Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York: Elegant, Ageworthy Wines (Part Two)
Continuing from my July Gems article on this fascinating region, here are more impressive wines that really enthralled my senses:
Anthony Road Winery 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling: Summer melon and minerally notes greet the nose and burst out on the palate. Equally compelling are layers of baking spice, creamy pears and golden delicious apples playing off a beautiful level of acidity; stunning with impeccable balance.
Anthony Road Winery 2010 Gewürztraminer: expressive spice and floral aromas enthrall the senses making you want to stay put and enjoy, but carry on. With its viscous mouth feel, exotic fruit flavors framed by tisane herbs and spices, this Gewurz really thrills the palate. A light touch of honey adds further dimension, and the lip smacking finish goes on forever.
Anthony Road Winery 2010 Pinot Noir: Dried cherry and raspberry aromas and flavors parrot one another with this pure and delicate Pinot Noir. On the palate it is focused and light on its feet with vivid expression of fruit. A beautifully balanced wine with subtle, well-integrated oak notes finishing the package with elegance and style.
Anthony Road Winery 2010 Lemberger Cabernet Franc: This sensuous blend enters softly with a velvety texture and blossoms on the palate with layers of dense blueberry/raspberry compote, cocoa, a dusting of freshly cracked black peppercorn, and underlying green pepper notes – irresistible!
Anthony Road Winery 2008 Martini Reinhardt Riesling Trockenbeeren: Wow – crafted from botrytis affected grapes, this stunning elixir coats the mouth with honeyed apricot, candied orange peel and caramelized nuts. Zippy acidity keeps it lively, and the exquisite balanced and complex is clearly noteworthy; built to go the distance.
McGregor Vineyard and Winery: 2010 Chardonnay Reserve: Inviting fresh pear, apple and pineapple aromas framed by savory spice on the nose expand broadly on the beautifully balanced palate. This wine is well-structured with a creamy texture, and high quality French oak nuances sway elegantly in the background.
McGregor Vineyard and Winery 2010 Dry Gewürztraminer: Wow, expressive lychee and spice notes scream absolute varietal correctness with this lush, full bodied Gewurz. Fleshy pear, tropical melon and a dash of white pepper spice dazzle the palate and the heavenly finish simply soars.
McGregor Vineyard and Winery 2010 Semi Dry Riesling: it may sound like a broken record, but there is simply no end to the stunning examples of Riesling here in the Finger Lakes. Deliciously restrained in alcohol, this gem offers up minerally, wet stone aromas that play in concert with crisp apple notes and acidity. A perfect touch of sweetness leaves you wanting more; GO for it!
McGregor Vineyard and Winery 2010 Rkatsiteli Sereksiya: From its pleasing floral fragrance to the soft, round and lively freshness on the palate, this semi-dry white wine oozing lemon thyme, and herbs de Provence infused pear and apple flavors sings effortlessly without missing a beat. What a flirty, delicious change-of-pace wine.
McGregor Vineyard and Winery 2009 Traminette: Enticingly perfumed and spicy on the nose, this easy to quaff white wine showcases spice accented sautéed apples and a dash of citrus, very juicy and enlivening on the palate. Well balanced with striking acidity carrying through the long finish.
McGregor Vineyard and Winery 2009 Pinot Noir: Inviting floral aromas join the dried cherry, cranberry, tea spice and anise notes meshing in splendid harmony on the palate. Purity, impeccable balance and plenty of finesse with this attractively crafted Pinot Noir.
McGregor Vineyard and Winery 2008 Black Russian Red: Intensely hued, this impressive wine is a blend of estate grown Saperavi & Sereksiya Charni (vinifera grape varieties typically grown near the Black Sea, less commonly grown in America). Plummy, berry aromas rise from the glass and gloriously expand on the palate. Rich and full bodied with black plum, blackberry and wild berry flavors layered with cocoa, black pepper spice and pretty oak notes. The generous level of acidity balances the density of the fruit, and firm integrated tannins add further support for its age worthiness.
Lakewood Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay: Enticing apple aromas accented by subtle oak fill the nose and the palate is resplendent with apple/pear cobbler flavors. Crisp and juicy with vanilla and brown spice highlights holding firm through the lingering finish. A nicely balanced, easy to sip Chardonnay.
Lakewood Vineyards 2010 Medium Sweet Riesling: Freshly cut sweet peach aromas rise from the glass, truly capturing the essence of this variety. The pleasing peach and nectarine flavors are also displayed on the palate, with plenty of acidity offsetting the creamy texture and fruity concentration that lingers through the delightful finish.
Lakewood Vineyards 2010 Vignoles: An excellent example of wine made from this tiny hybrid grape. Aromatically pleasing with its floral notes wafting from the glass. Juicy and sweet with fresh pineapple and ripe apricot dotted with honey generously filling the palate, yet feeling light and lively with bright acidity.
