Total Pageviews

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some More Shaw Wines - Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon

Last week at Empire State Cellars I got to taste four more Shaw Vineyard Finger Lakes wines.  There’s something I like very much about tasting Shaw wines that’s different from most wines I try at wineries or bottles I’ve been sent.  When I visit a tasting room or receive a sample, what I hear so often is something like, “It’s really young right now.  Imagine what it will be like when it reaches its potential in a few years.”  Yes, it’s normal to have to predict what a wine’s potential is.  But that’s not the case with the Shaw wines I’ve tasted.  They’ve already got some age and they’re already showing what they were intended to be.  And they’re really good representatives of their grape types and they’re very expressive.
First was the 2005 Chardonnay - it’s got some light citrus characteristics but the orchard fruits are much more prominent, both on the nose and on the palate, and just a hint of baking spice.  The effects of the oak contact are lovely - the wine still has a clean feel while showing depth and texture, with that slightly buttery characteristic we’d expect from a Chardonnay that’s had oak contact, but it’s not at all heavy and doesn’t have that excessive caramel characteristic that happens if there’s too much oak.  In short, the aromas and flavors of clean fruit and baked fruit work very nicely together, and the texture and feel of the wine is very appealing.

Next was the 2005 Merlot, with deep red color and characteristics of ripe but clean berry and smooth baking spices, good balance and a nice feel, and a respectable finish.  The wine seems very solid and food friendly.

And then came the 2006 Cabernet Franc.  I’ve mentioned several times in my blog that I’ve never been a fan of East Coast Cabernet Franc even after trying so many over the past several years.  Why?  Well, I don’t care much for excessive green bell pepper characteristics.  And too often, East Coast Cabernet Franc has that characteristic.  So I’m always a bit skeptical whenever I’m about to try a Cabernet Franc.  But then I tried the Shaw Cabernet Franc - and I thought, Hallelujah, a Cabernet Franc I can enjoy!  Lots of fruit characteristics, somewhat bright, with very smooth baking spices, vanilla, a bit of black pepper, and an almost cool earthiness.  Where was the green bell pepper aroma and flavor?  It wasn’t there.  Wow, I thought, as I let it settle on my palate so I could further appreciate the wine’s maturity.  There’s a surprise - no green pepper, no vegetal characteristics - just honest fruit and a really good representation of what I’ve been looking for in an East Coast Cabernet Franc for the past several years.  This would be the very first time that I’d come away from a tasting and decide that the Cabernet Franc was my favorite wine of the evening.

The final wine was the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, another very solid red with fruit, spice, and earth characteristics, nicely balanced, and reminiscent of the Old World style that allows the wine to express its soil and place of origin.

Now that I’ve tasted six Shaw wines, what’s apparent to me is the attention to detail in these wines, proper aging, and as I mentioned in my review of the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, the Shaw wines really are expressive of their “terroir.”
2005 Chardonnay
Planted: 1980 on Keuka Lake
4-6 months in French oak
200 cases produced

2005 Merlot
Planted: May 2000 on Seneca Lake
2-3 tons per acre yield
36 months in French oak
200 cases produced

2006 Cabernet Franc
Planted: 2001 on Seneca Lake
2-3 tons per acre yield
36 months in French oak
2000 cases produced

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
Planted: Keuka and Seneca Lake
2-3 tons per acre yield
36 months in French oak
200 cases produced

No comments:

Post a Comment