2013 NY Wine Expo Seminar


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Presentation given by Thomas Pastuszak at New York Wine Expo March 2013.

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2013 NY Wine Expo Seminar

  6. 6. FINGER LAKES GEOGRAPHY LOCATION & CREATION • Located in the heart of New York State • South of Lake Ontario & West of Lake Erie • 11 long “finger-like” parallel lakes oriented north- south, carved by Ice Age glacial movement • Main winegrowing lakes - Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga • Among the deepest lakes in North America, 450 to 600 ft deep, some reach below sea level
  8. 8. LAKE FACTS: THE BIG THREE LengthWidth Depth (ft) mimi Max Mean Keuka 20 0.5 – 2 181 101 Seneca 35 3.5 630 291 Cayuga 38 1 – 3.5 435
  9. 9. WHY DO THE LAKES MATTER? THE LAKE EFFECT • Lake Ontario to the North, warm air currents in the winter, cool air currents in the summer • Depth of Finger Lakes provide beneficial “lake effect” to the vineyards planted on the shores • Warmer Minimum temperatures in Winter • Cooler Maximum temperatures in Summer • Helps compensate for Continental Climate • Elevation of Vineyard & Distance from Water creates vineyard diversity
  10. 10. TERROIR: SENSE OF PLACE • Glacial Activity that created the Finger Lakes also produced very complex soil patterns • The greatest wine-growing regions in the world have soils rich in limestone, shale, gravel; The Finger Lakes stands proudly among them • Site-Specificity: vineyards planted on varying soils show great mineral expressions that are specific to their underlying soils
  11. 11. FINGER LAKES: A BRIEF HISTORY • 1860: Pleasant Valley Wine Company in Hammondsport, first US bonded winery • Dr. Frank promoted Vitis vinifera in New York – hired by like-minded Charles Fournier (French Champagne maker) and president of Gold Seal Vineyards • 1962: Dr. Konstantin Frank creates Vinifera Wine Cellars,which quickly gains reputation for making excellent Riesling • 1976: New York Farm Winery Act passed, permitting wineries to sell directly to public • Dozens of new wineries begin to pop-up along the Finger Lakes in the 1980s-1990s, focusing on Vinifera
  12. 12. WINERIES & VINEYARDS TODAY 118 Finger Lakes wineries 9,500 acres of grapes 20% Vinifera 1,900 acres ~ 5,800 tons ~ 350,000 cases Growing Acreage of Vinifera Plantings Focus on Riesling & Aromatic Whites Whites ~65%
  13. 13. VINIFERA PLANTINGS Varietal Area 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 Riesling Chardonnay Cabernet Franc Pinot Noir Other Vinifera Gewurztraminer Cabernet Sauvignon Pinot Gris Merlot Acres
  14. 14. INFLUENCE & INSPIRATION • Looking to the Old World for Guidance • Similar Climates, Soils & Vineyard Site exposures • White Wine: Germany, Austria, France’s Alsace (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer) & Burgundy (Chardonnay) • Red Wine: France’s Loire Valley (Cabernet Franc), Burgundy (Pinot Noir) & Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot) • Sparkling Wine: France’s Champagne (Pinot Noir & Chardonnay yielding méthodechampenoise wines)
  15. 15. QUALITY & VALUE PERSPECTIVE • The Finger Lakes offer incredible terroir for these varietals, one of the most unique in the New World with regard to suitability & diversity • Value & QPR: Fantastic Finger Lakes wines in the $10- $20 Retail Range (normal bottlings) that rival their Old World counterparts in the same range • Exquisite single-vineyard expressions & old-vines bottlings in the $20+ Retail Range that perform similarly • Finger Lakes Viniferaindustry is very young (only several decades) and just hitting its stride in comparison to Old World vineyards & winemaking cultures (centuries-old)
  16. 16. RIESLING: KING OF FINGER LAKES WHITES • ~ 800 acres • + 40% since 2006 • ~ 2500 tons • ~ 150,000 cases • ~ 7% of US Riesling market • Even-distribution of Dry, Med-Dry, Med- Sweet • Stylistic Diversity • Dry, Lean, taut • Off-Dry, lush, with balanced acidity • Sweet, dessert-style (Ice Wine & Late-Harvest) • Sparkling(small quantities)
  17. 17. RIESLING: TERROIR COMPARISON • Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (Germany): Rieslings of incredible balance, dance of acidity & sugar (Slate) • Wachau (Austria): Rieslings of greater weight, laser-like acidity, richness, profound waxed & firmly dry character (Loess [silt, sand, clay] & Volcanic Rock) • Alsace (France): Rieslings of greatly varied character, ranging from bone-dry & lean, to weighty, rich & unctuous (Granite, Limestone, Sandstone, Clay) • Finger Lakes (USA): Riesling for every palate, with soil types spanning the gamut of terroir, and styles influenced by all the great Old World Riesling regions
