Red wine and heavy petting

In the realm of hubba hubba, a promise can be as exciting as the act itself; a glimpse as pleasing as the full money shot. A notion, after all, gets the juices flowing.

This sort of downplayed foreplay is a reason I love red wines from the Finger Lakes. Vintners of the FLX leave the bombast to their West Coast peers and practice a more nuanced come-hithery. It’s a pretty wink, a European come-on. Subtly fruity, even tangy, these New Yorkers flirt with the palate and leave plenty of room for imagination and food.

76 West from Lamoreaux Landing

The temps of late April had worked me into a New York state of mind, and I soon was making a move on a bottle I first sampled last summer at Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars – a red meritage blend called 76 West, 2007 vintage.

From first pour, I thought the wine might have thinned. Maybe it was in a shut-down mode? Later, given a couple hours of air, it opened up to me. It’s a lighter bodied blend with an alluring nose, flush with raspberry and spice, maybe a splash of root beer. The under ripe dynamic I love so much (imagine the tang of a firm plum) was in full display. The manageable 12.8% alcohol level makes it a cinch for sipping or for lighter proteins. My only knock would be the clipped finish that follows the full flavors of the initial, um, kiss.

Finger Lakes grapes

On the shore of Seneca Lake last year, Lamoreaux’s winemaker, Josh Wig, told me to keep an eye out for the region’s 2010 reds. The hot growing season promised “amazing” yields, he said. Then again, such California-leaning weather undoubtedly drove the alcohol levels and expanded the fruit’s ripeness, nudging it closer to Russ Meyer dimensions. Will an added “tart factor” (and I’m not talking about the pucker that results from sucking a lemon) accentuate or homogenize the Finger Lakes’ product? I look forward to finding out.