Loose Tasting Notes from Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia — July 30, 2020


Bel Lago Winery NV Pinot Grigio & Chardonnay ($14*)
Not very aromatic — some apple and citrus. Light bodied and fairly neutral on the palate as well. Soft apple flavors but not much concentration or complexity. Good balance. 84pts.


Defiance Ridge Vineyards 2018 Femme Osage Rose ($28*)
Off-dry. Chambourcin base. There’s a little bit of foxiness here – bubblegum, strawberries and tangerine. Sweet and edging on cloying. Berry and grapey flavors. Creamy on the finish. Overpriced. 82pts.

Les Bourgeois Vineyards 2017 St. Vincent Dry Rose ($20*)
Hint of petrol on the nose to go with watermelon, brandied cherries and vanilla. Lighter bodied. Vanilla-tinged strawberry and rhubarb. A bit dilute, but pleasant with nice mouthfeel. 85pts.

New Jersey

Unionville Vineyards 2019 Dry Rose ($23*)
Blend of pinot noir, cabernet franc and petite sirah. Strawberry and cranberry fruit on the nose is matched with a savory, sage-y herbal quality. Round and a bit soft on the palate. Red fruit up front, but some butterscotch, earth and more sage. A bit more acidity would really elevate this one. 85pts.

New York

Buttonwood Grove 2018 Fume Blanc ($22*)
Sauvignon blanc – 65% aged in large format oak. Floral nose with citrus, passionfruit and a faint oak footprint. Fresh and bright. The definite sweetness is a little confusing, but the lime, mango and citrus flavors are delicious. Hints of oak but well integrated. 87pts.

Fossenvue Winery 2018 Revisionist Rose ($18*)
Bolder style of rose. Strawberry and cherry with hints of spice, vanilla and currant on the nose. Bit of tannic structure here. Fresh berries and well-integrated acidity. Juniper-y savory note to go with nice fruit. 88pts.

Fossenvue Winery 2018 Riesling ($20*)
Fresh and high-toned on the nose with Fuji apples and apple blossom. RS (2.2%) isn’t out of balanced but the palate lacks focus/verve. Nice apple and citrusy fruit and floral qualities. Just okay. 85pts.

Idol Ridge Winery 2017 Dry Rose ($19*)
Blaufrankisch and cabernet franc. Mostly strawberry fruit on the nose but also dried leaves, caramel and a nutty/leesy note. Soft, medium-bodied palate with flavors that match the nose. Seems tired. 84pts.

Idol Ridge Winery 2017 Petillant Naturel Cabernet Franc ($25*)
Unique melange of red berries, peach, dried herbs and butter on the nose. Very earthy, almost lacking fruit. Very dry. Hollow mid-palate. Weird buttery edge. 82pts.

Idol Ridge Winery 2018 “String of Pearls” Pet-Nat Riesling ($25*)
Very fruity, the nose is peachy with nectarine/peach and even some tropical fruit. Juicy and peachy, there is a vein of something tropical – pineapple and papaya – on the palate too. Definitely sweet, but acidity and the soft carbonation balance it pretty well. 87pts.

Johnson Estate Winery 2017 Feelings Creek Reserve Seyval Blanc ($12*)
Citrusy and peachy with subtle hay and apple skin aromas. RS (1%) is noticeable but not distracting. Nice fruit flavor and good balance. Not very seyval-like still a solid white wine. 86pts.

Johnson Estate Winery 2018 Ruby Dry Rose ($15*)
Red cherry and watermelon fruitiness on the nose with some autumnal leaves and spice. Light body with nice acidity. Very earthy – to the point of pushing the fresh fruit aside. Short finish with a little vanilla. 83pts.

Montezuma Winery 2018 Semi-Dry Riesling ($17*)
Bruised apple nose with some peach and citrus in the background. More bruised fruit character on a well-balanced palate that also shows some leesy-nutty notes. Great texture, but the fruit is muted and muddied by the must leesy notes. 84pts


Chaddsford 2017 Artisan Series Cabernet Franc ($28*)
Bright red berry fruits on the nose – red cherry and raspberries – are layered with rhubarb, grilled jalapeno and vanilla. The palate favors freshness over concentration. Mostly red raspberry fruit with more savory notes of fresh herbs and jalapeno. “Green” but in a good way. 88pts.

Karamoor Estate 2015 Merlot ($27*)
There’s a toasty oak edge – in the form of coconut and charcoal – to the plums and black aromas here. That cherry-plum-smoke combination carries over to a medium-bodied palate with soft tannins and hints of spicy oak and herbs. 87pts.

Karamoor Estate 2015 Merlot Reserve ($28*)
Aromas of black cherry, plum and a little raisin accented by minty notes and wood smoke. The oak is a bit forward – in a charcoal way – and overpowering for the fruit. Dark fruit and mint don’t stand a chance. 86pts.


Michael Shaps 2015 Tannat ($35*)
An intense, layered nose delivers black currant and blackberry fruit along with leather, black pepper-crusted beef and some mesquite. Very ripe, the palate adds figs and dried blueberry and a little licorice and dark chocolate. Tannins are grippy. Still young with a good future ahead I’m guessing. 90pts.

Quartzwood Farm 2019 Noiret Method Ancestral ($25*)
Cracked pepper, stewed cherry, plum skin and brown sugar combine on a very aromatic, intriguing nose. Palate brings a nice combination of cranberry, cherry and raspberry with more spice (and none of the ashtray flavor you can get from this grape). That earthy spice gives is a nice savory streak. Not super long, but food ready and unique. 90pts.

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