MN Grape Growers Association Enlists Services of Richard Leahy, Bob Mignarri, Tom Payette and Lisa Smiley for their 7th Annual Cold ClimateGrape and Wine Conference February 17-19, 2011

Oct 28

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Thomas W. Martell, President of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association (MGGA), is pleased to announce the services of four seasoned, experienced and respected wine industry professionals for their upcoming Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference.The Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference is a major event for the wine industry in the cold climate states and Canadian provinces.It’s exciting to witness the growth of the cold climate grape & wine industry and the contributions of this conference to that growth trajectory,” says Martell. “The addition of industry luminaries Richard Leahy, Bob Mignarri, Tom Payette and Lisa Smiley bring professionalism and style, plus a tremendous educational opportunity for our conference attendees.” Leahy joins the Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference with 13 years of experience coordinating the seminar program for Wineries Unlimited. Martell adds, “It was satisfying to witness the rapt attention to the keynote address Leahy gave at the 2010 Cold Climate Conference. Richard Leahy is well-known and respected throughout the wine industry through his former position as the East Coast Editor for Vineyard & Winery Management. We are thrilled to bring his experience and expertise to our conference.”

“I’m very pleased to work with my accomplished colleagues Lisa and Bob, with the MGGA Board and the Board’s Conference Co-chairs Terri Savaryn and Rudy Jungwirth,” says Leahy. “When I gave the keynote address this year and every seat was taken at 8:30 a.m., I knew this conference was a must-attend for the many members of the cold climate wine industry. Their energy and enthusiasm are inspiring, and I’m glad to contribute my skills and experience to build the reputation of this conference.”

Bob Mignarri, owner of Quality Event Management, has more than 28 years of experience producing trade shows.  He formerly collaborated with Leahy on the well-known Wineries Unlimited Conference as its Trade show manager. His dedication helped grow the trade show from 34 exhibitors in 1994 to 221 exhibitors last year. “We became aware of Bob’s professionalism within the wine industry and among its suppliers through his work with Wineries Unlimited. We’re confident that his networking and expertise will help take our trade show to the next level,” says Martell.

Lisa Smiley, member of the MGGA, and a Board member of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, Eastern Section, is no stranger to the Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference, serving as conference director in 2006 and 2007.  “Lisa is a familiar leader in the cold climate grape and wine industry,” explains Martell. “She is enthusiastic about sharing her expertise. She and Richard complement one another in terms of ideas, energy and their passion for the wine and grape industry.”

The MGGA is also excited by the debut of a day-long workshop Thursday, Feb. 17 on “Starting Your Winery Successfully Step-by-Step”, chaired and moderated by winemaking consultant Tom Payette. A frequent speaker at the Wineries Unlimited trade show, Payette is well-known and respected in the Eastern wine industry, and writes a technical column for Vineyard & Winery Management magazine.

About the Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference:

The focus for the three day Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference is on the opportunities and challenges facing growers and vintners in the Upper Midwest and other cold climate growing areas. It features three concurrent seminar tracks covering viticulture, enology and marketing plus a trade show and a half-day evening program for those new to or just entering the wine industry. The 2011 Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference will be held at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel from February 17-19.  Last year’s 450+ conference attendees represented 16 states, WashingtonD.C. and three provinces. Attendance is expected to grow 15% in 2011. Online registration and more conference details will be available at www.mngrapes.org

About the MGGA:

The Minnesota Grape Growers Association was founded in 1976 and is dedicated to advancing the art and science of growing grapes and producing wine in cold climates. Current membership is over 700 and represents growers, wineries, suppliers and enthusiasts from Minnesota, the upper Midwest, eastern USA and Canada.  In addition to its annual Cold Climate Grape & Wine Conference, the Association sponsors educational workshops, tours, and tastings, and co-sponsors the International Cold Climate Wine Competition. For more information visit: www.mngrapes.org

DrinkLocalWine.com to hold 3rd Annual Regional Wine Week October 10-16

Sep 15

Regional Wine Week is set to feature some of the best writing about regional wine from some of the best wine writers in the country.  This year, for the first time, Regional Wine Week will include a haiku contest, in which wine drinkers from across the United States can submit haiku about their favorite regional wine.  The winning entries will be posted on the DrinkLocalWine.com Facebook page.  Let’s face it…who doesn’t have the urge to “Un Cork and Haiku” when the seasons begin to change.

