Top 12 Rose of 2017 at Capital Wine School

Want to get educated on wine? One of the best places in DC you can go is Capital Wine School.

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It’s located in Friendship Heights and run by Jay Youmans, MW. They have a wide variety of classes, which makes it tough to pick which one to take.

This summer I decided on the Top 12 Rose of 2017. It was originally only supposed to be 10, but darn, Jay added two more.

Over the course of the evening, we sipped, talked, and learned a lot. Some of the brief wine notes I scribbled:

  • Rose has had double digit growth over the past 14 years, with 8-9% in 2016 alone
  • Champagne is the best marketed ‘brand’ in the world
  • Champagne is the only places allowed to blend
  • ‘Most Rose is not for contemplation’ – just open them and enjoy
  • Half of Rose consumed in the US is French
  • Drink Rose young
  • Drink Rose at 55-60 degrees
  • New world wines will be screw tops, French will have corks

The Roses we tasted are below with my comments. And a link to Jay’s presentation is in the picture below.

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  • NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne – France – $75. 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier. This was a nice way to start class off. But, not worth $75/bottle.
  • 2016 Miraval Cotes de Proven Rose – Provence, France – $22. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle (White). This is Brad Pitt’s wine (if you’ve seen it before). It’s the #2 brand in the US. Lemon, melon, medium acid. It’s good, but I don’t like saying that since it’s a celeb’s wine.
  • 2016 Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel” – Cotes du Provence – France – $20. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah. #1 selling Rose in the US. Tiny bit of oak at finish.
  • 2016 Chateau de Bregancon Cru Classe – Cotes du Provence – France – $25. 50% Grenache, 50% Cinsault. Deeper body, peach, aged in oak casks. Can get it at MacArthur Beverages in DC.
  • Domaine Ott – Chateau de Selle – Cotes de Provence, France, $45. Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah. ‘Creamy nose’ – like an oaked chard. Not good! It’s ‘getting old’ – you need to drink Roses young. Why $45?
  • 2016 Famille Bougrier Rose D’Anjou – Loire Valley, France – $12. 70% Gamay, 40% Grolleau – 16g/l = 1.6% sugar. Very pink, very sweet. Tasted like cotton candy. Not one I’m headed to the store to buy.

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  • 2016 Jean Reverdy Sancerre Rose (Les Villots) – Loire Valley, France. $18. 100% Pinot Noir. Sancerre MUST use Pinot Noir. Crisp. One of my favorites of the night.
  • 2016 Domain de la Mordoree-Tavel-Rhone Valley  — France – $32. 60% Grenache, 15% Clairette, 10% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Bourboulenc (white). Raspberry color, fairly dark. Super fruity nose, oh wow, flavors jump in the mouth.
  • 2016 Stobi Rose — Tikves, Macedonia. $12. 80% Rkatsiteli, 20% Vraec. Floral and lychee nose. Subtle grapefruit taste. Just so unique. Another one of my favorites of the night.
  • 2016 Early Morning Rose – Virginia – Madison, VA, $24. 60% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec. A bit tasteless then a bit of bitterness.
  • 2016 Francis Ford Coppola “Sofia” – Monterey, CA, $22. Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir. Dark, nice nose – roses, strawberries. It’s the one that comes in a bowling pin bottle. This wine came about as a mistake from Sutter Homes. Was supposed to be a white wine, then this happened.
  • Mystery Wine – was a bit sweeter. Ended up being the Underwood Rose in a can.

Such a fun class and night. If you’ve never been to this school, add it to your list!

 

 

 

 

Lost Creek, Leesburg, VA

A friend and I explored some local wine country on a beautiful DC day in August. What is upper 70s in this month?

We went to The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek in Leesburg, VA.

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This winery has been in the works since 1998 and has 16 acres of land. My friend and I split a tasting which included the following, for $15.

2016 Vidal Blanc. 100% Estate Grown. Tropical Fruit. Stainless Steel Aged. $22. Unique, had a bit of oak on it.

2014 Chardonnay. 100% Estate Grown. Bright & Crisp. Stainless Steel Aged. $24. I tasted beef jerky and tire?! Then some lemon meringue. Ok, odd.

