Loose Tasting Notes from Idaho, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — February 4, 2019


Williamson Vineyards 2013 “Harvest Moon” Red ($22)
Blend of 40% mouvedre, 40% syrah, 15% petit sirah and 5% viognier. Complex nose shows layers of dried cranberries, cherries, leather, cherry pie filling, brown spices and oak. Fuller bodied, the palate shows a mix of fresh and stewed fruits backed by American oak. Big but balanced, but not as complex as the nose might suggest. 87 pts.


Black Ankle Vineyards Passeggiata IX ($35*)
Kitchen sink blend of red varieties like cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot. Very quiet nose at first does show a bit of sweet tobacco and herbs with red cherry and milk chocolate. Peppery and earthy, the palate somewhat lacks fruit qualities – though there are some cherry-strawberry and rhubarb flavors. Fairy high acid. Wish it had more concentration and were half the price. 84 pts.

Hidden Hills Farm & Vineyard 2017 Rose Gray Rose ($25)
Intensely fruity nose is dominated by red cherry notes and a sprinkling of brown sugar. Tastes acidified – the acidity doesn’t seem a part of the wine itself. Red cherries and Red Hots-esque cinnamon spice. Hollow on the mid-palate. Lots of flavor, but not balanced/integrated. 84 pts.

Old Westminster Winery 2017 Chenin Blanc Petillant Naturel ($40*)
Floral and grassy, the nose offers some vague apple fruitiness but not much intensity or depth. Similar on the palate — which is fresh and frothy — but light on flavor beyond a little grassiness and a little funk. 85 pts.

New Jersey

Bellview Winery 2017 Viognier ($20*)
Citrusy herbs dominate the nose with hints of white flowers and peaches. The palate is floral and herbal with a slightly bitter citrus pith quality. Nice acidity, but also a distinct bay leaf/sage note that isn’t particularly appealing. 82 pts.

Working Dog Winery 2017 Viognier ($23*)
Timid, watery nose. Some pear and sandalwood, but not much else. Good acid and gritty texture with more pear and floral notes, but also an akward bitterness that is very distracting. 83 pts.

New York

Buttonwood Grove Vineyard 2016 Cabernet Franc ($22)
Overwhelming oak in the form of vanilla, coconut and raw wood dominates subtle red berry fruit. Finish is a bit medicinal. 80 pts.

Hunt Country Vineyards 2017 Traminette ($15)
Classic Finger Lakes traminette leads with dried rose petals, lemon zest and orange peel aromas. Lighter bodied and just off-dry, the palate shows fresh Mandarin orange flavors with hints of candied ginger. A fine example of a grape I tend to not prefer. 86 pts.

Glenora Wine Cellars 2017 Pinot Blanc ($16)
A veil of vanilla oak is draped over fresh apple aromas. More crisp apple on the palate with beautiful texture and mouthfeel that straddles rich and lithe. Fresh, green apple acidity leads into a finish that shows a somewhat awkward raw oak note, but lingers with fresh fruit. 87 pts.

Raphael 2017 Chardeaux ($19*)
80% chardonnay and 20% sauvignon blanc. Nice yellow apple and pear aromas with faint citrusy edge. Lighter bodied and not overly concentrated – but a satisfactory sipper. Balanced, but not particularly nervy or complex. 86 pt.

Raphael 2017 Rose of Pinot Noir ($20*)
Delicate raspberry and strawberry qualities show on both the nose and palate, but it’s the dusty earthiness and herbs that take center stage here. Fresh, well-integrated acidity is nice, but a bit more fruit would be nice here. 85 pts.

Shared Table Farmhouse 2017 “Long White Cloud” Sauvignon Blanc ($22*)
Subtle nose shows lemony citrus along with an earthy hay note. The palate is juicy, with a touch of honey and a long elegant finish. It’s just a bit lacking in flavor an intensity. 86 pts.


Penns Woods Winery 2016 Traminette ($26*)
Citrus and honey on the nose with some classic traminette floral notes too. Some residual CO2 helps the somewhat lean body that shows similar flavors. It’s a fun wine, but at $26 does not represent a good value. 85 pts.

Penns Woods Winery 2016 Viognier Reserve ($26*)
Honeyed on the nose with citrus and just a little melon, it’s broad on the palate with nice citrus and honey flavors, but a bit lacking in acidity and freshness. A hint of welcome bitterness on the finish helps. 86 pts.

Penns Woods winery 2017 White Merlot ($26*)
Smells of cranberry and underripe strawberry and not much else. Palate is lean but very fresh. Refreshing, but very simple and tastes slightly underripe. 83 pts.

* Review sample provided by the winery

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