There are only 230 Master Sommeliers in the world, and Dustin Wilson is one of them. Formerly of Eleven Madison Park, Wilson—who was featured in the documentary Somm—is now putting his vast knowledge behind a new consumer wine platform: Verve Wine, which will be a way for wine drinkers to get expert recommendations and know they’re buying a great bottle. “We’re founding Verve to make discovering interesting wine accessible for everyone: from the casual rose drinker to the serious connoisseur,” Wilson says.
Before the Verve Wine launch, though, we got Wilson to give us some recommendations for which New York wines to drink right now.
Bellwether Riesling ‘Seven Sisters Vineyard’ 2013
Bellwether winemaker Kris Matthewson is not afraid to take chances. A visit with him reveals all sorts of experiments going on in the winery and I love his drive to go against the status quo and push the limits of what’s possible in the Finger Lakes. His Riesling is pure, elegant and refined. As with all the wines he makes, his methods are truly hands-off, which allows each wine to become what it wants to be: a totally unique expression of time and place. Drink this one with a delicate, fresh, flakey white fish like sea bass with a squeeze of lemon and all will be right with the world.
Terrassen Cabernet Franc 2014
Terrassen is a great new project by Thomas Pastuszak, wine director of The Nomad Hotel, and his wife Jessica. Juicy, jovial, and gentle, this classic, peppery Cab Franc has Loire Valley styling with Finger Lakes charm. Nice and dry with medium weight and coming from sustainably farmed vineyards. Think fresh blueberries and mint. Great with an overflowing plate of turkey and cranberry sauce.
Empire Estate Riesling 2015
A newcomer to the scene but certainly one to watch, this is serious FLX Riesling. Riesling is the king grape up in the Finger Lakes and the team behind EE is doing it right with this one. It’s fresh, lively and easy-drinking with a layered complexity that reminds you of something more expensive. Riesling goes with so many different things, but I like to drink this one with some glazed ham and a salad of mustard greens.
Heart & Hands Pinot Noir ‘Elaine’s Vineyard’ 2014
Heart & Hands makes some of the very best Pinot Noir in the Finger Lakes. Elaine’s Vineyard is located on the eastern side of Seneca Lake, in an area the locals refer to as the “banana belt” owing to its warmer conditions. It produces a Pinot that’s nice and lush on the palate, with popping aromas that are hard to stay away from. This screams for fall foods like sweet potatoes or butternut squash.