Harvest season is nearly upon us across New York wine country. In fact, I’ve heard reports of grapes destined for sparkling wine coming in this week. It’s a busy time of year at every winery — and it has been for me too as we worked to finalize this month’s picks.
This is a pretty classic ESC club shipment — we focus on the grapes that regions do best as well as some of New York’s top producers. I hope you enjoy the picks as much as my friends and I have of late.
Raphael 2013 First Label Sauvignon Blanc: Sourced from the estate’s oldest sauvignon blanc vines, this intensely aromatic white shows aromas of ruby red grapefruit, tropical fruit, lemon verbena and minty herbs. Fuller bodied and mouth-filling, the palate shows more of that concentrated citrus character with hints of quava and papaya. That herbal edge is faint, but it’s there and the long, lingering finish features gravelly acidity that deftly balances the ripeness.
Bloomer Creek Vineyards 2011 Vin d’été Cabernet Franc: Generally, 2011 wasn’t a great year for red wine in the Finger Lakes, but this lighter-styled cab franc from an under-appreciated producer delivers deliciousness while serving as a window into the vintage. Crunchy cherry flavors are accented by herbal and earthy notes.
“Getting to Know New York” Wines
Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc: Paumanok gets a lot of attention — and rightfully so — for it’s chenin blanc, but don’t ignore winemaker Kareem Massoud’s sauvignon. It is citrusy and fresh with great mid-palate texture and a long minerals-and-herb finish.
Coffee Pot Cellars 2010 Meritage: This blend of 59% Merlot, 23% Petite Verdot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon shows dark, brooding fruit — think black currant and blackberry — with a delicate spice note and an earthy edge. It’s tasting well today, but it’s structure makes it a candidate for at least short-term cellaring.
“New York Wine Trail” Wines
Tierce 2012 Riesling: This collaborative effort between Anthony Road Wine Company, Fox Run Vineyards and Red Newt Cellars — three of the Finger Lakes’ top producers — is a dry, electric riesling with bright citrus aromas and flavors with notes of wet slate, quince and green apple. Acid hounds will love this one.
Shinn Estate Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Franc: The folks at Shinn Estate Vineyard seem to a special spot for growing cab franc. Year after year, almost regardless of growing conditions, the wine is always delicious. This warm-year edition is ripe and mouth-filling but still shows freshness as well as subtle herbs and spice notes.
Hermann J. Wiemer 2012 Magdalena Vineyard Riesling : Single-vineyard wines are all the rage in the Finger Lakes these days. They seem to have replaced “Reserve” bottlings, in fact. Many seem like nothing more than a reason to charge more for an individual wine, but there is little doubt that the Magdalena Vineyard on the western side of Seneca Lake is a unique, special place for riesling. Dry and concentrated, this is a stunning wine that is lively and delectable today, but should age beautifully too.
McCall Wines 2010 Ben’s Blend: Only made in better years (the last one was 2007) this Bordeaux-style blend from Long Island’s premier pinot producer straddles Old and New World well. It’s ripe and lush, but also well structured and earthy with a long, elegant finish. If you can contain yourself, cellar this for another year or two. You’ll be rewarded, I think.