Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wrapping Up Finger Lakes Wine Month

The month of May is just about over and I still have a few Finger Lakes wines to start out the summer with.  Maybe not enough, but it's a start.  You see, I emptied out my rack celebrating Finger Lakes Wine Month in May.  Luckily, the month started out with a trip to Keuka Lake for the annual Keuka in Bloom event.  I don't believe, or at least, I am totally surprised by the fact that I was impressed so much by the Chardonnays that I tasted and brought home.  Two of these were reviewed in my last post, Discovering Finger Lakes Chardonnay.   I was also impressed by two Rosé wines.  One, a blend of several grapes, from Keuka Spring Vineyards and an outstanding Pinot Noir Rosé from Ravines Wine Cellars.  Turned out to be a very nice three weeks with a fantastic wrap up over the Memorial Day weekend.
The holiday weekend began with a virtual tasting of Finger Lakes wines, with comments from many bloggers and wine lovers across the US and Canada.  My first of two wines for the four hour tasting was a Keuka Spring Vineyards Seyval Chardonnay 2011($13), a blend of 40% Seyval Blanc, 36% Chardonnay and 24% Vidal Blanc.  First sniff was all apple aromas which were soon followed by some tropical fruits and some citrus. Real smooth mouthfeel with apple, mango and some grape with very light hints of vanilla and oak.  OK, the grape thing.  I got some taste like that of a sweet Niagara grape and describing it as grape is the best I could come up with.  Finish was medium with crisp citrus and apple.  Could have spent the rest of the evening just sipping on this wine, but had to move on to my second wine of the night.
Picking which of my wines I would open next was a choice between two or three white wines, but Shirley's dinner of Southern style sweet BBQ ribs was ready and I quickly checked out a few of my Finger Lakes red wines. I was still undecided about pairing a medium body Pinot Noir or one with a little heftier body, a Saperavi with the ribs.  Finally decided on keeping my Pinot to have with grilled salmon on Monday.
Second wine was a McGregor Vineyard Black Russian Red 2008 ($54).  I picked this one up on our last tour, to replace the 2006 I recently finished. Each time we do a wine tour, I get to splurge on one or two wines and earlier this month, I chose this one because the recently finished 2006 was by far the best Finger Lakes red wine I have ever tasted.  The Black Russian Red is made from the Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni grapes.  Saperavi is native to the Republic of Georgia and the Sereksiya Charni is an indigenous Moldovan dark-skinned variety of grape.  Color is a very dark purple with tons of dark fruit aromas of blackberry, black plums some currant, smoke and oak with a touch of damp earth, black olive and spice. In the mouth I got all this fruit with some tart cranberry, spice and oak.  Finish was extra long with smoke, spice and again the oak or burnt wood like taste. Although ready to drink now, the 2008 will age nicely. Would have liked to keep this one for another year or two.  Guess I'll just have to splurge on another bottle.
Finally, I finished up May, grilling up some chicken, turkey burgers and a thick Salmon steak for Memorial Day.  And, I finally got to open my Heron Hill Ingle Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009 ($20).  This is one I tasted at the tasting room and immediately placed a few in my take home cart. I only just recently started pairing Pinot Noir with salmon. It was always a white wine like dry Riesling or Pinot Grigio before moving on to a light red wine with fish, at least with salmon or trout.  So, the only choice I had to make on Memorial Day was between two Keuka Wine Trail Pinot Noirs.  Either way I couldn't lose.
I opened the wine about an hour before throwing the salmon on the grill and stole my first glass once the fish was on the grill.  Color was very bright garnet red.  On the nose, as they say, were aromas of red cherries, some earth, nice rosewood aroma and a little tart berry like elderberry and a hint of clove.  In the mouth I got cherries, elderberry, a spicy floral and some earth. The long finish was a little spicy with some clove and herbs like sage and some slate or stone. This Pinot was easy drinking before, with the meal and afterwards with a few nibs of cheddar cheese.   All three of my holiday weekend wines were great.  Now I must catch up on a month's worth of submitted wines, but I am sure there will be plenty of room for another month of Finger Lakes wines in between.  

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