  18. 18. WE LOVE RIESLING – BUT WHY? • Terroir, A Sense of Place: Rieslings are incredible vessels for expression of site, you can “taste the soil” in site-specific examples • Wine + Food: wine’s place in history is on the table, with food, and Riesling’s fantastic natural acidity & fruit profile is extremely versatile with cuisine • Longevity: Riesling can age extremely well because of its balance of acidity & fruit extract • Hold the Oak: while many New World wines are over-oaked to accommodate the “modern palate”, Riesling will never see new oak, maintaining a great freshness and always expressing its fruit character & birthplace
  19. 19. LAMOREAUX LANDING RED OAK RIESLING 2011 • Seneca Lake (East Side) - Lodi • From a three-generation family of grape growers, estate bottlings since the 1990 vintage • Focus on sustainability and recently, single- vineyard expressions • Medium-dry style with lots of mineral/herb character – lime, sour apple, pear, honeysuckly, intense minerality • $20Retail Price, 300 cases produced
  20. 20. RED TAIL RIDGE SEMI-DRY RIESLING 2011 • Seneca Lake (West Side) – Penn Yann • Relatively new winery (less than 10 years) • First LEED gold-certified winery in NY (focus on sustainability) • Small-production with a focus on experimentation with cool-climate varietals (Blaufrankisch, Teroldego) • Semi-Dry style – passion fruit, mango, pineapple, flinty minerality, great acid profile to balance the ripeness • $16Retail Price,630cases produced
  21. 21. SHELDRAKE POINT RIESLING 2011 • CayugaLake (West Side) - Ovid • Originally an orchard & dairy farm from the mid-1800s through mid-1900s; now a winery for over 15 years • Combination of November-harvested riesling (96%) & January-harvested ice wine (4%); blended in April to produce the final riesling • Plush, off-dry style– apricot, peach, honey, golden apple, lilac, with plenty of acidity to balance the tropical character • $16Retail Price,1,000cases produced
  22. 22. STANDING STONE GEWURZTRAMINER 2010 • Seneca Lake (East Side) - Hector • Gewurztraminer from a slate-rich vineyard sight on the East Side of Seneca Lake • 2010 was a sunny, warm & relatively dry vintage • Gewurztraminer is made in many varying styles, but has iconic varietal character • Rich (though not sweet) style (1.0% RS, 13.3% ALC) – rose, lychee, lavender, apricot, waxy & weighty intensity • $14 Retail Price, 420 cases produced
  23. 23. RED NEWTGEWURZTRAMINERCURRY CREEK2008 • Seneca Lake (East Side) - Hector • Single-Vineyard Gewurztraminer from Curry Creek Vineyard, less than 1 mile from the winery • Focus on single-vineyard Riesling, Cabernet Franc & Gewurztraminer • 2008 wasactually a mixed-vintage, with better whites than reds • Gewurztraminer profile + bottle-age (maturity) • Dry, robust style– spicy hazelnut, grapefruit, lychee, rose water, wax & petrol • $30 Retail Price,230cases produced
  24. 24. HOSMER WINERY PINOT NOIR 2010 • Cayuga Lake (West Side) Original plantings from the 1970s, initially fruit was sold-off but in 1985 estate wine was made • Pinot Noir, being a thin-skinned/fickle varietal, performs in a more “true” fashion in cooler- climates (Burgundy being the motherland) • From some of the oldest Pinot vines on Cayuga lake, planted in clay-rich soils • High-toned aromatics of black cherry, violet, rose, earth, cedar, underbrush character; vibrant acidity & freshness provides balance • Aged in older French Oak barrels, providing subtle oak character more characteristic in Burgundy than California • $15 Retail Price,150cases
  25. 25. DR. KONSTANTIN FRANK CABERNET FRANC 2010 • Keuka Lake (West Side) Ignited the “Vinifera Revolution” in the Finger Lakes, first to plant Riesling in the area • Founded Vinifera Cellarsin 1962 • Current Generation Frederick Frank (grandson of Konstantin) • Cabernet Franc’s varietal character naturally shows herbal/vegetal character • Spicy & robust, flavors of green pepper, blackberry, cedar spice (combination of American & French oak-aging for 15 months) • $20 Retail Price
