The terms “Old World” and “New World” have been part of the wine lexicon for decades. Old World wines, defined as the product of terroir and tradition, are grown in less than perfect conditions and yield wines of elegance and balance. New World wines, commonly grown in warmer climates, are dark with inky extraction, high alcohol and overtly ripe fruit. This holds true for the most part, except when it comes to a certain atypical member of the New World: Long Island.
There’s no denying the importance of Merlot and Chardonnay in the success of Long Island wine. But in the last few years, no grape has garnered more interest and attention on the North Fork than Cabernet Franc. Merlot may be the most widely planted red grape on Long Island but to me, the most intriguing red variety is Cabernet Franc.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
This past December, Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing (LISW) sponsored a very special visit by one of the world’s leading experts in the field of sustainable viticulture - Dr. Cliff Ohmart.
From what I’m tasting in the tanks and barrels, 2013 will go down as one of the finest vintages the North Fork has ever seen – ranking right up there with 2007 and 2010. It was truly a magical run and we will be enjoying these wines for many years to come. From whites to reds, all the wines are singing out and showing their full colors. In fact, it reminds me of a song…
As a student of agriculture and viticulture, I’ve been studying the topic of soils for a very long time. They’re usually not described with the same romantic language as say, the wines that are produced from them, but they carry a profound importance. To me, soil is the most influential factor in defining a wine region’s terroir; however their influence greatly transcends wine.
When it comes to things such as music, cars, sports, food or even clothes, Americans are adamant about their likes and dislikes. Why is it when it comes to the subject of wine, so many Americans act like a deer in the headlights? How often have you heard someone say, as you pour them a glass of wine – “I’m not connoisseur” as if the need to have a specially accrued knowledge was necessary.
Back when the first vineyards were planted on Long Island, many people “in the know” didn’t believe our region could successfully grow European wine grape varieties like Chardonnay and Merlot. After all, before Long Island, all of the wine produced in New York was in the upstate districts of the Finger Lakes and the Hudson Valley – places that had trouble growing European varieties in the past. Forty years later, we have proved the critics wrong many times over.
It's hard to believe tomorrow is the first day of March and we have already enjoyed so much excitement this year. Earlier in January, we were honored and humbled when our 2009 Merlot was poured at the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon in the U.S. Capitol, making it the first New York wine in history to be featured at an Inauguration of the President of the United States. The overwhelming response resulted in intense media coverage in print, web, television, and radio, including major publications like The New York Times, Huffington Post, Wine Spectator, The Washington Post, Fox News, and more. Owner Michael Lynne, CEO Trent Preszler and Winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich were all interviewed on national news.
Harvest 2012 is over and what a year it was! A year that started early and ended early with ripeness levels not seen since the great vintage of 2010. All varieties came in extremely ripe and flavorful – from the Chardonnay to the Petit Verdot - we have bold and beautiful melodies coming from every tank. With the exception of a few blocks of late ripening Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, most all of the fruit on the North Fork has been harvested.
Long Islanders have been leading the way for the rest of the country for a very long time. Whether in politics, science, entertainment or most recently, fine wine - mainland America’s largest island is filled with a consummate record of achievement. As a native Long Islander, I’m extremely proud of where I come from. But I also know that many of our most extraordinary stories get lost in the strident sounds of today’s media. This space is usually reserved to talk about wine but I think it’s important to remember the place where we make it and understand the framework in which we live –
Living on the North Fork, we are always reminded about water. It surrounds us, protects us and affects our lives every day. It cools us in the summer, warms us in the winter and provides endless beauty and enjoyment in so many ways. But many of us don’t realize that we’re surrounded by water underneath the ground as well - a dark, cold river that flows unseen, year-round and holds the key to our future.
Any smart winemaker worth his salt knows that “wine is made in the vineyard.” It’s never about how fancy the winery is or how much equipment you have in the cellar. If you haven’t got what it takes out in the vineyard – both in terms of terroir and vineyard management – you’ll have a hard time making good wines.
Years ago, eating and drinking locally usually meant taking a walk to the neighborhood pub. Today, being a locavore means eating and drinking food that was grown and produced within the town, county or state where you live. Consumers are embracing the farm-to-table movement. More and more restaurants are serving food from local farm stands and filling their cellars with wines produced down the road.
The Man Born to Farming by Wendell Berry
The Grower of Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout
A new trend is taking the wine world by storm. Actually, it’s an old trend that just seems new. We’re talking about the ascendant consumer movement toward lower alcohol, food-friendly wines. The marketplace of savvy wine consumers is searching for elegance instead of power. Old school wines, if you will.
At Bedell, we're perfecting the art of wine in many different ways...
Now that February is already half over I figured it was safe to write this post. (Of course, now all hell will break loose!) But wait, it is true that we’ve had an unseasonably nice winter, isn’t it? I think I pushed my snow shovel around just once. There’s no question that the weather we’ve experienced the past few months has been a great deal nicer than last year.
It's that time of year again, people are visiting family and friends, giving and recieving thoughtful gifts, and looking forward to what awaits them in the coming year. How appropriate then, that our family of wine growers on the North Fork of Long Island gathered together last week to welcome the director of Oregon's own certified sustainability program, Chris Serra.
You know all those urban legend stories - like the one about alligators in the NYC sewers and the blind date that ends with you waking up in a bathtub of ice? The wine industry has its own share of urban legend stories with one in particular that I still hear every year. It goes something like this… It involves a couple returning home from a recent trip to Europe. The couple talks about how they drank wine like crazy and never got tired or had a hangover. They reminisce about how they met local winemakers who told them “American wines all have sulfites and ours don’t.”