Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finger Lakes Winery Report - Penguin Bay Winery, July 2008

As part of the Peterson family’s trio of wineries, Penguin Bay is the young and upcoming star this year, winning a substantial number of Gold and Double Gold medals, including 2 best white wine of shows at International Wine Competitions with their 2007 Gewurztraminer. Don’t get me wrong, Penguin Bay's sister wineries Swedish Hill and Goose Watch are also winning their share of medals, but Penguin Bay has always seemed to be the ugly duckling of the three. But within the last several years, the name and label have been revamped with the “cute animal” Flying Penguin label and the quality of the wines has improved dramatically. In the past, they have focused primarily on “Champagne” and Sparkling Wines, but their wine list now boasts an array of red and white still wines. Here are my tasting notes:
> Pinot Noir Brut Rose Champagne, $18, very dry but also very fruit forward with abundant sparkling cherry and strawberry flavors. I often find dry champagnes very flavorless, but this one brings the flavor!
> 2006 Rose’ of Chambourcin, $11, Beautiful salmon pink color, This is dry, but again, great fruit extraction with delicate berry flavors mingling with the bubbles into a lingering finish. And a great value at $11.
> 2007 Gewurztraminer, $17, This wine has won 2 best White Wine of Shows in the last several months. Overall, the ’07 Finger Lakes Gewurz’s that I have tasted have been fantastic with BIG aromas and Bold but smooth spice, perhaps even the best year ever for Finger Lakes Gewurz! This Gewurz shows lovely floral and citrus blossom aromas, this is a dry wine, but with delicate honeysuckle flavors on the front end with smooth cinnamon and allspice hints on the finish, this one’s not as big as some I’ve tasted but it is nuanced and elegant.
> Blanc de Blanc Champagne, $13.99, semi-dry with light lemon citrus overtones and good structure, a solid Cayuga White sparkler.
> 2006 Valvin Muscat, $15, one of the newest grapes from Cornell in a sweet dessert wine, tangerine with honeyed nutmeg highlights, finishes with that inherent herbal spice quality that I’m still not quite sure if I’m fond of, But this is my favorite Valvin Muscat out of the ones that I’ve tasted.
> Golden Spumante Champagne, $12, made from my beloved Diamond grape, yes I will bore you one more time with the story of how I accidentally made a Sparkling Diamond wine that (in the bottles that we salvaged that did not explode), tasted very similar to this Golden Spumante, splashes of baked apple and light orange citrus pirouette among the bubbles and dance like frantic Irish clog dancers across your palate!

- On another note, I have an announcement. I am proud to announce that I will be writing a monthly Finger Lakes column for Mountain Home magazine starting with the August issue. Mountain Home is a well-respected regional monthly that features articles about the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York. Mountain Home magazine is available free every month in many of the wineries in The Finger Lakes and many other locations in PA & NY.
- I forgot to mention in my last news and notes post that THE PORT IS BACK at Lakewood. And it’s every bit as good as the ’05. Lakewood bottled 750 cases, but it will go fast, so get yours soon.
- Also, Alta B Day at Wagner Vineyards is this Sunday, July 27. It is their annual celebration in memory of Alta Button Wagner featuring entertainment on the brewdeck from 1:30 to 4:30 pm by The One Man Band, Peter Haskell with Door prizes and Wine specials with the lowest pricing of the year on many wines. One day only, 10am - 5pm.

1 comment:

maurice said...

I was at Penguin Bay last month and at that time they were selling their Chardonnay at half price. They told me they were clearing out their oaked Chardonnay in favor of an all stainless steel fermentation for future releases. I picked up a couple of bottles and wished I had gotten more.