LOOSE TASTING NOTES FROM MICHIGAN, NEW YORK, AND VIRGINIA — October 20, 2020

As always, these are short reviews that come almost verbatim from my notebook with only limited editing for wines that – for one reason or another – won’t get standalone reviews on the site.

Michigan

Brengman Brothers Winery 2018 Barrel-Aged Chardonnay ($30*)
Not much fruit on the nose. Toasty oak with spiced vanilla and a little sawdust with only a little apple beneath. Soft palate is barrel driven. Butter and vanilla. Ripe apple but lacking acidity. Toffee and raw oak on the finihs. 83pts.

Brengman Brothers Winery 2019 Chenin Blanc ($30*)
Lemon peel and citrus blossom aromas are layered with pretty beeswax and under-ripe pineapple ones. Shows really nice concentration across the board with citrus, floral and tropical fruit. Tart acidity at the edges with beautiful mouthfeel. As it warms, a distinct note of membrillo emerges too. Long finish with fresh acidity and a little leesy nuttiness. 90pts.

Brengman Brothers Winery 2019 Concrete Chardonnay ($30*)
Beautiful nose. Flinty/smoky edge to lemon, green apple and lime. Just a hint of peach. Green apple and lemon-lime on the palate accented by hints of underripe pineapple. Balanced – soft and textural but also fresh at the perimeter. Gravelly minerality on the finish. 90pts.

Brengman Brothers Winery 2019 Sauvignon Blanc ($25*)
There is some nice sweet grapefruit and passionfruit here, but also quite a bit of jalapeno. The palate is very citrusy and juicy, with lots of fresh acidity. I don’t mine some “green” in my sauvignon blanc, but it’s a little overwhelming here. 86pts.

Brengman Brothers Winery 2019 Two Long Cool Climate Fizz ($22*)
Charmat method blend of 63% gruner veltliner and 37% muscat ottonelli. Fresh and fun nose with sweet lime, big florals and spice white pepper. Off-dry with green apple and lime candy flavors. Spicy at the end. 87pts.

New York

Heron Hill Winery 2016 Ingle Vineyard Reserve Merlot ($50*)
Tiny production (78 cases) merlot with black cherry, plum and blueberry aromas with hints of nutty, toasty oak. Similar fruit flavors on a youthful, fresh palate that shows a little acidity but is a bit lacking in the structure department. 88pts.

Heron Hill Winery 2019 Eclipse Dry Rose ($18*)
Cabernet sauvignon and merlot blend. Flinty reduction on the nose with red cherries and a copper penny aromas. More fruit on a palate that is in a bolder style. Savory herbs with red berries. Beet root. Balanced acidity. 85pts.

Hosmer Winery 2018 Semi-Dry Riesling ($17*)
Peach and tropical fruit aromas are accented by hints of spicy botrytis and maybe just a faint hint of sour rot. The palate is much cleaner, with riper fruit than the nose might indicate. Good acidity at the edges, but not super-focused. 87pts.

Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2018 Round Rock Vineyard Riesling ($24*)
Very mineral-driven both on the nose and palate. That wet slate and rainwater quality is joined by tangerine and lime notes. It’s not overly concentrated in terms of fruit, but the acidity is fresh and the long, minerally finish is nice. 88pts.

Lenz Winery 2019 Firefly Rose ($20*)
Blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot and skin-fermented gewurztraminer. Nose is all fresh cherries and cranberry with tropical overtones and dried apricot. Fresh and fruit-forward, the palate has pretty red berry fruit with a little phenolic bitterness that brings a pleasant bit of structure. Floral and tropical on the finish. 90pts.

Montezuma Winery NV Vidal Blanc ($15*)
Pear and honey-baked apple on the nose leads into a palate that is light in body, with some sweetness that is pretty well balanced. Nice apple, citrus and honey flavors, but also distracting wet hay and a bitter edge on the finish. 84pts.

Montezuma Winery 2019 Dry Riesling ($17*)
Somewhat tame nose for the variety, with light floral and citrus. Fresh acidity and a bit of brisk citrus, but not much else. Lacks concentration and flavor. 84pts.

Montezuma Winery 2019 Reserve Dry Riesling ($22*)
Grapefruit and lime citrus aromas mingle with a little peach and a subtle nutty/leesy note. Really nice texture and mouthfeel. Citrus with a little melon. Nice weight and concentration of flavor before brisk acidity slices through it. 89pts.

Montezuma Winery 2019 Riesling ($17*)
Peachy and tropical with a unique minty, almost resinous, note on the nose. Sweeter and softer but not unbalanced. Simple with a little browned apple on the finish. 85pts.

Montezuma Winery 2019 Semi-Dry Riesling ($17*)
Smells like green apple candy with a squirt of lime juice. Sweetness is well balanced. Tropical fruits — mango and papaya — join the green apple and lime on a lighter-bodied palate. Feathery feel. 87pts.

Paumanok Vineyards 2019 Dry Rose ($20*)
Blend of cabernet franc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. High-toned nose of cranberry, rhubarb, strawberry and crab apple. Fresh and clean palate is more strawberry forward. Dry with a hint of savoriness at the very end that reminds you that it’s 45% cabernet franc. 90pts.

Scout Vineyards 2018 Stainless Steel Pinot Noir ($30*)
Niagara Escarpment AVA (Quast Vineyard). Deep cherry aromas with higher-toned blood orange, earthy spice and a little VA. Very ripe fruit on the palate with stemmy spice and sandalwood. There is a certain iron-y umami note too that is nice. Low tannin. Fresh acid is well incorporated. 87pts.

Stony Lonesome 2018 Zweigelt ($18*)
Spicy nose with crisp cherry and cassis fruit aromas and a cured meat savoriness. Bright and fresh, the lighter-bodied palate brings nice red berry fruit along with savory cracked black pepper and a little earth. There is a dusting of cocoa powder and five spice here too. Medium-short finish. 88pts.

Three Brothers Winery 2019 Zero Degree Dry Riesling ($17*)
This well-priced dry riesling featuers lemon-lime aromas with a unique hint of banana along with jasmine. The palate is more tropical with that distinct banana candy quality along with peach and pineaplle. Dry but not austere. Good acidity. Chalky feel on the finish. 87pts.

Virginia

Early Mountain Vineyards 2018 Young Wine (Red) ($24*)
90% chambourcin with 10% vidal. Dark, bright berry fruits with hints of spice on the nose. Juicy and chug-worthy, the black cherry and blueberry fruits are fairly straightforward, but there is some savory nuance here. Chill it lightly. 87pts.

* Review sample provided by the winery

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