Browsing CategoryFinger Lakes

Kemmeter Wines 2014 Sonero

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“Balance” is a term that gets bandied about in the wine world. Collectively, “balance” has a meaning that most agree on — a wine is balanced when all the different components (fruit, residual sugar, acidity, tannin, etc.) come together in a harmonious way. A balanced wine doesn’t have protrusions or awkward components. But even if we can agree conceptually on this definition, there is a lot of room for interpretation. A wine that you find perfectly balanced, I may find too oaky. Similarly, what I consider balanced might have too much acidity for you. Context matters too — and that gets us…

Domaine LeSeurre 2012 Semi Dry Cuvee Classique Riesling

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As you may remember from my recent post, I don’t write reviews based on at-winery tastings. I do use those tastings to help identify wines that I want to taste again or learn more about. Such is the case with Domaine LeSeurre 2013 Semi Dry Cuvee Classique Riesling ($19). My visit to the tasting room over the summer was a bit of a let down. It was too warm in the tasting room, leaving the reds well above cellar temperature. The glassware was small and weighty — the kind of glass you expect at a wine-tasting festival perhaps, but not at…

New York Cork Club: September 2015 Selections

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The September 2015 wines for the New York Cork Club will ship soon — thank goodness that the hot weather has started to subside. It’s shipping season! (If you missed our announcement about the rebirth of New York Cork Club, check it out here.) As we head into harvest season this fall, a lot of us start to drink a bit more red wine — but not heavy, oak-laden ones. With that in mind, we’re doing two reds this month, but both are bright and decided not oaky. Just what we like as the last of the summer’s tomatoes move through our…

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…