Kemmeter Wines

My visit to Kemmeter Wines
My visit to Kemmeter Wines

On August 1, 2013, just over two years ago, winemaker and proprietor Johannes Reinhardt opened his own winery, Kemmeter Wines, to the public after being the winemaker at Anthony Road Wine Company since 2000.

To read the rest of my review, CLICK HERE, and enjoy my first contribution to American Winery Guide. Thank you for your support and for reading.

Cheers!
Beth

My May Sips

Finger Lakes Wine Selections
Finger Lakes Wine Selections

Yes, I know it’s June already, but these are some of the wines I tasted last month. Oh, and if you have a better title for my occasional collection of wine reviews, please post it in the comments. I could use some help with blog post titles.

Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Estate Reserve Cabernet 2012 (Bottling Party Label) paired with DripTeez and OPI's The One That Got Away
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Estate Reserve Cabernet 2012 (Bottling Party Label) paired with DripTeez and OPI’s The One That Got Away

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Estate Reserve Napa Valley California Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (employee allocation, $75.00 at the winery; Robert Parker 93-95 points)
This wine is super young, but oh, so delectable. The mouthfeel is incredible and the succulent, black fruit aromas and flavors leap from the glass. I just hope I can hold a bottle or two for later. This is going to develop quite nicely.

Passaggio Wines Pinot Grigio 2014
Passaggio Wines Pinot Grigio 2014

Passaggio Wines Pinot Grigio 2014 (tasting room sample, $25.00 at the winery)
This Pinot Grigio, whose grapes are sourced from Lodi’s Manna Vineyards, is fermented in all stainless steel. It has floral aromatics on the nose, a mélange of tropical and tree fruits on the palate, and finishes with good acidity.

Cuvaison Estate Napa Valley Carneros Syrah 2012
Cuvaison Estate Napa Valley Carneros Syrah 2012

Cuvaison Estate Napa Valley Carneros Syrah 2012 ($38.00 at the winery)
I promised myself I wasn’t going to write tasting notes about this wine, but I couldn’t help myself. The 2012 Cuvaison Syrah expresses concentrated dark berry flavors right out of the gate. This wine is textured and lush on the palate. The fruit lingers on the finish, the curtain call being a burst of peppery spice.

Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2011
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2011

Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2011 ($50.00 at the winery)
Bottle Shock aside, I love this Chardonnay. Fresh apples and citrus explode on the palate, accompanied by a juicy mouthfeel and a hint of smokiness from the oak. The finish is long, with lively, lingering acidity.

Thirsty Owl Wine Company Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 2014
Thirsty Owl Wine Company Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 2014

Thirsty Owl Wine Company Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 2014 (sample, $14.95 at the winery)
If you’ve never tasted an example of Finger Lakes Riesling, this is a great one to try. It’s pale yellow, crisp, and dry, barely a hint of sweetness, with loads of juicy citrus flavors, and vibrant Finger Lakes acidity.

Red Newt Cellars Finger Lakes Gewürztraminer 2013
Red Newt Cellars Finger Lakes Gewürztraminer 2013

Red Newt Cellars Finger Lakes Gewürztraminer 2013 (sample, $15.00 at the winery)
This wine is floral, dense, spicy, with a round mouthfeel, sumptuous aromas and flavors of honey, lemon, and orange. It packs a lot of punch for the price point. My go-to pairing with Gewürztraminer is a spicy, Asian dish like Kung Pao Chicken.

Knapp Finger Lakes Dry Rosé 2014
Knapp Finger Lakes Dry Rosé 2014

Knapp Finger Lakes Dry Rosé 2014 (sample, $15.99 at the winery)
This rosé comprised of 85% Cabernet Franc, 15% Pinot Noir, is bone dry. The grapes for this wine were cold-soaked for 16 hours to give it a light salmon color. It displays aromas and flavors of grapefruit, melon, and strawberry, then finishes with ample, food-friendly acidity.

Lamoreaux Landing Finger Lakes T23 Cabernet Franc 2013
Lamoreaux Landing Finger Lakes T23 Cabernet Franc 2013

Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars Finger Lakes T23 Cabernet Franc 2013 (sample, $19.99 at the winery; 90 points, Wine Enthusiast)
This 2013 Lamoreaux Landing unoaked Cabernet Franc is lighter in color and body, but big on aroma and flavor. Think floral aromatics, with baked cherry and cinnamon on the palate. Even my friend who doesn’t typically like red wines likes this one. T23 in the name is the abbreviation for the stainless steel tank in which it was fermented, Stainless Steel Tank #23.

