Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tasting Notes: "Unexpected Regions," JavaMonkey Thursday Wine Series

First, Kudos to Jess on having put together a somewhat daring tasting. It takes courage to go beyond the West Coast when it comes to wine in the U.S. As I mentioned in my posts about going through Virginia, there is some good stuff to be found. There's also a lot of bad stuff. This tasting was a good mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've added others' comments with their permission so you're not just getting my opinions.

The wines:

1. 2007 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes, New York): After we got through our jokes about this being by "Dr. Frankenwine," and made at Finger Lakes (body part reference, courtesy of The Scot), I had to admit that this is a good representative of the grape. The nose is fragrant and floral, and the wine itself is well-balanced with acid and residual sugar. It had a somewhat metallic finish.
My rating: Good
The Scot sez, "Rooty Tooty Sweet & Fruity."

2. 2005 Salmon Run Chardonnay (Finger Lakes, New York): Hubby liked this one because the name mentions two of his favorite things, salmon and Chardonnay. My thought is that with the way it coats the tongue, it's gotta have some omega-3's in there somewhere. It's overall fairly light and somewhat bitter on the finish. There's really not much there to comment on.
My rating: Okay

3. RagApple Lassie Kaleidoscope Gold (Yadkin Valley, North Carolina): There wasn't much info to be had on this odd white wine that's named after a show cow (yes, a show cow, seriously!). It's made from mystery grapes grown on former tobacco land. The nose is peach with a hint of eucalyptus and lavendar, and the taste is medicinal and bitter. The Scot said that the nose reminded him of burning plastic.
My rating: Moo, er, boo

4. 2005 Gruet "Cuvee Gilbert Gruet" Pinot Noir (Albuquerque, New Mexico): This one has a nice nose with a lot of fruit. It's fairly light bodied with good acidity and a lingering finish. It's a west-coast style Pinot with a lot of good earth notes.
My rating: Very Good

5. RagApple Lassie Cabernet Sauvignon (Yadkin Valley, North Carolina): Chemical beyond even cough syrup.
My rating: Another Moo (this is going to be my new rating for wines I don't like)
Dan sez: "Flaccid."
The two wines from this particular winery were the two I dumped.

6. Tomasello Pomegranate Wine (Hammonton, New Jersey): This one reminded me of the muscadine wines we've tasted. While not bad, it's not something I'd actively seek out. I'll let the comments of others speak to the precise character of this wine:
Anonymous Nick sez, "Grenadine."
The Law sez, "Has a nose of lizard lard." (I had to include that one because it's so bizarre)
Dan sez, "Would be great on vanilla ice cream." His wife added, "Or a snow cone."
So yeah, it was sweet.
My rating: Good

By the way, Anonymous Nick and The Law, I have your notes.

While it's fun and interesting that states outside of Oregon, California, and Washington are making wines, it's also good to know which ones to avoid. Tonight's winner was, hands down, the Gruet Pinot. I love the Gruet sparkling wines, especially the Blanc de Noir, so this comes as no surprise. I definitely want to explore wines from New York further.

Coming this weekend: back to Tastings, this time for dinner!


Sheila said...

Hi: Enjoy your blog, even though this is my 1st reply. If you like the Finger Lakes' product, consider going a bit further north and trying some Ontario whites. Onatario-by-the-Lake seems to be the region and we had some excellent Rieslings and others while in the Ottawa area. We were quite surprised as I've always thought of all eastern wines as about on par with your NC experience.
Sadly, it's pretty difficult to get them here. I checked with Herb at Decatur package and it seems the distributors carry only the Ontario Icewines.
If you get the chance to try one of these though, go for it!

Cecilia Dominic said...

Hi, Sheila!

Thanks for your comment and for the tip! I'll definitely try Ontario wine if have the opportunity. Other good Canadian wines come from British Columbia, although they, too, are near impossible to find outside of the region.