Monday, August 23, 2010

Red Wines of the Finger Lakes 2010


As always, the Rieslings and Gewuztraminers get all the attention from the press. But every year, I go to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, and I do a lot of tasting (I am a hard working guy).

Each year I taste as many of he good whites as possible. And there are many great ones. However, by Sunday, I am onto the reds. Listed here are a few of the reds I really ejoyed. Time was limited, so I didn't get to taste them all. And I tried to taste ones I wasn't familiar with, thereby discovering some new wines.
For those tasters going around the lakes, many are enthusiastic about the light whites that dominate the quality landscape. But I recommend these red wines, for the red wine enthusiast, which are less written about. These are good red wines. These wines below are the ones I'd be happy to tell red drinkers about. They are in no particular order.

The first red, above, is the Zugibe 2006 Cabernets. The three Zugibe brothers of Geneva - Frederick III, Brendan and Sean - each brought to this venture different yet complementary knowledge and experience. Frederick III is a trained oenologist, Sean a viticulturist, while Brendan's background lies in business. All three, however, along with their parents, Frederick II and Anna, shared a passion for exceptional wine, and a desire to create their own unique blend. 2006 Cabernets is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a big, bold blend of dark red color. Dried cherry, dark raspberry, and a touch of cocoa. Very impressive.

Six Mile Creek is Ithacca's own winery. Their Quintessence 2007 is a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It features smooth and luscious fruit flavors followed by a rich tannic structure. A nice, dry finish.

Glenora is one of the largest and most successful wineries in the Finger Lakes. They are known for a great many wines, but dry reds is not one I would normally think of. There amongs the sparkling and semi-sweet wonders was a most pleasant surprise - 2008 Sangiovese. I birhgt, fruity, dry red, with plum and light raspberry. Soft tannins form the ending of a surprisingly and most drinkable light, dry red wine.

Keuka Lake Vineyards is a small estate winery that produces world class wine in a distinctively dry, European-style. Their estate controlled vineyards are situated on the southern slopes of Keuka Lake, the Y-shaped crooked lake, in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Keuka Lake Vineyards Estate Bottled Leon Millot 2009 Fournier Vineyard was a lovely surprise. This Leon Millot was fermented in small 1-ton bins and punched down by hand twice daily. Malolactic fermentation was completed in 14 barrels followed by 7 months cellar aging in neutral oak. During again, the lees were stirred weekly to enhance mouthfeel. The 2009 Leon Millot is as dark as ink. The blackberry and currant come through as promised on the nose. Lots of dark, stewed fruits. An excellent balance of acidity and soft tannins. A great dry finish. A truly artisanal wine. Excellent.

J.R. Dill got his start 8 years ago making wine as a hobby in his parent's basement. Things progressed from there and in 2009 founded J.R. Dill Winery. J.R. Dill's great grandfather, H.J. Dill worked in the vineyards here over 100 years ago. The J.R. Dill 2007 DeChaunac was a lovely wine. Soft and fruity, with nice hints of oak, and a nice, smooth finnish. A lucious wine. Very nice. One of the best examples of the grape I have ever tasted.
Freedom Run Cabernet Merlot 2006 was an excellent red. I'll be writing about it separately soon. A very, very nice red.

Always a fan of Anthony Road wines. There are some really nice folks there. Devonia Red s a light bodied table wine. Big berry flavors up front, with really soft tannins. A nice elight table red. And a very nice price.
With magnificent style and grace, Carrie Collins created BelhurstCastle in 1889. Her polished soirees and flare for the extraordinary earned her a reputation far exceeding many in the area. Carrie's Castle on the lake became known for it's beauty, charm and romantic legends which exist to this day. Now there is Belhurst Castle Winery (and Inn and Spa). They make some lovely wines there. Chief among them for me was the Pinot Noir. Cherry and pepper dominate the nose of this very elegant Pinot Noir. A touch of cedar and a whiff of cocoa compliment these aromas. The cherry comes through on the mouth, as does cranberry, and a touch of tobacco as promised. Nice acid and good tannins come through. A dry, peppery finish declares a very, very nice Pinot Noir.


Sheldrake Point Winery & Simply Red Bistro are located on the shores of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York state. It's a beautiful complex. Again, I'll be writing more about them later. Gamay Noir is not the most commonly planted red in the Fingers. A tad obscure even.The 2008 Sheldrake Point Vineyard Gamay Noir is an Estate wine produced from Gamay Noir grapes (80% from a ten year old block) grown in Sheldrke's vineyard on the west shore of Cayuga Lake. The 2008 Gamay Noir is la light red wine. its got aromas of strawberry, cherry, and pepper. Up front it's all fruit. There's good melding between theacids of this light red and the the smooth, easy tannins. an excellent wine. Lucious upfront, with a nice easy dry finish. Really something to savor and enjoy. Great as a wine with lunch, but strong enough for dinner as well. Perfect for chicken, pork, salmon, even duck. One of my favorites!