I managed to motivate myself to Astor Wines last Saturday for a 10 winemaker event representing the natural wines of Jenny and Francios. This store has thrown down some large tastings in the past and I was looking forward to this one. While I'm not one to complain or tell a store how they should run their business, but I thought that Astor just didn't take advantage of the colossal space they have. They put three winemakers at their new tasting bar and the other seven shoulder to shoulder at one not so long table. It wasn't a recipe for a personable wine tasting that invites questions and conversation. Anyway since I don't speak French I probably wouldn't have learned much anyway.
While I was there I had to pick up a couple bottles. In my search for cool climate grape based wines, I chose a Lemberger from Washington State vineyards that Dr. Vino has recommended in the past. My addiction to south american wines lured me into buying a cheap Syrah from Uraguay as well. It wasn't more than two days later I had gone through both and now I can't wait to get my hands on one of them again.
Jed Steele bottles his Yakima Valley Lemberger (aka Blaufrankisch) in California under his Shooting Star label. Finding the name to be lacking in marketability, he choose the Blue Franc title and included a French Franc note to grace the bottle. I've had a couple bottles of Lemberger recently, one from Austria and another from the Fox Run Winery in the Finger Lakes.
Ruby red color. Earthy aromas of red berries and spice. Juicy mouth feel with supple tannins. Very soft and round. This really reminded me of Cab Franc on the nose and Syrah in flavor with Carmenere like sweet tannins. Anyone who reads this blog should know this is the kind of wine I would get excited about. The finish is average, and I think the lack of oak limits the length, but the ripe fruit and spice make up for it. My grade: A-
Only my second wine from Uruguay, this bottle was only $7 and I figured it was worth a shot. The other wine I had from this country was a Tannat and Cab Franc based blend. It wasn't anything to write home about so my expectations for this one in the same price range weren't high.
Smoky dark fruit aroma and purple in color. The flavor was similar to an over ripe Merlot and extremely one dimensional. Slightly acidic with obvious heat on the finish. I didn't even come close to finishing this wine. My grade: C-