Thursday, March 31, 2011

Heron Hill Winery

Although a neighboring state, we rarely see wines from the Finger Lakes region of New York here in southern Connecticut.  One fellow blogger, Joe from Why Wine Blog,  has been telling me about the great wines from this region for a few years now.  Heron Hill Winery from Hammondsport, NY sent a few bottles for me to try.  Heron Hill Winery was started in 1977 and still run by the husband and wife team of John and Josephine Ingle.  Although John moved to Denver to go to college, he returned to his "roots", literally. John grew up in nearby Pittsford.  When Heron Hill opened, they suprising focused on Rieslings and Chardonnays.  They were considered the flagship of Finger Lake Rieslings.  Heron Hill and it's Rieslings gained national attention in 2004 for their outstanding 2002 vintage.  John is a popular person in this region, not only for his wines, but also his sustainability and organic farming methods for both grapes and food.  However, when it comes to the wines, he quickly gives credit to his winemakers Thomas Laszlo and Bernard Cannac.  In addition to impressive wines, the Heron Hill Winery was selected as one of the Top 10 Most Spectacular tasting rooms in the the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine.  Only two US wineries made this list.

NY is home to 1,000 vineyards and 120 wineries.  The warm days and cool nights around the lakes and the hilly terrain in the Fingers Lake Region is similar to some of Europe's grape growing regions.  In fact, it is actually on the same latitude as Germany, which is often thought of when mentioning Rieslings.  The Ingle Vineyards are on the west side of the Canandaigua Lake.

2007 Ingle Vineyard Riesling - This medium-bodied riseling had a nice soft nose of grapefruit, lemon and melon along with some stoney/slate from the terroir.  On the palate, the melon and lemon were predominant but also some green apple, grapefruit and lime.  This riesling was not as sweet as the previously posted French riesling.  There was nice acidity and long finish. Very well structured.  This wine received a 91 Point rating from both Wine Spectator and Wine & Spirits.  Nice wine for appetizers or salad, Chesapeake Bay crabs with seasoning, cajun spiced scallops or even a bratwurst on the grill.  This nice dry wine will get even better with another 3 years of aging.

2008 Ingle Vineyard Chardonnay (Unoaked) - This unoaked chardonnay really allowed the rocky terroir to show thru in the taste.  Additionally, there were more green herb aromas and tastes, along with the light citrus. This wine, for our taste, would be a pass next time.  The 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay retails for $15.

2007 Ingle Vineyard Cabernet Franc -  This was our favorite of the four wines.  The medium to full bodied blend consists of 83% cabernet franc, 12% cabernet sauvignon and 5% merlot.  The plum and cherry aromas were followed by lots of juicy blue and black fruit along with a hint of anise and white pepper.  The eurpoean oak also gave a nice final flavor and the tannins were very smooth.  Perfect for a stew or filet.  The 2007 Cabernet Franc retails for $15.  A nice buy at this price.

2007 Ingle Vineyard Pinot Noir - This Pinot Noir reminded me alot of the French Pinot Noir by Gustave Lorentz, in the fact that it was a lighter colored and lighter bodied Pinot than we are used to here in the US.  The aromas of cherries, strawberries and raspberries were predominant upon opening followed by herbal tea and some light oak from the 1-2 year old European barrels.  The red fruits followed thru along with some earthiness and a slight coffee taste.  This would pair well with a game bird such as quail or pheasant or a thicker fish like swordfish or salmon.  The 2007 Pinot Noir retails for $15-$17.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite wineries. Glad you had chance to taste the Riesling. A very good representation of Finger Lakes Rieslings.
    My Fave though was their '07 Blaufrankisch. Was a little heavy on oak when released in '09, but still nice. Have last one in storage waiting for right time.
    Glad you're back.