The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Bob Ross » Tue May 23, 2006 12:47 am

A few comments:

Michigan is so tough to buy in the NYC metropolitan region I can't consider it a comer.

Missouri is hardly an Eastern wine region -- come on Robin -- the Mississippi River still means something! :-)

I don't see a level of excitement and commitment in New York -- most Long Island wines are sold there for enormous prices, primarily to "locals", the Hudson River Valley has some nice wineries but not much going on. The Finger Lakes may be comers -- I need to try again. Ten years ago Bully Hill was the best I found and eight years ago I sponsored a tasting of FL wines in NYC -- folks came out of loyalty to friends I think. But maybe ....

Ontario has great ice wines but what else?

Texas has some wonderful sites, particularly in the high mountains in the far western part of the state -- er, Republic. But where can you buy them? They closed that great wine bar in the Dallas airport. And there is that dratted Mississippi River again.

Virginia is trying very hard with some really dedicated winemakers -- I'm having a lovely Vallahala tonight that belies the belief that Virginia's red clay cannot make wines that age. And I do believe Horton might be a sleeper.

As a homie, I would love to promote New Jersey .... but I still have some taste buds. Same with North Carolina, West Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania.

I would add Ohio -- but their system of distribution makes it impossible to judge without actually going there.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22558

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by David M. Bueker » Tue May 23, 2006 7:37 am

Virginia is a bit of a bright spot. Of course they have to get abnormal weather to make really good wine, but it happens.

King Family and Veritas are doing some things worth tasting/following. I think Horton could do a much better job if they focused. Right now there are so many wines in their stable that I don't think any of them get the attention they need/deserve. Every wine ends up being 'ok' rather than having three or four really good ones.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
no avatar
User

Ed Draves

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

557

Joined

Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:15 pm

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future o

by Ed Draves » Tue May 23, 2006 7:45 am

Bob,
If you are comming to NiagaraCool, the Riesling tasteoff will change your mind about NY. Nothing against Bully Hill, until recently they only did hybrids, they did not make a Riesling, Cab Franc, Pinot. In the 8 years I've been tracking FL wines I've seen drastic improvements in quality Vinifera.
As seen in the NiagaraCool winery trip last year, there is some world class wine in Ontario, Stratus, Konzelman and Ch Des Charmes showed great and the quality does not stop there.
btw How tdo you feel about Tomasello wines? We get the fruit wines and they are of good quality, how about the "regular" wines?
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17486

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines

by Robin Garr » Tue May 23, 2006 8:42 am

Bob Ross wrote:Missouri is hardly an Eastern wine region -- come on Robin -- the Mississippi River still means something! :-)


Disagree in this context, Bob: From the standpoint of separating America's continental climates from its Mediterranean (traditional vine-growing) climates, "East of the <i>Rockies</i>" means everything.

I would also debate your assertion that none of the states are serious about wine. First, you are already under-estimating the Finger Lakes. Second, while WSWA is still trying its best to sabotage the machinery, the fact is that the Supreme Court shipping decision's primary economic impact may be in New York.

You seem to be answering the question, "Who's making great wine NOW." But the real question is, "Where does the potential lie." I'd argue New York, because of its critical mass (already No. 3 in wine-producing states), its strategic location to population centers, and, most important, the Supreme Court's shipping decision having lifted the most significant bar.

That's the point you're missing, it seems to me: I'm asking about potential ("which state holds the most promise"), based upon the sea change that will gradually result when wineries in states like New York and Texas begin to take advantage of their new opportunity to ship nationwide.
User avatar
User

wrcstl

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

886

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:20 pm

Location

St. Louis

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by wrcstl » Tue May 23, 2006 10:15 am

Bob,
You wrote a thread that I thought about but didn't want to upset people. My experience is that there are some decent wines around but none that I would put in my cellar and the prices, generally speaking have a low QPR value. Oh yeah, and then there is the access issue

David
David M. Bueker wrote:Virginia is a bit of a bright spot. Of course they have to get abnormal weather to make really good wine, but it happens.


I didn't feel qualified to vote since I had not tried all areas but don't understand your comment when it comes to Virginia. They would get my vote. I spent quite a bit of time with a Virginia winery owner last year and discussed Virginia vs Missouri (where I live). The average temperature is about the same but the highs and lows are much more extreme in Missouri. He said this is why Virginia can grow cab, chard et al and Missouri loses a portion of its crop every severe winter. Is your comment related to not enough sun to ripen or too cool?

Walt
User avatar
User

Paul B.

