By Richy Petrina of Ithaca Wine Ventures
It is easy to love Pinot Noir wines. Even the most forgettable examples are usually quite pleasant, like happy trees painted on canvas without a care in the world. Pinots are often pretty, fruit-driven, and make most people smile.
The most coveted come from Burgundy, but there are many other fine examples around the world at various price points. For my two cents, I’ve always placed Oregon’s Willamette Valley above California’s Sonoma Valley, due to–generally speaking–less oak, lower alcohol, and higher acidity.
In the Southern Hemisphere, I love New Zealand’s relaxed cooler-climate Marlborough expressions and their much bolder style of Central Otago.
Back in France, beyond Burgundy—especially if price is not a factor—I would choose a Rosé Champagne. Made primarily from, or sometimes all, Pinot Noir, it is the ultimate way to enjoy this grape.
In the Finger Lakes, we are fortunate to have many well-crafted examples, even though it is one of the more difficult and finnicky thin-skinned varietals to master in the vineyard. Our wines tend to be focused, structured, and easy-to-love. And when all the stars align and things go right, you occasionally end up with awesomely complex wines like this one.
Buttonwood Grove’s Reserve is gorgeous. In its youthful stage right now it is bursting with flavors of ripe cherries and spice. Over time I’d expect the brightness to settle down a bit, making room for the underlying notes of leather, tobacco, chocolate, and dried tea leaves.
All the estate-grown grapes were harvested on September 26, 2017, macerated for four days, and aged in a mix of new and used French oak for 15 months.
To pair with the wine, we prepared a simple winter-inspired dish of pork schnitzel, mashed potatoes, and pickled red peppers. If it had been an aged Riesling or dry Gewurztraminer, I would have substituted some citrus-infused apple sauce instead of the peppers. Regardless, this wine loves food and can be extremely robust in how it’s served.
There were only 150 cases of this vintage produced, and until it sells out it can be ordered directly from the winery. If you have or are starting to build a collection, this is absolutely the kind of wine you can pick up a six pack of today and open a bottle every other year or so, tasting its evolution along the way.
Richy Petrina founded Ithaca Wine Ventures in June of 2019 to elevate and amplify the region and its exceptional producers. The startup’s latest project, WINEcsa.org, is a wine club from the Finger Lakes featuring a different winery each month, with local drop-offs and nationwide shipping.