Thursday, March 7, 2019

This Week’s Tastings (March 14 to March 17)

This Week's Tastings

Thursday, March 14th: French & Italian Wines
Friday, March 15th: Italian & New Zealand Wines
Saturday, March 16th: Whiskey, Coole Swan (in honor of St. Patrick's Day)

This Thursday, We Welcome Brian From Seaview Pouring Wines From France & Italy

La Ferme Du Mont Truffiere Blanc 2016
La Ferme du Mont is a relatively new and exciting estate in the southern Rhone valley. It's run by Stephane Vedeau, a 3rd generation winemaker with a great eye for detail. This tasting will feature two wines from this emerging winery. First up is their white Cote du Rhone, "Truffiere". Made from 50% Grenache Blanc, 40% Viognier, 10% Clairette, this is a terrific summer white. It's round and rich with beautiful notes of stone fruit and zippy acidity.

La Ferme du Mont "Le Ponnant" 2015
Looking for a good weeknight red? Our second bottle from La Ferme du Mont is a delicious Grenache dominant Rhone containing 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Mouverde. The Grenache comes from 60 to 90 year-old vines which give this wine great depth and structure. The nose is full of pretty violets, and black raspberries. The palate is savory and rich with notes of blackberry and spice. This one is a tremendous value!

San Leonino, Governo All'uso Toscano 2017
This week, we’re featuring two wines using a method of drying grapes. First, San Leonino, the producer of this red, uses the Governo method, a winemaking technique created in Tuscany around the 14th century. Slightly raisined grapes are added to the wine, triggering a second fermentation which increases body and softens the texture. The nose of this wine opens with aromas of sour cherries and a hint of spice. The palate is smoky, deep, and full bodied with notes of plum, and chocolate. Perfect for red meats! 
*A 10% discount applies to all tasting wines.

This Friday, We Welcome Jamie From Banville Pouring Wines From Italy and New Zealand

La Capranera Campania Falanghina 2017
La Caprana is a producer from Campania whose focus is on sustainable farming and producing organic wine from indigenous grape varieties. Their Falanghina is beautifully aromatic with a rich palate of peach, tropical fruit and lime. A mouthwatering wine!

Koha, Pinot Noir 2017
Te Pa is an award-winning winery out of New Zealand run by the Whanau family. They have a long history with the land where they farm, as their ancestors began living on the property in the 1800’s. This has given the family not only a long history on the land but a connection and understanding of the best sites for growing grapes. Koha is their second label focused on delivering quality, value driven wines and this Pinot Noir delivers on both fronts. It’s medium bodied with red fruit, clove, herbal notes and a balance of tannin and acidity. Pair this with salmon or pop open and enjoy on its own.

Farina, Rosso del Veneto 2017
Our second bottle to use dried grapes utilizes a method called, Appassimento, an Italian term for drying harvested grapes to concentrate the sugars and flavors. Traditionally this is done on bamboo racks or straw mats for anywhere between a few weeks to several months. This is also the same process used to make Amarone. This bottle has a full yet soft, luscious mouthfeel with intense flavors of dried fruit, plum spice.

*A 10% discount applies to all tasting wines

This Saturday, We Welcome Coole Swan
(in honor of Saint Patrick's Day)

Armorik Coole Swan Cream Liqueur  

A short distance to the Northwest of Dublin, in the County Meath,
the combination of a Fine Irish Malt Whiskey is blended with real
white Belgian chocolate, and natural dairy to create a smooth and
original experience. The objective was to make a delicious cream
liqeur. Their success is Coole Swan, "the best tasting Irish Cream
Liquer." Join us this Saturday evening, from 6 till 8, to experience
the creamy, chocolate, and nutty flavors of this fine Irish Liqueur:
"Coole Swan".
*A 5% discount applies to all tasting spirits

Current Wine News

 In Chile, a wine barrel maker trained a group of dogs to track compounds that could be harmful for humans.

In Germany, you can sleep in actual wine barrels that once produced wine for the region.

Here's how to use cheese, wine and starch for fondue and create that perfect balance of ingredients.

Cole Ranch, America's smallest wine appellation in the hills behind Ukiah, Calif., spreads across 150 acres and is listed for $3.3 million.

This article is for anyone who has tried to order wine at a restaurant and didn't really know what to order. 