During Regional Wine Week, writers from across the US post musings and discoveries about their favorite regional and local wines, wineries and events to their blogs, websites, magazines and newspapers.  Then, the DLW website aggregates all that information, giving consumers a one-stop-shop to see what’s cutting edge in regional wine.  Over the past two years, writers from across the country have covered dozens of states.  Check out posts from 2008 Regional Wine Week and 2009 Regional Wine Week.

The only rule?  That the blog or article be about something that isn’t from California, Washington or Oregon.  Anyone, whether professional wine writer or not, can submit a story to be linked to on the DLW website.

The haiku contest is equally as simple.  Just write a haiku — three lines of poetry with five, seven and five syllables in each line — about your favorite regional wine, winery, event or personality and email it to DLW.

Drinking Texas wine
leaves me with a feeling that
much is possible.

- Jeff Siegel, DLW co-founder &
proprietor of the top 100 blog, The Wine Curmudgeon

While this invitation may seem informal and you’re having a hard time making the connection between Japanese tradition to Norton, we say ‘Give it a try!’  The other “new release” to be celebrated is the invite to “MEET US IN ST LOUIS” for the 2011 DLW.com Conference.  If being the first to know doesn’t inspire a Haiku, we don’t know what will…
For more information about Regional Wine Week or to submit a story link or haiku, email DLW at DrinkLocalWine@gmail.com or call 978.276.9463.

Wine of the Week: Braganini Reserve 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Michigan

Sep 01

It’s been a record hot year across the country (except for California), and if you want to cool off to top domestic sauvignon blanc, this is a brilliant, refreshingly Loire Valley interpretation of the classic white Bordeaux grape.

The Braganini Reserve was produced by St. Julian winery in Paw Paw, Michigan (SW). David Braganini is the grandson of Mariano, the founder of St. Julian. 2008 was a cool year in the East, including Michigan. This wine has the subtle, delicate bouquet of lemongrass and crushed limestone, pointing to the Loire Valley rather than Marlborough, NZ. On the palate, the wine is dry but has a rich, ripe mid-palate viscosity much like cool-climate chardonnay. Lemon curd and a hint of sage overlay this viscosity, with a clean finish. An excellent food wine, this will also reward those who can enjoy delicately dry and fresh Loire-style sauvignon blanc (alc. a mere 12%). For growers in SW Michigan, it may be time to consider plantings of this classic grape which seems to have much promise here. Note: this wine was finished with a Stelvin (screwcap) closure, ensuring its freshness which is holding well.

Winners of 2010 Int. Cold Climate Competition Announced

Aug 28

The Minnesota Grape Growers Association, chief sponsor and organizer of the 2nd International Cold Climate Wine Competition are pleased to announce the Best of Category Winners as follows:

2010 ICCWC BEST OF SHOW
Lincoln Peak Vineyard VT  La Crescent  2009

BEST RED WINE
Indian Island Winery MN Marquette 2009

BEST SPECIALTY & FORTIFIED
Morgan Creek Vineyards MN “Black Ice” (La Crescent Ice Wine) …2009

MINNESOTA GOVERNOR’S CUP
Saint Croix Vineyards MN La Crescent Dessert Wine9

For complete competition results, please visit http://iccwc.org/files/2010_ICCWC_Winners.pdf

The Wines of Lombardy: An Eclectic Cornucopia with Some Original Gems

Jun 28

On June 22nd I had the pleasure of tasting the wines of Lombardy at a media/trade event in Washington, D.C.  About two dozen producers attended, and the wines ran a fascinating, eclectic gamut from international varieties to Italian varieties to rare local varieties; from world-class methode champenoise to a range of dry whites and reds, to an exquisite dessert wine, an amarone-style wine made from the local red moscato de scanzo grape, which also forms the smallest DOCG in Italy.

Like me, you probably have a hard time coming up with a pithy wine descriptor for Lombardy (“and where the heck is it?”, you may ask (north-central Italy, south of the Alps and northeast of Milan). Lombardy is an enigma of a wine region; on the one hand, it is quite large for Italy with 28 million gallons of wine produced annually, more than many of the more well-known regions like Friuli-Venezia.

On the other hand, because it is a geographically large region and quite viticulturally diverse, using both Italian and international varieties more famous elsewhere, the region as a whole doesn’t have a strong identity in the minds of American consumers, such as Tuscany would have tied to sangiovese, or Piedmonte would have with nebbiolo, barbera, and dolcetto (maybe that would be different if most American wine consumers knew that the red fizzy lambrusco originates from Lombardy).

