On New York Wine…
There are few things I enjoy more than the two or three times each year when I leave my home base in Vancouver and dive into everything New York City has to offer. As a professional wine guy, I’m lucky to travel the world on a regular basis, but I’m practically prone to anxiety if I go too long without visiting the Big Apple, tucking into all of the deliciousness it has to offer.
I’m well aware that New York State has a rather healthy wine industry, producing more wine than any other state except, well, you know. I’ve always found it odd, and even found myself frustrated, when I visit the city; there’s always more effort than I expect when looking to explore New York wine, particularly in restaurants, especially by-the-glass.
Each time I find myself in the city, I ask people where I can find a good place to drink locally, to sample more than one or two labels. Every time, EVERY TIME, the immediate reaction is momentary blankness and at least a half a minute to ponder even just one suitable place. I’m talking sommelier and media colleagues, not random people on the subway. They can all definitely recommend the actual wines I need to try, but when it comes to restaurants and wine bars pouring ‘em? Most often than not? Crickets.
On my most recent visit just last month, I lamented to a colleague how we all try to abide to the “When In Rome” rule when travelling gastronomically, yet how many of us relish the opportunity when visiting New York City, to splash into some local juice?
“Well,” my colleague quickly responded. “Maybe the wine in Rome is a hell of a lot better!”
I get it. Like, oh, pretty much almost every other wine region in the world, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.
But there is the good in New York. I know; I’ve tried ‘em. Often it’s after exhaustive Googling, or grilling friends, colleagues and local sommeliers as mentioned that I’ve delighted in the geeky, adventurous oranges wine and bubble from Channing Daughters Winery, or saddled up at Brooklyn Oenology Winery in Williamsburg, relishing a world of aromatic whites and pinks.
On this latest trip, I picked up a bottle of Eminence Road Farm Winery 2013 Morehouse Vineyard Cabernet Franc from Finger Lakes. Saving it for my return home to share with colleagues in Vancouver, I was quickly full of regret about the sharing idea, as I was absolutely smitten with its opulent, yet zippy red fruit dusted with fresh herbs. An incredible, natural wine. (If you’re not into natural wine, forget I said that; I promise it’s not weird.) My pals were all, frankly, blown away at the quality, almost all of them saying they’d never had a New York wine even though they’d visited many a time in the past.
And so, New York, what’s up? Are you keeping these gems for yourself? Am I not looking hard enough? Are sommeliers not as behind the local industry as they could be? I will certainly keep exploring, in hopes that you will increasingly share the love. From what I’ve tried so far, I certainly have a lot to offer. As always, I look forward to my next visit.