By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
I'm always proud of the wines that I pick for the Times Union New York Wine Club because, well, if I weren't, I wouldn't pick them.
That said, I'm extra excited about our March 2011 selections.
For our Basic-Level Members this month, we have an perennial favorite and a charity-minded newcomer.
It's steel-fermented blend of chardonnay, merlot blanc, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir blanc. Fresh and fruity-but-balanced it mostly looks like a white wine, but from certain angles in certain light, you can definitely tell there are some red varieties in there. The 2009 was my summer wine last year… and this one is in the running for this year.
Our other Basic-Level wine for March is the debut of Red Tail Ridge Winery's 2010 Good Karma. Medium-bodied and just off-dry, it overflows with honeyed apples, pears, ripe peach — with a squirt of citrusy acidity that balances a slightly creamy, mouth-filling. Best of all, a portion of every bottle sold goes to a local charity.
Readers of this site will recognize our two Premium-Level wines this month — they both won their categories in our 2010 Wines of the Year tasting — and both required a little extra work to get our hands on.
Leonard Oakes Estate Winery 2009 Chardonnay was our Niagara White Wine of the Year and stood out for it's ripe, extremely tropical fruit flavors and beautiful balance. Made without a splinter of oak, this is a brisk wine ready for spring.
Roanoke Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island only sells its wines in its tasting room and via its wine club, but, we were able to convince them to sell us enough Roanoke Vineyards 2007 Blend One for the club. A blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 28% merlot and 12% cabernet franc, this winner of the Long Island Non-Merlot Red Wine of the Year shows the ripeness of the 2007 vintages as well as restrained oak and impeccable balance.
If you want to open it now, I recommend decanting it for at least an hour. Or, you can hide this one from yourself in the corner of your cellar and be rewarded many years down the road.
Learn more about the club and by all means, sign up. You can just do a month or three if you want to try it out. And as always, if you have any questions, please just ask me!