After California, New York is the second-largest producer of wine in the U.S. It's home to 4 wine growing regions and 8 different appellations. Each of New York's wine regions has a distinct climate and is known for a particular style of New York wine.
The eastern end of Long Island is known for its North Fork appellation, which produces Bordeaux-style reds. Weather here is affected by the Peconic Bay, Long Island Sound, and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean. These Gulf Stream-influences moderate the temperature and create a maritime climate and long growing season.
New York's Finger Lakes region is sometimes (unfairly) compared to Germany's Rhine. This area experiences short growing seasons and downright frigid winters, but the deep, narrow lakes provide enough of a moderating effect to keep the industry intact. The region's steep hillsides provide good sun exposure and, almost as important, excellent drainage to help ward off frost. Needless to say, cool-climate varieties have fared best, particularly Riesling. The Finger Lakes also produce a number of sparkling and ice wines.
The Hudson River region is home to the country's oldest continually running winery, Brotherhood Winery, which was founded in the 1830s. The Hudson River's north-south direction helps draw moist ocean breezes into the river valley and thus moderate the potentially harsh growing conditions (which range from excessive heat to extreme cold). In recent years, New York wine producers and grape growers have begun finding success with hearty clones of Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc.
Pinot Blanc Facts
Rich and medium bodied, with hints of honey, tropical fruit, and smoke
Poultry, seafood and pork
Pinot Blanc may not receive the same respect given to noble varieties like Chardonnay and Riesling, or even other Alsatian whites like Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. But at its best, with grapes from low-yielding vines, Pinot Blanc can produce exciting values: creamy, medium bodied wines, with honey-like aromas and flavors.
A relative of both Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc is grown in a number of countries under a variety of names. In Germany, it is Weisseburgunder, while in Italy, it is called Pinot Bianco.
Still, the fact that we are most familiar with the grape as Pinot Blanc is a dead tip-off that the best examples of the grape come from France. In France, Pinot Blanc is most notably grown in Alsace, where it is either bottled on its own, used as a major component in the sparkling wine Cremant D'Alsace, or blended with other varieties in the region's traditional wine, Edelzwicker. We don't see much Edelzwicker, since the export market for this wine is virtually non-existent. But we're happy that we can get a decent amount of single-varietal Pinot Blanc from Alsace; the wine is made in some form by almost every Alsatian winery. These can be rich, sometimes tropical, smoky wines that are low in acidity. Look for offerings from Domaine Marcel Deiss and Domaine Schoffit.
In the U.S., some California vintners are producing Pinot Blanc with the same techniques used to make expensive Chardonnay, including new oak and malolactic fermentation. We're not convinced that this is the best way to showcase the grape, and lean more towards the wines being made in Oregon. Here, vinification techniques more closely follow the model established in Alsace, with fermentation in stainless steel or older oak leading to wines that are rich and smoky. Consider wines from Amity Vineyards and Elk Cove.
Pair Pinot Blanc with poultry, seafood, and pork.