Finding that perfect bottle of New York State Pinot Noir may be a trying experience, but when you find the right one, you’ll be in love. Our cool, humid climate here isn’t ideal for growing the “heartbreaker grape” as it has been nicknamed by farmers and winemakers. The flavor and quality of the grape itself and the wine throughout the winemaking process varies from perfect to a little too earthy, and the body of the wine can vary greatly with little effort by the winemaker.
There’s such a variance in terroir and clones planted across the state that it’s difficult to make a generalization about flavor and style in New York Pinot Noir, but what’s refreshing is that we’re really not trying to emulate wines from other parts of the world either. That diversity is what makes NY Pinots so exciting; we’re always discovering something new and different from the last great bottle we had.
When it comes down to it, vineyard location is key in producing top-notch grapes in this state. One thing I’ve learned from New York Pinots is how awesome they can be when they’re grown by the most committed and experienced farmers who know exactly when to harvest and when to wait. From there, the winemaker must be just as focused as the farmer as to not taint the beautiful grapes they’ve been handed. Producing a show-stopping New York State Pinot Noir can be a winery’s proudest achievement.
A well made NY Pinot Noir for me has a beautiful light red color, has been properly-oaked using malolactic fermentation techniques making it more creamy than woody, and has a perfect balance of dried cherry flavor, spice, and a touch of smoke on a gently lingering finish. If it pairs harmoniously with a piece of dark-chocolate-dipped, thick-cut bacon, that’s when I’m in love. Another added bonus to drinking New York State Pinot Noir is that they have higher levels of resveratrol, the substance found in grapes that have been found to reduce the chance of heart disease and cancer, than any other Pinot Noirs in the world!
Here are some terrific NY Pinots to try: