Last week, another harvest was completed; today the first flakes of snow swirl, but melt as they touch the golden leaves. It is time for giving thanks. Thanks to our creator and shepherd who has given us the most glorious fall in many, many years. Not only that, but a growing season that has delivered the cleanest, ripest, most luscious bunches of grapes; bunch upon bunch, ton upon ton. It should be a memorable vintage.
We owe abundant thanks too, for the loyalty of our customers, the steady, unstintingly cheerful work of our teammates in the vineyards, cellar, and wine-shop. We are grateful, as well, for the community that surrounds and supports us, and we wish all good cheer.
As is our custom after harvest, we are again pleased to offer free shipping to customers nearby and far away. We know that many of the people who visit us during the season have roots in our community, but either now live at some distance or have family or friends that do. It is with this broad, western New York 'diaspora' in mind that we reach out in gratitude with this humble offer of wine transport - free as Santa’s sleigh, if not so magical!
As the first bands of snow march off Lake Erie, I am warmed by the memories of summer just past: the vineyard walks with cheerful, interested and interesting visitors, the golden sunsets out over Lake Erie, the planting of our newest Pinot vineyard block, the breathless unloading of our newest wine tanks and barrels, and the raising of a new barn among the vineyards. I eagerly look forward to tasting the wines of 2017. I forecast that they will be excellent.
Jennifer and I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving among family and friends. We thank you for your interest and support and may your holiday season be joyful. May you return to visit us, preferably in person if you can, or on-line in the meantime!
You may have heard that in the wine business, it takes about seven years to figure out if you made a good (or bad) decision - because that's how long it takes to plant grapes, wait for adequate production to make wine, and then to sell that wine - and to see if your customers like it!
Likewise, we rely on Mother Nature. And sometimes, as in February of 2015, you get a surprise. In this case, it was 30 degrees BELOW zero, which was cold enough to damage some tender vines (Riesling and Traminette) and to seriously reduce production in some vineyards. SO, that was a long way of saying that we sold out of some vintages unintentionally - because we did not have the necessary grapes/juice to produce planned quantities. But now, they are back!
Black Locust Dry Riesling
Pinot Noir (first estate vintage)
Vidal Blanc Ice Wine
Chambourcin Ice Wine
Sparkling Rosé Ice Wine
One of the summer's best stories is that we had been sold out of Vidal Blanc Ice Wine for some time and were looking forward to the bottling and release of the 2016 vintage. Winemaker, Jeff Murphy, had already entered sent some wines in the 2017 San Francisco Wine Competition, but knew that he wanted to include Johnson's 2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine - and as it had just been bottled, he had to ship it to California via overnight Federal Express to insure that it arrived in time for the wine judging June 30 - July 2. Are we glad that he did! The 2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine was awarded 97 Points!!!
Another point of pride is the accolades given to our May Wine. The 2016 vintage was the second of this new product inspired by Germany's spring May Wine celebrations with a white wine punch laced with sweet woodruff and strawberries. Here's what the Beverage Testing Institute had to say:
"Bright yellow straw color. Fruity aromas and flavors of grape jelly, wild lemon, and preserved peach with a round, crisp, fizzy, off-dry light-to-medium body and a seamless, medium-length roasted nuts, dried pineapple, and cream soda finish with coating, silky, soft tannins and a suggestion of oak. An exemplary sparkler with terrific effervescence and a nuanced approach to Vidal Blanc."
OTHER AWARDS EARNED DURING 2017:
2016 Traminette - Gold & Best of Class, 2017 NY Food & Wine Classic
Exceptional/90 Points, Tastings.com
2016 Sweet Riesling - Exceptional/90 Points, Tastings.com
2016 Black Locust Riesling - Highly Recommended/89 Points, Tastings.com
2016 Dry Riesling - Highly Recommended/89 Points, Tastings.com
2016 Semi-Dry Riesling - Highly Recommended/89 Points, Tastings.com
2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine - Double Gold, 2017 San Francisco Int'l Wine
2015 Seyval Blanc - Double Gold, 2017 NY Food & Wine Classic
2015 Ives - Double Gold, 2017 Finger Lakes Wine Competition
2016 May Wine - 94 Points, Gold/Exceptional, Beverage Testing Institute, Tastings.com
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