24 Red Wines from New York State
Little known fact: New York is the No. 3 wine-producing state in the U.S., according to the Wine Institute. With five diverse wine growing areas, 1,631 vineyards and 390+ wineries calling it home, it should be no surprise that the Empire State has been named Wine Enthusiast's Wine Region of the Year.
Ranging from earth- and cherry-flavored Cabernet Franc to a variety of blends, New York's red wines run the gamut in flavor and quality offerings. Step out of your West Coast comfort zone and seek out these selections, a mere fraction of the offerings coming from this red-hot wine scene.
—Anna Lee C. Iijima
Heron Hill 2011 Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes), $16; 90 points.
Layers of mushroom, savory spice, and earth lend depth and complexity to luscious red raspberry and cherry flavors in this complex, standout Cabernet Franc. Tart cranberry cuts through the supple and silky palate, leading to a cool, mineral finish. —A.I.
Damiani 2011 Reserve Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes), $43; 88 points.
Brambly raspberry and tart red cherry abound on this juicy Cabernet Franc. It’s lushly textured and bold on the palate, but brisk acidity keeps it refreshingly drinkable. The finish is moderately long, with delicate, lingering tannins. —A.I.
Fox Run 2012 Reserve Cabernet Franc (Seneca Lake), $45; 88 points.
Tart red cherries mingle with notes of warm toast, cedar and menthol in this bold, richly bodied Cabernet Franc. Bright cranberry notes cut through the midpalate, which is fringed by fine grained tannins, leading to a lingering hint of savory umami on the finish. —A.I.
Knapp 2012 Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes), $17; 88 points.
There’s a lingering vein of crushed granite that persists throughout this bright, invigorating Cabernet Franc. Tart red cherry and cranberry flavors are deep and concentrated on the palate, and lead to a fringe of delicate tannins on the finish. —A.I.
Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2010 Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes), $19; 86 points.
Scents of cedar and forest floor linger prominently throughout this delicately fruity Cabernet Franc. Tart cranberry and sour cherry flavors keep the round palate crisp and elegant. —A.I.
Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2010 Merlot (Finger Lakes), $19; 86 points.
A faint whiff of herbs linger from nose to palate, adding earthy complexity to tart sour-cherry and cranberry flavors. It’s crisp and invigorating, but a little restrained in character. Finishes on a pleasantly tannic, brambly note. —A.I.
Fox Run 2012 Merlot (Finger Lakes), $23; 86 points.
Shades of golden toast and crushed granite lend depth and complexity to crisp red cherry flavors in this unusually brisk, sprightly Merlot. Refreshingly quaffable, a fringe of soft tannins linger on the short finish. —A.I.
Keuka Spring 2011 Merlot (Finger Lakes), $19; 86 points.
Vanilla and baking spices waft amidst ruddy, ripe black fruit on this rich, luscious Merlot. It’s straightforward and plummy in flavor profile, but finishes nicely on a brambly, softly tannic note. —A.I.
Damiani 2011 Merlot (Finger Lakes), $23; 85 points.
Tart, crisp cranberries and cherries lend a cool, brisk feel to this light-bodied Merlot. It’s refreshingly quaffable but feels shy and overtly restrained. —A.I.
Knapp 2012 Merlot (Finger Lakes), $17; 85 points.
Crisp red cherry and berry notes on the nose become increasingly ruddy and ripe on the palate of this soft, medium-bodied Merlot. It’s pleasantly juicy, but whiffs of ramp and dried savory herbs are a distracting contrast. —A.I.
Billsboro 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Finger Lakes), $28; 88 points. Fresh, herbaceous green notes waft from nose to finish on this elegantly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon. Succulent, ripe plums and cherries add suppleness and body, but it’s kept in check by brisk acidity and a lingering mineral finish. —A.I.
Knapp 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Finger Lakes), $19; 88 points. Ripe, rich black cherries and berries are accented by layers crushed stone on this elegant Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh fruit concentrates the palate, but it’s brightened by a jolt of acidity and fine, lingering tannins. —A.I.
