The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2016

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Page 24 of 148

24  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2016 NEW YORK CITY SIPS by Lana Bortolot T he Long Island Merlot Alliance, a six-member group dedicated to setting the record straight on Merlot (Sideways?—fugged- aboutit!), held a panel and trade tasting at Back Label Wines in Chelsea to familiarize people with the "other" red (remember, Cabernet Franc?). Executive Director Amy Zavatto introduced the panel, which included author and Edible East End Editor Eileen Duffy; Noah Singermann, Wine Director at Saxon + Parole; and Juan Micieli-Martine, Winemaker at Martha Clara Vineyards. They were joined by 20 wineries from the Long Island Wine Council for a walk-around tasting. Micieli-Martine said, "It's not about proving Merlot is the one right thing for Long Island, but to share information to support the quality of the wine in Long Island." He added, "Our knowledge of the vineyards is becoming more aligned with what we're trying to do." Seven clones are used in the nearly 108 acres of Merlot under vine in Long Island—three French, three Californian (the majority) and one Italian. Noting that New Yorkers want to drink more local wines, Singermann said more guests were asking for Long Island wines and Merlot, he said, "is a great way to talk about land and terroir. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a great bottle that's balanced, food-friendly and versatile, especially with a variety of palates." In keeping with the theme, the Long Island Wine Council held a food and wine tasting comprised of local goods including Peconic Gold oysters from Ketcham SeaFarm and mushroom bites from the East End Mushroom Company. The event launched the "Created with Character" initiative, which spotlights the East End's quality-driven wines and similar local food producers. The new push emphasizes Long Island's terroir and maritime climate—a still-emerging conver- sation for a relatively wine region that is still understanding its assets and how to talk about them in context. LIWC president Roman Roth, said one way to reflect the unique character of the region is to lever- age the locovore movement and "partner beyond the wine world with fellow artisanal producers who share our commitment." Setting the Record Straight PHOTO: ESTEFANY MOLINA PHOTO: ANDREW KIST PHOTO: ANDREW KIST PHOTO: ESTEFANY MOLINA Tony Didio, TD Selections and co-author of The Renaissance Guide to Wine & Food Pairing, and Amy Zavatto, Executive Director of LIMA, at Back Label Wines. Jeffrey Bailey, Lenz's Senior Wine Educator, and Jerol Bailey, Director of Sales at Lenz. Left to right: Joshua Wesson, Ali Tuthill and Joe Campanale at Gary's Loft, Chelsea. Left to right: Roman Roth, President, and Ali Tuthill, Marketing Director, of Long Island Wine Council at Gary's Loft. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K

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