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February 10, 2011


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Lenn - You write:

"The prevailing winds in this vineyard blow over land -- rather than Great Peconic Bay -- so they are warmer during the spring and summer months than those further out on the North Fork. This aids heat accumulation and ripening, but does result in less moderation of cold temperatures in the winter."

Amazing that I was just talking about this phenomenon yesterday. Ready to geek out a bit about mesoclimates and worthiness of single-vineyard wines?

Turns out there's a reason that Magdalena, Josef, and the adjoining vineyard parcels in Dresden (one owned by Doyle, for example) have long ripening seasons vis a vis most Finger Lakes sites. Look a map of where that site is, then move your eyes west. You can go the farthest distance in the region without hitting water again. That means that during the warm months, the warm air (from the west) moves unabated by other lakes.

In other words, want to know why folks who have grapes on those sites get a little annoyed when everyone says the "banana belt" is the ripest spot? That's why.

But the winds are slightly shifted in the winter, more varied, with lake effect from Ontario but also the Finger Lakes themselves. The result is a surprising amount of protection for those sites.

I've seen hand-written notes and letters that date back nearly 50 years on this subject. Cornell has been studying it for a long time. Today Cornell does not take a position on a single site or parcel being the warmest or ripest or enjoying the longest growing season, but years ago it was clear that Dresden had some special land.

Or, as Hermann Wiemer himself has told me: He didn't boast about that site because he had vines there. He bought the vineyard site because he had seen what happens. He boasted because it was true, empirically.

These days, Cornell does excellent work studying this kind of thing. I'll be writing more about that in the weeks to come. Have a piece going right now, in fact!

Anyway, great stuff. Looking forward to more about Long Island sites. And yes, this is one outstanding wine.

Does anyone know the best place to find Long Island wines in Rochester?

Mark - I don't know any real ideal spots. I know that Century and Marketview have small selections, but not the best reds of the region. Perhaps a Long Island producer with more knowledge of this can jump in here.

Interesting stuff, I'd imagine some problems accompany a $60 bottle in the non Napa/Sonoma category despite the quality level this seems to reach. I can appreciate the 250 cases made in total, here is hoping they are able to sell every single one of those direct to consumers.

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