Rank

Hybrid Guru

Posts

2024

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am

Location

Ontario, Canada

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Paul B. » Tue May 23, 2006 10:55 am

You know, Bob, I would say that there is much to look forward to all across the "East", assuming that we define it as anything east of the Rockies where a continental or modified continental climate prevails. In Ontario, I feel that if we talk about vinifera, our best table wines come from Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc (this latter one gets clobbered by bad winters, though); Syrah makes nice peppery wines but is also winter-sensitive. I tend to dismiss the Bordeaux varieties for Ontario, and although most of the time they make green wines, in good years they can be good, but not as good - IMHO - as their prevalence in Ontario vineyards would suggest. It costs lots of money to make really good Bordeaux-style reds in Ontario because one must be vigilant with crop control, and of course that ends up raising the cost of the final wine.

For everyday table wines, nothing beats hybrids in my opinion. Marechal Foch produces inky, funky reds in our climate year in, year out. Baco Noir is also suitable but it can have unfriendly acidity if not managed properly. Again, because most of the wines made from Baco are simple table wines, not all wineries put the requisite attention into controlling crops and making the wine as balanced as it can be. Stoney Ridge used to do an extremely well-balanced Old Vines Baco ... until the bean counters got their way.

Icewine is our specialty here, but since stickies aren't my favourite genre, I don't go out of my way to talk about them.
Hybrid Wines Online:
http://hybridwines.blogspot.ca
User avatar
User

Howie Hart

Rank

The Hart of Buffalo

Posts

5976

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:13 pm

Location

Niagara Falls, NY

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Howie Hart » Tue May 23, 2006 11:06 am

Viticulturally speaking, Eastern North America is as diverse as Western Europe. In considering vinefera, I've always pretty much stuck to the "4 Noble Grapes" (Chard, PN, CS and Riesling), based on the fact that most of the expensive wines in the world are made from these grapes. Just as in Western Europe, different areas of Eastern North America can do good things with these varieties. Long Island and Virginia with Chard, CS and Bordeaux varieties. Excellent Riesling is made in the Finger Lakes and Ontario (close to the shore of Lake Ontario). There are many recent plantings of Pinot Noir along the Niagara Escarpment on both the Canadian and US sides of the border. Almost all of these Eastern NA plantings are recent (less than 20 years). As far as QPR is concerned, Niagara Escarpment PN is over priced due to the novelty factor, but the wines are showing great promise. CS from Long Island is likewise overpriced, but due more to proximity to NYC, where the cost of grapes is determined by the local real estate market. However, excellent QPR Rieslings can be found in both the FLs and Ontario (I've had some nice ones from Niagara-On-The-Lake for $6). Do the wines of Eastern North America compare favorably to the wines of Western Europe at equal price points? Riesling - yes; LI CS - maybe; PN - not yet; Chard - there are many good ones made in a variety of styles throughout the East and some are excellent values (there is some plonk out there too). One of the problems I see facing the Eastern wineries is recognition due to the fact that many of the better wines are sold out at the winery before anyone else gets a chance to taste them.
no avatar
User

Steve Guattery

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

164

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:36 am

Location

Central Pennsylvania

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future o

by Steve Guattery » Tue May 23, 2006 11:09 am

Ed Draves wrote:...Nothing against Bully Hill, until recently they only did hybrids, they did not make a Riesling, Cab Franc, Pinot...

That's been my take, too, though on Sunday I was at a tasting, and someone with a reliable palate said he'd recently seen a Bully Hill Cab Franc. He tried it out of curiosity, and said that it showed the variety's character well, and overall was pretty good. I'm passing on second-hand information, but I'm intrigued enough to try it next time I get up that way just to see for myself.
User avatar
User

Paul B.

Rank

Hybrid Guru

Posts

2024

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am

Location

Ontario, Canada

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future o

by Paul B. » Tue May 23, 2006 11:21 am

I wonder how well Bully Hill makes their non-vinifera wines too. Everything can change depending on vineyard management and winemaking. In the past I heard it said that the wines were rather plonkish, but with their wide-ranging hybrid repertoire, it'd be my hope that the quality of the wines also be on par with that of their label art. Anyone bringing any BH wines to NiagaraCool?
Hybrid Wines Online:
http://hybridwines.blogspot.ca
no avatar
User

Ed Draves

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

557

Joined

Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:15 pm

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future o

by Ed Draves » Tue May 23, 2006 11:41 am

Steve,
BH Vinifera is nothing to sneeze at, your friend is right. I was speaking to the fact the tasting was 10 yrs ago, at that point I believe they did none.
no avatar
User

Steve Guattery

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

164

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:36 am

Location

Central Pennsylvania

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future o

by Steve Guattery » Tue May 23, 2006 11:45 am

Paul B. wrote:Anyone bringing any BH wines to NiagaraCool?

