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Fox Run Vineyards Meritage 1998

Bordeaux Red Blends from New York
  • WS85
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

A deep, concentrated aroma of cherries, plums and raspberries is augmented by smoky oak notes. Densely packed flavors on the palate, along with firm tannins, make this wine exceedingly age-worthy.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 85
Wine Spectator
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Fox Run Vineyards

Fox Run Vineyards

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Fox Run Vineyards, New York
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Winemaker at Fox Run since the summer of 1995, Peter Bell shares owners Scott Osborn and Andy Hale's conviction that the Vinifera revolution is still a young one. With proper clone and rootstock selection, trellising systems and cellar refinements, the world will begin to take notice of the superior wines of which the Finger Lakes region is capable. Born and raised in Canada, Bell began his winemaking career in Australia, where he earned a degree in Enology at Charles Stuart University in New South Wales, where he also worked in the school's own winery. Upon graduation he became assistant winemaker for Hunter's Wines in New Zealand, producing Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc and experimenting with Pinot Noir. Leaving New Zealand, he turned down offers from Portugal and British Columbia in favor of the natural beauty and outstanding potential of the Finger Lakes. For five years he was winemaker at Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars on Keuka Lake where he made a number of award-winning wines. For Bell, the flip side of laissez-faire winemaking is the risk involved. The art is to know when not to do something to the wine, to apply a sort of benign neglect, yet to be ready to intervene when a hands-off approach would be disastrous. He describes himself as "extremely fussy" about hygiene -- "spoilage organisms are invisible and ubiquitous" -- and about minimizing oxygen contact, especially with aromatic wines, during racking, filtration, and bottling.

New York

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An often-overlooked wine-producing state that has recently begun to garner widespread attention, New York trails significantly behind California and Washington in volume produced but is ahead of Oregon. The vast majority of its produce is dedicated to large-scale production of wines made from Vitis labrusca and French-American hybrid varieties, like the common table grape Concord. The quality of New York’s best wines, however, should not be underestimated. Divided into six AVAs—the Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, Hudson River, Long Island, Champlain Valley of New York, and Niagara Escarpment, which crosses over the borders into Michigan as well as Ontario, Canada—the state experiences varied climates, but in general summers are warm and humid while winters are cold and can carry the risk of frost well into the growing season.

The Finger Lakes region has long been responsible for some of the country’s finest Riesling, and is gaining traction with elegant, light-bodied Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Experimentation with cold-hardy European varieties is common, and recent years have seen the successful planting of grapes like Grüner Veltliner and Saperavi. Long Island, on the other hand, has a more maritime climate influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, and shares some viticultural characteristics with Bordeaux. Accordingly, the best wines here are made from Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Niagara Escarpment is responsible for excellent ice wines, usually made from hybrid variety Vidal.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

CSF24075_1998 Item# 18078