Monday, July 23, 2007

2 More Finger Lakes Wineries Open Their Doors

Imagine Moore Winery

Tim Moore, owner of the new Imagine Moore Winery in Naples NY, has realized his lifelong dream of opening his own winery and he is certainly well-qualified. Tim is a graduate of U.C. Davis and has worked around the world in the wine industry, but his "day job" overseeing Vineyard Operations with a company you may have heard of called Constellation Brands brought him to the Finger Lakes and this is where Tim is putting down roots.

Tim's vision for Imagine Moore Winery is to be a winery that makes superior wines and does it by being environmentally-friendly, emphasizing sustainable farming practices, and even going so far as to use recycled wood from old homes nearby in the building of the tasting room and using lead-free organic inks on his colorful bottles.

Tim, along with co-owner and wife Diane and Finger Lakes tasting room veteran Mike Johnson have created a unique tasting room experience, from the cozy and artful decor to the very cool stemless wine tasting glasses that you get to keep with a tasting ($3 for tastings, 4 wines right now, but more on the way). You can feel the passion and vision that this team puts in to every aspect of Imagine Moore, and especially in the wine. Here are my tasting notes:

2006 Peace- Pinot Gris: .4%RS, $16.99, in New French Oak for 2 weeks then finished in Stainless, Very Soft mouthfeel with rounded green apple and citrus tones and finishing with the perfect touch of vanilla and subtly spicy oak.

2006 Joy- Dry Riesling: .6%RS, $14.99, 1st vintage of grapes from new vineyard, very fresh and floral aromas, Once again very soft mouthfeel with rounded citrus tones and long but subtle mineral finish that just melts into your mouth.

2006 Love- Semi-Dry Riesling: 3.0%RS, $14.99, Again that very soft mouthfeel (In all of the Finger Lakes Riesling I've tasted, I don't remember any other Finger Lakes Riesling being this soft and rounded- Tim attributes it to the low yield from the new vineyard). It has an amazingly soft and delicate texture, but it doesn't sacrifice fruit with velvety peach and honeyed citrus highlights.

2006 Change- $11.99, 88% Cabernet Franc & 12% Corot Noir (one of the new grape varieties from Cornell). This is 2006 fruit using carbonic maceration (click here for info on carbonic maceration) in a Beaujolais style, Soft berry fruit with a hint of pepper and a little edginess at the finish, perhaps from the Corot Noir.

Coming within the next month are new bottlings of 2006 Cab Franc (labeled Wisdom), a 2006 Cab/Syrah blend (labeled Synchronicity), and a semis-sweet 5.5% RS Cayuga/Traminette blend (labeled Harmony). The website at will be up soon.

Keuka Lake Vineyards

Mel Goldman, owner of the newest winery to open on Keuka Lake (aptly named Keuka Lake Vineyard), has always admired and respected the small farmer. So after retiring from his life in International Development which took him all around the world to Nepal, India, Korea, South America & Europe, Pittsburgh-born Goldman decided that farming would be a suitable and noble pastime for his retirement.

With degrees from MIT and Princeton, he certainly had the ability to learn new skills and, through a fortuitous series of events 15 years ago, he ended up purchasing a vineyard right smack dab in the middle of Finger Lakes Rieslings' birthplace and neighboring the venerable Dr. Frank. But Mel, who is a self-taught winemaker (which it seems is rare and refreshing in this day) is not intimidated by his well-known neighbors because he likes to do things his own way.
For instance, tell him that a Dry Vignoles or Dry Delaware won't work, and he'll prove you wrong.

Mel has spent the last 10 years selling his grapes to top Finger Lakes wineries and now it's his turn to taste the fruit of his labor. In fact, Goldman's vision is to be a small batch (1500 cases this year) estate winery focusing on high quality Rieslings (of course) and top-notch food-friendly Vignoles (what's that you say? - but sweet Vignoles is how its always been done). Don't tell that to Mel. He has proof that top restaurants will buy and serve his Dry Vignoles...Because They DO! And a Dry Delaware sounds like the ultimate oxymoron, but you'd be the moron not to try it!

Here are my tasting notes:

2006 Dry Riesling: $15.00, .45%RS, Crisp and clean with lots of that classic Keuka mineral and a hint of spice at the finish, sort of similar to his famous neighbor and that's saying a lot.

2005 Dry Vignoles: $13.00, 1.0%RS, Rounded lime and lime zest with a long dry finish. A unique Dry Vignoles and it really works. I'll drink it with Mrs. Wino's famous pork tenderloin.

2005 Delaware: $10.00, the label says semi-dry, but a Delaware at 1%RS is Dry in my book. I got a little sweet banana & petrol on the nose, very soft and subtle pear and light tropical fruit, but still crisp and clean with a touch of good petrol at the finish, a very complex Delaware, this is not your Father's Delaware but a Delaware that wants to be taken very seriously. And an excellent value at $10.00.

2005 Leon Millot: $12.00, This grape was a new one for me, so it was Appellation America to the rescue with info, it seems this grape was popular in France as a way to deepen the color of Pinot Noir but now the French have all but banished it. Mel actually inherited these 50 year old experimental vines on his property planted under the direction of none other than Charles Fournier of Gold Seal fame. 1 year in French Oak, clean and balanced with dark berry fruit balanced with oak.

With Finger Lakes winery veteran Sharon Morrell overseeing the tasting room and Mel at the helm of Keuka Lake Vineyards, expect the unexpected and don't be afraid to try something a little different. You just might like it.
In closing, I just have to say that the quality of the new wineries opening in the Finger Lakes is truly excellent and, just when you think that it's all been done and how will a new winery ever be able to differentiate itself from the herd, people like Tim Moore and Mel Goldman come along and wow us by putting their unique spin on Finger Lakes wine. It surely bodes well for the Finger Lakes region.


Kathleen said...

Thanks for the update! I am excited to try the new wines.
Albany, NY

Jason Feulner said...

I was surprised to learn of two more wineries after noting, online, the recent addition of three others! This inspired another entry on LENNDEVOURS concerning the rapid growth of the Finger Lakes wine industry.

Great field reporting--I wish I was going up and down the shores of the lakes as often as you!