Ten Wine Trends to Watch in 2019
Vivino uses its data to put together a list of the top 10 wine trends to watch in 2019.

Featured Spirits

GlenDronach Single Malts

We have added 2 scotches to our whisky collection from the GlenDronach Distillery.

Hidden away in the north-east corner of Scotland, the Forgue valley, deep in the East Highland hills, is where, we find the GlenDronach Distillery.  For almost 200 years, since 1826, these Master Distillers have been producing heavy and robust spirits, matured in sherry casks. GlenDronach profiles itself as:  "SHERRY CASK CONNOISSEURS"

The whisky produced has been recognized for their deep color and rich flavor profiles, which range from sweet fruity flavors to dry and nutty notes.

GlenDronach Original, Aged 12 Years 
The 12 year is a richly sherried malt matured in a combination of Spanish Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks. The color is an inviting deep amber-red gold.  On the nose we get a creamy vanilla, some hint of ginger, and even a spiced mulled wine and pear.

On the palate is where we get some real excitement. We get a full mouth feel, warm with rich oak and sherry sweetness. We also get some spiciness with medium length and a dry finish. The ending is long, full and firm and slightly nutty.

The GlenDronach Peated

In contrast to the traditional, non-peated character of the GlenDronach, this particular whisky has, unusually, been distilled using peated malted barley. The GlenDronach ‘Peated’ pays homage to the peat historically used to dry the malted barley in the traditional floor matlings during the early days of the distillery. The subtle peated notes in this intriguing expression complement the classic GlenDronach Highland character and the  rich sherry notes drawn from the wood. (GlenDronach says it best, therefore, the previous paragraph was taken from their site).

The color of the peated is a beautiful harvest gold. Also aged in sherry casks we find that there is subtleness to the smoke we find in the Peated. The peat influence gives a smouldering charred wood character filled with freshly ground barley and hints of vanilla toffee.

On the tongue, we get some oak spice, barley and white pepper all complimented by the peat flavors. The subtle peat notes complement the palate by giving a delicate depth and dryness of glowing campfire embers. 

There are two nice single malts that will go a long way to warm the inner you on a cold winter’s night! 

Monday, May 8, 2017


Back in the 70’s, Billy Joel wrote about being in a New York State of Mind. Had he written the song today, he might have changed his tune. New York may be the wine capital of the Eastern United States but it doesn’t get the same respect as its western counterparts, California, Washington, and Oregon. New York actually has the oldest operating winery in the country. So how is it that the state fell behind the west coast in quality and prestige? The answer seems to lie in the type of wines the state produced early on.

Vitis, or grapevines, is a genus of around 60 accepted species of vining plants. The most famous and important of these is Vitis Vinifera, which is native to Europe. Among the many varieties of this species are the most well-known grapes which are used to make the majority of the wine we drink. Instead of these grapes, New York’s early focus was on Vitis Lambrsca, which included sweeter, lesser quality grape varieties such as Concord and Catawba. In the late 1950’s, Dr. Konstantin Frank began experimenting with European vinifera grape stocks in the Finger Lakes, thus changing the course of the NY wine industry.

Dr. Frank was a European immigrant who arrived in the U.S. with family in 1951. He was a professor of plant science and held a PhD in viticulture and eventually ended up taking a position at Cornell University’s Geneva Experiment station. It was there he came to the conclusion that it was the lack of proper rootstock and not the cold climate that had caused the failure of Vitis Vinifera vines in the Finger Lakes. He eventually found an ally in French Champagne maker Charles Fournier of Gold Seal Vineyards, who began producing the first European varieties in the Northeast. During the 70’s, even though the majority of wines were still coming from Concord and similar varietals, a handful of producers began producing fine wines, starting a shift toward the noble European varieties.
Another huge shift came in 1976 when the New York Farm Winery Act was passed, which allowed the small winemakers that used New York grown grapes to sell their wine directly to consumers rather than through wholesalers. This legislation helped kickstart the industry. At the time, there were 19 wineries statewide. Today there are more than 400.

The New York wine industry is still young and continually evolving as winemakers continue to learn, discover, experiment and take risks. Will New York wines ever take their place alongside the great regions? For a bit of perspective, the first official vineyard in Napa Valley was planted in 1859, but it wasn’t until the Judgment of Paris, where two California wines beat the highly regarded Bordeaux wines in a blind taste test, that the reputation of the region was cemented. That took place in May 1976, the same year New York passed the Farm Winery Act. Coincidence? Maybe, or possibly they realized a sea change was about to take place in the domestic wine industry.

