Browsing CategoryFinger Lakes

Heart & Hands Wine Company 2013 Patrician Verona Vineyard Riesling

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When Tom and Susan Higgins set out to create Heart & Hands Wine Company, pinot noir was to be the focus — and it is. Tom is making some of the best pinot on the East Coast. At the same time, the riesling program has grown beyond what the couple expected (I tasted more than a half dozen bottlings on a recent visit) and offers outstanding quality as well. The fruit used to make Heart & Hands Wine Company 2013 Patrician Verona Vineyard Riesling ($28) was grown on the west side of Cayuga Lake on a site that consistently produces ripe, fruit-forward rieslings. That’s…

Hermann J. Wiemer 2013 Cabernet Franc

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Even though I’ve been writing wine reviews for many years now, I never stop asking myself about their real value, whether or not I’m approaching them in the right way or how I can improve my process. Looking out at the rest of the industry — I’m talking more about printed publications, who tend to be a bit more transparent with how they taste and review wines — there don’t seem to be any set rules. Some critics taste wine “blind” but not really — because they know the region the wines are made, so any bias they may have for…

With Lacey Magruder Winery, the Hundertmarks Live Their Dreams

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Jim Hundertmark is a man who is living his dream. Most mornings he leaves his modest farmhouse home and walks a few dozen steps across his property to work. For Hundertmark, his workplace is the small, “boutique” winery on the west side of Seneca Lake that he owns and operates with his wife Ruth. Their winery, Lacey Magruder Winery, bears the name of the paternal grandmothers from each of their families. The couple’s path to the Finger Lakes began in their hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Like many who live in the DMV area surrounding the nation’s capital, Mrs. Hundertmark built…

Billsboro Winery 2012 Pinot Noir

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Billsboro Winery 2010 Pinot Noir ($25) offers aromas of black cherry sprinkled with potpurri, root beer and smoke and toasted oak that is just a little distracting. The fresh, nicely concentrated palate brings more cherries — black and maraschino — a bit of chocolate and subtle. It’s less oaky than the nose and has soft, supple tannins and a nice bit of juicy acidity. Producer: Billsboro Winery AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12.5% Price: $25 (sample) (3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)

Appreciating the FLX Wienery: A Conversation with Christopher Bates

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Here’s the scene: You are biting into a burger called The Local, made with goat cheese and miso mayo and lettuce and tomato and herbs, and you’ve just pillaged a bottle of 1988 Dunn Cabernet from the secret wine fridge, and you’re wondering if this high-end comfort food oasis is only for serious food lovers. And then a well-placed dick joke cuts through any concern about pretension. This is the FLX Wienery, a little food-and-wine joint on Route 14 that has been open for a year. It’s already become a regional treasure, a must-visit for wine tourists on Seneca Lake.…

Getting Rose Right: Finally, the Finger Lakes is Making Consistently Excellent Rose. Here’s Why

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Photo via David Diaz, Damiani Wine Cellars No one is immune to bad ideas, and for years, the Finger Lakes had consistently bad ideas when it came to rose. It all seemed to culminate in one ill-fated February evening in 2014. You might be wondering why anyone was talking about rose in February, and you would be on to something. On the evening Thursday, February 27th, 2014, Fox Run Vineyards hosted an industry and media “Discover Dry Rose Grand Tasting.” Perhaps you recall that January and February of 2014 had been colder than an ex-lover, hammered by snow and raw…

Atwater Estate Vineyards 2014 Dry Rose of Merlot

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There isn’t a lot of merlot grown in the Finger Lakes — and even fewer wineries doing worth while things with it. Atwater Estate Vineyards 2014 Dry Rose of Merlot ($25) isn’t unique for New York (Long Island is flooded by merlot-based rose every spring) but it does stand out from the Finger Lakes crowd. The aromas are lighter than you might expect, but light, pretty red cherry and floral notes are accented by subtle herbaceous edge. There is a bit more intensity on the palate, with similar straightforward red berry flavors, lively acidity and a lingering cherry-skin finish. Before you balk…

Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2013 Reserve Riesling

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Dr. Konstantin Frank 2013 Reserve Riesling ($25) offers intense, concentrated aromas and flavors of peach, pineapple and Golden Delicious apple that are accented up by notes of honey, spice and hay. Richly flavored and textured, there is a bit of sweetness up front, but a beam of juicy, nervy acidity scrubs the palate clean on a medium-long finish. Producer: Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12% TA: 8.4 g/L pH: 3.11 Production: 301 cases Price: $25* (3.5 out of 5 | Very Good, Recommended to Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)

Damiani Wine Cellars 2012 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon

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You won’t find a lot of varietal cabernet sauvignon wines in the Finger Lakes — with good reason. Generally speaking, later-ripening reds aren’t as well-suited to the region as other types of grapes. That said, Damiani Wine Cellars typically bucks that trend and makes some of the better cab in the region. Damiani Wine Cellars 2012 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) isn’t as good as the outstanding 2010, but it still balances ripe fruit with oak and savory notes well. The nose shows a melange of aromas — sweet blueberry compote, blackberry, savory dried herbs, soy sauce, and dusty, earthy cocoa powder. Mouth-filling and slightly chewy,…

Bellangelo 2014 Cabernet Franc Dry Rose

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It doesn’t always happen this way. Not every cabernet franc rose tastes like cabernet franc, but Bellangelo 2014 Cabernet Franc Dry Rose ($16) really does. It starts off with the types of bright red fruits that you’ll get from most roses — cranberry and red cherry in this case — but there are also underlying notes of Herbs de Provence and mossy earth that bring a bit of complexity without getting in the way of the fresh fruit aromas and flavors. Brisk and refreshing, it’s lighter bodied and begging to be enjoyed with food. Producer: Villa Bellangelo AVA: Finger Lakes Vineyard: Tuller Vineyard…