By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

I think that I'm like most wine geeks in that I like wines that make me think. I don't mean all the time. Not every wine. Sometimes we just want wines that we can drink, have with our meal, and enjoy throughout the course of an evening.

But on other occasions, I want a wine to stop me in my tracks and demand further consideration and pondering. Even rumination.

This Heron Hill Winery 2007 Blaufrankisch ($35) is a wine that had me thinking. And wondering.

We'll get to that in a minute though.

First, a little soapbox time. Let's talk about the name Blaufrankisch, the original name for this grape. Yes, original name. Dating back to possible the 10th century. If you've had Lemberger, you've had Blaufrankisch. It's just that, for whatever reason, many American producers (including numerous ones in the Finger Lakes) think that Lemberger is more attractive to consumers than Blaufrankisch.

I don't subscribe to that belief, so I'm glad Heron Hill doesn't use the Lemberger moniker.

Okay, off of the soapbox. Let's talk about the wine itself.

As Evan reported when this wine was released, then-winemaker Thomas Laszlo gave this wine the "cabernet treatment" aging it in new oak for 18 months.

With that much time in new oak, it's not surprising that the nose it toasty with oak and vanilla notes that somewhat mask the ripe plum, black cherry and spice aromas.

Medium bodied with extremely ripe dark fruit and spice flavors, the vanilla/oak still dominates the palate too much for my tastes. The tannins are round and well integrated. The spice peeks through the vanilla nicely.

It's a well-made wine, but doesn't fit what I'm looking for stylistically. And I'm not really sure that I'd be able to identify it at Blau if tasted blind. 

And that's why this wine had me thinking and made me wonder as I tasted it over the course of several evenings.

"What could this wine be without the heavy hand? Without the 'cabernet' treatment?" I guess we'll never know.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this is my contribution to Wine Blogging Wedndesday #62: A Grape By Any Other Name, hosted by my friend Dale Cruse.

Producer: Heron Hill Winery
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 13%
Price: $35*
Rating:  (3 out of 5 | Recommended)  
(Ratings Guide)