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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I Kinda Want One

Ah, wine temperature. Is it ever right? And at some point in the evening, do you even care? I don’t really. I’ve tasted so many whites at room temperature, which is a good way to do it because flaws are easily hidden behind a chill.

And it’s true, wines that are too warm do show too much alcohol, but that might be because there’s too much alcohol to begin with.

Giving me wine gifts is an easy call, but of the ones I have, I only really use those jackets you put in the freezer that will chill a bottle of white in enough time for dinner. Those are also great for picnics to keep the sparkling wine cold.

This product seems to be that in reverse, which might make sense because glass is an insulator and working from the center of the bottle to the outside might be more efficient. But the jackets seem to cover more surface area. It seems this might be more of a keep-it-cold rather than a chill-it down-product, but it sure looks cool. And has a cool name, the corkcicle.

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Wines of South Africa

WOSA is going to be in town tomorrow at the Astor Center as a part of their world tour of workshops.

I intend to attend at least three of the seminars. From their literature:

Good Better Blends
Not only is this category growing in South Africa, it is also gaining increased recognition internationally. Several speakers will present some of the country’s most respected red and white blends. The speakers are Francois Haasbroek, Waterford;
Niel Bester, Plaisir de Merle; Wilhelm Pienaar, Nederburg. Continue reading

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Wine in Grocery Stores, another round

The debate over allowing grocery stores and drug store grows and so does my fascination.

The bill introduced by State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) was referred to committee on May 11.

Contrary to what some people are saying, this bill does not include provisions to allow convenience stores or gas stations to sell wine. It would be only grocery stores (as already defined in ABC law as any retail establishment where foodstuffs are regularly and customarily sold in a bona fide manner for the consumption off the premises), and drug stores, (also already defined in ABC law as a place registered by the New York state board of pharmacy for the sale of drugs).

Here’s what a sales representative, who has distributed an e-mail asking for people to vote no on allowing wine in grocery stores in O’Mara’s now defunct poll, says are his reasons against the change (the salesperson shall remain anonymous):

The bill is going to put wine in grocery stores and every place beer is sold. The big brands will wind up there and the income that it throws off, keeps the wine shops alive. The wines shops will lose business and many will go out of business. That will hurt me and I will have fewer outlets to sell artisanal wines. Every supermarket in NY is based outside on NY State except for King Kullen. Many are not even American business. Every wine shop is privately owned by someone in the community. The home depot and other national chains hurt the small business. That is what this bill will do. Continue reading

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Some State Senator Wants to Know

Thomas F. O’Mara, a New York State Senator from mid-western New York, has posted a poll on his website. He’s asking, presumably, his voters to tell him whether they’d like to have wine on supermarket shelves.

This has been an ongoing point of contention and law in New York. Currently only single-proprietor shops are allowed to sell wine and liquor. Beer is sold in beverage shops, supermarkets and convenience stores. Not surprisingly, current liquor stores are adamantly against this. Supermarkets would love it, the state would love it for what it sees as more licensing fees and tax revenues.

Give Mr. O’Mara your opinion. Wine shops and supermarkets co-exist right next store in New Jersey, why not here?

UPDATE: the poll has been taken down. The senator’s views on the topic remain.


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Vintners Collective


Trying boutique wine

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Blending Pinot

sscn0531I got to accompany winemaker John Levenberg in the One Woman winery as he tested, tasted and planned his blends for the 2008 pinot noir grown by Russ McCall in Cutchogue.

We started with five samples from different clones and different barrels/tanks, tasted each separately, evaluated their strengths and weaknesses and then decided which would bring the best to a blend.

John, ever the modern winemaker, basically makes wine with his laptop filled with spreadsheets of tiny numbers and an indecipherable short hand — easily explained if you have a patience for numbers. Continue reading

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