Friday, July 20, 2007

2005 Presque Isle Wine Cellars Noiret™ (Pennsylvania)

The 2005 Presque Isle Wine Cellars Noiret™ from Pennsylvania was a revelation when I recently tasted it at the annual NiagaraCool wine picnic in North Tonawanda, New York. I fully concur with the official description of the wine: it is very peppery and meaty, and is genuinely a hybrid that makes a completely vinifera-like red wine. Had I not known what I was trying, my first guess would have been Blauer Zweigelt from Austria for the peppery spice and the deep, dark cherry-ruby colour (something that would have ruled out Blaufränkisch – also known as Lemberger – for me, since it doesn’t usually get that dark despite the similarity of aromas). My second guess would have been a locally produced Syrah from an exceptional vintage. Noiret™ has a fully vinifera-like aromatic and flavour profile and has vinifera-like tannin structure too; this is contrasted by the traditional hybrids, which produce wines with acid-defined structures and minimal tannin. I believe that this grape, once it becomes more widespread in the Northeast (and possibly in Canada, should wineries here take note of its potential) might finally bridge the wide divide between the vinifera and old-line hybrid schools of thought – simply because, although it is a hybrid and amenable to our terroir, it possesses the familiar flavours of classic Old World varieties that don’t require what is an uncomfortable paradigm shift for significant numbers of wine fanciers. Click on this link (it leads to a PDF file) to learn more about this new-generation hybrid grape.

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