The wines of New York State: a snapshot tasting of interesting bottles

Dan Belmont had been filming for the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, and in the process had opened some very interesting bottles of wines from New York State. Generously, he put together a small tasting of these wines for others, like me, with an interest in the region. It encompassed wines from all the different areas (the two most significant are the Finger Lakes and Long Island, but we also had wines from the Hudson River, Upper Hudson, Lake Erie, Niagara Escarpment and Champlain Valley), and also covered the hybrid grapes that were the foundation of the region, before Vitis vinifera varieties came along in the 1960s. [For an introduction to the region, see here.]

These are my notes on the wines:


Channing Daughters Rosato Merlot Pet Nat 2019 Long Island
Pale pink in colour, with lovely textured cherry fruit as well as a touch of pear and citrus, with some fine spicy hints. This is pure, with a touch of fine spiciness on the finish. Convincing and fun. 89/100

Hermann J Wiemer Extra Brut Riesling 2017 Finger Lakes
Intense and lemony with zesty acidity. Has some pith and spice here: such lovely fruit expression. It’s distinctively Riesling but with bubbles. Stylish. 90/100

Sparkling Pointe Blanc de Blancs 2017 Long Island
Traditional method. There’s some toasty richness here, as well as some herbal notes. Has lovely fruit and also a bit of savoury interest. Lots of flavour. 88/100

Dr Konstantin Frank Blanc de Noirs 2017 Finger Lakes
Precise with cherry and lemon fruit, and a fine toastiness. Very refined with good acidity supporting the fruit. 92/100

Chepika Catawba Pet Nat 2021 Finger Lakes
Catawba is one of the oldest hybrids (often referred to as a native grape). Highly aromatic with some sherbet notes as well as some lime. Very fruity and zesty on the palate with nice precision, showing lovely pure fruit. Really expressive and delicious, and quite distinctive. 91/100


Red Newt Dry Riesling 2015 Finger Lakes
This shows lovely purity. It’s developing some peach and melon richness and just a hint of toastiness, as well as the trademark lime Riesling notes. Finishes fresh. So lovely. 93/100

Mazza Chautauqua Cellars Gewurztraminer 2017 Lake Erie
This is lovely. Fresh, grapey and expressive with some lychee notes as well as fine spiciness. It’s at the fresher, spicier end of Gewurz and it’s really convincing. 90/100

Wölffer The Grapes of Roth Dry Riesling 2020 Long Island
Intense and vivid with nice depth to the spicy, limey fruit. Quite dry but with lovely fruitiness: this is a powerful expression of Riesling with good acidity and nice structure. So vivid. 93/100

Forge Cellars Classique Riesling 2020 Finger Lakes
Barrel fermented. Stylish and refined with a spicy undercurrent to the bold citrus fruit, showing a twist of melony richness. Lovely concentration of flavour with balance despite the intensity. 93/100

Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Dry 2019 Finger Lakes
This is really expressive with a bold limey core and some nice spicy notes. Really assertive with some herby hints in the background, and finishing with good acidity. 90/100

Nostrano Estate Semi-Sweet Riesling 2020 Hudson Valley
Really lovely fruit here: lemon and melon with some yellow plum, as well as some spicy notes. It’s off-dry and delicious, showing lovely purity. 90/100

Hermann J Wiemer Late Harvest Riesling 2021 Finger Lakes
This is sweet, spicy and intense with lovely citrus fruit and also some melony richness. There’s a lot of concentration here, some spiciness, and superb balance between the sweetness and the acidity. 94/100

Osmote Cayuga Chardonnay 2018 Finger Lakes
There’s a sweet core to this Chardonnay with lovely pear and peach fruit, showing some texture. Then there’s freshness on the finish with lovely citrus notes and even a hint of lemon jelly. 91/100

Wölffer Estate Chardonnay 2020 Long Island
This is bright and expressive with nice white peach and citrus fruit. There’s a slight toastiness. Finishes fresh and vivid with nice acidity. Lovely focus here. 93/100

Nathan K Chardonnay 2018 Finger Lakes
Lovely balance to this Chardonnay with some pear and peach as well as a hint of creamy richness, finishing with some citrus brightness and nice acidity. Very stylish. 93/100

