“New York finds itself well positioned for the zeitgeist, with the right vinifera varieties for fresh, taut, mineral-driven wines, a loyal fan base, room for expansion, a reasonably ready supply of water, no wild fires, and solid foundations to withstand the pressures of global warming.” That’s why an increasing number of buyers are looking to start their journey into US wine on the east rather than more familiar west coast and see what the buzz about New York State wines is all about. David Kermode helps set the scene…
In the first part of our New York Pitch project in partnership with the New York Grape & Wine Foundation we helped to bring producers looking to export to the UK together with leading buyers from key importers and the chance to hear about their wines. Here we dig a little deeper into what New York State can offer by picking out the wine styles that the buyers think have the most potential to do well in the UK and why the region has so much to offer in terms of cool climate, fresh, pure fruit forward, acid driven wines with low alcohols.
There are many ways for producers and buyers to meet. Be it at tastings, international trade fairs or personal visits to the winery. During the pandemic we also all went online to do business via zoom and found new ways of working together. Which is very much what The Buyer and New York Wine Grape Foundation wanted to do with our “New York Pitch” project and the chance for leading UK buyers to meet and hear the stories of a number of New York State wineries looking to find listings in the UK through a series of ‘Dragons Den’ style pitches via zoom. Here we look at the producers that took part and what potential UK buyers think New York as a region has in the UK and which wine styles and price points are best placed to do well in this market.
Freshness, elegance and novelty are just three reasons why New York Cabernet Franc is making a big impression on wine lovers both in the US and UK, says Justin Keay, who talks to winemakers from the two main New York wine regions of Finger Lakes and Long Island. He also Zooms in for an Oz Clarke-hosted tasting ‘face-off’ between three New York Cabernet Franc producers and three from other wine regions, including the Loire and South Africa to discover why this particular variety is so on-trend and such an important grape for the future.
Once famed purely for its high-toned, nervy Riesling, the Finger Lakes region of New York State has been branching out. Although the region is small by international standards, its many micro-climates are facilitating experimentation with Grenache, Syrah and even Rkatsiteli. Justin Keay had an audience with Christopher Bates from Element Winery, Meaghan Frank from Dr Konstantin Frank Winery and Oskar Bynke from Hermann J Wiemer who showed Keay their Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gewürtztraminer respectively.
If you like bone dry Riesling and cool climate Pinot Noir then head to Forge Cellars in New York States’ Seneca Lake. It’s so proud of those two styles of wine it makes that they are the main slogan on the company’s website. Forge Cellars is actually a Franco-American alliance between local New York winemaker, Rick Rainey and Louis Barruol of France, owner of Chateau de Saint Cosme and Chateau Rouanne. Here Rainey explains what it has been able to do in lockdown and its plans when restrictions ease.
American viticulture has the ability to deliver fantastic mineral-driven, complex, refined, long-ageing, and refreshing white wines that remind one of great Old World regions such as Burgundy, Mosel and the Loire. But in the past two decades a new breed of winemaker is ensuring that American AVAs are developing their own, unique characteristics. Nowhere is this more true than Finger Lakes in New York State, whose cool climate Rieslings have been going through a Renaissance in the past eight years – switching from a semi-dry style to dry and starting to reap the benefits.
Ben Riccardi was born and raised in the Finger Lakes, the heartland of winemaking in New York State. Whilst he is quickly making his own name for himself in the state as a cutting edge winemaker, producing low intervention, terroir-driven wines, it’s his experiences travelling the world in working with prestigious winemakers in France (Domaine Blancardy), New Zealand (Craggy Range and Muddy Water) and Sonoma County (Williams-Selyem) that has helped shape the winemaker he has now become.
The combination of strong winds coming in off the ocean, with quality soils helps the Wölffer Estate Vineyard produce its signature, balanced, elegant, and age-worthy wines – with a particular focus on making premium rosés. As we continue our series profiling leading New York State wineries we talk to Roman Roth, winemaker at the estate, about being able to make food-friendly, accessible wines that also have the ability to age and improve with time.
Jame Goode first visited New York State’s wine regions in 2018, and he was also able to go back again the following year. He quickly became impressed with the range and diversity of wines being made across its two main wine growing regions of the Finger Lakes and Long Island. It’s time, he says, that the evolution of these two regions needs to be told to a wider audience. So here are the 10 things that he thinks you should know about New York State wine.