2015 Reserve Chardonnay. 100% Estate-Grown Whole Cluster Pressed. Ten months French Oak. Best of Class SF Chronicle Harvest Club Wine Only. $29. Not too yellow for an oaked Chard.

2016 Rose. 11% Zinfandel Dry Rose Blend. Barrel Aged 6 months. Food friendly. $24. Watermelon nose. Definitely dry. Very nice. Ended up getting a glass to enjoy later.

The following 3 are their Bordeaux Blends.

2015 Trinity. 43% Cabernet Sauvignon/36% Cabernet Franc/8% Merlot/13% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. $36. This is the 3rd blend they’ve made. Peppery.

2015 Genesis. 62% Merlot/16% Cabernet Sauvignon/16% Cabernet Franc/6% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. $40.  1st blend for them. They gave it that name because genesis means ‘new beginnings.’ Very smooth. My favorite.

2015 Provenance. 45% Cabernet Sauvignon/30% Merlot/20% Cabernet Franc/5% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. Premium Selection. $42. Heaviest of the three. Nice nose.

As mentioned, I decided to enjoy a glass of the Rose. My friend and I sat outside in their very nice garden/pavilion area. Tables, chairs, where you can sit back and relax. We didn’t need anything to eat, but they have quite the menu. This is a place where you cannot bring your own food.

The staff was quite knowledgeable about the wine and they were all quite good for VA wines. It’s so nice to see how VA wines are getting better and better each time a winery is visited, and the difference between various VA wine regions.

Pollak Vineyards, Greenwood, VA

Another winery visited in the Monticello Region was Pollak Vineyards.

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This one opened in 2008 and all grapes are estate grown. But a bit more history on them can be found here, about how they started growing their grapes in 2003. They had a beautiful tasting room and quite the staff to give us information on the wine.

2014 Chardonnay. Characteristically golden straw in color, with an assortment of aromatics ranging from ripe apricots to tropical fruit. Flavors include quince, pineapple and citrus fruit which are all interlaced with notes of fresh white flowers. The wine is crafted to be fruit-forward, medium weight, with a crisp clementine like finish. $24. 80% unoaked/20% oaked. Like the unoaked percentage!

 2016 Viognier. Gold, Finger Lakes International. Bright, tropical and intense apricot and peach aromas that mingle with a beautiful spiciness. Displaying youthful acidity and a clean crisp but creamy finish. $26. Tropical fruit nose. Crisp and clean. Very good wine.

2016 Pinot Gris. Nose of stone fruit, orange blossom and fresh tropical fruit flavors. Rough and creamy with bright minerality and a fruit forward finish. $25. No nose at first, eventually got one after a few swirls.

2016 Rose. The bouquet of aromas range from ripe red raspberry to strawberry and spice. On the palate flavor of fresh red fruit race alongside a great acidity leaving a desire for another taste. $24. All stainless. Sweet smell, ok, not my favorite rose.

2015 Cabernet Franc. Bright ruby in color, with fragrances of pomegranate, cherry jam and fresh cracked black pepper. On the palate: soft impressions of ripe blackberry, cassis, and dark cocoa mingle into a velvety finish. $28. Nice nose, pepper. Really like this one.

2014 Merlot. Gold, Finger Lakes International. Aromas of fresh, ripened cherries and blueberries burst from this perfectly balance Merlot. The wine retains freshness and vibrancy through to the finish, yet has soft, silky but firm tannins. $30. Thick and chocolatey. Very nice.

2013 Meritage. Best in Category Gold, Atlantic Seaboard Gold, Monticello Cup. Complex nose, smooth, rich and silky, this handcraft wine finds its center around a core of blackcurrant, black cherry and sweet raspberry fruit. Spice, cedar and earth notes add complexity, but the generous fruit and supple texture that anchor the mid-palate. $35. Smooth…

2015 Petit Verdot. A very deep and complex vintage of this robust varietal. Full-bodied and rich, this wine is drinking nicely now but also has great potential to improve in the cellar. $30. Nice nose, bad taste.

2012 Mille Fleurs. Port of Viognier. Voted Best Dessert Wine in Virginia, Virginia Wine Lover Magazine. $30. Too sweet.

During the whole time and discussion the folks at the winery also suggested watching Blood Into Wine. Have to check this out because most movies about wine can’t be bad, right?

