Monthly Archives: October 2011

New York State is Making $ Allowing Import of Wine

image via steve garfield

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported on a meeting where Dennis Rosen, the chairman of the state liquor authority, covered the impacts of a 2005 law that increased the ability of in-state and out-of-state wineries to ship in and out of New York. Guess what?

The liquor authority has collected $431,375 in permit fees from wineries in the 15 states [with reciprocal shipping agreements]. Wineries that shipped directly reported $54 million in sales to New York consumers between March 2009 and February 2010, which yielded about $4.5 million in sales taxes.

Interstate shipping was a major fight back in the early 2000s. Then in 2005 Granholm v. Heald went in front of the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of laws in Michigan and New York that the court found to discriminate between in-state and out-of-state wineries because it violated the commerce clause. Continue reading


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Filed under In the news

Ripasso Primer

Here’s a good reminder of what ripasso means in the Veneto. It comes courtesy of George Elde, salesman for Frederick Wildlman, a venerable wine importer and distributor in New York, where, it’s true, I have a number of friends. Like many sales reps, George sends out e-mails re deals, steals and reals, that reflect their portfolio.

Let’s check out the 2009 Santi ‘Solane’ Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC.

From George:

Santi Valpolicella Classico Superiore is a “ripasso” method Valpolicella, meaning that following primary fermentation the wine sees a second fermentation with the addition of Amarone grapes and skins, creating a richer, more complex and more exciting final wine.

Santi Solane is sourced from estate vineyards within the original Valpolicella appellation of Valpolicella Classico.

When primary fermentation is complete in early winter, grapes, skins and pomace from Santi’s Amarone are added to the vats. The additional sugars from the Amarone trigger a second fermentation, which adds additional layers of complexity, rich fruit and structure. The wine is blended and then aged for more 3-5 months in small oak cask followed by an additional 12 months in larger neutral casks prior to bottling.

The finished wine has  70 percent corvina and 30 percent rondinella, typical grapes for the region, (but how could you tell?) excluding the third usual suspect of molinara.

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Quarts de Chaume to become Loire Valley’s first Grand Cru

This is interesting. Unlike the Italians, the French are very protective of designating their vineyards. The Italians, however, don’t have anything quite like Grand Cru.
From Jancis:
grand cru
means literally ‘great growth’ in French. In Burgundy’s Côte d’Or a grand cru is one of 34 particularly favored vineyards, a decided notch above premier cru. In Alsace, grand cru is a recent, elevated appellation accorded several dozen specific vineyards. In Bordeaux, the words grand cru usually apply to a specific property or château and depend on the region in which it is located.

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Six-year-old Long Island Merlot

I was at a friend’s house for dinner, she pulled out a bottle of wine her husband keeps for every day. Lo and behold, it was local and it was from our last good red wine vintage (if you didn’t pick to early or were growing something that happened reach peak ripeness around the second week in October) that’s already in bottle. 2005 made some awesome red for those who picked after the colossal rain around Columbus Day weekend. It was so hot and dry all summer long, that the rain really was Nature throwing a curve ball. (Unlike this year, when all we’ve got is curve balls.)

Anywho, about the Pellegrini 2005 Estate Merlot. They say on the label that it’s unfiltered and is 13 percent abv. Russell Hearn was definitely on the job then in the cellar. The wine is opaque, ruby red with black inflections and a thin pink rim, a nice bright color for a six-year-old wine. It has a lightly intense fruity smell, which I wish I could another way to describe, but it smells like those raspberry, blackberry candies that have small candy balls covering them so they look like fruit.

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Filed under The Local Cellars, What's open now

10-year-old Martha Clara Merlot

Funny as it seems, my aunt’s  summer home down the street has turned out to be a a relative (small) cellar for Long Island wine (whose trade group has a new website). Last winter I cracked open a 2007 Paumanok Chenin (as does Paumanok). Still fresh.

Today, it’s a 2001 Martha Clara Merlot (which also has a new website; someone’s making some money). 2001 was a wonderful year out here; I recently retasted the 2001 Macari Bergen Road, a blend, which was still fresh and complex and definite food wine. It went a far way toward convincing me that blending is the way to go on Long Island. It may be that only Burgundy can put all its eggs in one basket. Continue reading

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