Archive for the ‘Wine Ratings’ Category

Wine Bloggers Conference 2009-Live Wine Blogging Impresssions

Okay, a couple of quick impressions for you from the Live Blogging segment.

2008 Fish Eye Pinot Grigio NV:  a bit astringent on the nose, described as “light, fruity wine”, Central Valley. $6.99 for 750 ml, also comes in a 3 L box.  This is recommended by the winery representative for newer wine drinkers, for fun, mass appeal.  RS .70%

Pinot Evil Pinot Noir (France):  promoted as quality, value and eco-friendly.  Decanted but still tannic, light in style IMO.  Premium wine cask category grew by 30% in 2008.  Good for entertaining, put in carafes for guests.

2007 Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: 100% malolactic fermentation, aged in American Oak for 12 mos. This is marketed as an adult treat (cupcake).  Dark cherry in color, toasty on the nose, smooth rounded flavors.  $13.99 or on special for $9.99.  This is a good value wine to seek out.

Snows Lake Two Blend:  250 cases each of 2 varietals.  72% Cabernet Sauvignon 28% Cab Franc.  French Oak and New French Oak. Dark, dark in color smooth and supple for young fruit.  Retail $45. Available in NY/NJ as well as many other states.

2007 Line County Petite Sirah Lake County: Oak on the nose, described as afull-bodied Petit Sirah, but I found it to be more medium-bodied. Would pair well with many dishes similar to pairing ability of Pinot Noir.  Nice value at $10.

2007  Cline Ancient Vines Mouvedre: little oak (25% new French Oak) so as not to mute the fruit.  Mostly Mouvedre. Mouvedre was very popular in the ’30s but has almost disappeared. $16.00.  Peel back label.  This is my first Mouvedre and I will explore more of them.

2007 Tandem Manchester Ridge Chardonnay: family operation, Manchester Ridge.  Paired with Old Wente.  Skin contacting for 32 hours.  I got lemon on the palate.

2007 Foggy Bridge Chardonnay:  Australian winemaker formerly with Penfolds.  Very light straw in color.  190 cases.  Single label.

2006 Clif Gary’s Improv Syrah: dark cherry color, toasted oak nose.  Tasting a bit young though should round out with age or decanting.

2007 Benovia Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir focus, Russian River AVA, 370 cases, $55.  Minimal intervention, cold soaked.  Unfined, unfiltered.

2007 Lion’s Pride El Molino High School Russian River valley Pinot Noir: high school students have a winery permit .  100% of proceeds go back to the high school Ag program.  A labor of love. Celebrity winemakers donate time and materials to make the wine.

2005 Rockaway Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: Rodney Strong.  Sugary cherry on the nose like a cherry tart, hillside fruit.

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Finger Lakes Wineries Earn 90’s in Wine Spectator…and not for Riesling!

winespectatorLast week, three wineries in the Finger Lakes received the much-coveted rating of 90 in James Molesworth’s latest Tasting Highlights of Wine Spectator. Congratulations to our entire family of wineries on this distinction. More specifically, the wines that were featured and garnered 90’s are:

DR. KONSTANTIN FRANK Gewürztraminer Finger Lakes Reserve 2007 Score: 90 | $25

Very juicy and forward, with enticing apple, anise, fennel seed, fig and spice notes that stay fresh and lovely through the finish. Mouthwatering acidity brings you back for more. Delicious. Drink now through 2010. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 387 cases made. —J.M.

RED NEWT CELLARS Gewürztraminer Finger Lakes Sawmill Creek Vineyards 2007 Score: 90 | $36

Very tight still, this mouthwatering version offers racy acidity that keeps the watermelon, kiwi, green apple and fig notes rippling through the long, bright finish. Textbook bitter almond and bitter orange notes frame it all nicely. Drink now through 2010. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. A new bottling sourced from longtime grower Jim Hazlitt’s vineyard. 250 cases made. —J.M.

STANDING STONE Vidal Finger Lakes Ice 2007 Score: 90 | $25 / 375ml

Ripe and sweet, with lots of maple, honey, ginger, persimmon and spice notes that are nicely rounded. Shows length on the finish, with hints of golden raisin and white chocolate. Delicious. This wine has a terrific track record. Drink now through 2012. 832 cases made. —J.M.

I was lucky enough to attend Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s Pasta and Wine event this past weekend and took the opportunity to grab up an ’06 Red Newt Gewurztraminer, so now have an excuse to go back for the ’07. I think that it says alot that these high ratings came to Gewurztraminer and Vidal Ice varietals and not Riesling. Although I love Riesling and the acclaim that it has brought to the Finger Lakes, 90’s for other varietals speak to the diversity of quality, consistent wines that are now being produced here by some of the top winemakers. Whether you agree with the 100-point rating system or not, these ratings are extremely important for a wine’s sales and attractiveness to distributors and many consumers.

