Thursday, May 2, 2013

Exploring Wine: Fox Run Vineyards and Finger Lakes AVA

Fox Run Vineyards, Cabernet Franc Lemberger, Finger Lakes, 2009, approx. $15
My rating for this bottle? I would drink a few glasses.

When I saw this bottle at the store I was intrigued by where the wine was produced: finger lakes. There is much attention paid to the power-house wine making regions in California but there are passionate wine producers strewn across the nation. I had no idea there was such passion for it in upstate New York. Also, I've never heard of a Lemberger grape. So I had to give it a try.

Not only is there a passion for wine way up in the Empire State, but the Finger Lakes AVA was approved in the mid-1980s and includes a area of over 2 million acres just south of Lake Ontario with over 70 wineries. The grapes commonly grown here are Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, GerĂ¼rtraminer, Pinot Noir, Reisling, Lemberger, and many Native American grapes (I haven't explored any of these yet!). Here's a little map I drew for you to get your bearings:

Lemberger is a grape grown in Austria, parts of Germany, Washington State, Oregon, and several areas in Eastern Europe. It produces a light red wine with high acidity that actually doesn't grow well in the cold. A seemingly poor choice for upstate New York, known for blisteringly cold winters. Apparently though, the area around the glacial lakes where this AVA is located produces a warmer micro-climate where the grapes thrive. Imagine, a little hot spot on the edge of a glacial lake! Who knew? 

In addition, Fox Run Vineyards practices sustainable growing habits, being careful to disturb the beautiful surroundings as little as possible. If you're interested you can read more about Fox Run's sustainable growing methods on their website. 

Upon opening this bottle and taking a sip, it tasted and smelled like a woodsy fire - smoke, vanilla, earthiness - paired with bright cherries and possibly raspberries. The Cabernet Franc and Lemberger seemed to compliment each other nicely to produce a well balanced, medium bodied wine. I drank it by itself, but it would pair well with grilled food like kebobs, burgers, or even s'mores! If there was a wine to bring on a camping trip, this would be it.

I'm glad I took a chance on a new growing region, vineyard, and grape. I'll be adding this one to my regular rotation.

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