Sound like a Smartypants, Talk About Veraison

In continuing with my love of summer and embracing all the free weekends that I can, I recently hit the North Fork of Long Island with my sexy, wine-loving boyfriend B-Lev for a weekend of being treated like a princess, and drinking a plethora of locally produced wine. The region is noted for this juice, which has gotten national acclaim over the past 30 years, and also for being the less trendy zone in the shadow of the Hamptons and its sprawling mansions.

Naturally, I was aiming to be Hamptons chic while tasting pinot noir and cabernet franc at eleven AM on Saturday, and part of that entailed talking with winemakers about grape growing like I have a semblance of a clue about viticulture. (In case anyone was wondering, drink-i-culture is my specialty.)

Luckily, B-lev schooled me on the verbal gem veraison. Not only is it a critical phase of grape growth, it’s a 3-syllable masterpiece that will have you sounding like quite the vigneron on your next date with the Queen/Ryan Gosling/really hot wine collector.

In its simplest form, veraison is the process where young, happy, awkward green berries change color from green to purple–or green to greenish yellow–and begin to soften.  Usually, this process begins when the fruit has developed enough sugar and nutrients from the leaves to begin maturing (read: the little grapes are finally outgrowing that awkward phase where terry cloth dresses and velour track suits are trendy or posh in any way.)

Different grape varieties enter veraison at different times, though weather is a key factor–luckily for us, this year’s record heat sent LI grapes into overdrive so we got to see them in their chameleon phase. After veraison, all that’s left to do is wait while the grapes develop more and more sugar.

And anywhere from 1 to 20 years later my drink-i-culture will finally come in handy.

Veraison Uncorked:

Laura Loves: Vineyard Visits! I love being a little nerdy and chatting up winemakers with a taste of their juice in your hands.

Russell McCall, owner of McCall Vineyards who gave B-Lev and I an awesome tour and walked us through a great tasting. (More on that coming soon!)

Quintessentials B&B where owner Sylvia kills it on the breakfast scene.

Fun Facts: An estimated 1.3 tourists visited Long Island wineries in 2011.

29 of Long Island’s 35 wineries are concentrated on the 20-mile long North Fork.

Ways to Nonchalantly use the word ‘veraison’: 

“Because of the weather in the 2011 vintage, so many grapes were lost just after veraison.  Oh, what a terrible year.”

“Hmmmm…perhaps this fruit was picked too soon after veraison, something is really lacking in this wine.”

  • August 10, 2012
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