Due to the region’s obscurity and the promise of the U.S. market, some of the region’s producers are now traveling the U.S. holding these media and trade tastings, trying to raise the awareness of their region and its many wines.

I liked the variety of grape varieties, blends, processing styles, and entirely new wines like the moscato de scanzo which I’d never tasted before. Seemingly predictable categories like chardonnay/pinot noir methode champenoise produced fresh, lively yet complex and terroir-driven sparkling wines. The IGT red blend category, rather than producing over-extracted Super Tuscan knock-offs, produced some gutsy but original blends and flavors.

The local clone of trebbiano (“lugana”) produces a rich, unctuous white which actually needs a few years of bottle age to show its true potential. Barbera and nebbiolo, better known to the west in Piedmonte, makes brighter, fresher reds in Lombardy, and gentle aging in large, neutral oak shows these wines off with a cooler climate Burgundian style of fresh fruit and crisp acidity. Aside from the smoky yet richly fruity  moscato de scanzo, I was also highly impressed with a lemberger-like local grape gropello ruberti (labeled just as “gropello”), which I’m told is genetically related to pinot noir. The wine has smoky briar fruit nuances like lemberger, vibrant crisp cherry/berry notes like pinot noir and a cool-climate crisp acidity.

Here are some tasting notes of my favorite wines from the tasting:

WHITE/SPARKLING
Lantieri Brut 2006, Tenuta degli Angeli, Franciacorta DOCG This very elegant cool-climate methode champenoise from the Franciacorta sub-region of Lombardy, which produces the best dry sparkling wines in the country, showed finesse but also a kind of lively minerality and sense of place I found in other Lombardy wines but still different from what you’d find in Champagne, Cava or the Loire Valley. The nose was lively and fresh with pear/apple  notes, just a hint of yeast, with focused, lively apple/pear flavors and a long firm crisp finish; stylish but not over-done. Est. U.S. retail: $29.95

Tarti pinot nero di bianco (blanc de pinot noir) sparkling NV, Oltrepo Pavese DOC: A lovely sparkling wine showing that high-quality and fruity sparkling wines need not be made be made in the champagne method. The nose is bursting with passion fruit and juicy non-fermented grape juice. On the palate, passion fruit, pineapple and kumquat carry on a tropical mardi-gras, and the round juicy texture is balanced by a vibrantly fresh and clean finish. Throw a summer party with a case of this, and you may not remember it all but the guests will be talking about it for months if not years.

Perla “Madonna de la Scoperta” Lugana superiore DOC 2007: This is a fine white wine made from the lugana trebbiano clone mentioned before which needs some bottle age to gain its potential. Nose shows some oak components, but grows in the glass to reveal yellow apple, hazelnut, dried flowers and minerality. On the palate…wow! The single varietal intensity and integration of concentrated viscocity, fruit and mineral elements grows, and resembles nothing as much as fine white burgundy. This shows the potential for whites from this region.

RED WINES
Cantina di Villa “Tinaia” 2005 Sforzato di Valtellina: A compellingly original interpretation of nebbiolo (100%) from the Valtellina sub-region. The grapes are dried on straw mats as with vin santo, and pressed at the end of January, followed by a long maceration and careful temperature control. The relatively high (14.5%) alcohol softens the typical nebbiolo acidity some and rounds the palate nicely, but the wine is very smooth and neither hot nor sweet. The wine is aged in large neutral oak for 3 years followed by 6 months of bottle maturation, and the mellow nuances are all about fruit and terroir; a must for top-notch northern Italian cuisine. U.S. retail: $40.00

San Michele ai Pianoni “Pynos” pinot noir 2004, Oltrepo Pavese DOC: a lovely cool-climate pinot noir reminiscent of Volnay, with a perfumed bouquet of violets and spicy briar fruits. Medium-bodied; it starts slow, but grows to a full-bodied finish with firm tannins, while remaining elegant with lots of finesse. Aged 24 months in French oak and an additional year in the cellar, this is a refreshing alternative to big syrah-like pinots from the West Coast, with lively fruit and bottle maturity despite 14% alcohol, and no obvious oak flavors in sight.

Monte Cicogna “Don Lisarder” 2001, Largo di Garda classico superior DOC:  A world-class wine, a uniquely local blend of the indigenous gropella with sangiovese and barbera, this wine spent a year and a half in small oak and has matured impressively in the bottle. The nose is full of rich truffle and forest floor notes, with dried plums and cherries. On the palate the wine is smooth yet full-bodied and powerful, with earth, truffle and spicy dried black fruit flavors. This wine is like a combination of Cotes de Nuits Burgundy, Chianti Classico riserva, and gran reserva Rioja. While rich and powerful, like the other fine Lombardy wines, it retains an original sense of place and stylish elegance.

