Posts Tagged With: Finger Lakes

TasteCamp 2010, an evening at Red Newt Cellars

The first evening of TasteCamp finished up with a tasting and dinner at Red Newt Cellars on Seneca Lake. The sun setting over the lake provided a beautiful backdrop to the evening as well as providing a delicate amber hue to the tasting room.  Laid out in front of us were 3 stations of Riesling from 3 different vintages. At each table were the 3 wineries that go into the Tierce Wine Riesling, as well as the specific vintage of Tierce.

About Tierce…

“Tierce Dry Riesling represents a unique collaborative effort of Anthony Road Wine Company, Fox Run Vineyards and Red Newt Wine Cellars..This wine pulls together not only the unique vineyard expressions of Seneca Lake, but also the individual philosophies of the participating winemakers.”

I started at the ’06 table, not sure why…in hind sight I should have started with the ’04 table. I went to ’04 after ’06 and felt that the ’04 was slightly dead and I think some of this perception may have been precipitated by the outstanding quality of the ’06.  Regardless of order, I feel that the ’04 Reislings were a bit tired, quality not withstanding, just past their peak.

Peter Bell, winemaker at Fox Run talking about the '06 wines

Back to the ’06….wow, awesome stuff! I started with the Anthony Road Dry Riesling which had great, but not crazy acidity, and was tropical in nature, with dried apricot, pear and slight fusel notes. Next up was the Fox Run, not as powerful a nose as the Anthony Road, but still quite nice. Hints of refreshing raspberry on the nose with a bit of mustard seed, orange zest and citrus notes on the palate and plenty of zippy acidity. Red Newt was third and showed the most minerality so far of the three. Slightly “richer” than the previous two, and showed lots of citrus, pear and peach notes. Excellent balance between the body and acidity providing a great, “complex” mouthfeel. Last but not least was the Tierce, a blend from the 3 wineries, but not necessarily equal parts of each. This was definitely a case of where the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. The 06 Tierce had rocking acidity, and exquisite minerality that was flinty in nature. It was dominated by tropical notes like the Anthony Road with plenty of lemon-lime and pear notes with interesting hints of banana peel. The ’06 Tierce had it all, an outstanding Riesling.

The ’05 table was highlighted by Red Newt Riesling. It had great minerality, again providing a flinty quality. Loads of lemon-lime flavors reminding me of a Vinho Verde but more complex with back end flavors of pear, peach and juicy Asian pear. The other ’05’s didn’t do much for me. I felt the ’05 Anthony Road was a bit flat and the ’05 Fox Run was too soapy in nature.

Red Newt dinner aftermath

Dinner at Red Newt was provided by Red Newt Bistro which as you would imagine is attached to the winery. I had a special vegetarian dinner prepared by Debra Whiting, executive chef and wife of winemaker David Whiting. Instead of the main course of bacon wrapped beef tenderloin that everyone else had I had a portabello mushroom stuffed with an interestingly delicious concoction.  The flavor and texture was amazing and complimented the family style asparagus and mashed potatoes that were passed around.

Red Newt is very social media savvy and it was evident at the winery. A large screen TV  was streaming our #tastecamp tweets as well as the event was being recorded on Ustream for the world to see. Definitely a first for both of these at a winery, at least for me. It impressed me immensely to see how “tapped in” Red Newt was.

Cheers and thanks to all the winemakers, assistant winemakers and staff from all the wineries who help put this on.

