Loose Tasting Notes from Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia — February 20, 2020


Brookcliff Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc Reserve ($25*)
Sweet cherries and sweet oak and vanilla on the nose. Ripe fruit is a bit overwhelmed by oak on the palate. Nice roasted mushroom note. Oak tannins are a bit bitter. 85pts.


Big Cork Vineyards 2015 “Black Label Series” Merlot ($52*)
Nose is dominated by smoky campfire aromas, though there is some blueberry and black plum – along with French roast coffee. Rich, with great structure and mouthfeel, just too much oak for the fruit. 84pts.


Mari Vineyards 2017 Troglodyte Rosso ($26*)
A unique blend of pinot noir, teroldego, and merlot. Juicy, with red berries, dried herb, and a little savory/cured meat. Lighter body. Food friendly. 87pts.

Shady Lane Cellars 2016 Blaufrankisch ($36)
Black pepper is very pronounced – a generous sprinkling over top of black cherries and blueberries. Medium-bodied. Almost syrah-like. Black and blue fruits and spice. Well done. 90pts.

Shady Lane Cellars 2016 “Franc ‘n’ Franc” Red Blend ($25*)
Earthy, tobacco-y nose with some serious oak over cranberries and cherries. All spice and raw wood on the palate. Cherry and blackberry fruit is beaten down by aggressive oak. Hint of burnt rubber. 82pts.


Cannon River Winery 2018 Mancini’s West 7th White ($18*)
Blend of La Crescent, Prairie Star and St. Pepin. Pear aromas are layered with tropical ones and just a little citrus. Juicy and off-dry, but well balanced by fresh acidity. Plump peach and pear fruit flavors lean a bit tropical too. 87pts.

New Jersey

Bellview Winery 2015 Petit Verdot ($40*)
Blueberry and blackberry fruit on the nose with a little American oak and woodsy herb. Somewhat monolithic. Dark fruit but also significant oak. Herbs a bit more overt as well. Tannins combine with acidity for a rustic, burly feel. Needs food, but still a bit oaky. 86pts

New York

Dr. Konstantin Frank 2017 “Eugenia” Dry Riesling ($30*)
Juicy Fuji apple and asian pear on the nose with lime zest and a kiss of saline minerality. There is little spicy botrytis here. Peachy and weighty with orchard fruits. Great acidity and golden raisin at the end of a medium finish. 90pts.

Fjord Vineyards 2018 Albarino ($23)
Gooseberries and passionfruit dominate a nose that also shows sweet lemon and peach qualities. More peachy on the palate with perfectly balanced acidity. Straightforward, but lip-smacking. 90pts.

Fosssenvue 2018 “House of Rebellion” Skin Fermented Valvin Muscat ($19*)
Floral with notes of honey and a little tropical fruit. Very floral and phenolic with a bitter, soapy edge. Not my favorite example of the grape. 83pts.

Hunt Country Vineyards 2017 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay ($16*)
Somewhat neutral on the nose. Some apple and a hint of nutty oak. Nice mouthfeel and acidity to go with apple and cotton candy/vanilla flavors. Lighter body. Simple but balanced. 86pts.

Keuka Lake Vineyards 2018 Dry Rose ($17*)
Made with DeChaunac. Fruity nose – cherry and strawberry – that is also quite earthy. That earthiness is a bit more forward on the palate. Nice acidity and short, but solid stuff. 86pts.

Keuka Lake Vineyards 2016 “Turkey Run Vineyard” Vignoles ($20*)
Melange of peach and tropical fruits framed by assertive-but-balanced acidity. Long, dry finish with some loose leaf tea and pineapple pulp. Impressive. 91pts.

Palmer Vineyards 2018 Sauvignon Blanc ($25*)
Very grassy/herbal with some grapefruit and pineapple. More herbs on the palate. Delicate acidity. Light body. 86pts.

Wild Arc Farm 2017 “Luca” Orange Traminette ($23*)
Wow. Apricots and pineapples with beautiful floral notes and just a hint of lychee on a huge, aromatic nose. Ligher bodied, but big on flavor. Gentle tannic grip. Tropical but the lychee more pronounced. Savory and saline at the edges. 90pts.

Wolffer Estate 2018 “Antanov” Sauvignon Blanc ($30*)
This is sauvignon blanc treated like grand cru Burgundy. Sweet citrus, passionfruit and green melon on the nose. Palate shows beautiful texture from extended lees time. Long finish of fruit and flint. 90pts.


Debonne Vineyards 2016 Chambourcin ($11*)
Black cherry, campfire and curry leaf on the nose. Bit more oak on the palate that comes across as raw. Wood tannin is bitter. Decent fruit but too much oak. 82pts.

M Cellars 2017 Rkatsiteli ($20*)
Aromas of peach and jasmine with a little candied ginger on an exotic nose. Good acidity. Palate is similarly exotic. Spicy and floral with tropical fruits. A touch dilute but there is plenty of flavor here. 86pts

Vermilion Valley Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Franc ($16*)
Peppery and stemmy on the nose with cherries and raspberries. Palate shows nice, varietal green notes, but lacks a bit of fruit to back it up. Very earthy and peppery. Light body. Lacks concentration. 84pts.

Vermilion Valley Vineyards 2017 Riesling ($16*)
Spice apple and candied ginger dominate the nose on this late harvest style. Sweet, but good-not-great balancing acidity. Avoids being cloying but isn’t nervy. Nice spiced apple and honey flavors, however. 87pts


Stinson Vineyards 2018 Rose of Mourvedre ($21*)
There is a flinty edge to the nose, which is all rose petals, sour cherry and red currant. Cherry and currant carry over to a fresh palate that also shows nice savory, tomato leaf notes. Always a favorite. 90pts.

* Review sample provided by the winery

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