New York State (5) Glenora Cellars

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New York State (5) Glenora Cellars

Glenora is one of the wineries that was established as a result of the Farm Winery Act in 1976, which made running a winery a possibility for smaller operators.

Winemaking is in the hands of Steve di Francesco makes the wines here and also at Knapp, which is part of the same group. They also own a third winery, Chateau Lafeyette Renaud.

The winery was started in 1977. At that time it was the only winery on Seneca lake. Of the new generation of wineries, it was one of the first alongside Dr Frank. ‘Prohibition set the New York wine industry on its heels,’ says owner Gene Pierce. ‘When prohibition ended the federal government gave the states the right to choose their own regulation. California was very liberal, but New York was extremely restrictive: you still can’t sell wine in grocery stores.’

Niagara, a hybrid
Niagara leaves

The winery has expanded from 15 000 cases in 1987 to a current level of close to 45 000 cases.

‘When we first started in 1977 there weren’t restaurants in the area and there were few lodging facilities,’ says Gene. ‘So when people came here they were looking for dining and lodging operations.’ Glenora have a hotel attached to the winery.

Vinifera plantings
Schist soils

‘The region is still growing,’ says Gene. ‘We’re still seeing people becoming involved. There are planting, especially more specialized plantings, involving vinifera.’ But he adds that it is challenging for many wineries. ‘A lot of the market is still cellar door or regional. Most of us have very little impact on metropolitan areas such as New York City.’

We walked through the vineyards and had a look at some hybrid plantings (Niagara, in this case). They look very different to vinifera.

The wines here are solidly good, and a few are very good indeed.

Glenora Blanc de Blanc 2014
This is fresh and fruity with a hint of pithiness. Has a slight salty edge with nice lemony brightness. Pure and fruity. Has a subtle herby edge. 87/100

Glenora Brut NV
Cayuga. Transfer method. Fruity, bright and a bit pithy with a sweet edge to the lively pear and grape notes. 86/100

Glenora Brut 2013
Pinot and Chardonnay, traditional method. This has generosity and lovely palate weight with sweet pear, citrus and some appley notes. Good purity and some juicy fruitiness with a touch of toasty development. 90/100

Glenora Dry Riesling NV
11.5% alcohol. 12 g/l sugar. Lively and fruity with a slightly limey edge. Has some sweetnees to the fruit. Generous and rounded with a fresh finish. Supple and with a sweet grapey finish. 88/100

Glenora Dry Riesling 2017
12 g/l sugar. Lovely balance here. This has good concentration with the sweetness balanced out by high acidity. Citrussy and a bit pithy with a limey kick and some lemon curd sweetness. Nicely intense. 90/100

Glenora Riesling 2017
36 g/l sugar. Lovely off dry style with a slight waxy, spicy edge to the sweet pear, apple and melon fruit. Lively acidity is nicely countered by the sweetness. A full flavoured fruity style. 90/100

Glenora Pinot Blanc 2016
Fermented in stainless steel and concrete egg. This has a lovely delicacy with fine texture and a bit of stoniness. There’s delicacy and finesse here with a supple personality and rounded fruit. 90/100

Glenora Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2017
35% stainless steel. Stony, nutty with some vanilla hints and a bit of spiciness. Supple and rounded with nice tangerine hints. Fresh style. 87/100

Glenora Seyval Blanc 2016
Some oak chips used. Fruity, lively and stony with sweet citrus fruit and bright acidity. Some sweetness on the finish. Lively fruity style. 85/100

Glenora Yellow Cab NV
A blend between Cabernet Franc and red hybrids (the hybrid depends each year). Fruity and supple with a juicy, jellyish edge to the berry fruits with a bit of sweetness. Fruity and easy with a short finish and a hint of bitterness. 82/100

Glenora Cabernet Franc 2016
A blend of five vineyards. Supple and balanced with nice sweet, fine-grained blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Smooth and quite polished. Well made, ripe and quite easy. 88/100

Glenora Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Fresh with nice sweet blackcurrant fruit (tannins, enzymes and French oak powder at the crusher). Supple, fresh and balanced with nice structure and focus. Has lovely pure fruit here. An easy, fruity style with good balance. 89/100

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