Saturday, March 22, 2008

Standing Stone 2005 Pinnacle

Standing Stone's Pinnacle has been one of the outstanding reds of the Finger Lakes region for more than a decade. And it still is. They first started making it in 1991, and it's been a staple in my cellar ever since. I love pouring this wine for all types of wine drinkers - from novices to snobs, and all, in the end, are very impressed.

Martha (Marty) Macinski has been one of the most important people in Finger Lakes winemaking for a long time, and her contribution to the region is invaluable. Her roots in this area go way back. So far, in fact, that she told us about it at a recent tasting.

The vines for the Standing Stone 2005 Pinnacle were first planted in 1998 and 1999. The orignal 1994-1999 wines were not estate wines, but everything from 2000 on is an Estate wine. This particular wine is 100% estate harvested with 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Merlot.

They did a cold soak up front, and let the must mascerate for 3 weeks. The cabernet sauvignon gave the wine a nice deep color during that masceration. Marty made sure to mention that they push down their must cap, not pump over. It's harder, but it's worth it. And boy was it.

"We decided to enter the wine business because we believe that the Finger Lakes region can grow wines that are among the best in the world," say Marti and Tom Macinski (Marti's husband) in their winery literature. And they certainly are living proof they are right.

In 1991, they purchased historic vineyards on the east side of Seneca Lake. Their first crush, in 1993, yielded only 800 cases, which was quickly discovered and sold out in just 12 short weeks. They now produce about 6500 cases. The wines are made and sold in renovated barns.

This is a big wine, with lots of fruit up front. Nice structure. I recently drank some of my oldest Pinnacle's. They are hearty wines that will do well in your cellar. I most recently drank a 1996 which held up wonderfully. I think I have two more left...Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

This is a sophisticated meritage. It's got beautiful color and wonderful fruit. It's beautifully put together. They made 450 cases, which, given their distribution, is practically nothing. And the price is a shockingly low $20.99! Buy a half case and save it. Better buy eight bottles. Drink one now, one to impress on the next holiday, and six to lay down for when your second grader graduates from high school. It's that good!

(photo courtesy