Author: Ray Pompilio of Wines and Vines 

March 30, 2018

The East Coast wine scene has gained momentum in recent decades.  This year’s Eastern Winery Exposition held March 6-8 in Lancaster, Pa. drew over 1,000 industry professionals.  The panel consisted of two Virginia winemakers, Luca Paschina, native of Italy, from Barboursville Vineyard and Jim Law, of Linden Vineyards and one from New York’s Long Island, Roman Roth, from Wölffer Estate.  All three produce high-end Bordeaux blends.

Luca Paschina came to Barboursville, Va. in 1990.   The vineyard has approximately 185 acres heavily dedicated to Merlot and Cabernet Franc and situated at elevations between 550 and 800 feet.  Blending is done by taste only, with the winemaker tasting blind until there’s a consensus.  The quantity of any one grape in the blend is not as important to Paschina as consistency in the character of the final blend.  “Never blend according to plan,” says Paschina.

Jim Law’s, Hardscrabble Vineyard, is located 1,200 to 1,400 feet above sea level where Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes are used for his master blend.  He shares the same philosophy as Paschina stating that, “We’re not fixated on the blend.”

On Long Island, Merlot is “king” according to Roman Roth.   Wölffer has 54 acres planted on the Long Island’s South Fork and owns and purchases grapes from another 150 acres on the North Fork.  The sandy soil vineyards rise at an average 55 ft elevation and 2.5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.  The Merlot vines were planted in 1990.

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