  26. 26. MCGREGOR CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010 • Keuka Lake (EastSide) one of the earliest family-owned wineries to promote vinifera • Initial planting of vinifera began in 1971, with the winery established in 1980 – a strong interest in Eastern European viniferavarietals as well (Rkatsiteli, Sereksya, Saperavi) • Cabernet Franc Varietal character: black cherry, blackberry, currant, pepper, firm tannins • Cranberry, red currant, red cherry, earthy undertones with cedar, dill & vanilla-spice character (combination of French & American Oak aging) • $25 Retail Price,200 cases produced
  27. 27. THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES • Other now-great cool-climate regions at one time had to overcome growing pains & other obstacles, learning about what their land & grapes were capable of, and making important decisions for their futures • The region is now positioned to enter a Golden Age; vinifera has proven its viability in the area, vineyard techniques & care in the cellar have shown their benefits, and producers have the confidence to make great changes to benefit their wines
  28. 28. THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES • Producers must come together and combine resources in order to make great strides • Position Pioneering Estates as the “face of the region”, focus on quality & use them to represent the area as a whole to the rest of the wine world • Focus on the Vineyard as the primary goal • Follow the examples of Old World estates • Single-Vineyard Wines & expression of terroir, quality over quantity & never-ending pursuit of greatness
  29. 29. THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES • The American Wine Market is ready for an emergence of The Finger Lakes as its very own Premier Cool-Climate Wine Region • As consumers, we are leaning toward fresher wines that have lower alcohol and have their place at the table with food; very quickly, we are moving away from jammy, high-alcohol fruit bombs • We already show love for cool-climate international regions, such as Germany, Austria, and France’s Burgundy, Loire Valley & Champagne • Utilize tools to provide Accessibility to the region & its wines, such as the IRF Scale
  30. 30. INTERNATIONAL RIESLING FOUNDATION’S RIESLING TASTE PROFILE • A quick way to understand balance • Voluntary participation to inform and educate • Ratio of residual sugar/acidity
  32. 32. THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES • Utilize the Food & Wine Industry to propel the Finger Lakes region to greatness • Sommeliers, Restaurateurs, Wine Writers and many other professionals in this industry will fall in love with Finger Lakes wines, once they are exposed to the best examples and notions of poor quality are dispelled • Create Ambassadors for the region through these professionals, let them become inspired & then inspire others
  33. 33. SOMMELIER’S PERSPECTIVE • Some great quality to be found in the area at various price-points • Single-Vineyard& small-production examples (micro- cuvees) are proving to be the most exciting • Acid: Keep it turned-up! • Dry to Sweet: Uniform support, as long as there is balance (whether austere or plush in style) • Sounds wine-making mixed with great terroirs • Value? Yes & No • Focus on the Very Best; put aside anything less
  34. 34. WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY “The Rieslings from our region have been outstanding in quality for many years and now that Riesling in general is gaining in popularity we are thrilled.” — Kevin Zraly, FingerLakesTravelJournal.com, April 2008 “From dry to sweet versions, the Finger Lakes is slowly but steadily cementing its reputation as this country’s best source for Riesling.” — James Molesworth, Senior Editor, Wine Spectator “Americans are turned on to Riesling and the Finger Lakes has what Riesling loves: life at the cool margins and layers and layers of slate. There’s no better place to find crisp, refreshing, mineral-tinged Riesling in the States.” — Joshua Greene, Publisher and Editor, Wine & Spirits Magazine
  35. 35. VISIT www.winesymposiumfingerlakes.com
  36. 36. THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES • Wine enthusiasts like you must go out & discover these wines, demand that your local stores & restaurants acknowledge and represent them • Include yourself in the equation as much as possible, visit these wineries & reach out to the winemakers & owners, share your thoughts & wine experiences with them • The Finger Lakes region cannot grow through the acts of a few individuals, only through a combined community effort & support