Some of the best things in life are found close to home.
In the case of Ed Draves, our resident taster and identifier of those hidden flavors in mezcal, that means Western New York. For years Ed has been the “wine guy” at Premier Wine and Spirits. He’s also the guy who brought Wahaka Mezcal to Buffalo.
In the spirit of our 5 Mezcals Everyone Needs to Experience series, we’ve asked Ed for his High Five on wines, from one of the hidden jewels in US wine world, the Finger Lakes Wine Country and the area surrounding Niagara Falls.
Here they are, in no particular order…
Chateau LaFayette Reneau Riesling, Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake… year in and year out a favorite of mine, yummy peachy overtones with ample,focused acidity. This vineyard has actually won 4 Governors Cups (New York State Wine of the Year as judged by a team of professionals from all walks of the Wine Industry). If New York has a Grand Cru Vineyard, this is it. Choose the Dry or Semi Dry, either way it’s delicious
Ravines Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes Keuka Lake… a fantastic bone dry and minerally offering rivaling anything in its price range from Alsace or Austria. Imagine lemon rind and beach pebbles wrapped in tight acidic structure.
Johnson Estate Seyval Blanc, Chautauqua… French American Hybrid wines are part of New York’s heritage and although many are out of favor with the “aficionado”, many are just plain delicious and a bargain. This wine offers green apple flavors and a light body and subtle finish. Perfect for relaxing times or with a light appetizer
Arrowhead Spring Pinot Noir, Niagara Escarpment USA… Our neighbors in Canada have been growing quality Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir on the Niagara Escarpment for a while. In the last 10 years or so there has been an awakening and boon of quality wineries on this side of the Niagara River. A lighter bodied, cherry noted Pinot that will company poultry or pork dishes, well worth seeking out.
Leonard Oakes Vidal Ice Wine, made using the traditional (grapes frozen on the vine) method. Delicious, thick with loads of caramel sweetness balanced with acid and mineral character. Just a hint of what New York can do with dessert wines (at about half the cost of quality German offerings).
This was a difficult choice with all the great wines being made in this region of NY. If you are planning a trip to Niagara Falls, book a few extra days to visit New York’s Niagara Escarpment wineries, if you want to include the Canadian wines as well book a couple of weeks.