DESSERT WINE
Fejoia moscato di scanzo NV, moscato di scanzo DOC: As described above the moscato di scanzo is a red muscat variety unique to this part of Lombardy. The wine is made in an amarone style and is not fortified as with many dessert muscat wines; the grapes are dried on straw mats for 40 days and vinified and aged entirely in stainless steel to preserve fresh aromatic fruit character.  The bouquet is spicy/smoky cherry and muscat notes, slightly pungent with dried cherry nuances. On the palate, it is richly viscous but drier than you expect, a bit pungent, with a perfumed and complex mix of dried fruit and earth elements and lingering finish. A perfect match for gorgonzola cheese or dried cherry tart.

The good news from this tasting is that if you know where to look you can find highly original and rewarding wines from this large and diverse region of Italy. The bad news is that it may be a challenge knowing where to find them, and whether the trade in this country will purchase enough of these gems for you to find. I didn’t get all of the U.S. retail prices for these wines, but the ones noted above won’t be cheap, and whether the trade will buy at these prices in this economy is an open question. Also, a number of the wines not reported above were not very compelling, or made in a reductive style (the opposite of fruit-forward and aromatic). Hopefully these producers can focus efforts on specialty markets like the many high-end Italian restaurants on the East Coast where discriminating connoisseurs can be delighted and surprised by these unique and terroir-driven wines.

NY State Fair: Results Sneak Preview, and Tasting Highlights on West Cayuga Lake

Jun 08

A busy day of judging wine (6/5) and tasting wine along west Cayuga Lake (6/6) racing to make my flight out of Elmira; arrived in Philly where it was about 25 degrees warmer and sunny; started writing this while relaxing in Vino Volo wine bar at the airport, sipping a very refreshing Slovenian pinot grigio (more like an albarino, which is a good thing).

Last time I judged the New York State Fair 3 years ago we judged in a freezing vestibule of a shivering well as air conditioners protected us from the warm humid air outside. So I wore a heavy shirt only to find the AC busted, and we had to open up doors fore and aft to get refreshment even from the humid air outside through a long day of wine tasting. Rough work, but someone has to do it…

This state competition is likely the most diverse in the country, featuring red, blush and white table wines, sparkling wines, fruit wines, fortified wines and “specialty wines”, all made from hybrids, native and vinifera grapes as well as fruits, mead and blends of same. The quality impressively carries across the scale in all these different categories.

The results haven’t been released yet (visit http://nysfair.org/competitions), but standouts I noted include the following:

- an impressive gooseberry and grapefruit-tasting sauvignon blanc;

- a beautifully pink yet bone dry and delicately strawberry-tasting sparkling pinot noir;

- about half a dozen rieslings from the fine ’08 and ’09 vintages, from dry to semi-sweet. My two favorites included two dry rieslings; the first (which I’ll identify when judges are given the key when results are given) had white peach aromas, and a gentle intensity on the palate which was amazingly concentrated yet light and fresh. The second also had white peach aromas but was tight and taut, needing more time but with flavors bursting with white peach and nectarine with long fine acidity.

- something called “cranberry breeze” allegedly from an unlikely blend of cayuga and de chaunac hybrids, which produced a remarkably cranberry-like aroma and flavor, not too tart, with lively juiciness.

- an amontialdo-style sherry that could have passed for sercial madeira, with nice acidity balancing an unctuous nutty palate.

- two fine late-harvest vidals, rich in apricot/tropical fruit but with good balancing acidity.

After a long hard day’s judging we were looking forward to fine Italian cooking in the Maplewood Inn, with friendly service, but imagine our horror when we found, after a couple of introductory bottles had been opened, that there was NO WINE FOR DINNER brought from the competition, even though we’d booked the restaurant in the hotel precisely because they’d let us bring wine in. Apparently there was a communication break-down between the competition and the judges; I’d have brought half a case myself if I hadn’t flown and refused to pay the airlines to check bags. So Phil Ward (of Opici Wines) and I jumped in his stylish Quattro car to get provisions. Wine cannot be sold in grocery stores in NY (because the powerful wholesalers will lean on someone if they do), and the first tacky corner liquor/wine story we came to had few things we’d want to offer our judges, so Phil punched in “wine” into his GPS navigator and we drove to downtown Syracuse, past tattoo parlors where girls of questionable virtue lingered and white youths were pretending to be Brothers, to 3 different locations which somehow were non-existant or closed.

