Véraison- The grapes they are a changin’

This past weekend we travelled to the North Fork of Long Island for a Dinner in the Vines at Lenz Winery.

We took some time to walk the vines. This is a very important time of year for the wine growers, known as Véraison (Vay-ray-zoN). This wine growing term, from the French, is used to mean “the onset of ripening”.

All grapes start out very small and acidic (not good to taste). During véraison the berries become soft and take on the colors characteristic of their specific varieties. White grapes change from green to whitish golden. Red/Black grapes change from green to their final color.

Looking at the color of the grape skins can finally give you an indication of the final color of the wine. Also, inside of the grapes, acid levels decrease and sugar levels increase.

Because the grapes are finally getting sweet this is also the time that wine growers will cover the vines with nets to protect them from the hungry birds.

Took a few pictures of the process for you enjoy…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next step…wine harvest.

What adult loves a big pile of leaves…Cabernet Franc anyone?

This weekend I traveled to the North Fork Wine Trail but when I returned home I needed to clean up  the many scattered leaves that are a constant reminder that winter is soon approaching.

The smell of the leaves swirling in the fall wind took me back to the vineyards and tasting Cabernet Franc.

Cabernet Franc is native to Bordeaux, France. Generally it is used as a blending grape along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  But in some areas of the Right Bank of France (Pomeral and St. Emilion) along with the Loire Valley, they use Cabernet Franc to make a single varietal wine.

These wines have aromas of fall leaves, potting soil, wet bark as well as tea, and some other spices. If you have ever stuck your head into a damp pile of raked leaves you will recognize the scent.

Cabernet Franc is called by many names: Bouchy (in the Southwest of France), Bretton, in the Loire Valley, and Bouchet on the Right Bank of Bordeaux.

The grape has more recently found a home on Long Island where the conditions are well suited for growing single varietals that share the same woodsy components of the French wines.

Cabernet Franc actually crossed with Sauvignon Blanc, to create Cabernet Sauvignon, but it is lighter in tannin and color (pigment) than Cabernet Sauvignon. The lower tannin makes it is easier to drink on it’s own, yet it is also very food-friendly, easily pairing with a number of fall dishes like roasted butternut squash or pumpkin soup.

 

Some of my favorites producers of Cabernet Franc in New York :

Castello di Borghese

Shinn Vineyards

Paumanok

If you would like to try an example of a French Cab Franc, Bourgueil Nuits d`Ivresse Breton is an easy drinking excellent value from the Loire Valley. The name of the wine translates into “Drunken Nights”.