Not I. Though I have a Baco Noir from Four Chimneys made from organically-grown grapes that I can bring. They also make a Zweigelt from organically-grown grapes from a co-op in Ontario, but it was so oaked-up that I found it unpleasant.
User avatar
User

Gary Barlettano

Rank

Pappone di Vino

Posts

1929

Joined

Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:50 pm

Location

In a gallon jug far, far away ...

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Gary Barlettano » Tue May 23, 2006 11:59 am

As a native of Jersey City, long time resident of Nutley, graduate of St. Peter's Prep, holder of an M.Phil. from Rutgers, former guest lecturer at Douglass College, brother of a volunteer sheriff in Essex County, one who still calls tomato sauce "gravy," and an occasional user of "erl" instead of "oil," I thank you roundly and profusely and otherwise for your supportive comment regarding Garden State wines.

I thought I had a personal problem. But I couldn't agree more.

Still, the exception confirms the rule. Alba Vineyard's "Old Mill Red" wasn't half bad (which also means it wasn't half good either), but it's been a year or so since I found a bottle somewhere in Clifton. :lol:
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22558

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by David M. Bueker » Tue May 23, 2006 2:05 pm

wrcstl wrote:
I didn't feel qualified to vote since I had not tried all areas but don't understand your comment when it comes to Virginia. They would get my vote. I spent quite a bit of time with a Virginia winery owner last year and discussed Virginia vs Missouri (where I live). The average temperature is about the same but the highs and lows are much more extreme in Missouri. He said this is why Virginia can grow cab, chard et al and Missouri loses a portion of its crop every severe winter. Is your comment related to not enough sun to ripen or too cool?

Walt


They have to avoid damaging (late) rains and equally damaging humidity.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines

by Bob Ross » Tue May 23, 2006 3:18 pm

Where to begin, Robin?

The future? How far into the future? And what factors? If the three tier system falls, that might improve accessibility -- but when and will it? I'm less optomistic than you are on that front. Is global warming an issue? Certainly summers seem to be getting warmer on the high end.

I take your point on geography -- I'll leave it to you to call Texans easterners, though. :-)

I'm not sure where I communicated that I believe "none of the states are serious about wine." I think anyone to takes on the challenges of making wine in the Eastern US has to be serious. Perhaps my lack of serious sustained interest in Eastern wines is more to the point.

As to New York, will an increased ability to ship to other states really make a big difference in view of the large New York state population?

And, hasn't Texas passed the same legislation that New Jersey did preventing all wineries from shipping?

In any event, interesting question -- and awfully hard to read in my judgment. If it were possible to trade in Eastern wine futures, I'd be selling short. But of course, even holding current sales in view of the large wine lakes that most winemakers are talking about might be a great accomplishment.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Bob Ross » Tue May 23, 2006 3:26 pm

I agree, David. I've thought for several years that Horton would do better if it would concentrate their efforts more. They've told me though that Virgiania weather is so variable that they need to grow many different types of wine to reduce risk.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future o

by Bob Ross » Tue May 23, 2006 3:29 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, Ed. I certainly don't have a closed mind on New York and Ontario wines -- just haven't been very interested. I'll take a run into the City and buy a selection of FL wines and give them a shot.

The Ontario wines sound interesting, but awfully hard to find in the NY Metropolitan area. My assumption has been that that's economics at work, not the shipping bans. But perhaps that's wrong.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Bob Ross » Tue May 23, 2006 3:34 pm

Walt, I have a bit of learning on Virginia weather based on travelling to visit Kathrine at UVA for eight years and visiting a number of wineries. The summer temps seem to be the problem, very high at times with high humidity and for long periods of time. I'm sure Missouri has greater extremes, but don't have a good understanding from a technical point of view.

One thing I heard consistently was that Virginia wines don't age well primarily it is said because of the heavy red clay soils throughout much of the commonwealth. Certainly true in my experience for Cab Sauvignon.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Bob Ross » Tue May 23, 2006 3:36 pm

Thanks for the insights, Paul. The stickies are what we see in my market, and we like them very much. Global warming may make it tougher to make them in the future -- without ice wines I wonder what Ontario's future would look like.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Bob Ross » Tue May 23, 2006 3:42 pm

Thoughtful reply to a rabble raising post, Howie, thanks. I very much appreciated reading your balanced appraisal.

Economics may have as much to do with the future of Eastern wines as the shipping laws. It's pretty easy to get to the Finger Lakes and buy at the winery doors for many people in the metropolitan New York City area. It sure is tough to find many FL wines on offer here -- and people in the Hamptons drive up the prices on Long Island.

