Browsing CategoryFinger Lakes

ravines-meritage

There is a phenomena that is unique to the world of fine wine that gives some winemakers sleepless nights, sends collectors on quests that are akin to searches for the Holy Grail itself, and provides ample employment opportunities for wine writers and critics alike: Vintage Variation. For brewers and distillers, achieving consistency in their product is a common and overarching goal. But for producers of fine wines — particularly in cool climates — embracing inconsistency is more the norm. Most espouse the philosophy of “letting the grapes dictate the wine” by emphasizing the attractive characteristics that are presented by a…

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It’s not always easy to know who made any individual wine at Boundary Breaks. They work with a few Finger Lakes winemakers and there isn’t any indication on the bottle or on their website which wines were made where, but Boundary Breaks Vineyard 2013 No. 239 Dry Riesling ($20) was made by Peter Bell at Fox Run Vineyards. Flinty and citrus blossom notes bring a bit of complexity to a nose that is driven by sweet lemons and just-ripe peaches. Citrusy and quite fruity and forward, the palate is juicy, with a bit of perceived sweetness even though it’s labeled…

dr-frank-2014-gruner-veltliner

I’ve been lucky when it comes to Gruner Veltliner, one of the great grapes of Austria. Through friends who have worked for various importers over the years, I’ve been introduced to some incredible renditions — expressive wines of intensity, balance and flat-out deliciousness. With that as context, I’ve been a bit let down by most New York Gruner. I used to chalk it up to young vines, poor picking decisions and winemakers getting their footing with it in the cellar. I still think that’s true in some cases, but I’ve also been guilty of not allowing the grapes to express what…

john-mcgregor

It has been called “unique” and “iconic” – and has developed an almost cult-like following since it first appeared more than two decades ago. McGregor Vineyard’s Black Russian Red is a field blend of two varieties of Eastern European origin – Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni. Finger Lakes pioneer Bob McGregor created the blend in the early 1990’s as an alternative to classic Bordeaux blends that require varieties that are challenging to consistently cultivate in Upstate New York, releasing the first vintage in 1991. Based on its early success, the wine has been produced every vintage since. Today, continuation of the…

keuka-spring-vineyards-2013-humphreys-riesling

Keuka Spring Vineyards 2013 “Humphrey’s Vineyard” Riesling ($22) offers a nice balance between fruity and floral character. The nose opens with Mandarin oranges and Meyer lemons with notes of peach, honey and fennel frond. Juicy and dry, the palate welcomes Golden Delicious apple flavors to the party along with more-pronounced, zesty citrus notes. Finishing with notes of apple skin and citrus blossom, this is a pretty classic Finger Lakes dry riesling, minus the minerally slate notes you might find from other vineyard sources. Producer: Keuka Spring Vineyards AVA: Finger Lakes Designation: Humphrey’s Vineyard Variety: Riesling Alcohol: 12% Production: 360 cases Price: $22 (sample)…

Anthony Road winemaker Peter Becraft

The winter weather outside was frightful, but inside the production building at Anthony Road Winery the scene was warm and inviting for the recent “Cellar Sampler: Dine Among the Wines” event. Wine cellar dinners have been gaining in popularity, and a crowd of nearly three dozen food and wine lovers attended the sold-out event that was hosted by Anthony Road Head Winemaker, Peter Becraft. The evening featured four of Anthony Road’s unreleased wines that were artfully paired with dishes that had been prepared by chefs Rune Hilt and Guilietta Racciatti of Red Dove Tavern in Geneva, NY.  Unlike most formal wine tasting…

forge-2013-pinot-noir

Assumptions and generalizations. In recent weeks they have crept into more than a couple wine-related discussions I’ve had. As with regular, every-day life, they are silly, even dangerous, things that can make us appear ignorant or worse. In wine, they are crutches that even the most intrepid writer/critic/thinker will fall back on in a pinch. Of course many of them are based in fact — at least tangentially. Take the idea that red wines from the 2013 Finger Lakes vintage can’t or won’t be good. I haven’t heard anyone laud the season for any grape. The growing season was a wet…

silver-thread-2013-dry-riesling

In the three-plus years since Paul and Shannon Brock bought and took over Silver Thread Vineyard, they’ve quickly pushed the label’s reputation forward. Paul makes wines in a clean, focused style that is well suited to the region and to the vineyards the couple buys fruit from. Silver Thread Vineyard 2013 Dry Riesling ($18) is made using fruit from a variety of sources — 32% was estate grown fruit on Seneca Lakes, while 33% came from Gridley Bluff Point Vineyard (Keuka Lake), 30% from Doyle East Seneca Vineyard (Seneca Lake) and 5% Randolph O’Neill Vineyard (Cayuga Lake). Crisp and clean, the nose is…

klv-2014-leon-millot-nouveau

Given the popularity of Beaujolais Nouveau every fall, it’s long surprised me how few New York wineries (or American wineries for that matter) have embraced the concept. I mean, most Beaujolais Nouveau is terrible. I’m sure New York wineries can do better. Enter Keuka Lake Vineyards 2014 Leon Millot Nouveau ($18). Keuka Lake Vineyards has a bit of a cult following for it’s non-nouveau Leon Millot — an inky dark, chewy red unlike many from the Finger Lakes. On the other hand, this nouveau is soft and fruity, which red cherry note and just a little little cassis. There is a…

magnus-ridge

A few miles north of the village of Watkins Glen on the western shore of Seneca Lake is a large and striking structure  faces the lake from the side of a hill that is bisected by Route 14.  Although it mostly resembles a French chateau in design, the building is a fusion of Old World architectural styles that give it an imposing, yet inviting aura.  Its name, Magnus Ridge Winery, pays homage to its size as well as its location. The winery and the nearby vineyards represent the realization of a life-long dream for Sandy and Matt Downey who built…