A Taste of NY Wines

28 Sep

A guest blog post by Erin Brind’Amour, Tasting Room Manager-New YorkWine & Culinary Center

Four days ago New York’s newest winery, A Gust of Sun Winery & Vineyard, opened their doors to the public with a grand opening celebration. This marks winery number 309 (and counting) for New York State and there is only more to come. In recent years, the wine industry has seen tremendous growth and a surge of new wineries, putting New York State on the map as a World Class Wine Region. Just like the famous European regions of Germany, Champagne and Burgundy, New York is considered a cool climate wine area producing award winning wines with high acid and lots of complexity, making them extremely food-friendly. There are five official wine regions (also know as American Viticulture Areas) that grow more than 35 varieties of grapes and produce wines that range from bone dry to lusciously sweet. In fact, New York makes more varieties of wines than almost any other wine region in the world, so there is a wine for every taste out there.

Riesling is one of the most award-winning wines for New York State and is the ‘signature’ grape of the Finger Lakes Region. With extreme versatility in styles, Riesling is typically crisp and refreshing with lively acidity and flavors and aromas of peaches, honey and flowers. One of the best wines to pair with food, Riesling is wonderful with chicken, pork, seafood, dessert, and spicy foods. You won’t go wrong with a Riesling from Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, Paumanok Vineyards, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars, Red Newt Cellars or Anthony Road Wine Company. Of course, these are just a few examples and with the majority of wineries producing at least one style of Riesling, you are bound to find something you will enjoy. Another grape varietal that has gained recent recognition and popularity in New York is Cabernet Franc. A traditional grape grown in the Bordeaux region of France, Cabernet Franc thrives in a cooler climate and displays red fruit, spice and pepper aromas and flavors. A great compliment to food such as strong cheeses, pasta dishes (red sauce), and heavier meats, like beef and lamb. Swedish Hill Winery, Atwater Estate Vineyard and Palaia Vineyards all produce a phenomenal Cabernet Franc.

In addition to Riesling and Cabernet Franc, New York State produces other European varieties such as Chardonnay and Merlot, Sparkling wine, Ice Wine, Fruit Wine, and various Hybrids and Natives, as well. There is truly something out there for every taste and budget. When it comes to pairing wine with food, you just need to remember two things, local food pairs with local wine (they are a match made in heaven), and drink what you like! Don’t worry about following any rules or making a wrong pairing, all that matters is you like what you (and your guests) have in your glass. Even more important, drinking locally not only supports the wineries, but the grape growers and farmers, local store owners, local organizations and boosts your local economy. Next time you are in your local wine shop, think twice about the cheap imported wine you may be interested in purchasing. With a few more dollars spent, you will not only find something much higher quality, but be supporting your neighbor, as well.

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