Some brief thoughts on Willow Creek (Lake Erie region, NY)

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Some brief thoughts on Willow Creek (Lake Erie region, NY)

Postby Paul B. » Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:21 pm

Some time back, I received a Willow Creek Dry Concord as a gift, but have miraculously been able to keep my hands off it all this time. Lately I've been feeling the bug again, and will likely open it soon, but hopefully in the right company. Having such a rare wine - commercially produced, at that! - makes me want to tread very carefully: you see, I don't want this opportunity to go to waste.

As I understand it, the wine was made by Jeff Murphy of Johnson Estate ... though I'd be happy to have anyone correct me if that is in fact not the case.

One reviewer has already posted a short review of this very wine at this website.

My suggestions to the fine folks at Willow Creek at this time are:

1. Keep the torch burning. This is the first explicitly dry Concord that I've seen commercially produced and labelled as such. It's time to start setting a precedent - I really feel that people are ready for positive change in the way that wines are made from our native varieties.

2. Consider putting vintage dates on the label, even if regulations don't explicitly require them. Even a perenially pungent variety like Concord experiences vintage variation that is perceptible in each year's wine.

And, by the way: I really like the nicely designed, non-kitschy label. Bravo again.

My own review should be forthcoming in the near future!
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Re: Some brief thoughts on Willow Creek (Lake Erie region, NY)

Postby Ed Draves » Wed Jul 26, 2006 4:00 pm

Yes, Paul it is that Jeff Murphy. He is doing some amazing things at his wineries. I hope you provide full WTN's for the wine.
Is the vintage variation in Labrusca as noteworthy as Vinifrea?
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Re: Some brief thoughts on Willow Creek (Lake Erie region, NY)

Postby Paul B. » Wed Jul 26, 2006 4:08 pm

Ed Draves wrote:Is the vintage variation in Labrusca as noteworthy as Vinifrea?

Ed, I'm glad to hear it's Jeff. Over in Tyler's review, when the gang was down at Johnson Estate, I noticed in a photo of the wine list that they had used the term, "American Heirloom Wines" - again, thankfully saying the right things about these varieties. Obviously, Jeff is moving in a progressive direction and I'm happy to see it.

Vintage variation certainly affects labrusca - my Concord from '04 was abysmal compared to the wonderful '02 that I was able to make ('02 was a really good vintage in Ontario and the grapes were chock full of pigment, had great acid balance and depth of flavour). In my experience, vintage and terroir variations definitely produce perceptible differences in the resulting wines.
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