New York State (7) Anthony Road, Finger Lakes

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New York State (7) Anthony Road, Finger Lakes

Anthony Road Vineyard was planted on Seneca Lake in 1973 by the Martini family. The winery as it is now owes its existence to two events. First, John Martini worked in the food lab at Cornell in Geneva, where he met lots of wine people, and so he decided to grow grapes for the Taylor Wine Company. His wife Ann took care of the grapes.

Peter Becraft, winemaker, Anthony Road

Then, the Taylor wine company were bought by Coca Cola and started bringing in grapes from California. As a result, relationships got rocky with many of their Finger Lakes growers, and with the passage of the Farm Act it meant that many were able to start their own wineries. Eventually, the Martinis decided to go it alone and in 1989 they incorporated as a wine company, and this was their first vintage.

Peter Becraft in the Anthony Road vineyard

‘This is a unique area in that you can find every family of grape grown, from vinifera, to natives, to hybrids,’ says Peter Becraft, winemaker, who we visited with. ‘This is probably what drives critics and writers zany because of the lack of focus, But if you want to taste the family of grapes this is the place to do it. They are part of the history, and there are still some sophisticated wines to be made from natives and hybrids.’ He adds, ‘I think there is a place for hybrids. It is a struggle to grow grapes on the east coast. It is humid, and there’s a short growing season. And what happens during the winter can dictate what happens in the growing season.’

Lemburger, aka Blaufrankisch

Currently, around 200 tons are processed through the winery each year. The soil types vary. Most is Honeoye silt loam, but within a block because of the glacial activity you can have lots of shale, or clay, or gravel. It really differs over a short distance.

Vinifera as it looks here, on this quite fertile site
Vignoles, a hybrid
The distinctive look of hybrid vines

But the main focus is on Riesling. ‘The Finger Lakes is the premier Riesling region in the USA,’ says Peter Becraft. ‘It’s what brings people here.’ Anthony Road are one of the three wineries to partner in the collaborative Riesling project Tierce, along with Fox Creek and Red Newt.

Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Lemberger 2014
Supple and bright with some autumnal hints. Fine grained gravelly structure with a savoury character and a bit of lift. Supple and quite elegant in style with a sweet, spicy finish to the brambly fruit. Understated. 87/100 ($22)

Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Lemberger 2015
This has a nice supple, sweet red cherry and raspberry character. Fresh, pure, open and supple with nice elegance. Direct but understated with lovely pure fruit. Has a little spicy, peppery bite on the finish. Quite Pinot like in its elegance. 91/100

Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Lemberger 2016
Light and expressive with nice juicy supple cherry fruit with some herbiness. Light and expressive with notes of herbs and tar and a bit of sappiness. Some hints of undergrowth. Some elegance here. 89/100

Anthony Road Rosé 2016
70% Cabernet Franc with Merlot and Lemberger. Juicy and lively with bright fresh citrus fruit, with some orange peel and cranberry notes. Has a little sweetness. Bright, lively and appealing. 87/100

Anthony Road Rosé 2017
100% Cabernet Franc. Lovely supple green edge to the raspberry and cherry fruit with a bit of pear and citrus. Supple and delicious with good weight. 88/100

Anthony Road Unoaked Chardonnay 2016
No malolactic, no barrel. Lovely balance here with nice focused citrus and pear fruit. Clean, pure fruit flavours with good acidity. Linear, bright and focused with good weight and a subtle spicy finish. 90/100

Anthony Road Unoaked Chardonnay 2017
Youthful and primary with bright citrus fruit and a nice keen acid structure. Linear and a bit flinty with nice focus and freshness. Currently very tight. 89/100

Anthony Road Skin Ferment Chardonnay 2014
This is fermented on skins and then moved straight to stainless steel. It’s very appley and lively with good acidity and lemons, nuts and wax. Lots of intensity and complexity. Has a little grip on the finish. Intriguing in an oxidative style. 90/100

Anthony Road Pinot Gris 2016
5 g/l rs. Good concentration here: lovely melon, pear and table grape with a bit of citrus bite. Nice weight with some fruit sweetness. Slightly salty, too, with lots of flavour. 90/100

Anthony Road Pinot Gris 2014
8 g/l rs. Rich, vivid and intense with a lively grapefruit edge to the sweet pear and table grape flavours. Good acidity and a hint of marmalade on the finish. Very Alsace in style with lovely depth to it. 91/100

