We are a wine shop that explores the best of both worlds with retail shopping and a walk-in tasting room open Tuesday through Sunday. Our tasting room selections change monthly and always focus on a different "Old World" and "New World" region. The ever-changing menu allows our guests to constantly explore and discover something new. This month we are exploring Austria and New York. Order a flight of all four wines or simply stop by, shop, and enjoy a glass. It's up to you!
As you look around the classic old world European regions, Austria does not always get the same attention as the more well-known wine producing countries like France, Italy, Spain, and even Germany. The Austrian section in your local wine shop is often tucked away a bit and may feature just a few selections, typically highlighting the signature Grüner Veltliner grape. While we certainly love our Grüner, there is much more to explore. We simply cannot get enough of these incredibly well-priced, food-friendly, crisp, satisfying wines. Now it's time for you to check out the perfect flight of wines to accompany this warm summer month of July!
The modern-day Austrian wine industry has built a global reputation for high quality, energetic bone-dry white wines that often compete with some of the best wines in the world. With a cooler continental climate, the white wines are more widely known, but many of the reds can be unexpectedly delicious. The wines consistently leave the palate energized and refreshed as they showcase their unique regional identities. Not only high in quality, they also offer remarkable value, and routinely overdeliver for their respective price points.
In terms of geography, the country is landlocked, sitting just south of both Germany and the Czech Republic, while also bordering Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, and Switzerland (moving in a clockwise direction). Winemaking here has existed for thousands of years and can be traced back to the Celts in the fourth century BC. The main regions rest on the eastern edge of the country and are nestled near or around the Danube River which often helps to moderate temperatures. The vineyards overlooking the Danube can be very steep and terraced, and often requiring manual farming.
The primary wine producing area is known as Lower Austria or Niederösterreich and borders Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the northeast. The region is home to 8 of Austria's 16 official appellations. Kamptal, Kremstal, and Wachau stand out as key appellations. The Wachau even has its own qualitative classification system, further labeling wines Steinfeder, Federspiel or Smaragd to communicate the style of wines from light and tangy to rich and fuller in body.
As mentioned, white grapes make up the majority with Grüner Veltliner being the flagship of Austria and the most widely planted. Grüner is typically crisp with edgy minerality, green notes, and a distinct peppery finish. Riesling from Austria is also known to be dry in style with fierce acidity. Other key varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Welschriesling, and Pinot Blanc. The Reds from the region are usually lighter in style and include the peppery dark-fruited reds, Zweigelt and Blaufränkish. Pinot Noir (called Blauburgunder) is also rapidly improving in quality and recognition.
The Hudson River School, the Adirondack Mountains, Biggie Smalls: What do all of these things have in common? Well, they are all from the state of New York, along with; you guessed it, a rapidly growing wine industry. This month we are highlighting this exciting, up and coming region (don’t worry, Manischewitz didn’t make it onto the flight this month).
New York is definitely a young wine region when it comes to producing world class wine. If you’re thinking “I thought New York had an abundance of Concord grapes?”, you are correct. In fact, Welch’s grape juice is produced here and the majority of the grapes grown in New York are vitis-labrusca (concord) as opposed to vitis-vinifera (chardonnay, cabernet franc, riesling, etc). The main appellations in New York are the Finger Lakes, Hudson River Region and Long Island.
An approximate 5-hour drive North from Manhattan, the Finger Lakes AVA is home to the Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. While there are eleven lakes in total, these two play notably important roles in the climate as they help insulate the vineyards from harsh winter frosts and also keep things cooler in the hot summer months. The region owes a great deal to the Ukrainian-born professor of viticulture and plant sciences, Dr. Konstantin Frank. He was the first to grow vitis-vinifera grapes on the whole East Coast back in 1957. Since then, winemaking in the Finger Lakes has grown leaps and bounds and is especially well-known for top notch Riesling. Elegant Cabernet Francs, and a plethora of other varietals are grown here and the overall wine styles tend to be lighter, structured, and more moderate in alcohol. There are also some exceptional sparkling wines making their way to the forefront, as you will see in this month's flight with a fabulous brut nature from Red Tail Ridge. A crisp unoaked Chardonnay as well as a spicy Gewurtztraminer in the flight show off the range of wines from this appellation.
The Hudson River AVA is located immediately North of Manhattan with 500 acres of planted vineyards, and is known more for French/American hybrid grapes such as Vidal Blanc or Baco Noir but you can also find the cold-resistant varietals like Riesling, Chardonnay or Cabernet Franc. Sandwiched between the Shawangunk hills and Hudson River, vineyards can be insulated from the potentially harsh North Eastern winters, but the cold is definitely a problem here. Additionally, warm humid summers can cause challenges with vine diseases.
The first winery opened in Long Island in 1973. The summers here are warm but the cooling winds coming off of the Atlantic Ocean assist in maintaining ideal growing temperatures in the vineyards. Fun fact, no vineyard on Long Island is further than 11.5 miles from the ocean! With its maritime climate, Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc do very well here. They also successfully grow Syrah, Blaufrankisch, Friulano and Refosco grapes. This month's red blend from Long Island makes for an impressive yet easy to drink bottle great for warm summer evenings.
New York State is only continuing to blossom as a wine region. If you are a curious drinker don't sleep on these wines!
New York Flight
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We now host curated tastings for groups of two to ten people. Our tastings are a great way to explore wines that are new to you or indulge in some of your favorite regions. Whether you are looking to learn or to simply relax, our team has you covered.