Okay, I’ll put my pom-poms down now. Just couldn’t help myself!

january-09-winery-visits_lisarednewt1

Video: Wine Spectator’s Tasting Department

Have you seen this video from WineSpectator.com?  It shows the behind-the-scenes tasting process of the Wine Spectator’s tasting department.  I thought you would like to see the process and meet the reviewers.  What are your thoughts on the process?

Cheers! From Melissa’s Desk

Week of 9/22/08

  • Solid scores for the 2007 vintage of Finger Lakes wines continue with The Wine Advocate’s David Schildknecht rating four of the region’s wines from 86 to 88 on the 100 point scale.

Herman J Wiemer
Riesling 2007 Finger Lakes Late Harvest
score: 88 / $25

Lamoreaux
Landing 2007 Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc T 23
score: 88 / $18

Herman J
Wiemer Johannisberg 2007 Finger Lakes Riesling Dry
score: 87 / $19

Anthony Road
Riesling 2007 Finger Lakes Semi Dry
score: 86 / $15

I agree with Lenn Thompson at LENNDEVOURS blog on his view that NY wines certainly have the potential to break through and more consistently receive 90+ ratings. For the Finger Lakes region, I like the strategies that favor the wineries continuing to submit their best, most elegant wines for review to key wine publications. I feel that winemakers and winery owners should continue to collaborate and work toward elevating the image and reputation of the region by being extra attentive to how it is represented to consumers, trade and the media. In other words, continue to look beyond their own front doors and toward the big picture. Wouldn’t it be amazing to create an intimate, elegant consumer and trade/media wine and food showcase in a setting that truly “showcases” the beauty of the Finger Lakes? Perhaps it makes sense to appoint a winemaker or winery owner as the go-to spokesperson, someone who will be media trained so that she or he is comfortable and engaging on camera. (Our very own Robert Mondavi) This spokesperson could be called upon to proactively continue to educate consumers/trade/media on the region and its wines beyond what associations including Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing, Inc., Finger Lakes Wine Alliance, New York Wine & Grape Foundation, the Wine Trails, and other agencies are already knocking themselves out to do. I see this person as a thought leader in the industry who is not afraid to continue to push the envelope, embrace technology and look toward the strategies that elevated the reputation of the West Coast wine industry in order to create our own plan to change any misconceptions that our wine region is second-rate.
  • In these uncertain and scary economic times, is there a market for “cheap chic” wines? This article on the popularity of value store brands such as those carried by Target, who is now finding success in repositioning itself as the merchandiser of affordable chic goods, brought to mind a possible marketing strategy for wineries: producing a line of wallet-friendly but still elegant, quality wines. It may be as simple as taking your table blends or meritage and recreating and redesigning their labels and names while keeping bottle prices affordable. Some beautiful examples of label designs can be found here. Click through and get the creative juices flowing!
Thank you for continuing to check out this column and cheers until next week!


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Finger Lakes Reds Rated Good to Very Good in October Wine Enthusiast

So when you think about the wines of the Finger Lakes, do you automatically think of Riesling? Of course, the region is most famous for its white wines, and now the producers here are receiving increasing acclaim for their red varietals as well.

The October issue of Wine Enthusiast includes reviews of fifteen wines of the Finger Lakes, thirteen of which are Finger Lakes reds, in the monthly section “The Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide” . The wines that were reviewed include:

87 Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2005 Owner’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

87 Dr. Konstantin Frank 2006 Dry Rose

87 Red Newt Cellars 2005 Cabernet Franc

86 Damiani 2006 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon

86 Sheldrake Point 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

86 Swedish Hill 2005 Optimus

85 Goose Watch 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

85 Keuka Springs 2005 Epic Reserve

85 Treleaven 2006 EIS Lake Harvest Riesling

84 Anthony Road 2006 Cabernet Franc / Lemberger

84 Atwater 2005 Red Table Wine

84 Bellangelo 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

84 Billsboro 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

84 McGregor 2005 Black Russian Red

84 Shaw NV Keuka Hill Reserve Red Table Wine

The review of Chateau Lafayette Reneau stands out for the winery’s distinction as having a reputation for elegant wine and could be one to look to for more quality reds in the future. Overall, this is real progress for the region, on its way to establishing a solid presence within the top consumer wine publications that are so often looked to for a stamp of approval, both by wine consumers, distributors and those in the direct-to-trade circuit.

Several wines from Long Island were also included and rated at 86. Bully Hill NV Ravat 51 received a rating of 84 and designation as a Wine Enthusiast Best Buy.