Thursday, May 23, 2013

Discovering Finger Lakes Chardonnay

Another wine day has come and gone and I did my bit part by celebrating #ChardonnayDay with two of the Finger Lakes finest.  Also cemented my feelings about what is considered the world's most popular white grape varietal. Of course, those that know me, know that it means forget the oak with it's buttery, toasty, vanilla, butterscotch and creamy profile and give me Chardonnay aged in stainless steel or just a touch of acorns.  I've now come to realize why Chardonnay was not near the top of my favorite white wines.  It actually sat well situated on the very bottom of my list.  It's also a bit surprising that I would not favor well oaked Chards when I do have a liking for oaky red wines.  Someday, I may write a post about what I think the reason is, but it may be a two or three part series and I'm just not ready for that, yet and I'm no Evan Dawson.  Oh, by the way, let me plug his book here.  Title is "Summer In A Glass" - The Coming of Age of Wine in the Finger Lakes.  This past September the book was named International Wine Book of the Year. Contains great stories about wineries and the winemakers that have made the Finger Lakes a producer of world class wines. Now a little bit about the two Chardonnays I opened for today's celebration.
Early afternoon, after finishing my duties in lawn care, I opened a Ravines Wine Cellars Chardonnay 2011 ($18). I recently tasted this wine at our Keuka in Bloom wine tour.  As I very often do, anything I like in the tasting room, comes home.  Sometimes, especially with Chardonnay, that does not always come out the way I thought it will, but this time I think it was better.
Ravines has won recognition as a quality-driven winery dedicated to producing crafted and elegant food-friendly wines. The winery has won numerous medals in international wine competitions, received great reviews in major wine publications and can be found in many wine shops and fine restaurants throughout New York state.
This Chardonnay was aged for a short time in oak, but as I stated above, lightly oaked is passing the grade.  Aromas were full of apple, citrus, some peach and melon with very small hints of toast. More peach in mouth, a little citrus and some slate like taste led to a smooth finish, leaving long taste of citrus and slate.  Aromas and taste did not suggest any real oak influence and that is OK by me.  I was forced to pair this with left over mild BBQ chicken, but found the match was excellent.
For a second choice, I had to pair a Heron Hill Ingle Vineyards Chardonnay Unoaked 2011 ($16) with Shirley's 20 minute turkey meatloaf.  This wine, I did not taste, on our last tour.  I had made up my mind weeks in advance that I would bring this Chardonnay home.  Don't ask why, the wine just intrigued me.  After all,  it does say UNOAKED and I have never been disappointed by wines from Heron Hill.
Heron Hill gets most of its grapes from 12 acres of grapevines onsite and from the owner’s Ingle Vineyard, where there are nearly 20 acres of vinifera grapevines. Located on Seneca Point, on the west side of Canandaigua Lake, Ingle Vineyard is the only vinifera vineyard on that lake. Varieties grown include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. The vineyard is located on the home property of the Ingles, who maintain the vines themselves and with their staff. Sustainable methods are utilized and have been for nearly 40 years.
Color was more like a Sauvignon Blanc or Vinho Verde, very light with just a greenish like tint, but the aromas were very powerful.  Lots of pineapple with some grapefruit and a little melon and floral aromas on the nose.  In the mouth was more of the same with some added peach and clementine.  A hint of honey like sweetness and a silky mouthfeel leads to a medium to long crisp finish with a little added lemon and mineral.
Today was an excellent day to discover Finger Lakes Chardonnay.  Both wines excelled and are Very Highly Recommended.


Cynthia Cosco said...

Nice write up - cheers! I hope your Chardonnay Day was as fun as mine...

joeshico said...

Thank you Cynthia. Day was fun and enlightening.