Wine Review: 2010 Lamoreaux Landing 76 West

Better late than never is what they say, right? We’re a little late this week, but we’re still sipping! And here’s what’s been in our glasses lately:

Last week, I taught a class at DCanter about wines from New York state. (I gave it the title “New York State of Wine,” which I think amused me more than it did everyone else.)  I am an Upstate NY native. This doesn't entitle me to like NY wine - trust me, there are a lot of things I'm not crazy about, even though I'm from NY (prohibitively high property taxes? outlawing the Big Gulp? Also, everyone is corrupt). But the wine? The wine is fantastic.

The funny thing is, I had a really difficult time convincing everyone else that New York wine would be as good as I told them it would be. That is, until everyone in my class got to personally experience the gems coming out of the Empire state, from the Finger Lakes to Long Island.

One of my favorite vineyards in the Finger Lakes is Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, on the Seneca Lake wine trail. Lamoreaux Landing is a third generation vineyard with 20 different vineyard holdings up and down the lake. And they are making seriously good wine. I actually discovered this wine by ordering it at a local restaurant, where I became so taken with it that I made a special trip out to the vineyard the next day. Now, it’s a yearly stop on my holiday visits back to the Finger Lakes. I taste the new vintages, stock up my own cellar, and buy a bunch of Lamoreaux wines to give as gifts. (If I like you, you get a Lamoreaux wine. If I don’t, you get something else.)

The bottle I opened last week is one of my favorites, Lamoreaux Landing’s 76 West. It’s a Bordeaux-style blend that is primarily Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot added as well. Cabernet Franc grows beautifully in the Finger Lakes, and develops the smoky, earthy complexity that gives this wine texture and depth. A lot of wines on the market are “Bordeaux-style” while tasting nothing like the blends coming out of Bordeaux, but the 76 West is an exception - the wine actually drinks like a young Bordeaux, with notes of black berry, black cherry, cassis, chocolate and earth on the nose and palate. It’s not nearly as tannic and grainy as some young Bordeaux can be, so if you’re craving a French style wine on an American palate (and budget), knock yourself out!

I sipped this lovely little number on it’s own, but it could easily be paired with steak, a rustic pasta dish with meat sauce, or a deep, creamy cheese.

Rating: No, I Won’t Be Sharing. Place of Purchase: the vineyard at Lamoreaux Landing, but you can order it online! Retail price: $25. You’ll like this if you like: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Bordeaux

I’ll be writing more about New York wine in the coming weeks, so pop on some Billy Joel and put yourself in a New York state of mind (an Upstate New York state of wine, to be more precise…!)