August has brought us beautiful skies and plenty of sun. The early ripening varieties like Marechal Foch and Pinot Noir are around 96% full véraison. Later varieties are approximately 40%. Veraison is a viticulture term meaning "the onset of ripening". Veraison to the wine industry means, harvest is near!
We've completed our second hedging this year. Normally this is only done once but with all the rain we had early in the summer, it was necessary to do for a second time after fruit set. Hedging is literally clipping of the vine tips mechanically and manually when the canopy grows too big. This minimizes the potential for fungus and mildew problems and maximizes sun exposure.
Our crew has removed 50% of the leaves in the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Gewürztraminer blocks to improve flavor and color, also for air flow. Also in these blocks, we removed the green unripe “Christmas” clusters that developed and secondary shoots.
Bird netting was spread out for protection from the voracious Starlings that can decimate our crop. Netted are the Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon (pictured above) Merlot, Pinot Gris and Blaufränkisch.
Burdett, NY— A panel of wine judges at SIMI Winery in Sonoma County, California presented Atwater Estate Vineyards with a prestigious Double Gold medal for the 2014 Rosé of Merlot at The Rose Competition held on March 25th. The competition involved blind tasting and evaluation of 192 wines from across the USA. Atwater’s Rosé was the only Finger Lakes wine to garner a double gold medal, signifying a unanimous agreement by the judges, while their 2014 Rosé of Cabernet Franc was also recognized with a Silver Medal. Both wines competed and won in the “dry” category.
"2014 Rosé of Merlot is the first we've ever produced. It was made from the first crop of Merlot vines we planted in 2011, one of the closest blocks to the lake shore," said winemaker Vincent Alperti. "The grapes were so beautifully balanced, the wine literally made itself. I am just glad I didn't blend the Merlot away! We produced only 38 cases," he added. (The 2014 Rosé of Merlot is being sold through the winery's tasting room and website only.)
The winery released the 2014 Rosé of Merlot and the 2014 Rosé of Cabernet Franc on April 1st to coincide with Discover Dry Rosé, a month long Finger Lakes region wide promotion at 28 wineries. Visitors to the winery’s tasting room in Burdett can enjoy a tasting of these Rosé wines and their Pinot Noir Rosé Bubble, paired with specially selected New York state cheeses throughout the month of April.
Since 2000, Atwater Estate Vineyards has been a family owned and operated winery with vineyards extending to the southeastern shore of Seneca Lake. Located in the heart of New York State’s Finger Lakes wine region and where the deepest of the Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake, plunges to 600 feet, Atwater’s vineyard boasts over eighteen varieties of vinifera, hybrid, and native grapes. The massive lake depth creates a micro-climate within a macro-climate, warmer than any other spot in the region, allowing more challenging varieties the opportunity to grow and ripen. Wines are produced and sold online, at retail stores across New York state and on site at Atwater Estate Vineyards, 5055 State Route 414, Burdett, NY 14818. Visitors are welcomed throughout the year, seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Phone: 607-546-8463 or 800-331-7323.
Twenty eight wineries in the Finger Lakes Region are actively involved in a month long campaign showcasing this delightful wine style.
Visit the Discover Dry Rosé web page and Facebook pages to find the participating wineries, events, and pairing recipes.
Producing elegant and aromatic Rosé wines from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Lemberger and Syrah varietals using traditional European methods, the skins are removed from the juice early in the process leaving the must a pale shade of pink. No oak or added sugar is used in the process. The result is a crisp, fruit forward wine with notes of delicate berry balanced by fresh acidity.
Served well chilled and bridging the gap between red and white wine both in its weight and in its flavor profile, Dry Rosé is a fantastic wine that compliments many menu choices. Try pairing with charcuterie - prepared and cured meats such as sausages, salami, pâté , prosciutto, cheeses etc.
Tickets are now available for our party on the lawn.
August 8, 2015 - Celebrate Atwater Winery's 15th anniversary:
Old-time fun music by The Wiyos winner of the Independent Music Awards "Best Concept Album - Twist". Learn more here.
Fireworks, food vendors, of course cool wines. Join us under the big tent - Get Tickets Here
Bill HB294 went into effect January 1, 2015, thanks in part to the efforts of former quarterback NE Patriots - Drew Bledsoe. In March 2013, former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe blitzed Boston in support of wine direct shipping. The former NFL star is now proprietor of Doubleback Winery in Washington state. Bledsoe tried to encourage support from others by using the Twitter hashtag #freethegrapes.
We will begin shipping via FedEx ground to consumers in MA as of 3/13/15. To celebrate this new license, we offer you this coupon code good through the month of April 2015 to save on your shipping costs: MA2015 flat rate $15 for 2-12 bottles. Enjoy!
