Keuka Lake Vineyards Vignoles 2013

Like other French-American hybrids, Vignoles departed France long ago, and is now grown mainly in the United States.  The biggest producer is Missouri, followed by New York and the midwestern states.  In a cool (cold) climate, Vignoles has many advantages.  It buds out late, ripens fairly early and is cold hardy.  It is a sugar-making machine, and thus suitable for sweet and dessert wines.  Best of all, the grape retains a great deal of acidity, giving its “stickies” good snap.

In the Finger Lakes, Vignoles is usually quite sweet.  Some sweetness in Vignoles is required, to balance the high acidity of the grape.  But off-dry to medium dry wines work too, and the Keuka Lake Vineyards “Gently Dry” Vignoles (Finger Lakes, NY) 2013 $15 [Very Good] falls into this category, “gently dry” being a euphemism for “medium-dry” — dry for this grape that is.  While many Vignoles wines can be simply “too much,” the relative dryness of this wine and its earthy elements provide restraint, greatly enhancing the wine's drinkability and appeal.

Yellow/gold in color, the Keuka Lake Vignoles has a dense & almost buttery nose, with aromas of musky peach, pineapple, melon and wisps of citrus.  Earthy notes moderate the wine’s fruitiness, and there are hints of honey.  Medium to full bodied, medium-dry, with substantial acidity, this Vignoles is somewhat viscous and decidedly mouth filling.  The flavors are loaded with sappy peach, pineapple, lemon oil and melon with undertones of wet earth.  The finish is pleasantly tart and zippy, with a little metallic tang and very good length.  Sappy peach flavor lingers.  This fairly big wine is best with food.  September 2014

Note:  Vignoles was originally called "Ravat 51" after its creator J.F. Ravat.  It was renamed by the Finger Lakes Wine Growers Association in 1970.


© Douglas Hillstrom 2014