We sample enough good quality New York wine that it’s a challenge to choose which ones to share with our customers. We’ve cultivated a section we believe offers a diverse selection of what the state has to offer. For those who would like to learn more about the producers, or better yet, pay them a visit (it’s much cheaper than a trip to Napa or Bordeaux) below are links to their websites.  Support local wine!!!

From Long Island

Shinn Winery works biodynamically, practices sustainable farming, gets energy from solar and wind power and utilizes holistic farming techniques. And if that wasn’t enough, they voluntarily include ingredients on their bottles.

Shinn Coalescence 2016 $14.99
A fresh and juicy white made from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling.

Shinn Estate Vineyards Red NV $14.99
A smooth quaffable red blend made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

The Osprey Dominion brand started in 2010 and they have quickly established themselves as a producer of award winning wines.

Osprey Dominion Merlot 2012 $16.99
Medium body, striking just the right balance of fruit, oak and tannin. Includes 16% Cabernet Franc and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon.

A father and son collaboration which began in 1986, Jamesport Vineyards is now a three-generation winery. Their winemaking approach is to interfere with nature as little as possible. Their wines can be found at many top restaurants throughout Long Island and Manhattan.

Jamesport Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $17.99
Aromatic with rich tropical flavor and citrus.

Another family winery, Paumanok was founded in 1983 by Ursula and Charles Massoud and their three sons. They strive to produce wines in the “Old World” style.

Paumanok Chenin Blanc 2015 $25.99
Dry and crisp with pineapple, apple and a hint of grapefruit.

Lieb Cellars is a small production, Estate Grown Winery whose brands also include Bridge Lane.

Lieb Cellars Cabernet Franc 2014 $27.99
Blackberry, tobacco & black pepper highlight this Old World style Cabernet Franc.

From Finger Lakes 
 Red Newt’s first vintage was in 1998 and in 2011 they were named as one of the top wineries of the year by Wine & Spirits magazine.

Red Newt Cellars Cabernet Franc 2014 $20.99
This Cabernet Franc sees no oak which brings out the pure expression of the grape. Refreshing with fresh red fruit.

Forge Cellars is a small, artisanal producer of exceptional Riesling and Pinot Noir. These wines are proof that New York is capable of producing terroir driven wines.                                                                                                 
Forge Cellars Pinot Noir Classique 2014 
A beautiful example of a Finger Lakes Pinot Noir. Deep with cherry, raspberry & earth notes.

Red Hook Winery employs three winemakers, Robert Foley, Robert Nicolson, and cult winemaker, Abe Schoener. They are located in Brooklyn but source their grapes from the best vineyard sites in Long Island and Finger Lakes.

Red Hook Winery Riesling Seneca Lake 2013 $22.99
This Finger Lakes Riesling comes from winemaker Foley. It sees only stainless Steel and is dry with notes apple, apricot, lime and light honeycomb. 

Wines from Goose Watch Winery emphasis the more uncommon varietals found in New York such as Viognier, Pinot Grigio Lemberger and our selection, Traminette.

Goose Watch Winery Traminette 2015 $13.99
A dry, fruit wine with bright stone fruit and a spicy finish. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Explore South African Wine

South African wines have come a long way. Ten years ago it wouldn't be uncommon to hear most people say, "South Africa makes wine?" Today, South African wines have a higher profile but have still gone unexplored by many wine drinkers. To understand the challenges winemakers have faced, here’s a brief history of the South African wine industry. The first wine made in South Africa, as recorded in the diary of Jan Van Riebeeck, was February 2nd 1659. Because of the threat of hungry birds, farmers were forced to pick grapes early so acid was sky high, creating harsh wines of low quality.  Things were not totally bleak as Simon van der Sel, the Cape Colony’s first Governor, gained some international acclaim with a noteworthy sweet wine.

In the early 19th century, the Cape passed from Dutch to British control. With an increase in settlement and shipping came an increase in the number of vineyards and by 1825 wine accounted for more than half of the Cape's exports, but quality was still considered poor. 

