Sunday, May 31, 2009
Value Summer White Wines in Finger Lakes Wine Country
By the Finger Lakes Weekend Wino, Rob Lane
June Wine Notes:
One of the things that I like about Finger Lakes wine is that you can still find good value here. I am a cheapskate, so believe me I know. So this month, with the warmer weather and picnic time on the way, I will focus on value summer sippers. With Finger Lakes wine, you don’t have to sacrifice balance, structure and flavor for price. Like I’ve said many times, I find that the best premium vinifera producers also seem to make the best value wines. That only makes sense because these top winemakers do not want to put out an inferior product, even if it is a lower priced wine. A lot of these value wines are sweeter but also balanced and structured blends of several different grapes including hybrid grapes like Cayuga White, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Most of these are under 10 dollars.
Here are some of my favorite value summer white wine sippers:
> Anthony Road Wine Co., west side of Seneca Lake, Tony's White (Cayuga), A great summer value for $8.99, Fresh and Balanced!
> Imagine Moore Winery, south end of Canandaigua Lake, 2007 Harmony, $10.99, Cayuga/ Traminette blend, beautifully perfumed orange blossom and soft floral aromas, layers of soft citrus flavors.
> McGregor Vineyard, east side of Keuka Lake, 2007 Cayuga White, $9.99, one of the most elegant Cayuga's I've tasted, only 1.25% Residual Sugar, crisp with ample fruit.
> Villa Bellangelo, west side of Seneca Lake, 2007 Blue Scooter, $8.99, Cayuga/Riesling blend, Full-flavored and well-structured even at 4% Residual Sugar.
> Goose Watch Winery, west side of Cayuga Lake, 2007 Diamond, $10, this award winning Diamond hits your taste buds high and low with grape and citrus flavor to spare, very refreshing.
> Fox Run, west side of Seneca Lake, Arctic Fox, $8.99, a complex steely and well-structured Cayuga with intriguing apple and citrus tones into a soft mineral finish.
> Knapp Winery, west side of Cayuga Lake, Seyval Blanc, $9.95, another drier selection at 1.1% Residual Sugar, lightly oaked with nice light lemon hints up front into delicious vanilla tones on the finish.
> Prejean, west side of Seneca Lake, 2006 Cayuga, $7.99, more melon and soft tropical notes than the normal Cayuga citrus in this value sipper.
> Heron Hill, west side of Keuka Lake, Game Bird White, $9.99, With the Game Bird label, I usually equate this wine more with Thanksgiving, but this is also a nice summer wine for those who prefer less sweetness, Chardonnay/Seyval Blanc/ Cayuga blend, a solid backbone, perfectly nuanced with mango and passionfruit highlights.
> Fulkerson Winery, west side of Seneca Lake, $9.99, Ravat 51 (Vignoles), interesting apple cider aromas this year with honeyed peach and orange overtones.
> Bellwether Hard Cider, east side of Cayuga Lake, Spyglass Hard Cider, $10.95, If you want something a little different, this hard cider is impeccably balanced, nice acidity, nice structure, and very refreshing.
> Hermann Wiemer, west side of Seneca Lake, 2007 Estate White, $12, I know you probably wouldn't expect to see Hermann Wiemer in a list of value wines but, like I said, premium wine producers make great value wines, Chardonnay/ Riesling/ Gewurztraminer blend, layers of peach, apple, and melon, lots of fruit and only .4% Residual sugar, this is a steal at $12.
> Torrey Ridge Winery, west side of Seneca Lake, Diamond, $10.29, Another refreshing full-flavored award-winning Diamond.
> White Springs Winery, east side of Seneca Lake, Springhouse White, $7.99 (750ml) & $12.99 (1.5L), Cayuga/Niagara/Catawba blend, smooth with nice balance of acidity and sweetness.
And no list of summer sippers would be complete without Niagara. I like a Niagara that is light, balanced and fresh and not too overly grapey. Two of my favorites include Wagner Niagara, east side of Seneca Lake, $6.99 (750ml) or $9.99 (1.5L) & Swedish Hill, west side of Cayuga Lake, Niagara Frost, $13.49 (1.5L.
So remember, you don’t have to compromise on flavor, structure and balance just because you want a nice value summer sipper. Here in the Finger Lakes, our talented winemakers give us a lot of excellent options for good wine at good prices. My next column will feature Finger Lakes choices for you dry red fans out there. Stay Tuned. I'll see you on the Wine Trails!!! FLWW
Rob Lane, aka The Finger Lakes Weekend Wino, writes a Finger Lakes wine column for Mountain Home magazine and also has a Finger Lakes wine blog at www.fingerlakesweekendwino.blogspot.com