LOOSE TASTING NOTES FROM NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, AND Pennsylvania — November 11, 2020

These near-weekly posts contain 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.

New Jersey

Unionville Vineyards 2017 “The Big-O” ($38)
Cabernet franc forward (90%). Sweet strawberries on the nose layered with sage, bay leaf and eucalyptus along with grilled nuts and spice. Nice freshness on the palate. Red berries — strawberries and raspberries. Earthy vein with some dried herb. Soft finish/lower tannin. Nothing “big” about it but a nice cabernet franc. 88pts.

New York

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Franc ($30*)
Significant toasted oak on the nose but also ripe, intense black cherry and blueberry. The oak contributes tannin but less flavor on a medium-bodied palate. Black and blue fruits with some higher-toned red fruits too. Layers of dried herbs, licorice and earth on a long finish. 90pts.

Buttonwood Grove Winery 2018 Chardonnay ($20*)
Citrusy nose. Lemon and grapefruit. Subtle buttery edge too. Palate is similar with a minerally vein. Not very ripe or concentrated but oak is well-managed. Good acidity. 86pts.

The Grapes of Roth 2016 Merlot ($48*)
Plum and dried cherry on the nose with toasty oak, pencil lead and some blackberry. Medium-fuller body. Maturing. Black cherry and plum flavors with a subtle umami edge. Fruit and overall palate a bit more mature than expected. Oak well integrated. 88pts.

Heron Hill Winery 2017 Ingle Vineyard Blaufrankisch ($35*)
Intense black cherry aromas with hints of hibiscus, spice, black tea, licorice and peppery spice. Medium body with nice intensity of flavor. Black cherry forward. Lower tannin but fresh acidity brings backbone. Supple, velvety feel on the finish. 90pts.

Hosmer Winery 2018 Cabernet Franc ($22*)
Somewhat delicate nose of red berries, drid herb, fennel and poblano pepper. Juicy, lighter body but a lightly gritty feel. Simple with a small dose of cabernet franc green-ness. Cherry forward. 86pts.

Hosmer Winery 2018 Chardonnay ($16*)
Aromas of lemons and lemon peels with hints of tangerine and underripe peach. Bit more oak on the palate but it’s a toasty shadow rather than overt. Lots of sweet citrus. Nice concentration on mid-palate. Turns a bit tropical on the finish. Fresh acidity balances unctuous fruit well. Great value. 90pts.

Hosmer Winery 2018 Dry Riesling ($17*)
Fresh on the nose but not huge. Lime and golden raspberry with some blossom notes. Dry but not austere palate. Citrus and saline minerality with green apple and distinct star fruit note. Long saline finish with well-integrated acidity. 89pts.

Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2018 Semi-Dry Riesling ($15)
Floral, high-toned nose with citrus zest and petrichor. Juicy with some peach joining on the palate. Great acidity balances the residual sugar. Long lime-grapefruit finish that feels nearly dry but still has just a hint of sweetness. Earthy undertones. Over-delivers for the price. 90pts.

Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2018 T23 Unoaked Cabernet Franc ($20)
Bright red cherry and strawberry fruit on the nose with classic woodsy spice and dried leaves. Bit greener than most years, but not in a bad way. Light-bodied (11.2% abv). Juicy red cherry with herbal, leafy notes. Cranberry too. Fresh acidity. Hint of grapeskin tannin/feel. 88pts.

Scout Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay ($26*)
Very earthy and minerally on the nose. Flinty. Lean apple and some nutty lees too. More apple-driven palate with a leesy edge. Nice mouthfeel, concentration, and length. Minerally finish. 87pts.

Scout Vineyards 2018 Chardonnay ($26*)
Spiced, somewhat oaky nose with underripe peach and Golden Delicious apple. Oak is much more incorporated on the palate. Vanilla and oak-borne spice bring complexity to a solid core of apple and peach fruit. Leesy feel with a long, vanilla-tinged finish. 88pts.

Scout Vineyards 2019 Marquette
Quite a bit of oak on the nose. Blueberries and cassis beneath with some umami and tobacco. Spicy dark fruit – think blueberry compote. Lower tannin with nice acidity. Oak less forward on the palate. Showy style. A little heat on the finish (15.2% abv). 85pts.

Wagner Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Franc ($17*)
Black cherry and blackberry nose with a little cola spice. Bright, fresh style. Light oak footprint. Nice cola/root beer spice. Juicy cranberry acidity. Faint hint of vanilla to go with more cherry. 87pts.

Pennsylvania

Armstrong Valley Winery 2019 Riesling ($20*)
Apple driven with some sour rot and flowers. Hides higher ABV (14%) pretty well. Not a ton of varietal character. Just off-dry. More like steel chardonnay. Some heat on finish. 84pts.

Fero Vineyards 2019 Dry Rose of Pinot Noir ($17*)
Strawberries and dried earth on the nose. Fresh on the palate with light strawberry and citrus flavors. Nice mouthfeel. Long finish. Not concentrated but very refreshing. 88pts.

Fero Vineyards 2019 Gruner Veltliner ($17*)
Aromas of underripe pineapple, citrus and chalk. Not as big a nose as some gruners. Citrus on the palate with hints of earthy chalk. Fresh acidity. Not a lot of concentration but a long, dry finish that turns just a bit grassy. 87pts.

Shade Mountain Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Franc ($15*)
Chocolate-y American oak over herbs and a mix of fresh and stewed red fruits. Medium-lighter body. Juicy. Oak is prominent – chocolate/Tootsie roll. Tobacco and herbs in the back. Nice balance of fruit and savory. Just oaky. 85pts.

Shade Mountain Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay ($13*)
Sweet citrus and pear on the nose with toasty edges. Some vanilla at the edges but nice core of fruit that leans tropical. Solid oaked chardonnay. Not flabby but not particularly lively either. 86pts.

* Review sample provided by the winery

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