Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fulkerson Burntray    

So the other day I was in a wine store (big surprise?) and I saw this bottle of Fulkerson Burntray. It said it was a blend that featured Noiret. Noiret is a hybrid grape variety for use in red wine production. It was developed and named by Cornell University researchers working at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, and was officially released on July 7, 2006.

According to Wikipedia, Noiret is the result of a cross between the earlier hybrids NY65.0467.08 and Steuben in 1973; the predominant ancestors for these hybrids are Vitis labrusca varieties native to the northeastern region of North America and Vitis vinifera varieties, which are the classic European wine grapes. Noiret ripens mid-season, and according to Professor Bruce Reisch of Cornell, its wines "are free of the hybrid aromas typical of many other red hybrid grapes. The distinctive red wine is richly colored and has notes of green and black pepper, with raspberry and mint aromas, and a fine tannin structure."

I on the other hand, have never liked Noiret. Just haven't found he right one I guess. But I remain ever hopefull. So it was with some optimism I picked up a bottle of Fulkerson Burntray.

Fulkerson is one of the grand old names in New York state viticulture, and the family has grow grapes for more than 100 years. In 1805, Caleb Fulkerson journeyed from Somerville, NJ and staked out a piece of land on the fertile western slopes of Seneca Lake. He marked his spot in Dundee. From him, the land was handed down from generation to generation until it is now in Sayre's hands, the 6th generation to farm the land. Stephen Fulkerson will be the seventh. They started planting grapes sometime in the 1830's. Together Sayre and his Father, Roger expanded grape plantings during the 1970's. The Fulkersons celebrated the bicentennial anniversary of their farm on Sunday, July 24, 2005.

Sayre and his wife Nancy opened the winery in 1989 with a release of only 1,000 cases of wine. Sayre, also the winemaker, has slowly increased the production of wine over the ensuing years to maintain the distinctive fine quality that has awarded his wines with hundreds of medals. Fulkerson Winery currently produces 30,000+ cases annually for the winery's retail space and the wholesale market, which includes New York State, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Virginia and Florida.

The new Fulkerson Winery tasting room, expanded juice plant and retail/gift shop opened on February 18th, 2005 to great acclaim and fan fare.

So, Dominique made a lovely broiled chicken using Bone Suckin' Sauce, and augmented the meal with fresh peas and Spanish yellow rice. Out came the cork screw.

It turns out that Burntray is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34% Noiret. Black raspberry aromas mixed with white pepper on the nose, and black cherry, black currant, and elderberry on the palate.

Dominique can tend to be persnickety, especially with hybrids.But no so with this wine. We loved it right from the get go. Somehwat Burgundian in feel, it was of a medium palate with nice, lush fruit, good acidity, and low tannins. It played perfectly against the chicken.

It turned out to be a very lovely wine, and we drank the whole bottle with dinner. A lovely, lovely wine.