Billsboro_06pinotnoirRed wine from the Finger Lakes. Most of the time, they are mediocre at best. My tasting notebook is littered with descriptors like thin, green and under ripe when it comes to these wines. The best ones, almost without fail, tend to be made with fruit grown on Long Island, where achieving ripeness is less of a worry.

Then again, with the way our global climate is changing, they might be able to ripen cabernet fully in even the coolest years within our lifetimes. Let’s hope not.

But I digress, we’re not talking about cabernet today. Today we’re talking pinot noir, a grape that does okay in the Finger Lakes… at least during the warmer years in the best vineyard locations.

When we visited the region in April, we tasted a fair number of pinots and most were only okay, mostly because they were just so simple which cherry fruit flavors with only oak-related secondary characteristics.

Billsboro Winery’s 2008 Pinot Noir ($16) doesn’t fall into that simplicity trap, though.

In the glass, this 12% ABV wine is a very light, slightly brick red. There are rose wines I’ve tasted lately that are darker, in fact. The nose is similarly light and not very expressive only showing light cherry and earthy mushroom aromas… even with vigorous swirling and a few hours in the glass.

Light bodied and extremely earthy on the palate, the primary flavors are grilled mushrooms, black pepper and black cherry. The acidity is also nice and the tannins low. The finish, which is medium-length, is very mushroomy as well. All in all, I think lovers of Old World pinot will enjoy this a lot more than people who are enjoying the super-fruity style of syrah pinot so popular out west right now.

Producer: Billsboro Winery
AVA: Finger Lakes
Price: $16
Rating: 25

(2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Recommended)