Wine over water, Oregon, Michigan, the dollar — sips and spits

Sipped: Peter Singer, Princeton ethicist
“And buying the merlot may help sustain a tradition in the French countryside that we value–a community, a way of life, a set of values that would disappear if we stopped buying French wines. I doubt if you travel to Fiji you would find a tradition of cultivation of Fiji water.” Excellent! He’s clearly been reading his Dr. Vino! [great piece on bottled water in Fast Company]

Sipped: NYC tap water
The NYT gives NYC tap water a thumbs up for taste and price, pointing out that eight glasses of tap water a year has a total tab of $0.49. [NYT]

Sipped: Oregon wine tourism
Oregon Wine has a new interactive map for plotting your next trip to the state. Good stuff–we love maps! [Oregon Wine]

Sipped: Michigan wine country(?)
“There’s a quiet revolution happening here,” Joel Goldberg, a local wine writer, told the NYT about the burgeoning wine life in Michigan. “Go off a side road and through the woods and you’ll find a vineyard here, a vineyard there — hundreds of acres of new vineyards are going in all over the place. And there are some real quality wines.” [NYT travel]

Spit: the US Dollar
Touched a record low versus the Euro on Friday as it fell to $1.3814.

Spit: EU wine reform, in Central Europe
“If this EU reform is passed, I think the size of the vineyards under cultivation in Hungary will be halved. It could create a dramatic situation,” Laszlo Kiss, president of Hungary’s National Council of Wine Communities. [AFP].

Spit: California Rhone-style wine under $10

“Why can’t California deliver the same kind of terroir [as a Cotes du Rhone] for $10? “[SF Chron]

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7 Responses to “Wine over water, Oregon, Michigan, the dollar — sips and spits”

  1. As a Michigander, I have to admit that Michigan wines are pretty bleech, but I’ve had some good ones. There was a particularly fantastic oaky Chardonnay I used to pick up while trekking from SE Michigan to Chicago from a Black Star Farms outlet shop. The wineries up north are the decent producers, but there are wineries popping up all over now. While I wouldn’t go out of my wine to buy it or have it in a restaurant, Michigan wines are at least comparable to over-valued overrated NY wines from Long Island (very similar climate and soil as the Michigan dunes). We vacationed there last summer to find nothing but sour reds and watery whites and at steep prices no less. At least Michigan wines are priced for what they are.

  2. Overrated NY wines?!? Most New Yorkers don’t even know about NY wines and if they do, they refuse to even try them. Besides, I’ve had some really nice ones including varietals that don’t normally get a lot of press. How can an obscure varietal in a tiny wine region be ‘overvalued’?!?!?

  3. Marta…I think you’re wrong on two big counts…Michigan wines AND Long Island ones.

    I’ve had some kick-ass riesling and bubbly from your neck of the woods.

    As to LI, my neck of the woods, I don’t know where you tasted, but there are only a few wineries that I think are making “sour reds” and/or “watery whites”

    Where did you taste?

  4. I realize that I’m probably being a little harsh, but we had some pretty snotty tasting room companions. But, I am really serious in saying that I’ve never had a LI wine knock my socks off. I’ve had a few “decent” Michigan wines, but they still weren’t up to snuff compared to West Coast wines in the same price range. It’s probably unfair to compare then that way.

    Honestly, I’d love for nothing more than to have some of these wines amaze me, especially ones I can get around home. I really wanted to take some stuff home from the LI vineyards (my husband and I took 18 bottles home from Napa), but there just wasn’t anything we really loved.

    We visited: Paumanok Vineyards, Laurel Lake, Pelligrini, Bedell Cellars, Castello di Borghese, Martha Clara

    Pelligrini had some of the worst wine on the trip. We took a bottle home from Laurel Lake in order to avoid awkwardness with an over-zealous staff member. I think there was some good raspberry wine at Bedell. Maybe we just didn’t hit up the really good places??

  5. Marta,

    Well, if you’re a fan of West Coast wines, it’s entirely possible that you just don’t like the more subtle, balanced wines of the East Coast.

    How long ago did you visit? That makes a difference too. In the last year or so, there has been a palpable increase in quality the region over.

    But, Martha Clara and Laurel Lake are definitely not places that will give you good examples of what Long Island can do. That’s like going to Sutter Home and Forest Glen and making a judgment on California 🙂

    I’m surprised that you didn’t enjoy Paumanok though. They are certainly one of the regions best…but the wines are much more Bordeaux than they are California.

    I’m still left shocked that you haven’t found wines in your own area worthwhile. I’ve had a couple wines from Left Foot Charley, Peninsula Cellars and Chateau Grand Traverse that I thought were awesome examples of American riesling. Far better than the overripe, almost-always-sweet West Coast renditions.

    I guess at the end of the day, palates are all individual, aren’t they?

    If you ever find yourself on Long Island again, please do get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

  6. Next time I’m in Michigan I’ll have to head north and have a look. I’d have thought MI, particularly the UP would be perfect for Ice Wines. Canadian ones a reaching the same kind of prices we’d pay for German or Austrian ones here so it would make sense financially as well as make the most of the bonkers climate.

  7. I’m just back from judging the Michigan wine competition, and can assure those of you who doubt Michigan wines that we’re entirely capable of making world-class cooler-climate wines.

    But I understand why some people think our wines are “bleech”. Because a lot of them are. First, it’s a lot harder to make good wines in a climate like Michigan’s than in Napa Valley. Second, some of the people who are making wines here shouldn’t be. Third, some of the grapes planted here are never going to produce than curiosities, or wines for those who don’t know any better.

    But I’ll wager anyone that right now, today, I can put a Michigan Riesling or Gewurztraminer in your glass that will blow away just about anything made on the Left Coast. And in another five years, I expect to be able to say the same about Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.


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