Two weeks of touring the east coast with the Hot Club of Detroit, two conferences, and multiple video and print assignments for Wine and Jazz Magazine have helped me to stay warm so far in 2011, but I’m glad to be back at the blog. And I want to share with you an idea for a project I’ve begun that I’m particularly excited about.
Readers of this blog know that I like to drink local. Over the holidays, I sipped the 06 Chardonnay from Wyncroft — a Michigan winery — while dining at Michael Simon’s “Roast,” in downtown Detroit. It was there that I came to the decision to turn my focus on wine at this blog, Wine and Jazz Magazine, and any other publications that may welcome my writing, to the wines and the people behind them from the much talked about regions of Michigan, Ontario, and New York.
Because I feel a connection with those regions: I was born and raised in Michigan, my family has a summer home in Ontario, and I currently live in New York. It feels natural for me to want to drink and learn everything I can about these wines and their regions. I’m sure many of you will agree that these emerging wine regions are exciting to watch develop, but at the same time you may feel the wines lack value for what they are. But, would you order a bowl of minestrone in New England because it was a little cheaper than the clam chowder? No, you’d order the chowder. And you could probably find a low priced wine from Chile or the Southern Rhône Valley while dining at a restaurant in Napa, but would you really choose that sleeper of a wine over a locally produced gem to save a few bucks? Not if you’re at my table.
(I know I just basically, like, compared Michigan to the Napa Valley, but I don’t care.)
“The best Michigan wines are among the finest in the country,” wrote wine educator Kevin Zraly in his book, American Wine Guide. And, in my opinion, the same goes for the best wines from New York, and our neighbor to the north.
And the enthusiasm for this project from the producers I’ve reached out to from these regions has been overwhelmingly positive. Check back soon for reviews of wines from Peconic Bay, a Long Island winery; Heron Hill, a Finger Lakes Winery; and Wyncroft, a Michigan winery whose wines have made their way on to the menus of Chicago’s Charlie Trotter’s, and Iron Chef Michael Simon’s Roast.
I have trips planned to visit each of these regions this summer, and look forward to reporting on the wines and culture I experience while there. And by no means will I totally abandon reporting on wines from the rest of the world. Next month I will be speaking at a jazz conference at the University of Burgundy, and traveling with me will be my friend and colleague, sommelier Anthony Minne. He and I will be sure to share our wine-and-music-trouble-causing-adventures from Paris and Burgundy with you.
In the mean time, I urge you to seek out the crisp, mineral driven red and white wines from Michigan, New York, and Ontario. And if you do try one, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment here to let me know how you liked, or hated it.