Every now and then it’s good to step outside of California see what’s going on in other wine regions. I’ve got a new post up on Terroirist that covers three Virginia wines, three Finger Lakes wines and a tempranillo from Oregon. These are lesser-known regions, but that doesn’t mean they’re lesser quality.
All wines were received as press samples. Due to the unique nature of the wines, they were all tasted sighted.
2011 Stinson Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc USA, Virginia, Central Region, Monticello
SRP: $19. Very aromatic, with an interesting combination of honeydew melon, mango and a kick of grass. The palate shows great cut, and a rush of gooseberry and grapefruit. A sense of crushed rock lingers onto the finish. One of the better Virginia sauvignon blancs I’ve tasted. Fermented in concrete eggs and stainless steel. (87 points)
2011 Stinson Vineyards Chardonnay USA, Virginia, Central Region, Monticello
SRP: $20. Rich and creamy nose, showing gobs of fresh white peach, a dash of lemon-lime and some orange blossom. The palate starts off with high acid, but then this creamy pear fruit comes in and adds richness. 25% of the wine sees new French oak, which adds delicious hazelnut and shredded coconut accents. The underlying fruit and structure allows the oak to take a back seat, and the overall wine is very balanced. I would proudly serve this at a blind tasting, just to see what other people think of it. Undeniably good fruit and solid winemaking make this an impressive chardonnay. (88 points)
2010 Stinson Vineyards Meritage USA, Virginia
SRP: $32. Aromas of rich black cherries (like the ones in really good black cherry ice cream) and some mocha. Well-structured on the palate, with firm tannins and rich black fruit, along with notes of red licorice. The 18 months in French oak adds roasted coffee and creamy hazelnut aspects to the wine, with caramel on the finish. A dense, modern-styled, well-oaked Bordeaux blend, but a very well-made one. One of the better Virginia red blends I’ve tasted in recent memory. A blend of 40% cabernet franc, 30% merlot, 15% petite verdot, 15% cabernet sauvignon. (87 points)
2010 Heron Hill Vineyards Muscat USA, New York, Finger Lakes
SRP: $14. Light straw color with a tinge of green. It shows that muscat vibrancy on the nose, like a burst of lychee, white peach and honeysuckle. On the palate, the wine feels creamy and full, almost Alsace-like. Orange peel, lychee and honey flavors are supported with a medium dose of acid. The sweetness, although noticeable, is balanced by the other elements. (86 points)
2009 Heron Hill Vineyards Pinot Noir Ingle Vineyard USA, New York, Finger Lakes
SRP: $20. Interesting aromas of smoke, cranberry and sweet cherries. The palate shows soft tannins, medium acid and fresh fruit. Lovely cherries, roses and earth. Very fresh and easy to drink. (87 points)
2010 Heron Hill Vineyards Cabernet Franc USA, New York, Finger Lakes
SRP: $15. Vibrant cherry colored. Aromas of raspberry and tart cranberries. The palate is full of juicy wild cherry fruit, backed up by notes of pepper and olive. Gritty tannins make me think this wine could improve for a few years. Overall, delicious. (88 points)
2007 Abacela Tempranillo Reserve USA, Oregon, Umpqua Valley
SRP: $20. This is domestic tempranillo done incredibly well. The aromas are dark and deep, with black cherry, coffee and some aromas that remind me of an incense stand. Intoxicating on the nose, and time coaxed out aromas of boysenberry, tar and anise. The palate is wonderfully fresh, with a dose of acid to start off. The tannins show firm grip and there are plenty of big flavors to go around: black cherry and tart blueberries mix in with graphite and tar, coffee and some rhubarb tart flavors linger onto the finish. Over time, flavors of fig paste and tobacco started coming out. The complexity of this wine is really impressive, and I think it has some good cellar potential. Probably the only Oregon tempranillo I’ve ever tasted and I was really surprised by how good it was. (91 points)