Much enjoyed this winery and look forward to going again. Cheers!

Cardinal Point Vineyard, Afton, VA

Another winery visited in the Monticello region was Cardinal Point Vineyard. It’s family owned and operated and started ‘years ago, while stationed in the small city of Bad Kreuznach, Germany on the banks of the Nahe River, Paul and Ruth Gorman discovered a passion for the Riesling wines that were crafted with care in the little vineyards surrounding the town. It was then and there that they decided to add their own vineyard to their retirement plans.’

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The tasting at this winery was $10 for five wines. Between the two of us we covered the menu. That cost seems a bit high for a VA winery. And come the end of the tasting, far too high for the quality of the wine.

2015 Green. 50% Petit Manseng/50% Chardonnay. This is no blend; these grapes were co-fermented. Aromatic, approachable and addictive. $20. No bubbles, like vino verde.

2015 Hopped Chardonnay. Totally original. Totally unique. Totally familiar. Herbal/tropical nose, fresh fruit with citrus near the finish. $20. The hops added herbs to the nose but there was just some citrus to the taste.

2016 A6. 58% barrel fermented Viognier blended with 42% steel fermented and aged Chardonnay. Peach flavors and aroma, subtle oak, creamy mouth-feel lifting to light minerality on the finish. $25. This wine was named for a highway in France. The peach notes were present.

2016 Quattro. Riesling/Gewurztraminer/Viognier/Traminette. Latest version of a CPV favorite. Apple/pear aromas with sublime sweetness. Best yet? $18. 10.4%. Mildly sweet.

2015 Frai Rose. The fermentation on this Rosé was stopped just short of dry, and the results are stunning! Fruit forward and not too sweet. $20. Tastes like a slushy.

2015 Rose. Cabernet Franc rose featuring the potential for warm sunsets, fun with friends, and an ever-ready companion to grilled chicken and veggies. $18. Nice nose. Taste of strawberries.

2015 Rockfish Red. Short-vat C. Franc and P. Verdot. Youthful and round easy drinker with pedigree. It pairs well with many foods. Great utility player for your summer. $20. Fruit forward. Way too light.

2014 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc. This fruit comes from our friends, the Peltons, at nearby Clay Hill Vineyard. Boasting flavors of cherry and black pepper, this is a great wine from a great place. 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold and Governor’s Case Selection. $35. Peppery.

2014 Union. 63% Petit Verdot/19% Cabernet Franc/18% Tannat. Concentrated flavors of wild cherry syrup and pomegranates, dense mouthfeel, and spicy vanilla tannin. Winner of 2017 Monticello Cup and 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold. $35. Syrupy nose, not a great taste.

Definitely not my favorite winery, but fun to check out the local ones.

Flying Fox Vineyard, Afton, VA

Visited the Monticello wine region in Virginia and got to find some new adult grape juice. Started with Flying Fox Vineyard.

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They started growing their grapes in 1999. Lynn & Rich, who opened the vineyard, bought the grapes with Veritas, which are located in the Shenandoahs.

2015 Pinot Gris. Dry and crisp with key lime and citrus notes.  A perfect summer wine.  Produced from Ridge Run Vineyard grapes planted just for us in the Shenandoah Valley. $18. Was a bit sour for a Pinot Gris.

2015 Viognier. Our Viognieris produced from Ridge Run Vineyard grapes. With aromas of honeysuckle, apricot and pear this wine is a lovely Virginia classic. $19. Tasted sweet/sour.

White Table Wine. A lightly sweet blend of Pinot Gris, Traminette, and Viognier  – great with spicy food, an after dinner cheese platter or just sitting on the front porch. 6% Traminette, 64% Pinot Gris, 30% Viognier. $17. Blend of the first two wines and sweeter than the first two wines. Not my favorite.

2015 Rose. Dry, crisp and refreshing- an elegant Rosé. This lovely wine smells and tastes of fresh strawberries, nutmeg, and marzipan. And will be a perfect complement to all of your summer picnics! Cabernet Franc 50% – Merlot 50%. $17. Ok.

