Thursday, July 09, 2020

Phil Plummer Takes Idol Ridge, Fossenvue, and Montezuma to New Heights! (NY)

For sure, there are a umber of winemakers in New York state who make a wide array of wines. The ranks are chok-a-block. It is a daunting and usually thankless task. The old rub, according to Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells, is that there are "no medals for trying." And wine writers are hard markers. 

Be that as it may, we are here today to give some well-deserved attention to one such individual - Phil Plummer. Having started out as a cellar rat in February 2010, Phil has risen up the ranks and is now not just the winemaker for Montezuma, but for Fossenvue Vineyards and Idol Ridge Winery as well. More importantly, in the last 12 months, more than a handful of wines have begun to turn the heads of wine writers that hitherto before might have passed up tastings for showier, more well-renown wineries or winemakers. But Phil Plummer has changed all that. 

With his unassuming manner, and his obvious passion for wine and winemaking, he has but out numerous quality bottlings under the three wineries. And he now must be considered one of the real up-and-coming winemakers in the Finger Lakes. Here's a smattering of the wines Phil has recently released that are worthy of serious attention.

Idol Ridge Gewurztraminer 2018 has the most wonderful nose. I love Gewurztraminer, but it seems to me that fewer and fewer wineries are using their Gewurztraminer for blends rather than varietal bottlings. Gewurztraminer has always been a hand sell in the wine business. Most owners would say you need to pour a bottle to sell one in the tasting room. The problem being that winemakers and wine writers love the stuff. This was no exception. This had an explosive nose full of tropical fruits and exotic floral frangrances. Everything a Gewurz should small like. The wine itself was a lovely, bright, wine, with lots of green apple and slate, and finished with a big, succulent spritz of grapefruit. Wonderful!

Fossenvue Eighteen Forty-Eight Diamond 2018 (Seven of Seven Series) was a Petillant Naturel made from Diamond. Diamond is not a normal choice for a Pet Nat. Diamond is a big, over the top, floral and usually sweet white, made for popular consumption. A picnic or back porch sipper, as the old adage goes. The nose, exploded with a nose of grape pie - a grapeiness usually associated with Diamond, but with an accompanying hint of yeast and bread. The wine was slightly sweet, but had a lovely fullness about it and lovely consistent bubbles. A straight forward wine, lovely for brunches, celebrations, and for all our enjoyment. A lovely, reasonably priced Pet Nat. Certainly worth enjoying!

His quartet of Roses this season were a very solid roundup of differing styles. The Idol Ridge Dry Rose 2017 was bright, with nice notes of hand-picked strawberries, orange blossoms and melon. The Fossenvue Revisionist 3 Rose Cuvée de Pression 2018 (my favorite among them) was a rosé assembled using various press fractions from red and sparkling wine production; Saignée and Taille. The idea was that they combined the different fractions. The result was a lovely wine layered with fresh fruit and with a back bone of more complex, classic classic wine. Montezuma Hope Dry Rose was again a very quaff-able dry rose with strawberry, pink grapefruit, lychee and a hint of lime. (ps. a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Hope for Heather organization towards funding for ovarian cancer awareness, research, and local support.) And the Idol Ridge Pet Nat Cabernet Franc a sparkling sersion of Cab Franc complete with fresh strawberries and bright young cherries, with yeast, with a bubbly, zippy ending. 

Recently I have been tasting a small cadre of lovely Saperavis. I think it's one of the grapes winemakers should be working with. It makes a big dark wine. with lots of body. Idol Ridge Winery Saperavi 2018 was a delicious red wine, with big fruit and lots of juicy acidity. It's a lovely medium-bodied, smooth quaff-able red. Very pretty!

In these wines, Phil is showing a enological dexterity that is unusual making quality wines in numerous styles for three different houses. As I said, there are several who do it, but not in the way that its turning heads like he's doing it. 

Great job Phil!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Exciting: Glorie Farm Cabernet 2018 Releases are Amazing (NY)

As you have read in my report for the CORK REPORT Glorie Farm Winery in Marlboro, NY was  sold to Dan and Jacqui Heavens.

Glorie is one of the larger grape growers in the Hudson River Region AVA and supplies a number of neighboring wineries with Hudson River Region fruit. “We are ecstatic to have found buyers Dan and Jacqui Heavens,” former owner Doug Glorie told me. “They have the desire and the will to carry on the success and tradition we have created here at Glorie Farm and Winery. We know they will be successful.”

This farm has been productive for many generations. Previously known as Stoneside Farm, the Glorie have been growing 20 acres of fruit including peaches, nectarines, pears, apples, quince, black currants, and – of course – wine grapes. Doug planted his first grape vines in 1983.

