Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fero Vineyards Lemberger 2010 (PA)


Back in 1812, Chuck and Daneen Zaleski's family bought tthe tract of land they are now on. It has remained in the family since then. It has always been a farm. The farm has produced corn, wheat, beans and vegetables for generations. But that dreaded suburban sprawl was closing in. The surrounding land was and is turning into shopping centers and housing developments. There were plans to develop this property too. There were years of research, test plots, and soil preparation.

In the spring of 2010 they planted 13,500 vines on 12.5 acres, and all of the vines are vinifera grafted on to phylloxera resistant rootstock either 101-14 or 3309. The varieties were chosen based on test plot and root stock data in their trial vineyard.

Now, I am very up and down on the German grape Blaufrankish or Lemberger as it is otherwise known. In a good year, well worked the vines can produce fruit which are capable of lush, impressive wines. Bad ones, under grown, can produce highly acidic wines with little fruit and no character. Awful. There is no middle ground with this grape in my experience.

So, when I saw the Ferro Lemberger, I clenched my teeth, poured a glass, and winced as I took my first sip. I need not have, for it was an increibly impressive wine.

Fero Vineyards Lemberger 2010 proves that this wine can produce a kind of Pennsylvania expression that has the characteristic dark rich color of this variety in a good year. The nose is ripe fruit, with lots of plum, dark stewed blackberries and ark raspberries, and a hint of oak. As promised, it is a dry red with a little peppery taste and a smooth finish.

This was an excellent red, and a very nice surprise. Instantly, one of my favorite Lembergers anywhere on the east coast.