Old York Cellars Pinot Gris 2013
Old York Cellars Pinot Gris 2013

Old York Cellars Pinot Gris 2013 (sample, $18.00 at the winery; Gold Medal – San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition)
This Pinot Gris from New Jersey is a pale lemon-green color and refreshing on the palate, with flavors of tropical fruits, melon, orange, tangerine, and a bright acid finish. As it warms to room temperature, the fruit flavors become sweeter, more like candied fruit.

Old York Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Old York Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Old York Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (sample, $21.00 at the winery; Silver Medal – San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition)
This New Jersey produced Cabernet Sauvignon has bright, red berry aromas, black fruit and spice flavors, and a tannin structure that will allow this wine to age a few more years in the bottle, although with some decanting, is drinkable now. Enjoy this with creamy, pungent cheeses or a steak.

*The two Old York Cellars’ wines can be purchased as a package with a 20% discount at this link.*

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($53.00 at the winery)
This 2010 Cabernet far exceeded my expectations for a larger production wine. The black fruits, baking spices, and mocha/chocolate flavors are welcoming and persistent throughout the palate, yet the wine finishes with bright, red fruit acidity. I wish I’d purchased more upon release.

Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2008
Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2008

Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2008 (gift from a friend, $31.99, currently on sale for $18.99 at select PLCB stores)
Thank you to the friend who gave me this 2008 Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spätlese Trocken, Rheingau, Germany! We don’t have too many German Rieslings in Napa. This wine bursts with golden delicious apples on the front of the palate, tropical fruits mid-palate, then finishes with blazing acidity. Or as he would say, “This Is f*cking good Riesling!” I paired this with red chile chicken enchiladas.

Happy sipping!
Beth

Finger Lakes Rieslings continue to shine!

My 2013 Finger Lakes Riesling Lineup
My 2013 Finger Lakes Riesling Lineup

Finger Lakes wines and I go back to fall of 2012 when I found out my teaching position had been eliminated and I started taking wine certification courses. I feel blessed to have discovered this beautiful wine region. I participated in the 2011 Riesling launch in September 2012, traveled to the Finger Lakes in November 2012, April 2013, and July 2013 for the Tierce Riesling release party, then participated in the Finger Lakes Wine Month tasting on May 31, 2014. If you search Finger Lakes on my blog, two and a half pages of posts will be referenced. I miss visiting now that I am in California, but I am looking forward to the 2015 Wine Bloggers’ Conference there. I am also fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in virtual tastings such as the 2013 Riesling Launch Hour on September 27, 2014. I had a work conflict and had to miss the live tasting, but here is my roundup of the wine samples that were sent to me by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance in the order that I tasted them.

2013 Thirsty Owl Riesling
2013 Thirsty Owl Riesling

2013 Thirsty Owl Wine Company Riesling (Cayuga Lake, Finger Lakes)
Thirsty Owl and I have a history. I first tasted the 2011 Dry Riesling in 2012 and tasted the 2013 Dry Riesling in May of this year. Unfortunately, I still haven’t made it to the winery. The grapes for this Riesling, a blend of clone 09 and an unknown clone from 30-year-old vines, are 100% estate-grown and produced. It’s pale lemon in color and has both sweet and tart fruit aromatics. It has no tannin, 1.5 % residual sugar, 8 g/l acidity, and 11% alcohol. On my palate, I taste sweeter stone fruits and apple up front, followed by mid-palate zesty citrus, then a honeysuckle-like, long finish that isn’t as sweet as you would think due to its ample Finger Lakes acidity. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. Cork closure. Price = $14.95.

Awards
Silver Medal, New York State Fair

2013 McGregor Riesling
2013 McGregor Riesling

2013 McGregor Vineyard Riesling (Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes)
I’ve been to Keuka Lake, but have not visited McGregor Vineyard nor tasted their wines. The land for the vineyard was purchased in 1971 and the winery founded in 1980. Most of the vines are over 30 years old. It was one of the first wineries in the eastern United States to grow vinifera grapes and continues to be owned and operated by the McGregor family. The grapes for this Riesling 100% are estate grown and hand harvested. It’s pale lemon in color, has 10.5% alcohol, has no tannin, and is semi-sweet (4% residual sugar), much sweeter than the Thirsty Owl above. However the bright acidity prevents it from being cloyingly so. Sweet stone fruits like apricot and nectarine dominate the aromatics and flavors. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. 323 cases were produced. Cork closure. Price = $17.99 estimated (2012 Semi-Dry price from the website).

