You don’t need to avoid Finger Lakes red wines from cooler, gray-er years like 2011. You just need to know where to look for consistent quality, nearly regardless of vintage. Red Tail Ridge Winery has proven to be one of those beacons of consistency.
Winemaker Nancy Irelan’s Red Tail Ridge Winery 2011 “RTR Vineyard” Pinot Noir ($20) is fruity on the nose, with red cherry and red raspberry aromas accented by light notes of brown spice, lavender and earthy raw mushrooms.
Though a bit dilute and not as complex as the nose, the light-bodied palate is driven by red fruits — think cranberry and cherry — with a savory, earthy edge. Low in tannin, this is a wine that relies on acidity for structure and while not crunchy or super-fresh, it’s still food friendly.
This wine was welcome on my dinner table over the holidays. And at $20 it’s a good value.