Lakewood Vineyards 2010 Borealis Iced Wine: Crafted from the Native American Concord grape, this wine reminds me of a day at the carnival – cotton candy meets grape candy in a glass! It will completely satisfy your sweet tooth and a good dose of acidity keeps it from being cloying; nicely made.
Glenora Wine Cellars 2011 Pinot Blanc: Inviting tropical fruit aromas lead to succulent melon and baked pears and a touch of earthiness swirling on the palate. Fresh and clean with an elegant structure and silky mouth feel, finishes brightly with a hint of jasmine.
Glenora Wine Cellars 2011 Pinot Noir Rose: Eye appealing brilliant rosy hue and delightful floral aromas set the stage for the strawberry and cherry flavors and a subtle touch of citrus cavorting on the palate. Refreshingly sweet with a good splash of acidity; easy to quaff summer sipper.
Glenora Wine Cellars 2011 Gewurztraminer: Fragrant honeysuckle scents entice the nose, and abundant spicy notes frame sweet and tart apples and passion fruit at the core. Nicely balanced and juicy with a touch of allspice lingering through the lovely aftertaste.
Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery 2008 Merlot: The inviting cinnamon spice and vanilla bouquet retains its charm throughout. The spices intermingle with blueberry and wild cherry notes accented by a dusting of cocoa powder, fully engaging the mid palate. Focused and nicely textured through the satisfying finish.
Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery 2011 Dry Riesling: Compelling floral, peach blossom aromas grab your attention with this well balanced Dry Riesling. Sweet peach, juicy pineapple and melon flavors build tasty layers on the palate, with a touch of spice adding further dimension.
Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery NV Seyval-Chardonnay: An appealing flinty fragrance draws you into this lively white wine, a blend of Chardonnay and the French-American hybrid grape Seyval Blanc. The lush palate captures ripe red and yellow apples and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. A nice level of sweetness will more than please the medium sweet wine lover’s taste buds.
Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery 2010 Silver Anniversary Riesling: Mouthwatering aromas set the stage for deliciously ripe fresh pineapple, peach and sweet grapefruit flavors bursting expressively on the palate. Zippy acidity keeps it balanced and lively; a skillfully crafted Riesling.
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer: Honeysuckle blossom and slate captivate the senses and play a nice supporting role to the spice-infused tropical melon, lychee fruit and sprinkling of fresh herbs drenching the palate. A beautifully textured, well defined wine to pair with Asian cuisine.
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards NV Red Cat: You know a wine has garnered attention when you walk into the tasting room being serenaded by groups around the room chanting Red Cat, Red Cat . . . (you have to be there to hear it all). Red Cat is a balanced and pretty rendition of wine made from the hybrid grapes Catawba and Baco Noir. Distinctive and aromatic with flavors of bazooka bubble gum, fresh grapes and cotton candy seducing the senses. Sweet – yes, but also snappy and bright.
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc: Well-crafted with good definition of varietal character as this precise, artfully balanced Sauvignon Blanc greets the nose and mouth. Grapefruit abounds, highlighted by pretty lemon grass and fresh herbs; finishes memorably.
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2010 Vidal Ice Wine: Enticing bouquet of honeysuckle and fresh caramel corn pull you into the glass where you’ll delight in the creamy caramel and spiced nut flavors blending with honey drizzled orange slices; the heavenly finish puts you in dreamland; delicious.
Wagner Vineyards 2010 Dry Riesling: Flinty, stone fruit aromas scream varietal correctness with this lively, expressive Riesling. All about fresh yellow peach and nectarine at the core, with and a pretty thread of minerality and zingy acidity throughout. Elegantly structured, and the nice restraint in alcohol suggests good aging potential, too.
Wagner Vineyards 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling: This semi-dry sister wine is equally impressive with sautéed white peaches and yellow plums dotted with brown sugar filling the mouth bountifully. Elegantly textured, finishing bright with minerally notes and a splash of lime zest.
Wagner Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir: Appealing aromas of a bowlful of red cherries intrigues the nose and fresh raspberries and spice chime in mid palate, with a generous level of acidity keeping it lively and balanced. Love the restrain in alcohol (12.8%), too – elegant and approachable now, and should age gracefully for years.
Wagner Vineyards 2011 Riesling Ice Wine: An engaging bouquet of biscuits dripping with delicate clover honey wake up the senses. Decadent flavors of caramelized nut clusters and sugar dusted dried apricots coat the mouth richly, and the well dialed in acidity lifts the flavors brightly on the palate; yum – all the dessert you will need!
There is so much to see, smell, taste and experience in the bucolic Finger Lakes Wine Region. Clearly my four and a half day tour around Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake and Cayuga Lake was simply not enough. I look forward to my next visit to this charming region soon. You ought to add this region to your travel list as well, and be prepared to enjoy plenty of delicious discoveries while traversing from one picturesque lake to another!