As a prelude to NiagaraCool, which is less than a week away, I decided to open the famed Goosewatch Diamond (non-vintage) Finger Lakes table wine that I received as a gift from Howie (thanks, Howie!). This is my very first time trying a varietal Diamond - a grape that's also been variously called "Diamond" and "Moores Diamond" in the grape literature.
The label bears no vintage at all, but I reckon that the wine must have come from a distinct vintage ... I mean, does anyone hold onto their Diamond crop and then blend different vintages? Methinks not. In any case, it might just be a peculiarity of the "table wine" category, though I've never been one to bother memorizing the fine print behind these things.
The synthetic cork was removed with ease. I stuck my nose into the open neck of the bottle and was greeted with the most opulent super-ripe pineapple-candy nose you can imagine. As I poured the wine into the glass, it looks positively viscous and I remember reading on the winery's website some time back that it has 5.8 g/l residual sugar if I'm not mistaken - now that is a decidedly sweet labrusca table wine.
Brilliant, clear, straw colour with a golden-greenish glint. Viscous appearance. Some latent carbonation at the bottom of the glass. Massive candied-pineapple, fruity nose, very prominent and forward, with some classic labrusca petrol/diesel coming in right behind (the same kind I get in Niagara, only it's less forward in the Diamond). The petrolly pineapple thing is really big here. Crisp acidity on the entry ... but then a viscous sweetness. Flavours follow through onto the mid-palate. Sweet and warm, balanced alcohol, but just way too sweet for me. The sugar gets annoying - I could do without it. No candied musk on the finish as with Niagara; the finish is sugary and somewhat short. The most intensity comes through on the nose and mid-palate, but it rapidly flares off after that, leaving a sugary aftertaste.
Now, I don't want to climb onto the bloody pulpit here (tip of the hat to our TomHill), but I think I'm going to. Just for a little wee bit.
I frankly think that they could have made the wine bone dry and it would have been better off for it. I'm sure the target market likes it just the way it is and, well, what can I say - I definitely subscribe to a different philosophy. My philosophy is unshakably firm: no off-dry labrusca wine, how ever pure it has been, has ever convinced me that it was the correct way to go. I find that dry labrusca, properly vinified, cold stabilized and properly sulfited, needs nothing else; it is always crisp, clean, bright wine with verve. Sweet labrusca, when not cloying, edges toward a tackiness that I can't abide; a crowd-pleasing, non-geeky style that I can't get enthusiastic over.
That said, I am grateful to you, Howie, for giving me this much-spoken-of wine. I really appreciated the introduction to the grape, even if I am at deep philosophical odds with the vinification style.