Tuesday, April 01, 2008

More Information on Finger Lake Reds

Here are two more poeple chiming in on the recent red wines of the Finger Lakes. If you won't believe me, maybe you'll believe them.

Sandra Silfven - Detroit News

Thursday, March 13, 2008
Sandra Silfven:
Finger Lakes vintners don't shy away from dry reds

In the early days of her winery in upstate New York, Marti Macinski of Standing Stone Vineyards remembers neighbor Jim Hazlett offering her a load of Cabernet Sauvignon.

She sent him away and scoffed, "You can't grow red wine in the Finger Lakes."

The neighboring vintner took the grapes around to the back door, gave them to her husband Tom, and before long, she had planted her own Cabernet Sauvignon and named her new Cabernet-based blend "Pinnacle" -- because, well, the common perception is that you're not supposed to be able to grow Cabernet in the Finger Lakes.

The first Pinnacle debuted in 1993, and not only have the vines flourished, but they did not die like so many other varieties did in the winter of 2004.

Macinski's success has been repeated from southwestern Michigan to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and even Rhode Island, where red European vinifera vines sometimes not only live, but do quite well, despite frosts, floods, disease and hurricanes.

Six vintners in New York's Finger Lakes region rolled out examples of dry reds last week to scribes around the East -- and Michigan -- for a unique tele-wine tasting, mostly based on one of the "parents" of Cabernet Sauvignon -- Cabernet Franc.

Writers, including myself, were shipped six wines in advance and hooked up via conference call with the winemakers, gathered in Geneva, N.Y., so we could all be in the same "room."

Cabernet Franc is lighter-bodied than Cabernet Sauvignon, and more spicy and herbal, sometimes with a licorice twist. It has the red berry, cassis, leather and tobacco notes of Cabernet Sauvignon and is one of the components of a traditional Bordeaux blend. As a straight varietal, it is usually identified with Chinon in France's Loire Valley. As a somewhat early ripener, it is favored by vintners in cooler climates, and as these growers in New York proved, you can grow Cabernet in the Finger Lakes.

Here are notes on the wines and the people who made them. And remember, if you do not live in the Finger Lakes, you most likely can have these wines shipped to you, or you can tour this scenic region yourself, or at the very least, get to know the styles of your own locally made dry red wines.

You can read more at:

Rick Liyke - Lyke 2 Drink

Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Tuesday Tasting: Finger Lakes Reds

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we travel to the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York to taste six reds.

From the full disclosure desk: I work for Eric Mower and Associates, a marketing communications agency (www.mower.com). We developed a program for the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance called the FLWA Vintners' Roundtable. This virtual tasting is conducted via conference call, linking winemakers and food and beverage journalists. Earlier this month I played host to a FLWA Vintners' Roundtable attended by several drinks journalists, including Sandra Silfven of the Detroit News, Sean Ludford of Beverage Experts, Christopher Davies of Wine Country International, freelancer Thomas Pellechia, and bloggers Rob Lane of the Finger Lakes Weekend Wino and Carlo DeVito of East Coast Wineries.

When the subject of red wines from the Finger Lakes comes up, most people – vintners included – immediately question whether or not the climate can support the longer growing period required to mature grapes on the vine. Marti Macinski, who runs Standing Stone Vineyards with her husband on Seneca Lake recalls the day that a neighboring grape grower, Jim Hazlitt, showed up with cabernet sauvignon grapes he was trying to sell. She turned him away because she was “convinced you couldn’t grow red wines in the Finger Lakes.” Luckily, Tom Macinski did not get that memo and ended up buying the grapes from Hazlitt. It was the start of Standing Stone’s successful Pinnacle blend.

Wineries in the Finger Lakes are extremely young compared to the classic red wine producing regions in France, Italy, Spain and California. Most of the vines producing vinifera reds are less than a generation old. The Upstate New York winters can be tough on the vineyards and the relatively short growing season means that for the most part the Finger Lakes will never be known for producing big red wines that have built the reputations of Sonoma and Napa vineyards. However, this does not mean that the wineries cannot make some very fine reds with plenty of character. These wines are stylistically on target and compare very well in matching food to wine with some of the top reds from around the world.

For this tasting we sampled six reds, four cabernet francs and two Bordeaux-style blends. Cabernet franc is a slightly lighter style cousin of cabernet sauvignon. The French love this grape for blending, but Finger Lakes wineries are finding that it is one of the red grape varieties that thrives in the region and can make a sophisticated wine.

Read the rest at: http://lyke2drink.blogspot.com/2008/03/tuesday-tasting-finger-lakes-reds.html