As you can see I just took part in a very fascinating that explored the outer limits of cool climate grape varieties. It took place in the cellar of Rouge Tomate Restaurant at 10 East 60th Street and the wines all came from cool and high altitude regions in France, Italy and Switzerland. The idea was to identify which varieties might have a future in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, most specifically at the vine nursery run by Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyards. This process was seriously complicated by the roller coaster ride which all the different winemaking styles took us on. From oxidative and vinegary 2006 Savagnin white from Michel Gahier in Arbois/Jura in France to the reductive (opposite of oxidative) funk of the red 2008 from the Petit Rouge grape from Grosjean Frêres in the Vale d’Aoste in Italy all kinds of strange smells and tastes were on offer. Most exciting of the odd-ball whites was the 2008 Cour-Cheverny from Francois Cazin in the Loire made from the Romorantin grape which was still vibrant and crisp with a fascinating mix of apple and dill pickle notes. Amongst the reds the wine which grabbed me was the 2010 Mondeuse from Louis Magnin in Arbin/Savoie, the interplay of cherry and wild berry flavors and the slightly sappy dry tannins very distinctive and surely predestined for all manner of fatty foods. However, I still preferred the fragrant and elegant, but self-confidently dry and vivid 2010 Cabernet Franc ‘Reserve’ from Hermann J. Wiemer that set a very high benchmark for the tasting.
Now I must dash to Grand Central Station for a train to Poughkeepsie because of my all day and evening appearance at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park tomorrow. First I have a date this evening with Bob Madill of Sheldrake Point in the Finger Lakes for a Riesling tasting. What else?