Jens has chosen New New-World Pinot Noir as the theme for this worldwide wine blogging festival.
I have to say, this is yet another great WBW theme and one that I really enjoyed preparing for.
For one, I love pinot noir this time of year. I drink quite a bit of white wine over the summer (you know how I love riesling) and, for me, pinot noir is the perfect transition into the deep, rich reds I prefer in the cold of winter. Pinot noir seems meant for the autumnal table too.
Of course, I also like this theme because it gives me a great excuse (like I need one anyway) to drink wine from the state I now call home -- New York.
But, you'll be glad to hear that I've decided not to review a Long Island wine for WBW. Instead, I chose Fox Run Vineyards 2002 Reserve Pinot Noir ($25).
Fox Run Vineyards can be found in the Finger Lakes wine region in central New York, specifically in Pen Yan on the west side Seneca Lake. In those vineyards overlooking Seneca Lake, Fox Run grows chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and cabernet franc. They have also planted of lemberger (blaufrankisch), merlot and gewurztraminer vines. The focus is clearly on vinifera grapes, which is still pretty rare in the Finger Lakes.
Winemaker Peter Bell, began his winemaking career in Australia, where he earned a degree in enology at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, where he also worked in the school's winery. Upon graduation he became assistant winemaker for Hunter's Wines in New Zealand, producing chardonnay, riesling and sauvignon blanc -- while experimenting with pinot noir as well.
Leaving New Zealand, he turned down offers in Portugal and British Columbia and went to the Finger Lakes. For five years he was winemaker at Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars, a pioneering winery on Keuka Lake known for its riesling among other bottlings.
Riesling (with a tip of the hat to gewurtztraminer) is the clear star grape in the Finger Lakes, so I was quite interested to taste this pinot. How was it? Check out my notes to find out...
Eyes: Medium-to-light ruby with a thin, lighter rim
Nose: Reasonably aromatic, with some fresh raspberry, smoky oak notes and something a little herbal/vegetal
Tongue: This wine has soft tannins and and supple mouthfeel, but it's not as flavorful as the nose is aromatic. There is some sweet cherry/raspberry and hints of vanilla...but I'm left wanting a bit more complexity...some earthy notes or maybe spice. I'd like this wine a lot more if it had a bit more acidity too.
Comments: This is far from a bad or flawed wine, but I was left a little underwhelmed given Fox Run's reputation. It's easy to drink, has some nice sweet fruit going on and is super smooth. But, at this price point, I expected a little more.
In researching this wine, it sounds as if the 2001 was a great wine...so perhaps the 2002 just wasn't a superior year.
Lenn's Grade: C+/B-