Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aromatic White Wines Of The Finger Lakes: Part Two

We covered three Gew├╝rztraminers from New York's Finger Lakes region earlier.  This time around, three other aromatic whites are the topic.

Lakewood Vineyards Giglotti Vineyard Pinot Gris 2012

Located in Watkins Glen, NY, Lakewood Vineyards' winemaker Chris Stamp has been making the wine for 25 vintages.  He is the grandson of the founder.  David Stamp, another grandson, tends the vineyards.

Lakewood's Gigliotti Vineyard Pinot Gris is the first Lakewood wine with a vineyard designation, a tribute to grower Frank Gigliotti.  As we might expect, Stamp was very complimentary of Gigliotti.  He says the grower calls Pinot Gris "Pinot grief,"  and adds that, "Growers are pivotal in winemaking."  Once Stamp put the vineyard designation on the label, Gigliotti felt he should not tear the vines out, as he had been contemplating.  Crediting the grower is not a prevalent practice in the Finger Lakes region, possibly owing to the fact that there are so many estate wines made there.

The grapes are destemmed and allowed 24 hours of skin contact.  Lakewood produces 14 different varieties, mostly vinifera, but they still grow Concord and Niagara for Welches juice.

Just off dry on the sweetness scale, this Pinot Gris has an alcohol number of 13.2% abv and retails for $14.  it is made from 100% Pinot Gris grapes, the ones grown in the Gigliotti Vineyard, on Seneca Lake's west side.

The Lakewood Pinot Gris has a light golden tint with a slight frizzante in the glass.  the nose is dominated by fragrances of Meyer lemon, key lime and minerals.  On the palate, tropical flavors abound, highlighted by lemon-lime.  the wine shows good acidity and has a nice finish, where the key lime lingers.

Fulkerson Wine Cellars Finger Lakes Estate Gruner Veltliner 2012

The land at Fulkerson Wine Cellars has been in the family since the early 1800s.  106 acres of grapes on the west side of Seneca Lake, in Dundee, NY, share the land on which founder Caleb Fulkerson now rests.  They began producing grape juice for home winemakers in the 1970s and still offer help for the DIY crowd.  The winery opened its doors to a grateful public in the late 1980s.

Sayre Fulkerson, the owner and winemaker, says he planted Gruner Veltliner because he likes the wine made from this Austrian variety.  It comes from one of the oldest vineyard blocks in the Finger Lakes.  Fulkerson says, "Gruner Veltliner is a little like Riesling but not really, maybe more like ripe Sauvignon Blanc."

Dry, with only 0.2% residual sugar, the Fulkerson Wine Cellars Gru-Vee shows 12% abv and retails for $14.  253 cases were produced in this inaugural release.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, on the lees.  The contact with the spent yeast cells give a full mouthfeel.  It's bottled under natural cork.

Pale straw in color, the wine's nose shows a light aroma of orange peel and lots of minerals.  The palate is very dry with a nice acidity and minerality and flavors of apple, white peach and a faint trace of cantaloupe.  It's the minerals, though, that steal the show and stay around on the finish.  I think it's great for shellfish and crab cakes, but Fulkerson likes it with pork and sauerkraut.

Hosmer Winery Cayuga Lake Chardonnay 2012

Chardonnay vines were planted at Hosmer Winery on the shores of Cayuga Lake in 1975, making them some of the oldest vines on the property.  45 of their 70 acres of grapes are dedicated to aromatic whites.

Winemaker Aaron Roison has made wine for 12 vintages in the Finger Lakes.  Owner Cameron Hosmer is in charge of growing the fruit.  Roison says the "low vigor site" helps produce extraordinary aromatics.

The Hosmer Chardonnay clocks in at 13.1% abv and has no residual sugar.  70% of the juice is fermented in steel while 15% is done in older American and French oak and 15% in new oak.  The wine is aged for six months in barrels, where it undergoes malolactic fermentation.  It sits on the lees for three months and is bottled under natural cork.

Quite a bit of oak spice comes into play on first sniff, especially considering that only 30% of the wine sees a barrel.  A nice minerality shows, too.  Tropical fruit and lemon rind are the main fruit components on the nose, and they display nicely on the palate as well.  The acidity is quite good, even though the wine's mouthfeel is fairly creamy and full.

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