2013 Keuka Spring Riesling
2013 Keuka Spring Riesling

2013 Keuka Spring Vineyards Riesling, Humphreys Vineyard (Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes)
I have not visited Keuka Spring, founded in 1985 by Len and Judy Wiltberger, but vintages of this Riesling keeps appearing in wine award listings. I am very excited to have the opportunity to try this wine, as it lives up to the hype. The grapes for this Riesling are sourced from Humphreys Vineyard on the west side of Seneca Lake. It’s pale lemon in color, with both floral and fruit aromatics. This offering is dry (.7% residual sugar), with what I like to call kick-ass, cool-climate acidity, no tannin, and 12% alcohol. It’s loaded with mouthwatering citrus, green apple, and stone fruits, has noticeable minerality, and has a long finish. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. 360 cases produced. Cork closure. Price = $21.99.

Awards
Best of Class, Gold Medal, 96 pts., Los Angeles International Wine Competition
Gold Medal, 90 pts., San Francisco International Gold Medal, Riverside International Gold Medal, New York State Fair
Gold Medal, New York Wine & Food Classic
Silver Medal, Tasters Guild International
Bronze Medal, Great Lakes Great Wine

2013 Dr. Frank Dry Riesling
2013 Dr. Frank Dry Riesling

2013 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling (Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes)
Dr. Frank was the second winery I visited on my first trip to the Finger Lakes in November 2012. The winery, founded in 1962, is humble in appearance, but Dr. Frank’s legacy is that he was the pioneer in producing vinifera grapes in a colder climate, this earning the nickname of Father of Vinifera in the Eastern United States. The grapes for this Riesling are estate-grown and produced. It’s pale lemon in color, with citrus and floral aromas. It is very dry (.4% residual sugar), with that delectible acidity (7.4 g/l), no tannin, and 12.5% alcohol. This baby is delicious, with tangy citrus and green apple flavors and a very long finish. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging if the Stelvin closure will allow. Excellent price-to-quality ratio for this wine. Price = $14.99.

Awards
2013 Taster’s Guild Consumer Judging: Gold
2013 – Ultimate Beverage Challenge: “90 Points”/Gold
2013 – Denver International Competition: Gold
2013 – Los Angeles International Competition: “95 Points”/Gold
2013 – Great Lakes Wine Competition:  Gold

Cheers! Hope to see you in the Finger Lakes in 2015!
Beth

2014 Wine Bloggers’ Conference: My Thoughts

Véraison at Sanford Winery
Véraison at Sanford Winery

Santa Barbara County was my third Wine Bloggers’ Conference. I attended for the first time in 2011 in Virginia, just shortly after I created Traveling Wine Chick. My second conference was 2013 in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia with a pre-conference excursion to Lake Chelan, Washington. I am not really a rabble rouser, but more of a polite Southern Belle type (with the accent to match), so I won’t be ranting in this post. I am happy to have been able to attend this conference. Below are some of my thoughts.

Dinner at Sanford Winery
Dinner at Sanford Winery

Thank You
Thank you so much to the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association, Zephyr Adventures, Vincent Group Consulting, the Marriott Santa Ynez Valley, the conference sponsors and partners, the wine producers, and everyone else who was involved in this conference. From this participant’s point of view, it appeared to go off without a hitch.

How the Pros Taste
How the Pros Taste

Most Interesting Session Surprise
Wine Discovery Hosted by Jackson Family Wines – How the Pros Taste included a panel comprised of professional wine writers and reviewers Steve Heimoff, Joe Roberts, and Patrick Comiskey. At first, I was a bit star struck to be tasting a selection of wines with these guys as the helm. However, none of the panelists guessed correctly the mystery wine we tasted, which was a wonderful reminder that we are all human and that our palates can be swayed not only by taste, but by a seed of perception planted in our minds.