A change in the right direction came in 1918 with the formation of the KWV, a co-operative formed with the intention of creating unity among South African wine farmers and improving quality. The KWV grew and in 1940 the government gave them the power to set prices for table wine as well as setting quotas for wine production. Despite its intentions, the system at this point incentivized quantity over quality. Farmers grew as many grapes as possible and then sold them to the co-operatives who would make the wine. Despite this lack of motivation from KWV, quality wines were starting to be made but Apartheid-induced sanctions kept these wines from being exported and kept the country isolated from the rest of the wine world. 

1994 saw the end of Apartheid and is also seen as the start of the modern wine industry in South Africa. During the 90's, the KWV dropped the quota system and price setting, eventually becoming a private company which now exists as a wine producer, not a regulatory body. Winemakers at this point had the freedom to grow and innovate with an eye toward producing high quality wines. 
South Africa grows international varietals such as Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, but Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc are their two most planted grapes. They also have one grape unique to the region. Pinotage, a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, was created in 1925 by South African scientist, Abraham Perold and it has become South Africa’s signature grape.

Here is a sampling of some of the South African wines we currently stock.

Remhoogte Pinotage $18.99
"Lam" Pinotage $14.99
We offer two Pinotage which exhibit two different sides of the grape. The Remhoogte Bushvine shows more of the traditional characteristics of the varietal. It is full bodied with red fruit, black pepper, tobacco and is slightly smoky. Our other offering is the Lammershoek "Lam" which expresses more of the characteristics of Pinot Noir. This wine is light and elegant with pleasing red fruit. We recommend this one with a light chill.

Terre Brulee Chenin Blanc $15.99
Terre Brulee Le Rouge $14.99
We currently carry two wines from the Terre Brulee winery. The Chenin Blanc is dry and refreshing with citrus, honeysuckle and bright acid. The Le Rouge red, a blend of Shiraz and Cinsault, is savory with blackberry, light spice and enough oak to give it good weight and structure.

Kanonkp has established itself as a one of the best producers of South African Wines. The Kadette, a blend of primarily Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon, is a full bodied wine with black fruit, raspberry, and mocha with light earthy notes.

Kanonkop Kadette $14.99
Morgenster Lourens River Valley $31.99

For those looking for a more serious wine, we recommend the Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2010. A blend of mostly Cabernet Franc with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot, this hearty wine delivers cherry and black fruit, chocolate and sweet spice with well-integrated tannin.

From this point on, wines from South Africa will continue to improve and it won’t be long before they take their place among the great wines of the world. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Evolution of Rose

It wasn't long ago that wine consumers view of Rose was as overly sweet, much like White Zinfandel, which was actually created by accident. Sutter Home was trying to make a dry, almost white wine with their red zinfandel grapes. During this process they experienced stuck fermentation in which the yeast dies before all the sugar is consumed, thus creating a sweet, pink wine. Sutter Home preferred the "mistake" wine, released it and it took off like gangbusters. This was back in 1975 and this wine, while technically not a Rose, became many Americans’ first impression of a Rose type wine.

This impression actually began quite a bit earlier. In France, "pink" wines were the first to be produced. In historic times, before modern winemaker techniques were developed, wines were made with low maceration which gave it its light color. After WWII, two Portuguese winemakers released a slightly sweet, sparkling Rose-like wine in Europe and the U.S. and set sales records. 

Meanwhile, in Provence, quality Rose's were being produced in 125BC and by the 14th Century became the wine of kings and aristocrats. Today, Rose production is around half to two thirds of all wine produced in Provence. With its food friendly, light crisp style, the region became synonymous with Rose and became the "go to" region for U.S. drinkers who slowly began to discover that "pink" doesn't necessarily mean sweet.  

At approximately 13%, the U.S. is now the second largest consumer of Rose' wine, behind only France. So how did we get here? Some say the trend began in The Hamptons where about five years ago, drinking Rose became a lifestyle and was known as "Hamptons Gatorade". Others theorize that the influx of Europeans, and their love of Rose, helped re-introduce it to Americans. Either way, the popularity surge has been good for everyone. Rose's made from a variety of grapes and regions, both Old and New World, are gaining in popularity throughout the U.S.

"Rose season" used to start in the summer. Now it begins in the spring and is practically year round. Here at Windsor Wine, the process began in February when we began tasting lots of Rose in order to find what we considered the best for our customers. Our selection includes not only Provence, but Rose from all over France as well Spain, Italy, South Africa and the U.S. Whether you're looking for light and crisp, full and fruity or something in between, we have something to please every palate.