2014 Cabernet Franc. A classic Virginia Cabernet Franc: Light oak flavors compliment but not overwhelm the taste of red fruit and cherries along with a bit of black pepper spice. Aromas of baking spices, cardamom and cherry pie make this our favorite summer red.  80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot. $24. Pepper notes, nice wine.

2014 Merlot. An elegant Bordeaux-style Merlot.  Plum, cherries and a hint of mocha on the palate.  Enjoy now or cellar to drink later. $22. Not good.

2014 Trio. Trio – our harmonious blend of three wines, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is our vineyard in a bottle.  An elegant wine with lovely color and balance.  50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot. $27. Nothing stands out.

2014 Petit Verdot. Dark and intense, this wine shows flavors of black cherry and blackberry fruit.  Our favorite with game. This wine shows firm tannins and good acidity.  It will age nicely. 80% Petit Verdot, 20% Merlot. $28. Heavy but not weight bearing. Definitely had the cherry and blackberry.

Red Table Wine. This wine is an off-dry blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  Soft and smooth, this wine appeals to both red and white wine drinkers.  Chilled in the summer, warm and spiced in the winter, always appropriate. $17. Sweet for a red.

Nice range of wine to sample in a different region than the (relative) northern Virginia ones I normally locally get closer to home.

Red Tail Ridge Winery, Finger Lakes, NY

While in the Finger Lakes, another winery visited was Red Tail Ridge.

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This one is a decade old and they have about 50 acres of land on which they grow their grapes. They produce smaller amounts of wines so they can focus on quality vs. quantity. Their tasting is $5 for 6 wines (then you tend to get a bit more).

I checked out these guys:

2016 Dry Rose. Tart cherries, cranberries and fresh mint with the minerality of seashells on the nose. Softer notes of apricot and fresh strawberries follow. The palate brings out red raspberries, fennel and mandarin oranges. e heavy mid-palate is cut with a phenolic bitter note and a slightly tacky sensation to finish, $20.95 – I got a sweet chalk on the nose and strawberries when I sipped it.

2016 Sans (without) Oak Chardonnay. The wine opens up with Bosc pears, tart apples, undertones of stoniness and hints of citrus. The palate begins with white cherry, golden delicious apples, and bouncy citrus notes all highlighted with a slight spritz mouthfeel to keep the wine lively. Minerality and lemon oil notes linger, $13.95 – No nose, though after awhile it finally opened up bit. Tasted oaky to me, but maybe it was the Finger Lake grapes?

2015 Dry Riesling. Crisp pears, starfruit and limestone on the nose, followed by lemongrass and soft floral accents. The palate adds peaches, creamy lemon curd, and bright yellow apples. Minerality comes mid-palate with a puckering acidity to cut the fattier mouthfeel and leave fresh notes of lemon and lime zest, $18.95 – Genuinely dry.

2016 Good Karma. Light notes of candied ginger, white peaches and lemon oil on the nose. Stoniness and orange blossom add to the aroma with honeysuckle. On the palate, more peaches with slight spice and pears along with sweet lime. Nice acidity rounding out the mouth to finish with lingering notes of citrus oil. (2.3% rs) *Good Karma is Riesling sourced from Seneca Lake, $13.95 – Sweet and thick on the nose, syrupy. Almost like drinking peach schnapps. The person pouring it was not happy with the comment at all.

2015 Pinot Noir. On the nose: coco dusted cherries, sweet tobacco, forest moss, and chocolate mint leaves. The palate begins bright with rhubarb notes that lead into deeper earthy mushrooms, black cherries and savory fennel. Mid-palate the deeper notes give way to the tingly acidity with fresh raspberries and wild strawberries. The acidity elongates this wine leaving your palate watering for more, $24.95 – Light body, got some chocolate and earth notes.

2015 Dornfelder. Earthy mushrooms fill the glass with a slight meatiness followed by dark fruit: currants and plums. On the palate, more dark earth notes emerge but give way to juicy fruit as the wine opens up in the glass. Boysenberries burst with dried stems of blackberries and soft vanilla. The wine has an umami note mid-palate with brininess and tart cherries to finish, $24.95 – Dark, NICE nose and taste. Definitely got the mushrooms. Had a good body, too.

