New York Wines (18) Thirsty Owl, Finger Lakes

The origin of Thirsty Owl was 200 acres of land belonging to Bob and Mary Plane who were instrumental in pushing for the NY Farm Winery Act, which made it feasible for grape growers to open wineries back in the 1970s when the dominant big companies were dropping contracts. They were grape suppliers, and after the act passed they opened a winery called Plains Cayuga Winery, now known as Cayuga Ridge. Their children didn’t have much interest in this so they opted to sell. Someone purchased the winery which left 150 acres of unplanted land. In 2001 Ted Cupp purchased these 150 acres, with 300 feet of lake frontage on Cayuga Lake. The Cupp family started planting more vines – mainly vinifera. They now have 43 acres of vines.

Production is now around 15 000 cases annually. They use predominantly Hungarian oak for the reds.

Thirsty Owl Pinot Noir 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
Aged 15 months in Hungarian Oak. Supple, light, grainy with a savoury edge to the cherry fruit. Quite herby, cedary and savoury. 85/100

Thirsty Owl Syrah 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
Very well made with nice sweet raspberry and cherry fruit, with a hint of pepper and a smooth, sweet palate. Lovely fruit here: a real crowd pleaser. 87/100

Thirsty Owl Trilogy 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
Mainly Syrah with Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Nice focused sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit with a bit of grip. Good structure here with sweet, pure fruit. Nice ripe, fruity style. 88/100

Thirsty Owl Meritage 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a splash of Malbec. Dense with good concentration and nice sweet, grippy fruit. Fresh, pure blackcurrant and cherry fruit with good structure. Attractive with lovely fruit. 89/100

Thirsty Owl Malbec 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
Primary and fresh with lovely grippy structure and hints of pepper, as well as sweet cherries and plums. Some raspberry here. Lovely vivid style with a bit of grip. Polished but with nice edge to this. 90/100

Thirsty Owl Chancellor 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
French American hybrid from the 19th Century. Juicy and lively with a bitter sour cherry edge and high acidity. Nice structure here with raspberry and cherry notes. A little bitter but with nice fruit. 87/100

Thirsty Owl Dry Riesling 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
5 g/l residual sugar. Bright, fresh and juicy. Dry with nice clean citrus fruit. 86/100

Thirsty Owl Chardonnay 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
pH 3.7 yet 7.35 g/l acid, 14.5% alcohol. Aged with stainless steel with staves added for the last five months. Fresh, light and with pear and green apple fruit, plus some vanilla sweetness and a hint of cream under the fruit. 82/100

Thirsty Owl Pinot Gris 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
Fruity and attractive with notes of grape and citrus, with a zippy, lively finish. Nice weight in the mouth. 87/100

Thirsty Owl Riesling 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
18 g/l residual sugar. Zesty, bright and lively with pure citrus fruit and a bit of sweetness. Very clean and fruity. 86/100

Thirsty Owl Traminette 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
8 g/l residual sugar. Sweet and grapey with some lychee and herb character. Has a bit of grapefruit on the finish, as well as some jelly notes. Attractive. 84/100

Thirsty Owl Vidal Blanc 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
20 g/l residual sugar. So zesty and bright with a bitter pithy edge and some herbal notes. Quite unusual with very high acidity offsetting the sugar. 82/100

Thirsty Owl Semi Sweet Riesling 2016 Finger Lakes, New York
32 g/l sugar. Fruity, jellyish and bright with vivid citrus notes as well as some honey and melon. Quite a rich style with a pure fruit focus. Zesty acidity on the finish. 86/100

Thirsty Owl Diamond 2017 Finger Lakes, New York
67 g/l residual sugar. Sweet but refreshing with powerful grapey notes, as well as a bit of muskiness on the finish. It’s quite unusual, but has some appeal. 83/100

Thirsty Owl Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine 2015 Finger Lakes, New York
173 g/litre. Red brown colour. Intense and vivid with strawberries and rasperries, as well as some raisin notes. Very sweet with a hint of toffee. Rich and sweet but quite balanced. Hints of mint and earth on the finish. 89/100

Thirsty Owl Vintae 2014 Finger Lakes, New York
Port style wine infused with a raisin liqueur then aged 39 months in Hungarian oak. Mint, spice and herbs here with some raisin and spice notes. Bold and rich with nice spiciness and hints of chocolate. 87/100

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NEW YORK STATE WINE

FINGER LAKES

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