Big thanks to Red Tail Ridge Winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York for sending some intriguing samples my way. Also thanks to Lenn Thompson at the New York Cork Report for putting my name in the hat for this opportunity. I’m pretty excited about experiencing more of what this region has to offer based on these initial, uh, offerings. I previously enjoyed the light and easygoing Pinot Noir, but was most looking forward to some wines from their “Obscure Red Varietals Series.”
How obscure is obscure? Well feast your eyes on this:
I’d say for the average wine drinker, Blaufrankisch and Dornfelder qualify as obscure. Hell, they’re pretty damn obscure to me as well. Though I am familiar with Blaufrankisch here in Washington, where it is known as Lemberger. And I have thoroughly enjoyed a German Dornfelder. Ok, maybe I’m not that clueless.
Style-wise, these wines both struck me as very similar: light-bodied, low alcohol (12%) and no detectable oak influence. (Though the wine does spend time in old oak barrels, the oak is unobtrusive. No sweet vanilla extract flavors here. Not that I have anything against vanilla, nor the extraction of it, but I just don’t like it in my wine.) The Blaufrankisch gave me some ginger-y baking spice notes while the Dornfelder was a little more licorice-y. (Sorry to get technical on you with my wine-tasting mumbo jumbo.)
Like the Pinot Noir, these wines would be at their best nice and cool. Stick them in the fridge for a while.
Red Tail Ridge looks like a pretty sweet place to visit. And they certainly are aware of the impact a winery can have on the surrounding environment; in fact, they are the first winery to be LEED Gold Certified in New York State. (You can read all about that and what it means.) They also put together a pretty mean press kit, which may not mean anything to you, but all of these lovely photos of the vineyard are courtesy of them. I can take credit (blame?) for the ubiquitous label shot.
I’d like to leave you with this lovely image of dawn at Red Tail Ridge, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what a nice pairing the wines were with a sausage and mushroom pizza. Here’s a photo provided by me of a pizza I didn’t make, but ate. I will also confess to slathering it with an ungodly amount of Sriracha after tasting the pizza as is with the wines. But un-oaky, low alcohol, slightly chilled reds wines can hang with a bit of hot sauce.