The Tavern is well known for its long selection of aged Finger Lakes wines. Lenn and I have both written about it in the past. The good news is that the Tavern has ideal storage and a staff that pledges to taste the wines periodically to make sure they're still showing well.
But this most recent visit revealed an even longer - and frankly, more bizarre - list than I remember seeing at the Tavern.
Start with the by-the-glass list. The Tavern was pouring Glenora 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, Dr. Frank 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, and Fox Run 1997 Lemberger by the glass! And that's just the start. My wife ordered a Hermann J. Wiemer 2003 Dry Rose that was, sadly, extremely tired. I tried the '97 Lemberger and also found it sluggish and muted, but not at all oxidized. It defines the notion that wine can hang on with age if not necessarily improve. However, a glass of Chateau Lafayette-Reneau 2002 Riesling was wonderful and fresh.
Then we turned to the bottle list.
The list of eye-raising old wines is too long to lay out fully in this space, but I'll list the most confounding:
*Glenora 1988 Cabernet Sauvignon for $149
*Prejean 1995 Marechal Foch
*Glenora 1996 Petite Sirah for $68
*Fulkerson 1997 Vincent
That last wine is a Tom Mansell special. Hey Science Ed, will you go try out that Vincent in the name of research?
I'm not saying these wines are all dead. But the track record of Marechal Foch or Vincent or Finger Lakes Petite Sirah might not lead most experts to expect much out of them. I hope I'm wrong. The Tavern is always a treat, thanks to this quirky list that seems to grow ever quirkier with age - perhaps like a fine Finger Lakes Foch.