Damiani 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Finger Lakes), $25; 86 points. While the nose on this Cabernet Sauvignon seems ripe and rich, with plump black berry and cherry aromas, the palate is surprisingly brisk and cutting. It’s refreshing and easy drinking, but finishes a bit abruptly on a fringe of soft, delicate tannins. —A.I.
Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Finger Lakes), $20; 85 points. Aromas of mocha and chocolate waft sweetly from this ripe, easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavors of fleshy black plum and cherry are soft and plump, but refreshing acidity kicks on the midpalate. The finish is swift, with soft, wispy tannins. —A.I.
Lieb 2007 Meritage (North Fork of Long Island), $35; 88 points. A spray of fragrant cherry blossoms lifts aromas of ripe black plum, toast and mushroom on this lush, layered red. Big, slightly scratchy tannins line a palate that’s ripe with fruit, yet nuanced by earth and bramble. It’s bold and unctuous through a moderately long finish. —A.I.
Knapp 2012 Meritage (Finger Lakes), $25; 87 points. Sour cherry and plum blossoms waft amidst notes of granite and bramble on this light-footed Meritage. Made up of equal parts Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the palate is juicy, with cranberry flavors touched by clove and cedar. Finishes moderately long. —A.I.
Cereghino Smith 2012 Eaten by Bears (New York), $19; 86 points. Luscious aromas of blackberry and blueberry pie filling are touched by hints of tar and crushed stone on this bold, ruddy blend of Syrah and Petit Verdot. Ripe black cherry and berry flavors are straightforward, but juicy and pleasurable. It finishes with a kiss of heat. —A.I.
Fox Run 2012 Cabernet Franc-Lemberger (Finger Lakes), $18; 86 points. Hints of cedar and bramble lend warmth to fresh, juicy red cherry on this crisp, medium-bodied red. A racy blend of Cabernet Franc and Lemberger, it’s forward and primary in style, with a brisk, easy finish. —A.I.
Hudson-Chatham 2011 Empire Reserve Red (New York), $25; 85 points. Ruddy, primary red cherry and berry notes persist from nose to finish on this blend of Baco Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Ripe black-fruit flavors are fleshy and ripe on the palate, but demure in concentration and length. —A.I.
Other Red Wines
Billsboro 2012 Pinot Noir (Finger Lakes), $24; 90 points. Notes of violet, preserved plums and cherries persist throughout this lush, concentrated Pinot Noir. It’s medium-bodied in style, with crisp acidity, yet the palate seems to build in richness and body. The finish brings elegant, fine-grained tannins. —A.I.
Whitecliff Vineyard 2012 Reserve Gamay Noir (Hudson River Region), $21; 90 points. Granite and red cherry notes are reminiscent of fine Beaujolais in this surprisingly tasty Hudson River Gamay. Cranberry and cherry flavors are tangy and revitalizing, nuanced by fresh herbs and leaves. It’s elegant and sprightly through a moderately long finish. —A.I.
Fulkerson 2013 William Vigne Zweigelt (Seneca Lake), $18; 89 points. While blackberry and cherry notes are lush and ripe on the nose, this Finger Lakes Zweigelt is surprisingly elegant on the palate. Sour cherry and tart plum flavors are concentrated and juicy, but lively in feel. The finish is extended by a fringe of fine, polished tannins. —A.I.
Tousey 2012 Pinot Noir (Hudson River Region), $26; 88 points. Fleshy, ripe black cherry notes persist throughout this bold, robustly concentrated Pinot Noir. It’s unrestrained in it’s fruity, forward style, but touches of menthol and bright sour-cherry acidity lend balance. The finish is moderately long, with a touch of heat. —A.I.
Fox Run 2012 Lemberger (Finger Lakes), $20; 86 points. Cedar shavings and golden toast waft over delicate black cherry on this brisk, light-footed Lemberger. Succulent berry flavors are demure, but peek out shyly through layers of bramble and green leaf on the palate. —A.I.