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Hermann J. Wiemer 2008 “Magdalena Vineyard” Riesling; better with food

Don’t let the title fool you, this wine rocked on it’s own, but the Wiemer 2008 “Magdalena Vineyard” Riesling ($36) is definitely a food wine. I tasted the wine originally at TasteCamp, where I bought a couple of bottles to bring home with me. I’m glad I bought two, wish I had bought more, but I couldn’t resist popping one open the other night. I hope I can hold on to the other one for a few years because I would love to see how this ages. Megan had made a mushroom, broccolini, carmelized onion and Piave cheese Quiche, that I thought the Magdalena would sing with, so I popped it open. I was right, the richness of the quiche was a perfect pairing for the acidity and complexity of the Riesling.  The flavor profile matched my notes from TasteCamp, but I didn’t note the acidity to be quite as high. (for the reason in the previous sentence, plus it was compounded with the acidity of the previous 5 wines)

The specifications for the 08 Magdalena aren’t up on on the Wiemer website, as the wine wasn’t exactly released yet. I do know it’s 100% Riesling that is all estate grown.

The wine provides lots of tropical undertones, with the addition of kiwi notes and a splash of fresh squeezed limeade. Great acidity, perfect for rich dishes, great slate/stone minerality and a bit of a chalky note on the back of the palate with a touch of green banana at the finish.

If you are a Riesling fan, definitely seek this wine out.

Cheers!

Categories: $30-$40, riesling, wine review | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

An afternoon at Ravines Wine Cellars

Ravines was the second stop on our first day of TasteCamp 2010. We meandered around Keuka Lake from Heron Hill to the Eastern side where Ravines has a beautiful view of the Lake.  Morten and Lisa Hallgren had a great list of wines for us to taste, setup in a paired fashion for a little “tete a tete” action. Morten came to the Finger Lakes from his childhood in Provence by way of Texas and Ashville, NC where he was winemaker for The Biltmore Estate. Before 2000, when they purchased the 17 acre property where Ravines Cellars sits, Morten was chief winemaker at Dr. Konstantin Franks for six years. Besides his vast wine making experience, Morten has an advanced degree in both Enology and Viticulture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie in Montpellier. On paper he knows what he’s doing and his knowledge and passion definitely translate to the glass.

Morten Hallgren

My favorites of what we tasted…

2006 Dry Riesling – lime and slate with a hint of fennel and a bit of ginger at the finish. Steely minerality and ripping acidity.

2008 Dry Riesling – hint of apricot, sliced with an arrowhead found in a riverbed, loads of lemon/lime and vibrant but manageable acidity.

2008 Dry Riesling Argetsinger Vineyard – pear juice, apple core, and floral notes. Subtle layers of tangerine rounded out the palate. The theme of minerality and vibrant acidity again played out here. The second time we enjoyed this was the next morning in the vineyard from where this wine is produced. What a treat!

2007 Cabernet Franc – lots of supple fruit, black and red fruit intermingling with highlights of blackberry and red currant. Dotted with notes of white pepper and Italian herbs, adding some depth to the fruit fowardness of the wine. Full body and smooth with velvety tannins.

As you can see, it was a great tasting, and this was only half of what we tasted. Thanks to Lisa and Morten for showing us a great time.

Cheers!

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TasteCamp 2010 Day 1: Part 1

Driving up the East side of Keuka Lake I was engrossed with the beauty of the Finger Lakes region, which I continued to soak in for the next three days. This drive took me to our first stop for Taste Camp 2010, Heron Hill Winery, for our first Grand Tasting and our first sample of what the region has to offer.  We had 9 wineries pouring for us and I am happy to say I was able to make it through all the wineries, giving ample time to diagnose each one.  Rather than bore you with 50 tasting notes, I’ll hit you with the highlights of the day. I would first like to thank Heron Hill for hosting us and providing a fabulous lunch (in conjuction with the Finger Lakes Wine Country).  Thanks also to all the wineries that poured their juice. I always admire wineries willing to show themselves to “critics” eager to pick apart their hard work and dedication to an art they devote so much time to.

As as side note, I will say the weekend as a whole provided the opportunity to taste a slew of new grape varieties, helping add some slots to my Wine Century Club checklist.

On to my highlights…

Heron Hill 2002 Riesling – aromas and flavors of petrol, lime, slate and pear juice; full bodied and still providing gripping acidity. I liked this wine a lot but the finish could have been a bit longer.

