"I need to hear everyone singing," Peter Weiss said. "Because if I don't I'm going to think you're eating the grapes." I was on the west side of Keuka Lake hand-harvesting riesling at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery. Weiss, who is from Germany's famous Mosel region, is the winemaker responsible for riesling there.
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For me, this grape is just the ticket for autumn: herbal, earthy, spicy but never heavy. If you're drinking domestically this Thanksgiving, look to these 6 delicious examples from New York, Washington State, and California.
The grape harvest has begun in the Finger Lakes! Thanks to Upstate Wine Company, which distributes many Finger Lakes wines to restaurants and wine shops in the NYC area, I had the chance to visit a handful of vineyards this week (and taste more than a handful of wines.) Highlights of the trip included sampling grapes on the vine, learning about harvest-time decision making from local winemakers, and discovering quite a few excellent bottles from this often underestimated region.
This Finger Lakes riesling may smell like a fragrant peach tart, but it tastes tart, with bright white grapefruit-like acidity that lingers. This is a crisp wine for a sunny day out on the water—the minerality reads as slightly salty, making this perfect for drinking with seafood salads or grilled calamari.
This mouthfilling wine from New York's Finger Lakes reminded us of sweet mandarin oranges and creamy peach yogurt—it's super smooth on the palate, almost glycerine. This plump and fruity wine had nice hints of fresh basil, and a delicate pillow of lemon-chiffon acidity, but it could have used a bit more zing and minerality.
This Finger Lakes Spätlese-style riesling is so lively, so full of tangy, twangy acidity that your tongue curls a bit your your mouth. It's tasty stuff. Up front, this wine tastes like powdered sugar sprinkled on top of lemon bars, but it has a bright splash of acidity that draws you through each sip.
Leslie Muhlhahn, chef and owner of Finger Lakes Flat Bread stationed at the Ithaca Farmer's Market, is turning out thin crust, wood-fired pizza that Farmer's Market patrons can't get enough of. Leslie's so-called "flatbreads" are more than worthy of the "pizza" title. The dough is leavened with yeast and the crust, despite being thin, has a nice chew to it. But what's intriguing and out of the ordinary about this pizza operation is Leslie's "oven-on-wheels". She's working with a mobile, wood-fired pizza oven (shipped in from Cali) that reaches 800 degrees to produce an even char on the crust.
In Summer in a Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes, Evan Dawson tells the stories of the winery owners, winemakers, and grape growers who helped launch the Finger Lakes wine industry in upstate New York.
Imagine my surprise when I ordered this sandwich only to see that it was upstaged by its side of glorious, transparent spiraled potato chips! Or so I thought. When I lifted the sandwich, its heft made me realize why the pretzel roll was only a few inches in diameter. The ham and red meck sandwich from Glenora Wine Cellars prides itself in presenting good (really good!) things in small (really small!) packages.
Back in April, Michael Honig reminded us that at the heart, winemakers are farmers. "We don't grow bottles," he said, "we grow grapes." So today I wanted to take a look at how those grapes have been growing around the country. The weather has been somewhat erratic, hotter than usual in New York's wine regions, and cooler in California (with a few scorching days), but winemakers are hopeful about what they're seeing. Will 2010 be a great vintage or a catastrophic one?
Note: Meet Your Farmers is a weekly series where we profile the farmers that mean so much to serious eaters everywhere. This week we catch up with Joe Nicholson of Red Jacket Orchards, one of our favorite juice suppliers. [Photographs: Red Jacket Orchards] Previously Lisa and Ali Moussalli of Frog Bottom Farm, Virginia » Ron Binaghi of Stokes Farm, New Jersey » John Lee of Allandale Farm, Massachusetts » Name: Joe Nicholson Jr. Farm: Red Jacket Orchards How many acres? 600 acres Your crew: A seasonal crew of up to 75 people. That number is obviously highest during the harvest, starting in June. They are great people, hard-working, and really a community within the community of Geneva. There are a...
The robust winter grain doesn't get much love, but it's actually inspired an annual festival in West Virginia, and has created an emerging gluten-free beer market, cereal options galore, and day jobs for these two dudes, Cliff Orr and Andrew Schuck. They work at the 200-year-old Birkett Mills factory in New York's Finger Lakes region, where they chaperoned the two girls behind Kitchen Caravan, a delightful online cooking show, around the scene—even showing them the griddle where the world's largest buckwheat pancake was created! Speaking of pancakes, check out Kitchen Caravan's recipe for much smaller pancakes, the Russian-style buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon. Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon - serves 4 as an appetizer - Ingredients For the pancakes 3...