Dinner View at Sanford Winery
Dinner View at Sanford Winery

My Excursion
I was fortunate to have gotten on the bus to Sanford Winery, where we enjoyed the story and journey of Sanford, a grand tasting of Sta. Rita Hills and other Santa Barbara County wines in the cellar, and a wonderful chef-prepared dinner outside accompanied by a beautiful vineyard setting and sunset. This excursion rivaled my excursion last year which culminated at Tinhorn Creek Winery with paella. Sanford went above and beyond to give my group a wonderful lasting impression of the Sta. Rita Hills area of Santa Barbara County and their wines.

The Jordan Wines
The Jordan Wines

My Favorite Official After Party
Jordan Winery and J Vineyards’ after party last year in Okanagan was so much fun, but this year it was better (translation: had space for more people) as they were able to secure a larger space at the hotel instead of a hotel room suite. There was something for everyone: sparkling, rosé, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a stellar vertical of Cabernet Sauvignon, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres. The unexpected highlight was The Drunken Cyclist sabering a bottle of sparkling wine with a wine glass. True story.

Soléna Estate Pinots
Soléna Estate Pinots

Cool Rogue Events
There were a few off-the-schedule, unsanctioned (rogue) sessions in which I participated and was glad I made the choice to break the rules, so to speak. Soléna Estate outdid themselves hosting a hotel suite of Oregon Pinots to taste along with some wines from British Columbia. Shawn Burgert organized a wonderful, relaxed media meet and greet, Authentic Press, at Saarloos + Sons with some of Santa Barbara’s winemaker stars and small producers. These are the kinds of interactions that need to happen more often. Nothing beats establishing real-life connections among wine consumers, writers, and producers.

Evening at Saarloos + Sons
Evening at Saarloos + Sons

Suggestions for Next Year
I am already booked to attend the 2015 conference in New York’s Finger Lakes, one of my favorite wine destinations, so here are some suggestions for next year’s planners. I would love to see a track that runs throughout the conference for just the Finger Lakes, for those who want to delve in deeper into the region, its wines, its wineries, and its winemakers. Along that same theme, perhaps develop other tracks that might include tasting practice and evaluation, successful writing/blogging techniques, wine tourism, etc. I would also like to get out of the hotel more and see the Finger Lakes and its wineries. Perhaps we could have two excursions or enjoy a breakout session or two outside of a hotel conference room.

Standing Stone Vineyards

View of Seneca Lake from Standing Stone
View of Seneca Lake from Standing Stone

My first experience with Standing Stone Vineyards was at a wine trade show in Boston in September 2011. I was pouring Napa wines and Standing Stone co-owner, Marti Macinski, was at the table beside me pouring their wines. She gave me my first taste of the Finger Lakes, about which I knew nothing.

Side-by-side Riesling tasting
Side-by-side Riesling tasting

Marti and Tom Macinski purchased the property on Seneca Lake’s east side in 1991, the former Gold Seal Vineyards, with the intention of “harvesting premium grapes and subsequently crafting heavenly wines.” They have succeeded by creating consistently good, award-winning, and age-worthy wines since their first vintage in 1993. This year, 2013, marks their 20th anniversary vintage.

Side-by-side Gewürz tasting
Side-by-side Gewürz tasting

Fast forward to April 2013, my recent trip to the Finger Lakes, and my second experience with Standing Stone. I arrived at their winery on Seneca Lake just before Marti had to leave. I reminded her of our first meeting and I am not sure she remembered, as she travels far and wide showing their wines, but I’ll never forget the first, and now second, Standing Stone experience.

Vidal and Chardonnay Ice Wines
Vidal and Chardonnay Ice Wines

Marti left me in good hands tasting with a gentleman who has been involved in the wine business for 40+ years. He recommended side-by-side tastings of various vintages and varieties. We tasted so many wines I lost count. But what I do remember is that all of the wines were simply outstanding, especially the Alsatian-style white wines and ice wines.

Side-by-side Gewürz Ice Wines tasting
Side-by-side Gewürz Ice Wines tasting

Marti had told me before she left to take a bottle of anything I wanted with me. While I know Finger Lakes Rieslings are some of the best in the world, I was trying to vary my selections on this trip to gain a broader understanding of Finger Lakes wines. Therefore, I selected the 2010 Gewürztraminer ($14.99 at the winery).

Riesling Ice Wine
Riesling Ice Wine

Last night I paired the Gewürztraminer with Kung Pao chicken. A couple of years ago, a friend recommended this pairing with Gewürztraminer from another winery, and it’s never failed me.

2010 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer
2010 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer

The 2010 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer, fermented in stainless steel, is a big one. It has lots of floral aromatics, fresh Finger Lakes acidity, a hefty dose of minerality (the vineyards rest over a bed of slate), flavors of orange, grapefruit, and spice, a bit of residual sugar (1%), and a rich mouthfeel from being left on lees for two months. It is an ideal match for Kung Pao chicken’s brown, spicy, and slightly sweet sauce with peanuts. This is one of those pairings you never want to end. You discover yourself eating and sipping until it’s almost all gone. Amazing.

If you plan to visit the Finger Lakes, Standing Stone needs to be on your list of must-visit wineries. The wines, the staff, and the view of Seneca Lake are unforgettable. If you’re interested in other pairings with their Gewürztraminer, visit this page and read the entry for 4/14/13. As you will see, it pairs with a variety of everyday foods and snacks, not just Kung Pao chicken.

Lamoreaux Landing and #ChardonnayDay!

Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars

One of the wineries I visited on both of my trips to the Finger Lakes in November 2012 and April 2013 was Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars. During my first trip, I attended their Harvest Celebration Winemakers’ Dinner and on the return trip, I visited the tasting room.

Bubbles Reception at the Harvest Celebration Winemakers' Dinner
2006 Blanc de Blanc at the Harvest Celebration Winemakers’ Dinner

Lamoreaux Landing has received much recognition in the press, such as being named Wine & Spirits Winery of the Year in 2010 and 2012, and has appeared in Wine & Spirits‘ Top 100 Wineries in the World twice in the past three years, most recently in winter 2012. In the August 2011 issue of Wine & Spirits, Lamoreaux Landing received seven 90+ ratings across four vintages and a best buy designation for their 2009 Dry Riesling. In 2008, New York magazine wrote, Lamoreaux Landing is made upstate near the Finger Lakes, and the cooler climate makes for a fresher, crisper, more elegant Chardonnay than what you’d typically get from California. The winery also graced the cover of Wine Spectator’s May 2006 issue.

2007 Blanc de Blanc welcome!
2007 Blanc de Blanc welcome!

My visit to the tasting room was nothing short of magnificent. The staff welcomed me with a glass of their 2007 Lamoreaux Landing Blanc de Blanc. You can never, ever go wrong with bubbles as a welcome.

Wines paired with chocolate!
Wines paired with chocolate!

The staff also treated me to one of their chocolate and wine flights. I chose the flight that paired local chocolates with their 2011 Grüner Veltliner ($19.99, which I purchased), 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling, 2009 Merlot Block 137, and 2010 76 West (a red meritage blend comprised of 52% Cab Franc, 24% Merlot, 24% Cab Sauvignon). First bubbles, then chocolate and wine? I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Local chocolates
Local chocolates

Since May 23, 2013 is #ChardonnayDay, I thought it would be the perfect pairing with my post about Lamoreaux Landing. Below are my reviews of two of their Chardonnay offerings.

2008 Chardonnay
2008 Chardonnay

2008 Lamoreaux Landing Chardonnay (purchased at the winery for $12.99 less industry discount)
88 points, Wine & Spirits, and Best Chardonnay from the 2011 NY Wine and Food Classic
I love this barrel-fermented Chardonnay. It has a creamy mouthfeel with oak aromas and flavors like butterscotch, toffee, and vanilla combined with aromas and flavors of apple, citrus, melon, and pear. Even after five years in the bottle, it retains that distinctive cool-climate, Finger Lakes acidity to which I am highly addicted. And it’s only $12.99? Get outta here!

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Appellation: Finger Lakes
Total Acidity: 9.4 g/L
pH: 3.33
Alcohol by Volume: 12
Fermentation: 67% Oak Barrels
Production Level: 3400 cases

2007 Blanc de Blanc
2007 Blanc de Blanc

2007 Lamoreaux Landing Blanc de Blanc ($24.99 at the winery, media sample provided by Lamoreaux Landing)

Made méthode champenoise, this Chardonnay was harvested and fermented initially in 2007, bottled in 2008, fermented a second time in the bottle, then aged three years en tirage on yeast lees. It’s a delicious, food-friendly sparkling wine, with aromas of bread and yeast, a creamy mouthfeel, complex flavors of citrus, tree fruits, and toast, and mouthwatering Finger Lakes’ acidity.

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Appellation: Finger Lakes
Total Acidity: 9.2 g/L
pH: 2.97
Alcohol by Volume: 12.6
Fermentation: Stainless Steel and En Tirage
Production Level: LOT #1- 52 Cases

View of Seneca Lake from Lamoreaux Landing
View of Seneca Lake from Lamoreaux Landing

Lamoreaux Landing is one of my favorite wineries and I can’t wait to return. If you’re planning a trip to the area, let me know and I’ll assist and/or refer you to one of the best tasting experiences in the Finger Lakes. And, don’t forget! On Saturday, May 25 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., Finger Lakes Wine Month concludes with Finger Lakes Wine Hour, The World’s LARGEST Finger Lakes Wine Virtual Tasting via Facebook and Twitter! I hope you will join me for this comprehensive tasting of Finger Lakes’ wines.

Hector Wine Company and Forge Cellars

On my most recent trip to the Finger Lakes, I had the opportunity to taste wines from Hector Wine Company and Forge Cellars. Assistant Winemaker and Marketing Guru, Alexandra Doniger, led me through a comprehensive tasting of their wines in the Hector Wine Company tasting room located on the east side of Seneca Lake in Hector, NY.

Tank Tasting the 2011 HWC Gewürztraminer
Tank Tasting the 2012 HWC Gewürztraminer

Hector Wine Company is a new producer in the Finger Lakes that opened during harvest 2010. It is owned and operated by Jason Hazlitt, Viticulturist and Graphic Designer, and Justin Boyette, Winemaker. According to the company’s website,

The grapes are harvested from neighboring Sawmill Creek Vineyards, Jason’s family business with a rich history of growing exceptional Vinifera and hybrids. Justin, with more than a decade of wine making experience from several Finger Lakes wineries, creates distinct, well balanced and complex wine with these grapes. All aspects of production, from press to bottle, occur on-site; fostering the ideal that a world class wine is handled by its makers from start to finish.

2011 Forge Cellars Riesling
2011 Forge Cellars Riesling

Forge Cellars is a partnership between the aforementioned Justin Boyette, Winemaker; Louis Barruol, Vigneron and Proprietor of Château Saint Cosme in Gigondas in the Rhône Valley of France; and Rick Rainey, the French/Domestic Brand Manager and Sales Educator for Winebow Inc., a wine importer and distributor. Forge Cellars focuses on making two wines, Riesling and Pinot Noir, and the goal is “to make the best Riesling and Pinot Noir possible from the Finger Lakes of New York.” (About Forge Cellars)

Barrel Tasting the 2012 Syrah
Barrel Tasting the HWC 2012 Syrah

I had the opportunity to taste Hector Wine Company’s 2012 Dry Riesling, 2011 Gewürztraminer, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 pre-release Pinot Blanc, 2011 Essence (red blend), and NV Late Harvest Chardonnay, as well as Forge Cellars’ 2011 Riesling and 2011 Pinot Noir Les Alliés. We also tank tasted Hector Wine Company’s 2012 Gewürztraminer and barrel tasted the 2012 Syrah. I found the wines to be outstanding examples of the varieties, with the characteristic acidity of the Finger Lakes that I have grown to love.

Tank Tasting the 2011 Gewürztraminer
Tank Tasting the 2012 HWC Gewürztraminer

My favorite white wine of the tasting was the 2012 Hector Wine Company pre-release Pinot Blanc ($20). Interestingly, not many wineries in the Finger Lakes make Pinot Blanc, but I have found it to be a variety that does well in this cool climate area. This Pinot Blanc is fruity and light with an earthy, spicy finish.

2011 Forge Cellars Pinot Noir Les Alliés
2011 Forge Cellars Pinot Noir Les Alliés

My favorite red wine of the tasting, and the only red wine I purchased on this trip, was the 2011 Forge Cellars Pinot Noir Les Alliés ($32). It is French in style and reflective of its Finger Lakes’ terroir, with aromas and flavors of dark fruits, earth, smoke, and spice.

2011 HWC Gewürztraminer
2011 HWC Gewürztraminer

On Saturday, May 25 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., Finger Lakes Wine Month concludes with Finger Lakes Wine Hour, The World’s LARGEST Finger Lakes Wine Virtual Tasting via Facebook and Twitter! During this event, I will be tasting Hector Wine Company’s 2011 Gewürztraminer again along with other samples. I hope you will join me for this comprehensive tasting of Finger Lakes’ wines.