Check Out the Diversity of New York State Wines, Varietals, and Terroirs

New York counts as one of the top wine producing states in the USA. Although far behind California in terms of quantity, the quality of New York wines and, yes, terroirs, has catapulted forward over the past thirty years. 

The best known wine region is the Finger Lakes. The Hudson River Valley and Long Island, however, have also produced fine wines for decades. This offers a diversity of cool climate appellations to choose from, each with unique characteristics. And the varietals are diverse as well. 

When you buy wine online from Bottle Barn, you will find the expected (and excellent) Finger Lakes Riesling but also Long Island Merlot, and Hudson River Pinot Noir. Cabernet Franc has actually been a specialty of Long Island since at least the 1990s. 

Expect the Finger Lake Riesling to be in a dryer style (although the region also produces sweet wines). Two great examples are the Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling from the 2021 vintage and the 2020 Forge Cellars “Classique” Dry Riesling. These are great value: both under $21 per bottle. “Dry” means a bit higher alcohol, but still restrained, around 12%. New York State wine regions, after all, are not hot except in mid-summer. 

Wiemer describes its Riesling as aromatic—certainly true—but also with a distinctive minerality that “has become our trademark.” Wiemer has always heaved towards the German style of winemaking. He was one of the Finger Lakes winemaking pioneers focused on the true European grapevine, Vitis vinifera, a long time ago. 

By contrast, the 2019 Anthony Nappa Bordo Antico Cabernet Franc heaves towards Italy. Bordo is the traditional name for Cabernet Franc there. Their vineyards lies on the North Fork, which boasts a maritime climate, moderated by the surrounding waters of Long Island Sound and Peconic Bay. This moderating influence helps to create a longer growing season, allowing grapes to ripen fully and develop complex flavors. 

The region's soil is often a mix of sandy loam and gravelly deposits, with some areas containing clay. A diverse soil composition provides good drainage. 

The Anthony Nappa winemaker has chosen a rustic Italian style, fermented using wild Long Island Yeast—that’s quite a combination! and without additives. Expect to find a bit of cool-climate Cab Franc spiciness (they describe “ripe tomato leaf” and “garden herbs) alongside notes of raspberries, licorice and graphite. 

In the Hudson River Valley, Millbrook Winery has been going for over 37 years. A testament to these longstanding efforts is the 2021 Millbrook Pinot Noir. Owner John Dyson purchased a former dairy farm in Millbrook, New York, after successful plantings of vinifera grapes on his father's farm. The southwest-facing slopes and gravelly soil proved excellent for viticulture. In 1983, the first plantings were made, and Millbrook Vineyards & Winery became the first vineyard in the Hudson River Region dedicated exclusively to vinifera grapes. The winery grows Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Tocai Friulano. Apparently they gave up on Cabernet Sauvignon. Millbrook currently produces between 10-15,000 cases of wine annually. The winery has received recognition for its wines in publications such as Wine Spectator, The New York Times, and Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. It should be a great location for Pinot, and you will find aromas of raspberry and black currant with notes of soft rose petals after you buy wine online. 

Finally, to get a full taste of New York wines when you order wine online, check out the 2021 Floral Terranes Sauvignon Blanc from Lond Island. Biodynamically grown, you will appreciate the winemaker’s description, because it’s a bit unusual: “This specific Long Island expression smells like cacao – bitter and smoky and herbal.” Of course, it has Sauv Blanc aromatics, a bit perfumed, although the winemaker lists anise or “a really good incense in an old, stony and cold cathedral.” The palate is “quick and punchy, with a citrus and saline freshness and a lingering acidity."  

Floral Terranes focuses on grapes harvested at Long island’s Macari Vineyards. The winemaking process is simple and natural, with fermentations carried out by natural yeasts in various barrels and glass jars. They bottle by hand with minimal sulfur added, reflecting their commitment to preserving the land and producing authentic, terroir-driven wines. The 2017 vintage was their first commercial release.

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