Anthony Road Barrel Ferment Pinot Gris 2016
Complex, spicy and quite savoury with appealing grape and citrus fruit. Some nuts and spice, too. Lovely weight and balance to this with nice concentrated flavours. Harmonious. 92/100

Anthony Road Riesling Dry 2016
Pure, lively and intense with nice lemon and lime. Citrussy and refined with a hint of sweetness filling out the mid-palate. Attractive fruity style with nice finesse. 90/100

Anthony Road Riesling Dry 2015
Focused, citrussy and intense with lemony fruit and lovely focus. Bright and expressive with refined fruit and good acidity. Quite dry. 91/100

Anthony Road Riesling Dry 2014
Subtle herby edge to the lean, taut lemony fruit. Bright and linear with keen acidity. Very taut and focused showing precision and detail. 90/100

Anthony Road Skin Ferment Riesling 2014
Grippy and nutty with a herby edge to the citrus peel, lemon and pear fruit. Savoury and detailed with a bit of grip on the finish. Savoury style with some sweetness countering the structure. Marmalade and honey on the finish. Long finish. 89/100

Tierce is a collaborative Riesling project with Fox Run and Red Newt – with the aim of bringing together three different expressions of Seneca Lake – the wines are mixed at blending stage. ‘The project started in 2004 as a way to taste our friends’ Riesling,’ explains  Peter Becraft.

Tierce Riesling 2008
Lively, bright and intense with apricot, lemon and marmalade flavours. Fine and expressive with piercing acidity but it integrates well with the nice grippy citrus fruit. Developing nicely. 91/100

Tierce Dry Riesling 2010
Lively, spicy and vivid with crisp citrus fruit. There’s nice weight here, and good balance, with subtle honey, stone and nut notes sitting under the citrus fruit, with a twist of apricot exocitism. Pretty and expressive, and developing very well. 92/100

Anthony Road Art Series Riesling 2013
Intense and dry with a subtle creamy twist to the citrus fruit nose. Wax, nuts and spice here with lovely intensity and keen acidity. Very mineral with some textural dimension, too. Focused and fine with a lovely long limey finish. 93/100

Anthony Road Art Series Riesling 2014
Bright and supple with a twist of sweet lime as well as a core of lemons, nuts and green apple. Has a very bright, lively finish with nice mineral intensity. Lovely precision. 92/100

Anthony Road Riesling Semi Dry 2017
16 g/l sugar. Very attractive off-dry Riesling with melon, pear and even a twist of nectarine. Rounded and harmonious with lovely balancing acidity. Has lovely richness of fruit here, kept fresh by lemony acidity. 90/100

Anthony Road Sparkling Riesling 2014
Traditional method, disgorged after 2 years on lees. 16 g/l dosage. This has toast, honey, pear, grape and spice with a bit of citrussy bright. Has quite a bit of sweetness. Unusual but appealing. 88/100

Anthony Road Riesling Semi Sweet 2017
Sweet, simple, a bit herby, juicy and lemony with some melon richness. Sweetness is well countered by the acidity. 88/100

Vignoles is the only hybrid grape grown on the farm. It’s the oldest vines from the original vines on the farm planted in 1974. High sugars and high acids, and susceptible to rot.

Anthony Road Vignoles Grey Series 2016
Supple and fruity with a hint of apple and some pear fruit, too. Has some sweetness, but also good acidity. Fruity, clean and lively. 87/100

Anthony Road Vignoles 2015
Sweet, fruity and jellyish with nice exotic fruity notes. Has quite a bit of sugar. A pithy edge, too. 85/100

Anthony Road Vignoles 2016
Fruity, rich, honeyed and a bit spicy with sweet melon and tangerine notes. Rich and exotic with a sweet finish. 87/100

Anthony Road Martini Becraft Selection Vignoles Berry Selection 2015
Rich, viscous and concentrated with lovely weight. Sweet, spicy and complex with apricot and sweet pear fruit. Lovely spicy complexity here, with the intense sweetness and good balancing acidity. Lovely botrytis character here. 93/100

Anthony Road Riesporter 2014
Skin ferment Riesling with spirit added after fermentation. 18% alcohol. Savoury, nutty, spicy with a bit of grip. Has some sweetness but also some savoury notes. Unusual with lovely intensity and detail. 90/100

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