New York State (4) Fulkerson Winery

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New York State (4) Fulkerson Winery

Steven Fulkerson

The Fulkerson family have quite a history. The name itself is uniquely American, but the family have dutch roots. They came to the USA in 1680 and helped establish new Amsterdam, owning a farm on what is now Manhattan.

We met with the engaging Steven Fulkerson. One of his ancestors, Caleb, fought in the revolutionary war. He signed up at age 14, then was captured and held in NY city for a winter, then marched back to New Jersey and signed back up. Eventually, the family settled in the Finger Lakes, and carry out what Steve describes as grape-centric winemaking.

Red Zeppelin: a popular sweet hybrid-based wine

The farm currently has 110 acres of grapes planted. Sayre Fulkerson, Steven’s dad, graduated from Cornell in 1975 and then worked at Glenora Cellars. In 1979 he bought the Jensen juice plant from Glenora, and began a successful business selling grape juice to home winemakers, a business they continue to this day. The winery opened in 1989, and production has grown to 13 000 cases. Steven also graduated from Cornell with a Viticulture and Enology degree, and since 2015 has been GM.

Most of their focus and income is on the sweet hybrid wines which they make ‘because people want them,’ says Steve. The hybrid wines are actually pretty well made, and good examples of their type.

Fulkerson Syrah Rosé 2017 Finger Lakes
Bright pink. Very crisp and fruity with nice red cherry, raspberry and citrus fruit. Has good acidity and a twist of sweetness. Crisp and very tasty in a commercial style. Exuberantly fruity. 87/100 ($15)

Fulkerson Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 Finger Lakes
Slightly creamy with nice citrus, red cherry and pear fruit. Juicy and a bit creamy, finishing dry with an appealing sweet fruit character. 85/100 ($14)

Fulkerson Muscat Ottonel 2016 Finger Lakes
Fruity and expressive with nice sweet grape and citrus fruit. There’s a slight pithy edge. Juicy and nicely weighted with good density. 87/100 ($17)

Fulkerson Dry Riesling 2017 Finger Lakes
Tight, fresh, light and lemony with a slight pithiness. Simple and well made with nice acidity. 86/100 ($14)

Fulkerson Gruner Veltliner 2016 Finger Lakes
Fruity and a bit pithy. Clean and simple with nice pure citrus and pear fruit and a fine, spiciness. 85/100 ($14)

Fulkerson Reserve Riesling 2016 Finger Lakes
Dry and citrussy with nice concentration and nice fruity intensity. Dry with a lively personality. Nice weight. 87/100 ($15)

Fulkerson Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Finger Lakes
Lively and grassy with simple, light citrus fruit, a hint of green and nice acidity. Clean, dry and crisp. 87/100 ($17)

Fulkerson Pinot Noir 2013 Finger Lakes
Light, supple and juicy with a savoury spiciness. Has some cedar and herb characters. Savoury style with a bit of grip and spice on the finish. 85/100 ($18)

Fulkerson Vincent 2011 Finger Lakes
Teinturier variety. Lively with high acid. Smoke, earth and spices. Some herby notes. There are some notes of mint and earth, too. Disjointed. 80/100 ($11)

Fulkerson Red Blend NV Finger Lakes
Noiret/Cabernet Franc blend. This is 2017 but not labelled. Juicy and bright with nice cherry, raspberry and citrus fruit. Sweetly fruited with nice peppery hints. Supple and drinkable. Lovely fruity style. 87/100 ($13)

Fulkerson Lemberger 2016 Finger Lakes
Supple, rounded and sweetly fruited with a hint of vanilla. Soft and fruity with nice weight. Easy and balanced. 86/100 ($19)

Fulkerson Syrah 2017 Finger Lakes
Fresh and supple with a bit of spicy bite under the juicy, supple raspberry and cherry fruit. Bright with a bit of structure. Nicely fruity in style with no oak. 86/100 ($20)

Fulkerson Reserve Syrah 2016 Finger Lakes
Oaky and spicy with a bit of chocolate, coffee and tar. Nice dense fruit with a sweet edge and a bit of grip. 87/100 ($25)

Fulkerson Zweigelt William Vigne 2016 Finger Lakes
Get the grapes from a farmer down the street. The label commemorates William Vigne. Manhattan was a natural port for Europeans coming to buy beaver pelts. They paid good money for beaver pelts for felting by hatters. They used liquid mercury to do this. The hatters would then go home and ingest mercury and going insane, thus the term mad as a hatter. Supple, peppery and spicy with nice raspberry, cherry and herb notes, and a nice cedary twist. Very attractive. 88/100

Fulkerson Matinee 2016 Finger Lakes
Himrod. 9% alcohol, 70 g/l rs. Spicy, a bit minty, grapey and sweet. Really vivid with some ginger notes. Jellyish, fruity and tasty. 88/100

Fulkerson Diamond 2017 Finger Lakes
Moors Diamond is the variety. Complex, weird, lively, spicy and sweet with nice bitter herb hints and melon and spice notes, too. Very lively and expressive. Has lots of flavour. 87/100

A recipe for a Diamond-based cocktail

  • 1 oz tequila
  • 1 oz sour cherry juice
  • Fill with Sparkling Diamond

Fulkerson Sparkling Diamond NV Finger Lakes
Carbonated. 60 g/l sugar. Very fruity and lively with nice sweet, tangy, spicy fruit. Grapey and rich with some spiciness. Has nice acid bite. Very appealing. 88/100

Fulkerson Pink Moscato 2017 Finger Lakes
57 g/l sugar. Centennial was the name for this before. Vanessa Seedless, other seedless varieties, made in a moscato style. Sweet with some strawberries. Tastes like nice fruit juice. Very easy low alcohol style. 86/100

Fulkerson Sunset Blush NV Finger Lakes
Catawba, 50 g/l sugar. Off-dry, nice freshness, some sweet grapey fruit. 84/100

Fulkerson Airship White NV Finger Lakes
Niagara grapes. 65 g/l sugar. Really intense, jellyish, some petrol, some ginger. Very distinctive. Complex and spicy with a bit of grip. 83/100

Fulkerson Red Zeppelin NV Finger Lakes
Catawba plus others. 80 g/l sugar. Juicy and jellyish with strawberry and raspberry. Fruity and attractive with a confected character. 84/100

Fulkerson Vidal Iced Wine 2014 Finger Lakes
189 g/l sugar. Artificially frozen. Complex and intense with nice spice, herbs and marmalade with some herby notes. Concentrated and dense with lovely spicy detail. 91/100


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