By the time we returned we were disappointed that nobody knew or cared what we’d attempted on their behalf, but were cheered up because other judges had been compelled to break into their stashes and cough up some wine, and even a Bota Box looked welcome at this point. I was even more grateful when Lynne Montgomery poured me a few ounces of a reserve riesling from Hermann Wiemer, 1999, from an autographed magnum; rich and full-bodied, Alsatian-like, and just hitting stride.

After dinner, we invaded Frank Aquilino’s room. Frank, a former president of the American Wine Society, is a passionate wine lover with photos of his large cellar on his iPhone. He was generous enough to share a ’98 Super Tuscan and a recent vintage Falanghina with us. The Super Tuscan was remarkably dark, rich and full-bodied. He used to work as an A/C contractor so he knows how to keep a cellar at the right temperature and casually mentions “R-value” with authority.

My friend Martha Gioumousis brought me 4 12-oz bottles of her homemade apple cider, 2 from ’09 and 2 from the ’04 vintage. I enjoyed 2 with Albany Times-Union reporter Fred LeBrun. We both preferred the ’04; with the high acid level, this Finger Lakes cider ages like champagne and needs time to mellow.

The next day I picked up a rental car at the airport and headed west on the Thruway to enjoy tasting wines on the Cayuga Wine Trail on the west side of the lake. The first stop was Knapp Vineyards (now belonging to the Glenora Wine Group). Quality is consistent and the product range is wide. Here are my favorites:

  • Knapp dry riesling ’08 Lovely white peach aromas, racy and fresh with classic floral and mineral notes of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region. Will be a killer match with seafood, cream sauces.
  • Knapp lemberger ’08 The cool vintage showed this red Central European grape off well. Aromatics of spicy huckleberry, on the palate, lively, racy spicy and fun smoky berry flavors.
  • Knapp sangiovese ’07 Classic smoky/spicy cherry nose. Nicely balanced on the palate, smooth with a crisp finish; fine food red.
  • Knapp vidal blanc ’08 A very classy example of varietal vidal; nice fruity apple-like nose, with fine fruit/acid balance on the palate.
  • Knapp vignoles ’07 (5% R.S.) Probably Knapp’s most consistent and well-known wine, this is sweet but elegantly balanced. Aromas of peach and honeysuckle with tropical fruit flavors; clean, vibrant, fresh, lively and with great balance, probably the most elegant example of this very assertive variety I’ve tasted.

WARNING: if you’re driving the Cayuga Wine Trail on a wet weekend day, expect the wineries to be overrun by noisy, inebriated bus tour groups. I kept dodging one group of rowdy Indians from winery to winery, and even at other wineries with less rowdy groups, found myself shut out of tasting counter space due to the crowds.

Goose Watch winery is part of the Swedish Hill group (also including Penguin Bay). Owner Dave Peterson explains that the Goose Watch label was created to feature mostly wines and grape varieties that were not being done by other Finger Lakes wineries. You’ll find heirloom native varieties like rose of isabella and diamond here, but also viognier, lemberger, villard and traminette as well as more mainstream pinot grigio, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Highlights:

  • Goose Watch pinot grigio ’08: More aromatics on the nose than usual, spicy pear notes, some complexity. On the palate, a rich texture with some depth but a fine dry finish, stylish and more to it than usual.
  • Goose Watch traminette ’08: Elegant lychee/rosewater nose typical of good gewurztraminer (the vinifera parent of this Cornell hybrid), not as overtly blowsy as most. On the palate, like an elegant gewurztraminer but good acidity.
  • Goose Watch cabernet franc rose ’08: lovely nose of cherry, cranberry. ON the palate, zesty, fresh, juicy cranberry but crisp and dry; no “veggies” at all, great example of what’s possible with this grape in a dry rose format.
  • Goose Watch ’07 lemberger: nice violet color. Nose: vibrant smoky and spicy boysenberry notes. Palate: smooth yet vibrant and spicy, richly fruity with spicy pepper without heavy tannins.
  • Goose Watch ’05 chambourcin: color amazingly deep (15% cabernet franc). Nose; just like barbera, spicy, a bit pungent. Palate: rich, round, smooth, fairly tannic but smooth with a fresh long cherry-flavored finish. Great summer grilling wine.
  • Goose Watch ’07 cabernet sauvignon: Nose of rich black fruits with a hint of spice (10% lemberger). Palate is lively, zesty and bright red and black fruits, with smooth tannins and a firm blackberry/pepper finish.
  • Goose Watch ’05 merlot reserve: A complex nose with earth, Right Bank Bordeaux minerality and chocolate/berry hints. Palate: racy fruit/acid balance of crushed blackberries with a mocha/chocolate finish. Great example of fine Finger Lakes red, drinking like a St. Emilion Grand Cru.
  • Goose Watch ’05 cabernet sauvignon reserve: Great dark ruby color. Nose:lovely perfumed cassis/blackberry notes like St. Julian with some leafy hints. Palate: OMG! Solid crushed blackberry/cassis with long fine tannins and dark chocolate finish. Amazingly stylish, drinking like a St. Julian classified growth with Finger Lakes terroir.

