Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Red Tail Ridge Winery Barrel Fermented Chardonay a Pleasant Surprise!

Red Tail Ridge is a new vineyard and winery located on the western shore of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of up-state New York. This will be our third and final year for vineyard plantings on the 32 acre property. We currently have 3 acres of multiple Pinot Noir clones, 2 acres of Chardonnay, a small plot of Teroldego, a few rows of Dornfelder and 14 acres of Riesling. Teroldego is a red Italian grape variety grown primarily in the northeastern region of Trentino-Alto; the wines produced from this variety have been compared to Zinfandel due to their deep color, brambly blackberriness, solid acidity and moderate tannin structure.

Red Tail Ridge is named after the two nesting pair of hawks who live in the woods next to our property. They are our constant vineyard companions.

IN their own words, from their website:

The winegrower
"Mike and I recently moved to Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes of up-state New York. Mike actually arrived a few years earlier than I did; he moved here when we first purchased the 34 acre property and began the long process of clearing and preparing the land for vineyard development. The property was primarily woods and scrub trees, so he had his hands full clearing trees, picking rocks, pulling stumps, leveling soil and placing drain tile. Very, very glamorous stuff! Before embarking on this project, he was working for a national company that rents heavy equipment to consumers. Mike used to manage the financial service center that serviced most of the individual locations west of the Mississippi. He’s a numbers-guy, with a lot of practical experience with heavy equipment—and he has a keen eye for vine health and development."

The winemaker
"I arrived about two years later in January of 2006, leaving my position as Vice President of Viticulture and Enology R&D at a large corporate California winery to start a new life with my husband. When I’m not helping my husband pick rocks and pull stumps, I can usually be found walking the Pinot, Chardonnay, Riesling and Teroldego vines that we’ve already planted and keeping an eye on vine growth and fruit development. Once we reach veraison, I usually walk the vineyard every week to taste the fruit and assess ripeness. Once we harvest, I move my focus away from the vineyard and concentrate on the wine production process. And then, I sell the wine."

Now, normally, I prefer a stainless steel chard, or now as they are being marketed, a "naked" chardonnay. But this little baby surprised me. Nice acidty, which is usually washed away in barrel fermenting, was still present, and the fruit was bright and forward, and there was that creaminess that one looks for. And this isn't a heavy chardonnay. It was light and refreshing. This was a lovely chardonnay. A truly beautiful wine.

Congrats to Red Tail Ridge!