Doug left his engineering job in the mid-1990s, and became a full-time farmer and winemaker. Glorie Farm has 15 grape varieties in the ground, including hybrids, chardonnay, riesling and cabernet franc. The winery also made a great move in hiring traveling winemaker Kristop Brown, who has turned out some incredibly well-received estate cabernet franc wines, as well as others.

“We are thrilled about this opportunity!” said Jacqui Heavens. “We hope to continue to build on the legacy that Doug and MaryEllen created here: a beautiful, authentic place with a focus on high-quality estate fruit and wine. We are hard at work and can’t wait to share this experience with our guests.”

Glorie’s recent sampling of their Cabernet Francs impressed numerous enthusiasts (especially their barrel samples for their future vintages) in a recent Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc Coalition tasting last May.

Dan and Jacqui Heavens will have some quality wines to start off their run.

As I wrote for, the Hudson Valley has been the historic heart of New York's winemaking industry. But in the last decade its reputation for quality wines has improved greatly, making it a region on the come. At a recent tasting of the Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc Coalition, Glorie Farm Winery's two barrel samples (two separate vineyard blocks) drew some of the highest praise from all around.

Glorie's well-known winemaker Kristop Brown is known to be one of the better winemakers in the valley (he also formerly made wine in Walla Walla). New owners Dan and Jacqui Heavens have decided to sell the two vineyard blocks separately (originally there was the thought to blend the two into one). It was too much fun tasting the two blocks side-by-side. Hence, the winery is releasing Glorie Farm Cabernet Franc West - 2018 and Glorie Farm East - 2018.

The East - 2018 is made from newer vines, and the flavor is all bright red cherry like a fresh cherry pie. Big red fruit and a lovely, lip-smacking finish that clings to the palate for a long time. The West - 2018 comes from a much older block. The flavors are dark cherry and dark raspberry, hints of mocha, graphite, and prune. It's deep, multi-layered, and luscious. It's sex in a glass! This is what wine geekdom is all about. Too much fun to pass up!

Congrats to all!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Landmark Series: Two Winners From Boordy Vineyards (MD)

I bought these two bottles of Boordy Vineyards wine at the Drink Local Wine/Taste Camp in Maryland in 2017. It seems like a life time ago but I do remember it incredibly fondly. These wines are both from the Landmark Series, which is the winery's premiere expression of their terroir and the winemaking art, as well as about land stewardship.

Boordy founder Philip Wagner made his name and reputation growing Baco Noir, but Rob Deford steered the company in a new direction with the turn of the century. It turns out it was an impressive move. Rob and his family and their operation have been a leader in the Mid-Atlantic wine scene for many years. This was a big step. He turned Boordy into one of the most serious wine producers in the region. And indeed, they are a regional powerhouse.

According to Boordy, Tom Burns is the head winemaker. He spent 20 years managing our vineyards in addition to making our wines, so the critical connection between the vineyard and winery is in his DNA. In 2011 Tom was joined by José Real, whose analytical skills were honed working in his family’s wine laboratory in Jerez, Spain. Steve Blais, from the consulting firm of Michele Rolland in Bordeaux, provides a global perspective on their work. Son Phineas, Rob and Julie manage the winery. This team is strong and deep. 

Boordy South Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2014 was harvested Between October 14 and the 21st of 2014. The wine is 75% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Syrah, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was aged 16 months in new Freanch oak (45%) and older oak (55%). They produced 575 cases. This was an impressive wine, which led with a lot of dark and medium ripe cherry, hints of red raspberry, and plum, with notes of graphite and vanilla. The fruit was strong on the first sip, but the mid palate was smooth and silky, with a lasting flavor. This was an impressive, impressive wine!

Next was the Boordy South Mountain Red 2015 is a Bordeaux/Meritage-style blend of 60% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 12% Syrah, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. It's 100% Maryland grown and was harvest between October 18-29, 2015. The wine starts of with a love stew of red fruit, including ripe cherry, fresh raspberry, cassis, and plum. The front is all fruit, but the middle swirls with notes of cedar, leather, and undeniable earthiness and bramble, with hints of spice. The come the ample tannins. And a lovely finish of red fruit that lingers. A supple, complex, and well balanced wine. Each sip is an opportunity to continue to explore its many intricacies. Wonderful. Easily could have laid down another 5 years. Ashamed I opened it so soon. Sad I don't have another bottle!

The Landmark Series has been a significant success and is testament to Deford, his team, and their commitment to serious, quality wine...and to their leadership in the Mid-Atlantic region.