I’ve been thinking about prices lately. I talked to a winemaker on Cayuga Lake once who told me that the price of wine is always wrong. He said that most bottles of wines are really worth about $6. He meant the wine you buy at the market. There are other vintages that will always be worth more. In New York State, 1991 was one of those years. A mild winter led into a rainy spring, which slid into a dry summer, which slipped into a perfect fall. The perfect fall is kind of rare up here. Usually, we’re cruising along at summer’s pace, then two or three weeks later, we’re shoveling the driveway. 1991 was a very good year for New York State wines. Even a novice like me could tell the difference. He probably still has a few bottles of the 91 somewhere in the winery. It has value, not only because it’s good wine, but because it represents a comfortable year in New York. I graduated from college in 1991. All and all, it was a good year. The value of the wine is set by my desire to relive the essence of that year.
Wine distills the essence of a place in a unique way. For the longest time, the type of wine was restricted to certain areas. Champagne, Bordeaux, and Chardonnay all came from certain counties. Drinking those wines was a way of experiencing that region, even if you were on the other side of the world. Now, they make replicas of those wines, since the grapes are true, but the land is different. The only native grape in New York State is the Cayuga, I think. It’s a variety of grape vine that was developed by Cornell University to grow in New York State. A very American way of making wine, no? Cayuga and Dry Riesling are my favorite varieties from the Finger Lakes wineries.