From the Finger Lakes, Part 2
|TOURIST BUSINESS BOOMS AT
GLENORA, where they've built an attractive new lakeside restaurant and
inn. Happily, the wines are in fine shape too. See below.
(August,6, 2001) This is the second and final part of an
article covering current releases from the top wineries in New York's
Finger Lakes. Click here to go
back to Part 1.
This ambitious producer on the west bank of
Lake Seneca caught my attention with their big new building project -- not
a tasting room, but a production facility.
They've also hired new winemaker from Germany,
named Johannes Reinhardt. He certainly got a baptism of fire (or should I
say rain?) with the 2000 vintage and I'm impressed with what he managed to
The *-Anthony Road 2000 Riesling (Dry)
is just delightful, with a hint of mineral on the nose, followed peach and
lemon flavors. Thins on the finish like all 2000s I tasted, but this is a
praiseworthy job with the materials on hand. At $10.99, pretty darned good
While keep I wishing someone in the Finger
Lakes would produce a truly outstanding 100% barrel-fermented Chardonnay,
the *--Anthony Road 2000 Chardonnay is nice for what it is.
It's half barrel-fermented and half tank-fermented, producing a light,
citrus and apple flavored wine that also has some palate presence. This
one is also $10.99, so I can't complain about the price -- but I would
have paid $4 more for the full treatment.
Anthony Road also produces one of the few
really nice Pinot Gris I tasted in the Figer Lakes. Their *--2000 Pinot
Gris has a rich texture, with pleasant lychee and lemon-lime flavors.
Hope it finds a market, because it seems to me this varietal could fare
better than Chardonnay in the Finger Lakes.
All in all, I like what's happening at Anthony
Road. They've clearly joined the ranks of New York State's better
producers. Be sure to give them a visit if you find yourself near Lake
Glenora Wine Cellars
Boy, is business at Glenora booming. They've
expanded their tasting room out onto what used to be the patio dining
area, and built a new restaurant further down on the lakeside—plus
inn, featuring Stickley furniture, Jacuzzi suites and big picture windows commanding a view of the
Happily, the wines are in fine shape too. Their 1999
Glenora Pinot Noir "Vintner's Select ($16.99) is on the
simple side, but the fruit's there and it's well made, with red cherry
flavors and none of the ashy, oaky notes that mark too many other Finger
Lakes Pinot Noirs. At $16.99, it's appropriate value.
The 1999 Glenora Chardonnay "Barrel
Fermented" has tasty pear and melon flavors and nice, slippery
texture, but the oak protrudes a little too much to float my boat.
Sparklers have long been Glenora's strong suit
and still are. The *+1996 Glenora Brut, made from Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay grapes, has excellent dough and melon flavors, delicate
raspberry notes on the mid-palate and a good finish. The *-1998 Blanc
de Blancs isn't quite as broad on the palate and features a sharper
attack, with flavors veering over to apples and pears. They're both
$14.99, so it's a no-brainer to go for the '96 Brut.
Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard
I was crestfallen that Hermann Wiemer had none
of his Individual Bunch Select Late Harvest Riesling to sell. This
Trockenbeerenauslese equivalent is reliably among the top wines offered
anywhere in the region, with RS levels upwards of 20%. They told me at the
winery that recent vintages just haven't been favorable enough to make one—a
telling indicator of how tough things have been up here lately.
Happily, they did have plenty of the **-Hermann
Wiemer Cuvée Brut 2000, made from
juice crushed in the '97 vintage. With beautiful hints of raspberry and
pear, a fine-textured mousse and a long, toasty finish, this is the best
bubbly I found on my Finger Lakes sweep and maybe the best wine period. At
$25, it's more expensive than Glenora's excellent 1996 Brut but arguably
Wiemer also offers the only Finger Lakes
Chardonnay that I'd personally drink for pleasure -- the *+1995 Hermann
Wiemer Reserve Chardonnay. Here at last is ripe fruit, satisfying
complexity and balanced oak. With a perfumed nose and nutty flavors, it's
lean but finishes well.
The *-1999 Hermann Wiemer Pinot Noir is
a very nice job too. The body is light, but everything's in proportion.
Black cherry flavors are varietally true and here again, the oak is
And his *-1997 Hermann Wiemer Riesling
Reserve is an elegant achievement as well, if a little austere. With
0.7% RS, it offers lots of diesel aromas, grapefruit and apple on the
palate and a nice trail-off.
Dr. Konstantin Frank
Dr. Frank usually wows me with their bubblies,
but the tasting room staff threw me a loop this time—the only sparkler
they let me taste was out of stock! I would have bought a bottle of the *Chateau
Frank Brut 1997 if I could have. It's got a biting attack and a full
mid-palate, although the bubbles were a bit coarse.
*-Dr. Frank's 1999 Chardonnay had nice body
too, although the oak was a little splintery.
And *Dr. Frank's 2000 Johannisberg Riesling
"Dry" is a very fine achievement for the vintage. With
lovely floral and mineral aromas, a good amount of fruit and a convincing
finish, it's the best Riesling I tasted all weekend. Very similar, but
sweeter and not quite as well-stuffed is *-Dr. Frank's 2000
Johannisberg Riesling "Semi-Dry.
They had somewhat less success with Dr.
Frank's 2000 Gewürztraminer, but
it's still a worthy effort, especially on the nose. It offers nice rose
petal aromas and ample lychee flavors with hints of watercress. The
vintage shows on the finish, which thins out noticeably.
Located way up high above the east bank of
Lake Keuka, McGregor Vineyard requires a little extra driving to reach,
but the wines are always worth it—especially their Gewürztraminer,
which I've previously found to be the best in the Finger Lakes. Today they
delivered as expected.
*--2000 McGregor Gewürztraminer
is a dead ringer for Alsace, with plenty of rose petal, lychee and
grapefruit in evidence. Here as elsewhere, however, there's no ignoring
the somewhat dilute finish. Seemingly 2000 was tough all over the Finger
Their **-1999 McGregor Gewürztraminer
Reserve has no such problem, however. It's gorgeous. With 5.5%
residual sugar, it offers all the flavor complexity of the above plus a
big hit of apricot. Slippery texture with convincing length. And the
acidity cuts right through to the finish, so it never cloys. Bravo,
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