Keuka Spring 2007 Epic Reserve (Cabernet Sauvigon, Cab. Franc, Merlot) – nice red fruit with hints of cherry, spice, mocha and smoke. Full bodied and quite smooth with leathery tannins at the finish.

McGregor 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve – Big notes of black fruit including black cherry and plum with hints of fig and a good dose of red currant running through the mid palate. All of this complimented with nice “green” edges and a delicate, yet full bodied structure.

Imagine Moore 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – whoa, did I step into New Zealand for a second? Notes of grapefruit, cat pee, asparagus, citrus and mineral overtones. Wow, impressive! Razor sharp acidity.

Interesting varieties that I tried that didn’t knock me over were: Vergennes, Noiret, Valvin Muscat, and Vignoles. Of all of these that I tried the Valvin Muscat impressed me the most. I felt the variety was a bit too “soapy” though, and reminded me of my grandmother’s bathroom. After talking to Evan, he said it reminded him of a “potpourri box” which was spot on description of the varietal.

All in all the first two hours of TasteCamp were a taste of a great weekend to come, with wonderful wines and regional personality. I couldn’t wait until the nest stop on our Finger Lakes adventure.

Stay tuned to Anything Wine for more TasteCamp stories.

Cheers!

Categories: Taste Camp | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Sippin’ on Finger Lakes Bubbly

Last night I had the opportunity to participate in a Taste Live event, focusing on four sparkling wines from the Finger Lakes. Not knowing what to expect as I haven’t had any bubblies from the region, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and price points of what we tasted.

I tasted with friend and co-work Robin (@RobinMountjoy) and fellow blogger George (@thegoodwineguru) and his wife April (@BerylliumBlonde).

What we tasted an my notes –

2002 Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs (90% Chardonnay & 10% Pinot Blanc) – interesting nose – yeasty, a bit earthy, pear cider; palate of pear, fuji apple, touch of sourdough; nice mouthfeel – zippy acidity right across the mid palate – prickly bubbles; lacked strength in the finish though.

Goose Watch Pinot Noir Brut Rose (79% Pinot Noir, 21% Chardonnay) – nice light salmon color; the nose gave a good fake out of sweet red fruit that jumped out of the glass and led to a dry palate of watermelon, strawberry, banana peel and citrus “pith”; finish better than the first but still could have used a little umph

2002 Glenora Brut (54% Pinot Noir, 46% Chardonnay) nose of burnt apple pie with hints of that aroma on the palate combined with a weird metallic/aluminum offnote surrounded by hazelnut, lemon zest and apple core; chalky and slightly bitter on the finish

Lucas Vineyards (100% Cayuga White) – very nice complex nose of brie cheese & apples, with a drizzle of honey and weird note of baby powder; mealy apple, ripe fruit and yeasty components on the palate; less acidity in this one compared to the Chateau Frank

My order which was pretty unanimous between the group was Goose Watch Brut Rose 1st, with a tie for 2nd between the Chateau Frank and Lucas, and 4th to the Glenora Brut. Most surprised by the Lucas made from 100% Cayuga White, in my initial reading of the spec sheets I thought this one would be last – was definitely wrong on that one.

Cheers to Morgen McLaughlin of Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism and Lenn Thompson of The New York Cork Report for setting this up and including me.

Categories: New York Wines, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Taste NY – A blind tasting of Finger Lakes Riesling

Last night I had the opportunity to taste 12 Finger Lakes Rieslings, as part of Taste NY, organized by Lenn Thompson of The New York Cork Report. I’ve actually been sitting on these wines for a while and finally got off my butt and organized the tasting. In attendance were some of my wine geek friends, 2 of which are wine distributors, a co- worker at my shop, and a manager from another wine shop in town, as well as my wife (six in total). I assembled this group, one, because I knew they would take it seriously, and two because we all enjoy Riesling. In addition to the 12 from the Finger Lakes, I threw in one from Virginia to mix things up. The wines were all tasted blind, and we used the 20pt scoring system.

