On my most recent trip to the Finger Lakes, I had the opportunity to taste wines from Hector Wine Company and Forge Cellars. Assistant Winemaker and Marketing Guru, Alexandra Doniger, led me through a comprehensive tasting of their wines in the Hector Wine Company tasting room located on the east side of Seneca Lake in Hector, NY.
Hector Wine Company is a new producer in the Finger Lakes that opened during harvest 2010. It is owned and operated by Jason Hazlitt, Viticulturist and Graphic Designer, and Justin Boyette, Winemaker. According to the company’s website,
The grapes are harvested from neighboring Sawmill Creek Vineyards, Jason’s family business with a rich history of growing exceptional Vinifera and hybrids. Justin, with more than a decade of wine making experience from several Finger Lakes wineries, creates distinct, well balanced and complex wine with these grapes. All aspects of production, from press to bottle, occur on-site; fostering the ideal that a world class wine is handled by its makers from start to finish.
Forge Cellars is a partnership between the aforementioned Justin Boyette, Winemaker; Louis Barruol, Vigneron and Proprietor of Château Saint Cosme in Gigondas in the Rhône Valley of France; and Rick Rainey, the French/Domestic Brand Manager and Sales Educator for Winebow Inc., a wine importer and distributor. Forge Cellars focuses on making two wines, Riesling and Pinot Noir, and the goal is “to make the best Riesling and Pinot Noir possible from the Finger Lakes of New York.” (About Forge Cellars)
I had the opportunity to taste Hector Wine Company’s 2012 Dry Riesling, 2011 Gewürztraminer, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 pre-release Pinot Blanc, 2011 Essence (red blend), and NV Late Harvest Chardonnay, as well as Forge Cellars’ 2011 Riesling and 2011 Pinot Noir Les Alliés. We also tank tasted Hector Wine Company’s 2012 Gewürztraminer and barrel tasted the 2012 Syrah. I found the wines to be outstanding examples of the varieties, with the characteristic acidity of the Finger Lakes that I have grown to love.
My favorite white wine of the tasting was the 2012 Hector Wine Company pre-release Pinot Blanc ($20). Interestingly, not many wineries in the Finger Lakes make Pinot Blanc, but I have found it to be a variety that does well in this cool climate area. This Pinot Blanc is fruity and light with an earthy, spicy finish.
My favorite red wine of the tasting, and the only red wine I purchased on this trip, was the 2011 Forge Cellars Pinot Noir Les Alliés ($32). It is French in style and reflective of its Finger Lakes’ terroir, with aromas and flavors of dark fruits, earth, smoke, and spice.
On Saturday, May 25 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., Finger Lakes Wine Month concludes with Finger Lakes Wine Hour, The World’s LARGEST Finger Lakes Wine Virtual Tasting via Facebook and Twitter! During this event, I will be tasting Hector Wine Company’s 2011 Gewürztraminer again along with other samples. I hope you will join me for this comprehensive tasting of Finger Lakes’ wines.