A few weeks ago we started to head back into the city for the first taste of art in months. Things had cooled down and viewing this 80 foot by 12 foot Donald Judd sculpture at the Gagosian, it was awe inspiring to take in every facet of construction, how the angles varied with each panel, and how the light cast a different shadow in each passing moment.
What does this have to do with wine? It seems that the impetus to head back into Manhattan and experience things locally led us to focus this week on wines that were produced in the United States. It’s not that we haven’t ever shied away from domestic wines but somehow this urge of “going local” felt more natural as our local communities are increasingly opening up. So two of this week’s wines come from our backyard on Long Island and the other is just a coast away in California.
Floral Terranes is, in the best possible away, a garage wine operation in a suburban Long Island community. The eastern part of New York has embraced bigger name vineyards but smaller operations have struggled in an age of excessive restrictions. Floral Terranes managed to make itself work in this challenging environment by embracing the land and fostering strong partnerships with its neighbors.
A fruit of this labor is their 2019 Riesling, which lands pretty squarely on taste as far from a Riesling as you might expect, minus the acid. With this vintage, they’ve managed to infuse orange and lemon creamsicle flavors in harmony with dry herbs. Yes, the signature zing of acid is still there but this is what Riesling should be if it was a beach bomb. We may have consumed it locally at Maria Hernandez Park but for every outdoor moment you have left in 2020, this is the wine you want to drink.
And then there is the unusual! We’re not saying that you can’t blend Chardonnay (70%) and Merlot (30%) together. But it is not at all what you might expect from a wine. The color and palette err toward a light red and we’re not mad about it. Think plum, leather, dried spice, earth on the nose and palette upfront but then you’re struck by that signature lift from the Chardonnay. It “flies like an eagle, like a jet airliner,” they say. And we can’t help but agree how this wine soars. We can’t wait to see more unique blends like this in the future.
Calaveras County in California is nestled into the High Sierra region. It’s a bit under developed but produces some exceptionally light Alpine wines with a lot of character. Forlorn Hope’s skin contact blend of primarily Verdelho, Albariño, Muscat, and Chardonnay manages to skew toward the more ethereal end of orange wines. You won’t get heavy tannins here. In contrast, you have a wine that bursts with grapefruit aromatics but really lends it self to a pomelo and tangerine palette, a little less bitter but still juicy, mingling perfectly with the acid.
As things warm up a bit, we get more of those tangerine aromatics and some gentle but not overpowering tannins. This is what we are talking about when we talk about the “new new world” wines.
In case you’re looking for other domestic offerings, we have a few other Floral Terranes wines in stock. We also have Broc Cellar’s La Boutanche 1L of pure fun or Jess Miller’s always exceptional Pinot Noir from Oregon.
Until next time, happy sipping!