Thirsty Owl Wine Co. is less than a decade old but they’ve made an impressive debut on the Finger Lakes wine scene, winning the NY Governor’s Cup award with a riesling a couple of years ago, pretty impressive for a new winery competing with other well-established riesling producers. Very stylish and original reds. Most impressive wines:

  • Thirsty Owl pinot gris ’08: still very young and taut but racy and fresh with lively apple and white peach flavors, some nice palate weight and long lingering finish; a different style than riesling but some of the same elements.
  • Thirsty Owl dry riesling ’08: a tight nose, but on the palate, racy, flinty, apple and white peach flavors. Still tight and very young; needs time but impressive.
  • Thirsty Owl riesling ’09 (semi-sweet) Nice floral/peach Middle-Mosel nose. Palate: juicy and floral, great fruit/acid balance, one to watch.
  • Thirsty Owl syrah ’08: Nose: spicy red fruits and black pepper. Palate: round, smooth, mellow and light, same flavors as the nose.
  • Thirsty Owl meritage ’07: Nose: leafy, some herb hints and crushed blackberries. On the palate, elegantly balanced cassis, smooth tannins, rich layered flavors. Stylish, will age.
  • Thirsty Owl cabernet sauv, syrah, malbec ’07: Nose is mostly closed but with some complex hints, especially spice from the malbec. Palate: medium-bodied, smooth, tight, flavors closed, needs time but texture and aromatics hint at a very stylish, but light/medium red blend in the Finger Lakes style.
  • Thirsty Owl “vinte” ’07: a port-style blend of chancellor and cabernet franc, this is a vibrant and juicy ruby-style wine. The nose is spicy and lifted cherry and chocolate elements. The palate is bright and fresh, very spicy, lively and fresh, bursting with cherry flavors.

Hosmer Winery is a laid-back low-key kind of place that belies the solid track record they have for riesling, chardonnay and cabernet franc for a decade or more. Owner Cameron Hosmer is a grower first and a winery owner second; all varietal wines have the Cayuga Lake sub-appellation. If you want excitement in the glass and not the décor, this is a good place to visit.  Highlights:

  • Hosmer pinot noir ’08: Nose of smoky briar fruits, with hints of truffle and forest floor. Palate: vibrant and fresh, broad, with crisp cherry/berry fruits.
  • Hosmer cabernet franc ’08: Nose: fresh briar fruit aromas, no green “veggies”, resembles lemberger. Palate: lively, juicy and fresh red fruits, no hard tannins. Fine cab franc for a cool vintage.
  • Hosmer dry rose ’09 (cab franc): Nose: closed, very young but nice cranberry hints. Palate: great vibrant cherry, cranberry flavors, fine fruit/acid balance. Still too young but will be great from mid July.
  • Hosmer pinot gris ’09 (barrel sample): Nose: Alsatian-style smoky pineapple with great viscosity and spice on the palate, fine length.
  • Hosmer dry riesling ’09 (tank sample): Nose: spectrum of apples (green/yellow/red) with some white blossom. Palate: a fine Mosel/Saar/Ruwer style with floral peach/nectarine and solid apple fruit. Very young but will develop well; stylish.
  • Hosmer ’07 Vintner’s Reserve riesling (semi-dry): made from a selection of the best estate fruit, this is not overpriced at $25. Nose: OMG!! Wonderful Middle-Mosel floral, apple and peach aromas with a hint of bottle age. Palate: lots of depth, apple and peach, with layers of texture. Elegant for an ’07 and will age gracefully but can be quaffed now with pleasure.

Apologies to Sheldrake Point and Lucas Vineyards; I had a plane to catch in Elmira and had run out of time after finishing at Hosmer; hopefully will include them in the future.

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