tasting room tell me that she drank only Riesling wine--no other.

I asked her if she ate beef. She said she did. Then I asked her which wine she drinks with steak. Riesling was her answer. When I tried to discuss it with her I realized that it was futile for me to go on. No accounting for taste.

I'm with Chris on this one. I have never had a chocolate-wine pairing that I thought did what a "great pairing" is supposed to do -- elevate both.

I've had wines that didn't get in the way of the chocolate, or vice versa but the combination has never been anything special.

I'm not big on dessert wine with dessert either (even a late harvest chard with an apple tart). I like my dessert wine FOR dessert, or with strong cheese.

Oh and Evan, I think wineries et al promote "Wine with Chocolate" events because they do draw people.

Americans love chocolate.

Maybe "wine with Big Macs" is next?


Are you saying that Morten Hallgren believes that Gewurztraminer can not be done well in the Finger Lakes? I'd have to hear that with my own ears.


To paraphrase: Morten told me that he doesn't believe the variety can be consistently successful here.


I agree with you about (most) dessert wines. Still, try Banyuls or Maury with chocolate and get back to me...

In my view, people who eat chocolate-covered candy should have little trouble understanding certain fruity wine and chocolate pairings, but it always has to do with the individual pairing.

To me, to condemn a pairing of all red wine with chocolate is as ridiculous as condemning all Cabernet Sauvignon because you taste one or two that you didn't like.

Absolutism is problematic in wine and food discussions.

Although, I can say with absolute certainty ;) that since milk chocolate isn't tasty on its own--wine won't help it any.

Thomas: I'm shocked to hear Morten say that. I think there are plenty of winemakers who would disagree with that assertion.

As to chocolate-wine, you're right. It's not good to make broad generalizations (and I'm prone to making them on occasion). But as we've already covered, we all have our own tastes and preferences.

I've tried the Banyuls but not the Maury pairing.

And yes, milk chocolate is a hopeless endeavor.


Being the meek fellow that I am, i didn't argue with Morten--just told him that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Seriously, he has a point, but not exactly one that I agree with. In fact, if his point is true for Gewurztraminer, it would have to be considered true for some other vinifera varieties in the region as well, some that he works with, too.

Not being a 100% varietal purist, in some years, I added up to 10% of other, acidic, varieties to help out.

Having said that, Gewurztraminer is a challenge. It's fickle against temperature swings and it's got a relatively quick window of maturity, which is always problematic in an erratic climate like this one. Sometimes, the pH on those things coming into the winery is scary and the acidity is on vacation. But there are ways to help matters along, as long as the varietal character is intact.

Sorry, my blending comment was supposed to be the last line. I have no idea how I managed to insert it above the last paragraph.

Without having spoken to Morten about this myself (so I don't have any context), I'd assume that yes, he'd say that there are other grapes/wines being made in the Finger Lakes that require too much work for success.

As a related aside, I'd rather a gewurzt be 100% gewurzt with a little acid added than 10% vidal.

As a related aside, I'd rather a gewurzt be 100% gewurzt with a little acid added than 10% vidal.

On what basis, Lenn?

On the basis that (regardless of what the labeling laws are) if I buy a Gewuztraminer, I want Gewurztraminer.

Just like if I buy a Long Island or Finger Lakes wine, I want it to be a Long Island or Finger Lakes wine.

Yes, I know that 99% of the time I'll never know if there is vidal/seyval/traminette/cayuga/whatever blended into my Finger Lakes riesling/gewurzt, but that's how I feel about it :)

All I can say to that is, you'd better write some letters to a lot of wineries across the U.S. to find out what's in those varietally labeled products...

Incidentally, you seemed to assume that whatever I blended had to have been either Fr-Am or Cornell hybrid. What gave you that idea?

Once, I used Vignoles, but didn't much care for the result. Form then on, whenever i blended into Gewurztraminer, i did it with Riesling.

I won't even go into the argument about purism. It's one phase of life in which I am completely inconsistent.

Thomas: You're right...which is why I said I'll never know ;)

I assumed hybrid only because I know that goes on.

Vignoles seems like it would be too bold and assert itself too much, no?

"Vignoles seems like it would be too bold and assert itself too much, no?"

Essentially, yes, although Gewurztraminer is no slouch either. But Riesling seemed much more 'sympatico.'

There were years when I didn't need to blend anything--probably half the time.

I think people like chocolate with dry red wines because a lot of people secretly dont like dry red wines lol.

also, if your down on milk chocolate, for real, go to Holland, Belgium, France, or Switzerland. Maybe you dont like Hersheys or Nestle, but you dont like Yellow Tail or Diana Ridge either do you? Why? because it's soulless and massproduced by machines for profit. Eat some real chocolate. (And if that dosnt turn you, then I suggest you just dont tell anyone, stay in the chocolate-hater's closet, because honestly, it means your weird).

And yea, if your gonna blend, then you've got to lable it as a blend. Call it what it is, no ifs, ands, or buts. Nobody is against blending, the world's best wines are based on blends blah blah blah, but a wine with 90% Gewurz and 10% Riesling is not a Gewurztraminer, its a white blend. Im gonna start writing those letters right now dag nabbit lol.

Red wine & chocolate? Ridiculous. Red Banyuls & chocolate? Sublime.


Surprise, surprise: I agree with you--on the blending thing. It should be done when necessary, and it should be duly noted. Talk to TTB about it, not me.

On the milk chocolate--no.

The chocolate I consume, and it isn't much that I do consume, is nearly devoid of sugar and definitely contains no friggin' milk, dag nabbit!

Maybe not Ridge, but Diana Riggs is my heroin/e.

Mark--the only thing ridiculous is a definitive statement on a subjective matter.

neat fact: milk chocolate is the best way to store/preserve milk for long periods of time!

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