July 12, 2006

New York's newest wine grapes

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Every so many years, new varieties of wine grapes are released from the New York State Agriculture Experiment Station run by Cornell University in the Finger Lakes village of Geneva. Last summer three were released. I had sampled them in pre-release -- and then-unnamed -- form at the Arbor Hill Grapery in Naples, NY. The grapes, code numbered when I tried them in wine form, now are being worked with at various vineyards.

Corot Noir:

A light-bodied, late-maturing vinifera type wine with an emphatic blueberry nose, finishing with a darker berry flavor and a hint of vegetal notes. It is a complex interspecific hybrid resulting from a 1970 cross between Seyve Villard 18-307 and Steuben.


A mid-season maturer, has a distinct peppery character with moderate tannins and a much more complex structure than the Corot Noir. It is a hybrid made in a 1973 cross between NY65.0467.08 and Steuben.

Valvin Muscat:

A highly-flavored muscat that would be best used in blending or as a dessert wine. It has a banana start and citrus finish that immediately makes one think of pleasing food accompaniments. The complex interspecific hybrid grape resulted from a 1962 cross between Couderc 299-35 (an interspecific hybrid known as Muscat du Moulin) and Muscat Ottonel.

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