The Results…

2008 Stick Dog Riesling – VA

2008 Billsboro Dry Riesling – FL

2006 Red Newt Cellars Reserve – FL

2008 Anthony Road Semi-Dry Riesling – FL

2008 Lamoreaux Landing Red Oak Vineyard – FL

2008 Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Homestead Reserve – FL

2006 Sheldrake Point Reserve – FL

2007 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling – FL

2006 Ravines Wine Cellars Riesling – FL

2008 Fox Run Vineyards – FL

2007 Wiemer Vineyards Dry Riesling – FL

2007 Atwater Vineyads Dry Riesling – FL

2005 Heron Hill Old Vines Riesling – FL

As you can see the Virginia wine won, but only by a nose, which was a HUGE shocker. Before tasting, I honestly thought the NY wines would blow it away. Plus the top 5 were not separated by much, here are the scores for the top 5, based on the 20pt system.

  1. 14.83
  2. 14.00
  3. 13.75
  4. 13.67
  5. 13.5

Overall the wines that scored highest were the ones that showed a balanced presentation of fruit, acid and body. The ones that didn’t show well had out of balance acidity, creating bitter, chemical tasting off-notes. A general comment that went around the table was as if the wines had been manipulated with acid, in an exaggerated way. I don’t know enough about those vintages but understand ’08 was a pretty good one for Finger Lakes Riesling and shouldn’t have required acid additions.

We all had fun, and enjoyed the opportunity to taste so many wines that we don’t see here in Virginia too often.

A special thanks to Lenn for including me in Taste NY and to all the wine makers who sent samples of their wines for me to evaluate. Stay tuned for a future post on some specific tasting notes for some of the wines!

Cheers!

Categories: riesling, wine review | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Rkatsi-what?? 2006 Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli

Originally from the Caucaus Mountains in Georgia (the country not the state) on the border of Armenia and Turkey, Rkatsiteli has found a home in the Finger Lakes of New York. Rkatsiteli has an ability to reach good sugar levels in cooler climates and has a natural high acidity making it perfect for the growing conditions in the Finger Lakes. I received the 2006 Dr. Franks Rkatsiteli from fellow blogger and friend Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma last year.

Fun “Varietal Character” poem from Ken Kulp at Appellation America

rkat-grape-characterSince you haven’t made the scene in Western Europe, some people think you’re just a babushka from the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. Others suspect you’re the old tart who seduced Noah when he came down from Ararat. The way you spread your spice from Eastern Europe all the way to China shows that despite your age, you’ve still got it. While you’re relatively unknown in the Americas your stellar tongue dance performance with Dr. Frank’s Traveling Vinifera Show in New York’s Finger Lakes has earned you some gigs in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. And is that brandy I tasted on those Armenian lips?

Winemaking information from Dr Franks

Harvest: Mid October

Fermentation: Stainless Steel, stopped after 4 weeks leaving a small amount of residual sugar (1.5%)

Filtration: racking, filtering and cold stabilization were done prior to bottling

drfranks_rkatsMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: floral, lychee nut, honey, apple skins, cooked corn

Taste: slate, honeydew, apricot, lychee nut, pear

Mouthfeel: medium body, very crisp

Finish: medium length with a clean refreshing taste

Although the wine was fermented slightly off dry at 1.5% residual sugar, the high acidity made the sweetness barely detectable. Resembling an aroma and flavor profile that is a mix of Gewurztraminer and Riesling, the natural acidity is excitingly crisp and wonderfully refreshing. Dr Franks is famous for his Rkatsiteli and the 2006 shows me why and how great the varietal can be. I have had only one other Rkatsiteli produced here in Virgina and I thought it was quaff able but it was done in an overly sweet style. (IMHO) At $17.99 it isn’t cheap but is in the same price range as quality Rieslings and offers the same depth and layers of flavors. If you are looking for a new food worthy wine to try and one with an unusually funny name, give the Rkatsiteli a try.

Cheers!

Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments