Though on the oakier -- and pricier -- end of the Finger Lakes Blaufrankisch spectrum, the Heron Hill Winery 2008 Blaufrankisch ($35) is worthy of a taste when you visit their tasting room with stunning views of Keuka Lake.
Not content making a juicy, fruity, peppery wine, the folks at Heron Hill always push the envelope with this grape.
At first, the nose seems like it will be dominated by chocolate and smoky oak, but those aromas don't completely obscure those of red cherry, cranberry, black pepper, clove, tarragon and mint.
Hefty on the palate, and a bit more overtly oaky, the smoke, vanilla and chocolate character pushes the red fruit to the background just a bit. Good acidity keeps it lively and there is just enough fruit to retain varietal correctnes through the oak.
The long finish shows layers of spice, vanilla and just a bit of sweet cedar.
This is a wine that makes me wonder what it could be like with just a bit less time in barrel.
Producer: Heron Hill Winery
AVA: Finger Lakes
(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)