Arrowhead Springs Chardonnay 2021 Niagara
This has lovely textured fruit, with pear, white peach and a touch of honey. Has mid-palate depth and then some freshness on the finish. Nicely balanced. 89/100


Kelby James Russell Cabernet Franc Rosé 2021 Finger Lakes
Pale pink in colour. This has lovely weight with pear, spicy and red cherry fruit. Brilliant balance with some fine spicy notes under the textured fruit. Dry. 92/100

Weis Dry Rosé 2021 Finger Lakes
Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Blaufrankisch. Pale pink in colour. Light and fruity with a touch of sweetness, showing appealing pear, cherry and table grape flavours. 88/100


Benmarl Winery Estate Cabernet Franc 2018 Hudson Valley
Lovely fruity, floral nose with blackcurrant and some chalky, gravelly notes. Lovely fruit on the palate: good concentration with hints of chocolate and coffee under the dense, sweet fruit. Very stylish with nice richness. 92/100

Lamoreaux Landing T23 Unoaked Cabernet Franc 2021 Finger Lakes
A beautiful, light, low-extraction style with fresh red cherry and plum fruit, showing nice texture and some sweet fruit, with some chalky hints. Very refined and expressive. 94/100

Fjord Estate Cabernet Franc 2020 Hudson Valley
This is supple and delicious with nice cherry and berry fruit, with some notes of chalk and spice, as well as a touch of gravel. There’s a plumpness and sweetness to the fruit, but there’s great balance and drinkability. So lovely, with just enough structure. 92/100

Paumonok Cabernet Franc 2019 North Fork of Long Island
Nice intensity here: powerful blackcurrant fruit with some cherry and spice. There’s some grippy structure, too, with nice tannins and some tar and gravel notes adding a savoury underpinning. Lovely fruit expression, and feels quite dry in a good way. This has ageability. 93/100

Macari Merlot 2019 Long Island
Supple and fresh with sweet cherries and blackberries, showing great balance. Has a nice gravelly, spicy edge to the fruit, showing some structure. Very expressive and balanced with lovely finesse. 92/100

Lenz Estate Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Long Island
Very stylish with a gravelly undercurrent to the sweet blackcurrant fruit with some fine spicy hints. Dense and structured, and beginning to develop in interesting ways. Classically styled. 93/100


Weis Heart of the Lake 2021 Finger Lakes
This is made from a hybrid called NY 81.0315.17 that only Weis have. It’s just off-dry with appealing jellyish fruit and some spicy citrus hints. Lovely fleshy, appealing fruit here: pure and melony with nice sweetness. 90/100

Osmote De Chaunac 2020 Finger Lakes
This is joyful. Relatively low in alcohol (9.5% alcohol), it’s fresh with juicy raspberry and cherry fruit showing nice focus and purity. Lovely fruit here, and great balance. 91/100

Meadowdale Winery Blue Jay De Chaunac NV Upper Hudson
Bright and zesty with redcurrant and red currant fruit, as well as a slight meaty hint. Tangy and vivid with nice tart acidity under the fruit. 86/100

Lakewood Vineyards Bubbly Catawba 2021 Finger Lakes
10.4% alcohol. Juicy, bright, fun and off-dry with sweet cherry and redcurrant jelly notes showing a zesty citrus finish, and the freshness enhanced by the bubbles. Such fun with nice purity. Quite fruit juicy. 88/100

Bully Hill Seyval Blanc NV Finger Lakes
Light and fruity with a hint of jelly and some appealing pear fruit. Has nice fruit, but there’s a slight hollowness to it. 84/100

Clover Pond Marquette Reserve 2019 Upper Hudson
This is densely coloured with sweet cherry and blackcurrant fruit, showing good acidity and some nice sour notes on the finish. Has a slight meatiness in the background. Lots of fruit here. 89/100

Hunt Country Uncharted Terroir Vignoles 2020 Finger Lakes
Skin fermented. Distinctive with a spicy edge to the pear and jelly fruit, as well as a touch of citrus. Tangy and spicy. Nice weight here: a really distinctive wine. 90/100

Vesco Ridge Diamond NV Champlain Valley
So distinctive. This is quite funky with some tart acidity and some slightly medicinal notes. Juicy and bright with a touch of cheese on the finish, as well as bright lemony fruit. Quite challenging but has some appeal. 83/100

Find these wines with