Thanks again. Bob
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Bob Ross » Tue May 23, 2006 3:48 pm

Gary, New Jersey wine is a real challenge. There's a big wine festival at Waterloo Village May 27 and 28 with 17 wineries pouring. We've gone several times, either to the spring or the fall event, and I've visited at least 15 wineries.

The people are great, some of the vistas are interesting, the fruit wines are often exceptional, especially the strawberry versions, but it's an effort for me to go to these tastings. I end up trying the fruit wines in a sort of despair -- and sticky.

It amazes me to read that New Jersey is the fifth largest producer of wine -- where is it sold? You never see it on offer in the retail stores, and owners tell me they can't sell it when they do stock it.

Disappointing, really, despite a dozen nice wines I've found over the years -- but even a couple of the wineries who made some of them have now gone out of business.

Alba's Foxy Lady icewine can be wonderful -- it is the most consistently good wine for my money from the state.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

Gary Barlettano

Rank

Pappone di Vino

Posts

1929

Joined

Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:50 pm

Location

In a gallon jug far, far away ...

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Gary Barlettano » Tue May 23, 2006 4:12 pm

As I mentioned, I found Alba's "Old Mill Red" acceptable and I've had a Traminette or two which did not offend. Whenever I'm back, I try to try at least one or two, but they are so hard to find even in New Jersey.

With regard to distribution, New Jersey has some of the most restrictive laws on the books. While most were heading for some kind of interstate shipping to consumers, New Jersey came down with the hammer of Thor on the heads of the wineries and even forbade intrastate shipping to consumers where it once was allowed.

Have you noticed that the ranks of the Garden State Wine Growers Association also seem to be shrinking?

At the risk of sounding paranoid, I believe the forces of evil are at work in New Jersey when it comes to wine and spirits. They have the politicians in the hip pocket and the wineries don't have the gumption to fight it. I can only imagine that it's no fun to be a winemaker in New Jersey. This, in turn, probably demoralizes and impedes achievement and excellence.

Nothing like a little wild ass speculation, eh?

Liberty & Prosperity!!
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22558

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by David M. Bueker » Tue May 23, 2006 7:48 pm

Gary Barlettano wrote:At the risk of sounding paranoid, I believe the forces of evil are at work in New Jersey when it comes to wine and spirits. They have the politicians in the hip pocket and the wineries don't have the gumption to fight it.


More than likely they do not have the funds.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
no avatar
User

Brian Gilp

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1457

Joined

Tue May 23, 2006 6:50 pm

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by Brian Gilp » Tue May 23, 2006 9:15 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
I think Horton could do a much better job if they focused. Right now there are so many wines in their stable that I don't think any of them get the attention they need/deserve. Every wine ends up being 'ok' rather than having three or four really good ones.


While I agree with this statement, I think that we on the east coast need Dennis doing what he is doing. We do not have the years of history that the west coast does much less Europe to know what works best. Too many wineries are making Chardonnay and Merlot to sell wine not because that is what makes the best wine here. Dennis Horton and a few others are trying different grapes, spacings, trellis methods, rootstocks, etc. to really see what may work. True his wines may suffer from it but in the long run Virginia is going to be better for the work he is doing

When I started planning my home vineyard I consulted Horton, Barboursville, Ingelside Plantation, University of Maryland and Virginia Tech to learn as much as I could from them as to what did not work. It is amazing how little we know right now. In the part of Maryland that I live our climate is closer to parts of Italy or Croatia than France. We have 3700 degree days on average and 43 inches of rain some of which as David notes comes at harvest time. We need varieties that have thick skins, loose bunches, can withstand the heat while retaining good sugar acid balance and color. Cold hardy is not such a problem here but we can get a hard freeze in late April. Lastly we need to find ways to manage the excessive vigor.

In other words it is way too early to tell about the future potential of most of the east coast states. Give us another 50 years and more people willing to try different methods of making better wine and not just commercially viable wine before passing judgement. In the end I imagine we will never measure up to most of the historical wine producing regions. Too many issues to overcome but maybe if we find the right combination of grapes, rootstocks, vineyard techniques and wine making techniques we can make our own niche.
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22558

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: Just to poke things up a bit ... my take on the future of Eastern wines ...

by David M. Bueker » Tue May 23, 2006 9:28 pm

Thank you for the interesting information Brian. Welcome to the forum. I have been tasting Horton wines since 1989, and I remember fondly the days when there were 10-12 wines instead of 20. Those were the halcyon days of Horton Viognier and Horton Norton. I'm actually somewhat partial to Dennis' Petite Manseng these days.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 8 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign