You might be thinking: What about the whites!? Don’t worry, I’m an equal opportunity wine drinker! But baby it’s cold outside…so for now I will be sticking to the reds.
2012 was one of the better growing seasons for red varietals in the FLX region. Budbreak (term for when the buds of the plant pop out to say “hello!”) occurred earlier than normal allowing the grapes to have more time to soak in the rays of the sun. Each season of 2012 seemed to give ideal growing conditions for the vines. Thus, leading to some exceptional wines. For Ravines‘ 2012 Pinot Noir, this certainly held true.
To start, Pinot Noir has had a bad reputation for being a very light and unappealing varietal. Both in flavor and visually. It is certainly light in color, but don’t let that fool you. Behind this veil of pale color is a beauty just waiting to be tasted. The low viscosity of this 2012 Pinot Noir, lets the light shine through providing a beautiful hue of ruby red. The nose is that of baking spices accompanied with a woodsy/earthy cherry. This medium bodied Pinot has balanced tannins leaving a desirable velvety mouth feel. Sometimes we think of dryness or tannins being able to nearly suck your face off, but when done properly they can heighten the flavors of the wine. The tannins make way for (no not Prince Ali) an awesome oakiness-meets-earthy goodness. Both present via the palate and nose.
The price is a little high, but certainly not “Napa Valley high”. Coming in at $24.95/btl., this is a beautiful example of what a Pinot Noir can be like. So for all you doubters of Pinot, give this one a try…you won’t be sorry.
Total Acidity: 5.4 g/L Alcohol: 13%
Oak Selection: Malolactic Fermentation occurred in French oak for ~10 months (guesstimate).
FLX.Wines’ ration: 90
Malolactic Fermentation is when malic acid from the left over grapes (known as must) is added after the initial fermentation. Allowing a second fermentation to occur converts the malic acid into a much softer lactic acid. Better mouth feel, and balanced taste.
Cabernet Franc has long been one of the undisputed champs of red wines in the Finger Lakes Region. Cool climate Cab Franc is undoubtably delicious, ranging in color from a pale red rose, to a deep blood red. Being a wine of many shades and flavor profiles, Cab Franc is a desirable little minx. Now that I have intrigued you with that last descriptor, lets get on to my thoughts on Lakewood Vineyard‘s 2014 Cabernet Franc.
Right away the color on this wine is a pale red with a low viscosity (think watered down in appearance, but only in appearance). Off the nose I get white pepper balanced with a lightly oaked tea, and just a hint of smokiness reminiscent of an upwind smokehouse.
The taste is just as pleasant as the smell. Nicely fruit forward, with an all spice and cocoa greeting your tongue. You have a subtle amount of oak, but it’s there, just hiding at the end a bit. This Cab Franc is a wonderful example of how this varietal can be both complex and also deliciously fun. Don’t let the pale color fool you, this is a full fledged Cab Franc with all of these flavors. The tannins (Tannins are found in the skins of the grapes, that give your teeth the feeling that they’re wearing fuzzy socks. Weird, I know, but you get the idea) are quite low, leaving this wine to be enjoyed by all levels of wine drinkers. The price also makes this enjoyable to all, $16/btl., it’s a great addition to your next get-together.
All-in-all I would have to say it is a good example of a cool climate Cab Franc. Light, but yummy.
Lakewood didn’t have any of the specs for their wines (at least not that I could find) posted. So I’m going to speculate on what the specs are…
Total Acidity: Somewhere in the 6.0-6.5 g/L ballpark. Alcohol: 13-14%
Oak Selection: 8-10 Months in American Oak.
FLX.Wines’ Rating: 82
If anyone finds or knows of the specs, please feel free to leave a comment.
First things first, the Finger Lakes have a very special advantage in grape growing (I’ll get to that in just a moment). One lake in particular seems to have the upper hand in the Finger Lakes: Seneca Lake. Seneca is one of the deepest lakes in the country (600+ ft), and it’s because of the lake’s depth that vines grow so well here. During the summer the lake is still cool from the winter which in turn sends cool breezes over the vineyards, moderating the heat. In the summer the exact opposite happens. The summer heat warms up the lake allowing warm breezes to cascade along the steep hillsides helping to prevent the vines from freezing. It’s a wonderful symbiotic relationship between Seneca Lake and its 40+ wineries. Of those 40+ wineries I decided to review Damiani‘s 2011 Syrah first.
2011 started off with a very wet spring, which gave way to a very warm summer. Ideal growing conditions for the area. September rains gave way forcing many wineries to harvest before the grapes could take on too much water. Too much moisture can lead to the growth of harmful molds.
Right out of the bottle this wine has wonderful notes of black pepper, briar, and a nicely balanced earthy oakiness to the nose. A beautiful floral bouquet and smoke seem to say “hey, I can contend with the best of them”, and it can. First sip gives an approachable yet complex welcome of black currant, paired along side balanced/soft tannins giving way to a bright acidic feel. Not too fruit forward, and initially I thought this wine may be a little hot (term for high alcohol), but it settled down minutes into my tasting. I begin to pick up hints of tar on the nose as I bring the glass to my mouth to sip. Anise is joined alongside a hidden citrus rind that took a moment to grace my palate.
All-in-all this is a wonderful wine, and one that I dare say shows signs of age-ability of 20+ years. At it’s price point ($21.99), this is one to surly stock up on (I know I will be).
Harvest Date: 10/23/11
Total Acidity: 6.3 g/L Alcohol: 12%
Oak Selection: Aged for 8 months in French, American & Hungarian oak barrels.
Bottling Date: 7/26/12
Harvest Brix: 19.0° & 20.5° pH: 3.53
Cases Produced: 311
FLX.Wines’ Rating: 89