By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief
If the growing conditions are borderline for syrah on Long Island, it seems that they'd be even more challenging in the Finger Lakes, a cooler region with a shorter growing season.
Still, people are growing it and while most of it probably ends up as rose, some are making interesting wines. And, in the best years, in the best locations, the wines can clearly be better than interesting -- including this Atwater Estate Vineyards 2007 Syrah ($32).
You may remember when Atwater's winemaker, Vinny Aliperti, called this out as his favorite from the winery's portfolio at the time. He only made 113 cases, so it's no where near available on Long Island or even in New York City.
Luckily, Vinny sent me a bottle to try.
By the way, it's not on the label, but this is our second wine reviewed this week made from Sawmill Creek Vineyards fruit.
Aliperti made this wine because they planted syrah at Atwater a few years ago and he wanted to "get acquainted with Finger Lakes syrah" before the new vines produce wine-worthy fruit.
Intense fruit explodes from the nose -- blueberry, plum and blueberry compote -- with black pepper, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla and subtle minty complexity.
Black plum, blueberry and light prune flavors are lush and mouth-filling with the black pepper spice a nice layer beneath, along with some coffee, chocolate and a little meatiness. The ripe, soft tannins could be a bit more substantial, but the finish lingers nicely.
Producer: Atwater Estate Vineyards
AVA: Finger Lakes
Production: 113 cases
Rating: (3 out of 5 | Recommended)