Thank you to Free The Grapes for continued efforts to get wine shipping across state lines.
A difficult 2013 yields mixed results, but the region's top grape succeeds once again
Issue: February 28, 2015
Nature giveth and nature taketh away. Following the 2012 harvest, considered by most Finger Lakes vintners to be the best in recent memory, 2013 proved a challenge. The growing season was marked by wet and humid weather, which created higher-than-usual disease pressures and placed a premium on careful viticulture.
"2013 was warm and wet," says Paul Brock, who, along with his wife, Shannon, is owner and winemaker of Silver Thread winery, on Seneca Lake. "I worked in 11 different Riesling vineyards across the region and I saw nearly perfectly clean fruit and nearly devastated fruit [to rot]."
Luckily, the difficult growing season was offset by a warm, dry September, which helped freshen the vineyards and ripen grapes, particularly aromatic whites and other earlier-ripening varieties. Later-ripening grapes and most reds still struggled, as the weather broke down again in October.
Since last year's report ("Riesling Succeeds in 2012," Jan. 31 - Feb. 28, 2014), I have blind-tasted 265 wines from New York's Finger Lakes region. Of these, 14 earned outstanding ratings of 90 points or better on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale, while 215 (more than 80 percent) earned a very good 85 points or higher. Riesling, the region's leading vinifera variety, dominates the offerings here, with 121 wines. Wines from the 2013 vintage, now being released, account for 76 bottlings in this report. (A free alphabetical list of scores and prices for all wines tasted is available.)
The standout for the early-released 2013s is the Heart & Hands Riesling Finger Lakes Patrician Verona Vineyard 2013 (90, $28), a single-vineyard bottling from owner and winemaker Tom Higgins, whose lineup has expanded quickly in recent vintages. Also among the outstanding 2013s is a trio of wines from Silver Thread: its Riesling Cayuga Lake Randolph O'Neill Vineyard 2013 (90, $25), Riesling Finger Lakes Gridley Bluff Point Vineyard 2013 (90, $25) and Riesling Seneca Lake Doyle East Seneca Vineyard 2013 (90, $25). All three show a dry, bony style, a hallmark of many vintages marked by cooler temperatures.
Growers noted that terroir is becoming more pronounced in an increasing number of single-vineyard bottlings. Keuka Lake Vineyards, Atwater Estate and Red Tail Ridge produced notable examples of site-specific Rieslings in 2013. These single-vineyard bottlings show a distinctive range of slate, peach, jasmine and floral notes, but production remains limited. In contrast, wines produced from a blend of vineyard sources, including the Forge Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2013 (89, $24) and Ravines Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2013 (89, $17), are more accessible and easier to find. Some top producers, including Hermann J. Wiemer and Red Newt Cellars, have not yet released their 2013s.
Because 2013 will require some sifting to find quality, consumers interested in trying Finger Lakes wines might be best served by grabbing any remaining 2012s. The vintage was drier and more consistent overall. The highest-scoring wines in this report are late-releases from 2012, including the Hermann J. Wiemer Riesling Seneca Lake Dry HJW Vineyard 2012 (92, $39) and Forge Riesling Finger Lakes Les Alliés 2012 (92, $26).
Although Riesling remains king, consumers can find other impressive white varietals, such as the Damiani Gewürztraminer Finger Lakes Sunrise Hill Vineyards 2012 (88, $19) and Domaine LeSeurre Chardonnay Finger Lakes Barrel Select 2012 (88, $25). Reds, primarily Pinot Noir, are improving, but at a slower pace; look for the Forge Pinot Noir Finger Lakes Les Alliés 2012 (89, $32) or Atwater Estate Cabernet Franc Finger Lakes North Block Six 2012 (88, $28).
Senior editor James Molesworth has been with Wine Spectator since 1997.
There are 33 participating wineries that you can visit over three days with just one ticket price. Pick up your gift item at your chosen starting winery then start sampling pasta dishes paired with delicious award-winning wines. Regular tickets purchased in advance are $35 per person. To securely purchase tickets to this event online, click here. For more information on this event, visit the Seneca Lake Winery Association's website.
A video by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, filmed on location in the Finger Lakes AVA. This introductory video to the wine region includes interviews with Anna Lee Iijima, Contributing Editor at Wine Enthusiast; Thomas Pastuszak, Wine Director at The NoMad; Meaghan Frank, fourth generation Manager at Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars; and Vinny Aliperti, Winemaker at Atwater Vineyards.
The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation promoting all wineries and grape-growers in New York State. The Foundation's strategic goal is to have the New York grape and wine industry recognized as a world leader in quality, productivity, and social responsibility. New York ranks third in wide production nation-wide and the wine industry contributes $4.8 billion annually to the state's economy.