2014 Blaufränkisch. Piercing blackberry, and black cherry fill the nose, followed by oregano, white pepper, allspice and worn leather. On the palate: ripe wild blackberries, warming vanilla and boysenberry. Rounded mid-palate but chalky, grippy sensations on the edges of the tongue. Darker earth notes with solid acidity and youthful tannins linger in the finish, $22.95 – Very light nose and body. Didn’t get anything from it. Wouldn’t buy it, especially for the price.

Serenity Vineyards, Finger Lakes, NY

Another stop on the Finger Lakes wine tour (Day 2) was Serenity Vineyards.

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The grapes were planted in 1977 and the tasting room opened in 2011. This is another vineyard where we split a couple tastings, one white, one red. The tastings here were $3 for 5 wines and you received $1 off if you made a purchase.

The winemaker, Bernard Cannac, provided an amazing amount of information. He’s originally from France and brought his knowledge to the Finger Lakes to make wine. One of the things he mentioned was that the betterness/growth of Finger Lakes wine truly depends on information and weather.

The wines we enjoyed included:

2013 Chardonnay. Toasted walnuts, pear, butter and lemon zest with a long finish, $14.99 – Just couldn’t place the taste.

2016 Seyval Blanc. Ripe white and green apple on the nose. Refreshing acidity in the palate. Common on East coast of South England, $13.99 – Totally got the peach.

2014 Dry Riesling. Gooseberry, flint stone honeydew melon and lime with a lively acidity, $14.99 – VERY dry, not bad at all.

2015 Dry Riesling. Caramel and apricot followed by white flower notes. Soft and complex mouthfeel, $16.99 – These grapes were on the vine for 2 weeks longer. Noble Rot, nose is sweeter than the prior Riesling.

2011 Pinot Noir. A light Pinot, highlighted red cherry, clove, caramel, smoke and oak, $21.99 – Made with French oak. Cool vintage, ages faster. Made with French oak. Like port on nose, overall it’s like a ‘light’ port.

2012 Pinot Noir. Ripe red cherry and cedar aromas with flavors of oak and red currant, $26.99 – Made with French oak. Hot and dry year. Darker color, earthier on nose. NICE. I preferred this one to the prior Pinot.

Note from Bernard – Hot & dry temps are best for Pinot Noir.

2013 Cabernet Franc. Eucalyptus and red berries aromas. Peppercorn leading to plum, leather and tobacco with smooth tannins, $19.99 – Port nose. Unique spices in it, definitely got the peppercorn. good body and nice nose.

2013 Mirth. Blend of Cabernet Franc (50%) and Merlot (50%). Blueberry, coffee beans and earthy notes with young tannins, $23.99 – The earthiness was very subtle. Good body and nice nose. Ended up leaving with a bottle of this.

2012 Merlot. Rich, earthy aromas with dark fruit flavors and vanilla. Soft tannins, $29.99 – WOW! Very unusual for the Finger Lakes.

This was definitely my favorite winery, and we randomly chose it. Thanks for the vino, Serenity Vineyards.

 

 

 

 

 

Fox Run Vineyards, Finger Lakes, NY

Fox Run Vineyards was the place I started my winery adventure on Day 1 of checking out these fun establishments in the Finger Lakes.

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It was raining so a good distractions on a day to be inside. I had just googled places to visit and this one stood out. It was an eye-catching building and because when I went it was before the true start of a holiday weekend, it was pretty quiet.

Their grapes were planted in 1984, but it wasn’t until the ‘90s that they made their wines and opened the tasting room. This year they turned 26. When visiting you could select one of their flights for $5 (I opted for Flight A), with thee wines. You also received a Welcome Wine and then a wine of choice from their menu.

The Welcome Wine was the 2014 Reserve Chardonnay. Cool-climate with subtle oak img_9698influence and medium body. RS 0.2% $15 — subtle nose, not too oaky, which is nice.

The components of Flight A included:

2016 Chardonnay. Crisp and vibrant, fermented in stainless steel. RS 0.4% $18 — nice and crisp for a chard. Not a hint of oak on it. Love finding these type of chards.

