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My Top 20 Favorite Wines from New York State

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New York State is the third-largest wine-producing region in America. It has over 400 wineries located predominantly in five official wine regions: Long Island, Finger Lakes, Hudson River, Lake Erie and Niagara Escarpment.

Similar to famous European vineyards of Burgundy, Champagne and Germany, New York is considered a cool climate region, although it is a little bit further south than those regions, as well as Washington State, and on a similar latitude to Oregon.

Each wine region of New York State has its own distinct climate, landscape, character and wine varieties.

About two hours from New York City lies the Long island region. With its sandy soil and maritime climate, it is best known for the reds – classic Bordeaux blends, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Separated by Great Peconic Bay, the Long island is split into two forks, with most of the wineries located on the north fork and only four on the south one.

Finger Lakes wine country is centered around four main lakes: Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga. The region specializes in Sparkling wines, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Ice Wine. Regional hybrids and Native American varietals include Catawba, Niagara, Cayuga.

Hudson River is one of the oldest wine making and grape-growing regions located no more than just an hour and a half from New York City. The French Hugenotes planted the first vines in New Paltz in 1677, 100 years before any vines were planted in what is now California. Leading grapes are Classic European varieties and regional hybrids, such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Baco Noir.

Lake Erie region, also known as Chautauqua, is the largest grape-growing region outside of California. Although about 95% of grapes are Concord, primarily used for grape juice, the region also grows French-American and Classic European wine grape varieties.

The Niagara Escarpment officially became an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 2005. The climate is the warmest in New York State due to proximity to the Great Lakes and escarpment itself, which keeps warm air currents from Lake Ontario. Wines range from traditional grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay to fruit wines, American Hybrids, Natives and ice Wine varietals.

Here are some of the best wines from New York State I had a chance to taste at New York Drinks Grand Tasting 2017. However, there are still many more to discover.

LONG ISLAND

1.Bedel Cellars Taste Rose 2016 $25

60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 10% Syrah

Fresh and mineral with a mint touch 

2.Bedel Cellars Cabernet Franc 2015, $40

100% Cabernet Franc

Vibrant and multi-layered with exceptional freshness and structure

3. Channing Daughters, Tocai Friulano Petillant Naturel 2016$28

100% Tocai Friulano

A wonderful balance of bubbles, acidity and a slight sweetness

4. Channing Daughters, Sculpture Garden 2012, $30

91% Merlot, 6% Teroldego, 3% Blaufrankish

Seductive and complex, fruity with earthy minerality and spice

…and don’t forget to try their collection of vermouth, it’s mind-blowing

5. Paumanok Vineyards , Minimalist Chenin Blanc 2015 (Current Release)

Fresh and delicious, “summer in the bottle”

6. Paumanok Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014  (Current Release)

Lush and rich, excellent structure

7. Palmer Vineyards, Albariño 2016$26

100% Albariño

The best NY State Albariño from a Spanish winemaker

8. Palmer Vineyards, Cabernet Franc 2013, $27

Quite unique, fresh and fruity, elegant style cab

some bubbly goodness …

9. The Lenz Winery, Cuvee 2012, $40

100% Pinot Noir

Crisp, zesty and refreshingly dry; makes you crave for some meaty oysters

10. Lieb Cellars, Reserve Blanc de Blanc 2011, $30

100% Pinot Blanc

Fresh, crisp and delicate with tiny bubbles

HUDSON RIVER

11. Benmarl Winery, Stainless Steel Chardonnay 2016, $15

100% Chardonnay

Chardonnay at its essence – fresh, young and exotic

12. Benmarl Winery, Baco Noir 2015, $35

100% Baco Noir, 50+ years old vines

Smoky and spicy, some vegetal and herbaceous aromas in the nose, well structured, delicate mouthfeel with grippy tannins

13. Fjord Vineyards, Cabernet Franc 2015, $25

95%Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry, purple endive, framed by soft tannins and lovely acidity

14. Fjord Vineyards, Merlot 2014, $20

100%Merlot

Dense and elegant with dusty tannins

FINGER LAKES

Keuka Lake

15. Dr.Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, Gruner Veltliner 2015, $15

Fresh and delicate, with notes of grapefruit, lemon and fresh-cut basil

16. Dr.Konstantin Frank Wine cellars, Gewurztraminer 2016, $17

Off-dry, floral with a nice mineral touch

17. Dr.Konstantin Frank Wine cellars, Semi-Dry Riesling 2015, $16

Best Riesling in semi-dry style, more fruity and luscious than its counterparts

Seneca Lake

18. Atwater Vineyards, Chardonnay 2014, $17

Layered texture achieved by choosing to ferment 26% on its skins, 51% in stainless steel and 23% in oak

19. Atwater Vineyards, Skin-fermented Gewurztraminer 2015, $30

20. Hermann J.Wiemer, 2012 Cuvee Brut, $32

60%Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay

Red fruit, ripe citrus and honeysuckle elevated by crispy bubbles

Of course, there are many more interesting wines in New York State, which I din’t have enough time to taste, but the good thing is that you can always order them online, directly from the producer, or visit any of these wineries on your own.

So, please look no further and support local wine producers, there are so many great wines New York Wine Country has to offer.

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