Viscosity: The body or thickness of a wine, usually used to describe wines which are high in sugar and/or alcohol content.
Starting with the fastest growing wine region in NY and the island I live on - Long Island!
A bit of history: Long Island wine history and grape growing began in the early 70’s when Louisa and Alex Hargrave noticed a potential for wine growing in North Fork. Together they established the first vineyard in Cutchogue. Today there are numerous vineyards, wineries, and producers open for visiting.
Climate: Long Island is characterized as a maritime climate with long, warm summers and cool breezes from the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Oceans, which help protect grapes from too much heat. Warm waters from the east also extend the growing season well into October and November allowing the fruit fully ripen. Moderate climate and plenty of sun!
Appellations and AVA’s: Long Island AVA, The North Fork of Long Island AVA, and The Hamptons AVA.
Grapes: The major grapes grow in this region are Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. But also include, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.
Some of My Local Favorites to Know: Channing Daughters, Palmer Vineyards, and Brooklyn Oenology.
I’m so excited to start my weekly “Wine Regions” series!! In this series, you can expect a post every Monday evening featuring a new wine region I’m getting to know. The region will also be the “theme,”if you will, for the week. So the posts to follow will be about grapes, wineries, wine shops, and anything related to the region, including any good wine deals I find!
This week I’m starting at home, New York! Let’s be honest, New York is really the center of it all, but WINE? To be really honest, before I moved here, just over a year ago, I didn’t even know the Empire State had a winemaking presence, let alone an awesome one. I will be breaking down New York into 3 following blog posts to fully explore each major region within New York: Long Island, The Finger Lakes, and the Hudson River region.
Facts & Things to Know about New York Wine:
- New York ranks as the third largest wine producing state in the U.S. and is home to one of the oldest wineries in the U.S
- New York has three major wine producing regions: The Finger Lakes, the Hudson River Valley, and Long Island.
- Major wines are of the Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot varietals.
- New York is also a melting pot for wine grapes, growing the traditional European varietals of (vitis vinifera), the native varietals of (vitis labrusca), and many French-American hybrids.
- The AVA (Ameican Viticulture Areas) is the regulating body for wine regions and production.
- Dr. Konstantin Frank is the genius who urged grape growers and winemakers to try growing vitis vinifera varietals despite the thought that the cold temperatures couldn’t support it. CHEERS TO THIS MAN!!
Check back as I dig deeper into the world of NEW YORK WINES!
Flipping through some recent Crate&Barrel catalogs, I came across the 2-page spread, “Quick Class in a Glass,” of varietal specific wine glasses. Now I always knew red, white, and sparkling wines were served in different glass, and I had an idea of why. BUT I didn’t know the details of varietal specific stemware, so I thought this would be a great learning opportunity.
The reason wine is served in different shaped glasses is to emphasis the components of the wine. And, from what I’ve learned, the same wine can taste different when tasted from a different glass.
3 main aspects of a wine glass:
The shape of a glass directs and controls how the wine hits your tongue and how you experience the components of the wine. The shape also allows your wine to breathe and fully express it’s subtleties and complexities.
The size of the bowl allows you to swirl and sniff without spilling so you can enjoy the aromas of the wine.
The thickness of the glass is most important at the rim —it should be hardly noticeable. This enhances tasting and lets the wine role smoothing into your mouth.
The image above highlights which size and shape work best for each wine to have a complete experience. However, don’t get caught up in the perfect glass for your wine, there are also many all-purpose wine glasses which combine the best features so you can enjoy all your wines with ease.
What kind of glasses are you sipping from? Do you have your grandmothers wine glasses? Are your wine glasses vintage, mixed and matched, glass or crystal? Let me know, I want to know!
Acidity: Acid is an important component of wine, made mainly of tartaric acid, which exists naturally in grapes. In white wines especially acid is a major taste factor. Wine with too low acid can taste flat or dull. High acid wines taste crisp and fresh.
Acids are perceived on the sides of and underneath your tongue, like you are sucking on a lemon or sour candy. When you start to pucker and salivate you are sensing acid.
Drinking wine and learning to understand it can be a very enjoyable experience. But it can also be intimidating when there are so many experts, difficult words, and pretense. However, anyone who wants to enjoy wine has the chance too. Here are three simple skills to developing your wine sense.
So you get poured a glass and what’s the first thing you do?
You view the wine, you check out the color and the legs. What you see here is age and levels of alcohol. A white wine will deepen in color as it ages, whereas a red will lighten. When you swirl your wine in the glass, the lines dripping down are “legs,” and they tell you the level of alcohol content. The more legs, the more alcohol.
After you’ve eyed your glass, it’s time to get into it! Give your wine another swirl, stick your nose right in the glass , and sniff. Small, short sniffs will keep your nose from tiring. What’s the first you smell? You might notice fruits, spice, herbs, vegetables, chocolate, meats, earth, and even animals. Whatever first comes to mind is a good place to start, so say it. If you smell fresh cut grass or fruit salad then that’s what you smell. The more you discuss your experience with wine the more wine experiences you will have.
Finally, the moment we look forward too, TASTING! Tasting is actually a combination of taste, smell, and the feel of wine. Your tongue can register 4 tastes: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, and saltiness. Saltiness, however, isn’t normally found in wine. Swish the wine in your month and notice where the flavors hit each area of your tongue. Also notice the body of the wine. Does the wine feel light or heavy? And, does it feel soft or rough?
Now that you have the basic steps to tasting and understanding wine, give it a try. Don’t be shy! Wine is based purely on your perceptions and experiences. There is no right or wrong.
Let me know how it goes. Tell me what you discover!