Orange Wines in the Finger Lakes: What Was Old is New Again

Across the Finger Lakes, creative winemakers like August Deimel, Katey Larwood, Steve Shaw, Peter Becraft, Vinny Aliperti and others are employing traditional techniques with well-known grape varieties to produce innovative, new wines. Frequently referred to as “orange” or “amber,” these new wines are challenging establish perceptions of mainstay wines made from varieties such as chardonnay, gewurztraminer, vignoles and even riesling — the iconic grape of the region. What the wines have in common is that they are white wines that utilize extended skin contact during maceration and subsequent fermentation. This approach represents a major deviation from winemaking practices commonly employed…

Billsboro Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc

Billsboro Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc ($25) is ripe and fruit-forward on the nose with cherry and plum aromas that stay this side of jammy and accents of tobacco, baking spice and dried herbs. The first sip is a bit disjointed and almost comes across as hot (an indicator of higher alcohol that isn’t balanced) but with some air that fades and this medium-bodied, ripe-but-not-too-ripe red settles in with red and black fruit notes that are tinged by toasty vanilla oak-born spice and a bit of brown sugar. Structure is provided by juicy acidity rather than the tannins, which are soft and rounded. On…

Billsboro Winery 2012 Pinot Noir

Billsboro Winery 2010 Pinot Noir ($25) offers aromas of black cherry sprinkled with potpurri, root beer and smoke and toasted oak that is just a little distracting. The fresh, nicely concentrated palate brings more cherries — black and maraschino — a bit of chocolate and subtle. It’s less oaky than the nose and has soft, supple tannins and a nice bit of juicy acidity. Producer: Billsboro Winery AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12.5% Price: $25 (sample) (3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)