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Made without even a splinter of oak, Raphael 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ($20), is a brisk, somewhat lean rendition of North Fork sauvignon blanc. Dominant aromas and flavors of citrus blossom, stony talc and straw are supported by light lemon, lemon verbena and gooseberry qualities. Juicy, citrusy acid keeps the palate crunchy and accentuates the minerally, stony notes. Bottled only a month ago, I plan to re-taste this wine in a month or so and will update this note if needed. Producer: Raphael AVA: North Fork of Long Island Varieties: 97% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Semillon pH: 3.18 TA: 8.4 g/L Barrel Program: None;…

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)…

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…

medolla-2004-merlot

It’s rare that one can go buy a fully mature Long Island wine right off the shelf, but Medolla Vineyards offers that opportunity with the current release Medolla Vineyards 2004 Merlot ($19). Yes. 2004. Current. Release. The Medolla wines are made at Lenz Winery under the watchful eye of Lenz winemaker Eric Fry. The 2002 was one of the most underrated merlots on the North Fork when it was released and the 2007 was a killer value a few years ago when it hit shelves. The 2004 — no doubt given extra time in bottle to even out some of the rustic…

standing-stone-2013-saperavi

Though originally planted at Standing Stone Vineyards with blending in mind, Saperavi — a cold-hardy grape originally from Georgia (not the state) — has earned co-owner/wine Marti Macinski accolades. And she’s only been bottling it on its own since the 2005 vintage. In a region where dark, inky reds are anything but the norm, it’s easy to see the appeal. Beyond the color — which ultimately has little (no) bearing on a wine’s quality or even intensity — there is even more to like. Standing Stone Vineyards 2013 Saperavi ($30) oozes with plum and blueberry fruit aromas that are accented by a slightly…

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…

wolffer-2010-noblesse

Wolffer Estate is one of the better-known and recognized brands in Long Island wine. Their standard dry rose is nearly ubiquitous in the warmer months (not to mention their barrel-aged rose and the new “Summer in a Bottle” bottling). Winemaker Roman Roth is also making some of the best merlot-based blends and cabernet franc on the island. What doesn’t get nearly enough attention is the sparkling wine program at Wolffer — including Wolffer Estate 2010 Noblesse Oblige Extra Brut Rose Sparkling ($40). Made from pinot noir and chardonnay, it offers aromas of fresh apple and apple skin with hints of red berries.…

knapp-2013-dry-riesling

With aromas of lemon drop, peach flesh and pit and a subtle floral quality, Knapp 2013 Dry Riesling ($16) is fruity and forward without being too candied. Thought sweeter than many would expect from a wine labeled “Dry” there is a nice balance between the residual sugar — which brings a bit of mid-palate fullness — and citrusy, juicy acidity that lingers with a distinct lime finish. Peach flavors are ripe and plush with citrus at the edges and a bit of apple skin. This was the surprise of a recent tasting. Producer: Knapp Wines AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12% Production: 302 cases…

anthony-nappa-2013-chardonnay

Anthony Nappa Wines 2013 “Sciardonne” Chardonnay ($20) straddles the line between typical no-oak chardonnay and barrel fermented styles. Though it doesn’t see a splinter of oak, it’s still full-bodied and concentrated with fruity aromas of mandarin orange and peach backed by notes of pineapple, dried flowers and a bit of butter. Full-bodied and mouth-filling, the palate shows excellent balance with enough acid to keep it from tasting heavy or tiring and a nice little saline note on the end of a medium-long finish. Producer: Anthony Nappa Wines AVA: North Fork of Long Island Harvest Date(s): October 5, 2013 Vineyard Source: McCullough Vineyards…