2014 Dry Riesling. Riesling is king in the Finger Lakes, earning international recognition and consumer demand around the world. RS 0.7% $18 — nice and dry, metallic nose.

2015 Lemberger. A grape variety that truly thrives in the climate of the Finger Lakes. RS 0% $21 — pepper, blackberry, raspberry all around, very nice.

For my extra tasting I opted for the 2016 Dry Rose. A fruit-forward wine that is crisp and refreshing; there is no match to its food-pairing versatility. RS 0% $18 – dry is the word; awesome.

Since it was pretty quiet they were very kind and offered me some extra pours. I opted for the:

2015 Cabernet Franc. A classic, cool-climate red wine that is giving the Finger Lakes international renown. RS 0% $25 — nothing exciting.

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. A medium-bodied, cool-climate version of this world-renowned grape variety. RS 0% $25 — fruit and jam in the taste.

This was a great way to start off the adventure. Very much enjoyed this place. I ended up purchasing a bottle of the Reserve Chardonnay. And by doing this, you end up getting $2 off your tasting. Cheers!

Billsboro Winery, Finger Lakes, NY

As I was checking out some wineries in the Finger Lakes, another one visited was Billsboro Winery.

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They are “committed to crafting dry classic European varietal wines grown by Seneca Lake’s best vineyards.  We are dedicated to focusing on small scale production, allowing us to devote more attention to providing a high quality product for our customers.  Our commitment to quality is evident both in the glass and the experience we provide in our tasting room.”

It was quite busy when we were there and we had to wait in line for a bit to get up to the tasting station. We were close to leaving, then finally got a spot.

They charge $5 for a tasting and we also chose to each taste different wines so we could cover the menu together.


A Billsboro first! This sparkling dry Riesling pops with aromas of lime and bright citrus, followed by a surprising burst of black cherry and nectarine across the palate. Brilliant acidity and intense fruit flavors follow right through to the finish. This bubbly, dry Riesling is our recommendation for your next celebration!  $18  – This wine uses 2 Riesling (grapes). Doesn’t taste like Rieslings, fun with the bubbles.

2016 Pinot Gris

This 100% Pinot Gris has aromas of orange blossom and honeysuckle, giving way to crisp Golden Delicious apple and mouthwatering honeydew melon that lasts right through the finish. With its zesty and refreshing acidity, this Billsboro favorite pairs well with fish tacos, lobster rolls, or roasted chicken.  $17 – Very good fruit, smooth and dry.

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Crisp and fruit forward this Sauvignon Blanc bursts with ruby red grapefruit. Notes of lemon zest and peach dance across the palate in this cool climate wine. Enjoy this wine with fresh oysters or local goat cheese.  $18 – Not much nose and not overly citrusy. Just very crisp.

2015 Chardonnay

Back by popular demand, this bone dry Chardonnay is fruit forward at the start followed by undertones of oak balancing out the finish.  A highly constructed wine, 30% of the grapes were fermented on their skins in an Orange Wine style.  The remaining fruit was pressed with 56% of the juice sent directly to the tank to ferment, and the remaining 14% spending the next 9 months fermenting and aging in neutral French oak barrels. Pairs well with pan seared salmon or Moroccan spiced chicken.  $18. – No nose, was nice that it was more of a non-oaked Chard.

2015 Barrel Fermented Dry Riesling

This special release Riesling is 100% barrel fermented and aged for 8 months in neutral French oak barrels, giving this wine a weighty mouthfeel and roundness on the palate.  Subtle citrus and slate flavors abound. $20 – No thanks, that’s all I can say.

2016 Kashong White

This perfect lakeside sipping wine is 100% Vidal Blanc. A crisp and fruity wine with notes of grapefruit and lime zest. Enjoy this wine with Asian stir fry or Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Salad with Raspberry Dressing. $12 – Subtle notes of citrus. Nice crisp bite.

2014 Riesling

This medium-sweet Riesling, offers a whisper of sweetness amid vibrant tropical fruit. A versatile food partner, this wine is a natural for taming the heat of spicier foods while leaving a touch of sweet on the palate. Try pairing this wine with pulled pork or spicy Thai coconut soup.  $17 – Super sweet.

