Saturday, January 26, 2013

Damiani Vineyards Continues to Produce Great Wines


Damiani is one of my go to wineries in the Finger Lakes. They make a lovely mix of dry whites and reds, as well as a few semi-dry wines. The wines are always lovely, offering a combination of good fruit and complexity. They tend to be old world styled, but they are also uniquely their own.

Located in Burdett, New York, on the eastern shores of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY, Damiani Wine Cellars is the product of tandem winemaker Lou Damiani and grape grower Phil Davis. Together, Lou and Phil nurture over 23 acres of Vinifera vines that surround the winery and tasting room. Phil and Lou spent their days growing up as neighbors on the very land they farm today, giving them both an intuitive understanding of the capabilities of the land.

Phil’s family goes way back in the history of farming the “Banana Belt” in Hector. Phil’s father was a grape-grower 40 years ago for Taylor and Great Western Wineries. In 1996, Lou planted his first vinifera vines. Phil followed the next season.  Today, each manages his own vineyard, supplying 23 acres of grapes to the business for its winemaking. Taken as a whole, the two properties produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling, and a few French-American hybrids.

Recently, I tried two of their wines.

2011 Pinot Grigio is a light dry white wine, with lots of stone fruits like pear and apple and melon.

2009 Meritage is a classic Bordeaux-styled dry red blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Aged in oak this wine has big, big fruit up front, with nice acid and solid tannins that give he wine a lovely mouthfeel. Dark mixed berry with raspberry, cherry, and cassis all coming through with hints of vanilla and spices. Hints of leather and cassis, as well as a lovely whisp of dried dark fruit.

I really liked both of these wines. Terrific stuff.