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Monday, December 19, 2011

Shaw Vineyard 2007 Pinot Noir

A couple of weeks ago I admitted that I had never tasted a wine from the Finger Lakes region until I tried a Sauvignon Blanc from Shaw Vineyard and really enjoyed it.  Over the weekend I got to try another wine from Shaw, the 2007 Pinot Noir.
I’ve mentioned before that I had been spending much more time lately trying Old World wines, and my reasons being that I had been disappointed by a great many American wines from several regions, and also because of my general preference for Old World style wines.  So many of the American wines I’ve tasted have been too “big” and catering to the notion that bigger means better, and others have been thin, or lacking in expression, depth, or complexity.  Sure, there are many American wines that I really enjoy and many American producers for whom I have great respect (as evidenced in many other blog posts), but there had been so many disappointments lately that I directed almost all of my attention to Italy, France, Spain, and Germany.
And then I tried that Shaw Sauvignon Blanc and was very impressed, so I was really excited to taste the Pinot Noir, which would be the first red from the Finger Lakes that I’d ever try.  And I was even more impressed with the Pinot - and it seems I have a new favorite East Coast Pinot Noir now.

Shaw Vineyard 2007 Pinot Noir

True, Shaw’s wines are reminiscent of Old World wines and I appreciate that style, but the expressiveness of the wines allowed me to perceive something different in them, different from other American wines - and I realized why it was different.  The two Shaw wines I’ve tasted express the terroir, and since I’m generally unfamiliar with Finger Lakes terroir, I believe that’s what was unrecognizable and fascinating for me, and that’s one of the reasons why I found something different and unique in those two wines.  For me, it’s essential that a wine show me its identity, and that’s exactly what happened, especially with the Pinot Noir.
The Pinot is a fairly bright red with a clear rim and looks beautiful in the glass and the decanter.  The characteristics include bright but very smooth red fruit, especially cherry, cinnamon spice and a touch of vanilla, nice earthiness, and a wonderful balance with a smooth texture that leaves the palate feeling very clean, and a long finish that shows a lot of cherry and some more of that spice.

2007 was an excellent year for Finger Lakes reds with a dry spring and summer and an extended growing season, and this much was evident in that Pinot.
Some more information on the Shaw Vineyard 2007 Pinot Noir:
300 cases produced 
36 months in French oak
Harvest date: early October 2007
Brix at harvest: 22.1
Tons per acre: 2.5
Seneca Lake Appellation
50% estate fruit, 50% leased acreage


  1. I work for Steve Shaw at Shaw Vineyard and I couldn't agree with you more. Do yourself a favor and keep trying his wines, especially the reds. You won't regret it.

  2. Thanks so much for the feedback, I hope to try more Shaw wines; so far I think they’re fantastic.