One of our favorite discoveries has been the Pestoni Family winery, and their Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Founded in 1892 and now managed by brothers Andy and Greg Pesonti. The Pestoni Howell Mountain Cabernet is 100 percent estate grown on organic vineyards, at elevations that ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 feet. The rocky volcanic soils and weather conditions are challenging, but worth the extra effort as the vineyards produce wines with outstanding flavor, intensity and aging properties.
Susan King, Sommelier, tasting notes:
This 2013 vintage wine is aging exceptionally. It has a deep and concentrated dark bramble and dried blueberry notes with mocha and earthy qualities. No guess work as to where this Cabernet Sauvignon was grown. The structure and body of this wine speak of the Howell Mountain Appellation. This is an age worthy wine but also drinkable today. Pair with Prime Rib, or Filet Mignon with Black Pepper. This is a special bottle of wine, that celebrates a special evening.
The Finger Lakes region of New York State is, without question, the premier growing area in the United States for the noble Riesling grape. Forge Cellars' first vintage was in 2011, and they have amassed a litany of positive press since then, making the Top 100 List of Wine Spectator last year with their Riesling Classique (Winemaker Louis Barruol had the distinction of landing two wines in the Top 100 – the Forge Riesling at #31 and his Ch. de St. Cosme Gigondas at #5!)
Forge Cellars is made up of three like-minded and passionate friends with a common goal: to grow grapes and handcraft wines of interest and value that perfectly balance minerality, aromatics and fruit to reflect the exceptional Finger Lakes terroir. Each vintage is viewed as an opportunity to express the region — to reflect its soils, its cool climate and hillside lake terroirs.
Forge Cellars represents everything I and DouxVin love about wine – family owned estates, meticulous winegrowing and winemaking; organic farming and every single aspect is performed by hand – harvesting, sorting, pressing…everything.
The winery produces three Dry Rieslings. The Classique is their most important wine, and speaks of the terroir of East Seneca Lake, the style of Forge and the pure expression of each vintage. The Single Vineyard wine is a selection of a specific barrel lot where the vintage and the vineyard come together to express something special. The Les Allies is the result of meticulous barrel selection, where individual wines have evolved under natural, slow fermentation to reveal a unique personality and character.
2016 Forge Cellars Riesling Classique: bright medium gold. Lime zest, peach and fresh pear aromas segue to beautifully crisp, clean palate that focuses on ripe lime and mandarin flavors. This is indeed dry, with a refreshing minerality and lots of back-end depth. An outstanding Riesling that would pair well with Asian flavors and smoked salmon or trout.
2015 Forge Cellars Riesling Sawmill Creek Vineyard: only 100 cases produced of this terroir-driven wine. Medium gold, this has notes of dried honey and hazelnuts, with apricot and lime on the palate. Again, absolutely dry, with a rich mouthfeel framing steely minerality. This would pair well with fish dishes like trout or swordfish.
2015 Forge Cellars Riesling Les Allies: bright gold, with yellow highlights. This has notes of golden apple and tangerine, with an nice almond blossom overtone. This is brilliantly focused, with lime and tangerine flavors and a hint of nectarine. Again, bone dry, and that racy minerality lasts throughout the long finish.
These wines are stunning examples of Dry Riesling made with meticulous care. They are eminently drinkable today and will reward 3-5 years of cellaring, where their complexity and depth will emerge even further.