 

2016 Dry Rose

This classic representation of Finger Lakes rosé opens with crisp acidity balanced intense fruit for a refreshing finish that is sure to invigorate the taste buds. These grapes were destemmed and soaked for just 6 hours on the skins. Pair this versatile wine with a sharp Italian cheese or asparagus and prosciutto.  $17 – Had a subtle smoke note to it. Very nice.

2015 Pinot Noir – Sawmill Creek Vineyards

Warm cedar delicately frames notes of smoke and clove, followed by a burst of cranberry across the palate. A hint of truffle lingers as it finishes. Pair with Wild Mushroom and Burrata Bruschetta or Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin.   $25 – Very light, was almost ‘cheesy’.

 

2015 Cabernet Franc

A toasty bouquet precedes complex notes of ripe raspberry, orange zest and clove, followed by a savory and peppery finish.  Pair this Bordeaux varietal with   Wood-fired pizza or duck breast with a cherry reduction.  $25 – Light, not much to it.

*90 points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine 

2014 Cabernet-Syrah

This unique blend (66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34% Syrah) projects a fragrant nose of dark fruit and vanilla bean.  The palate is a generous mix of lush plum with an underlying hint of Applewood smoked bacon and spice.   $30 – Heavier, not bad.

*90 points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Not bad but not great. Regardless, very fun to check out.

Ravines Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes, NY

While in the Finger Lakes awhile back, I decided to visit some wineries. It had been awhile since I’d checked out said establishments in that area and I was impressed with what has come about in the past decade. It’s still not the same as what the west coast provides, and definitely not the price, but it’s sure fun to visit!

One of wineries visited was Ravines Wine Cellars, which opened in 2003.

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It is a nice barn-like building with an open area that has large tables and then a more closed area for tastings. A tasting comes with 5 wines for $10, of which you pick whatever you’d like from their ‘menu’. So my friend and I decided to each pick 5 different wines and sample each other’s so we could taste the entire menu.

Dry Riesling 2015
Ravines Dry Riesling is a unique and elegant expression of the Finger Lakes terroir. The bouquet of the wine is delicate with intricate aromas of white flowers mingled with pear, apple and citrus notes followed by a lingering mineral finish and a vibrant acidity. Not much nose, very dry.

Dry Riesling 2015, White Springs Vineyard
The White Springs Vineyard is a unique site with protected slopes of limestone soil. This Riesling is an elegant, dry style with delicate aromatics, distinct minerality and vibrant acidity.  Better than the first one!

Beautiful aromas of rose petal, citrus, and lychee fruit with a bright acidity and spicy finish. Super sweet and heavy.

Keuka Village White 2016
A refreshing blend of Cayuga and Vignoles with delightful tree fruit flavors of bosc pear, green apple, and honeydew melon. Very light green apple taste, nothing overly exciting about the wine.

Chardonnay 2013
Refined and elegant, this wine has great balance between fresh fruit, minerality, crisp acidity, and lightly toasted French oak. Nice minerality to it, not too oaky, which is what I prefer.

A classic Provençal Style Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir. Fruit on the nose. Perfect picnic wine.

 

Pinot Noir 2013

A winemaker’s passion for perfections produced this complex, French-style Pinot Noir. This true representation of Ravines is engaging with ripe cherry, plum and sultry spices, and earthy aromas. Super light — see through. Berry on the nose. Cherry notes.

A fruity blend of Noiret (hybrid) and Cabernet Franc. Ripe red fruit and a distinct peppery finish create a fresh, un-oaked and casual wine. White pepper nose, peppery and smooth on palate.

Ravines Cabernet Franc is deliciously fruit-forward and spicy with perfect balance, soft tannins and a round mouthfeel. Medium body, definitely my favorite.

Maximilien 2013
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Cabernet Franc (18%), and Merlot (17%) boasts a beautiful deep ruby color with aromas of plum, cherry, cedar, and cloves. Soft tannins are created by extended barrel and cellar aging, while also increasing complexity. ‘Dirty’ but enjoyable.

Ayre 2016
A Prosecco style semi sparkling wine made from Valvin Muscat. They were very nice and gave us this extra sample. Forced carbonation in tank, not in bottle. Not as sweet as expected. Had fruit notes.

Nice start to visiting Finger Lake wineries.