Wine Review: Ox-Eye Lemberger Shenendoah Valley 2014

ox eye lembergerSome people won’t try it because they think it’s a stinky cheese.  Thus, some wineries use the Austrian/German name, Blaufränkisch, so some people won’t try it because it sounds too foreign. At any rate, this is a varietal that is only occasionally planted in the U.S. because selling it is like trying to sell a bag of rocks.  That’s a shame because it makes a very nice, wine—earthy, spicy and capable of being big and fruity like Zinfandel or soft and more delicate like Pinot Noir. I had several good ones when visiting the Czech Republic where it’s called Kekfrankos, and when I see it in the U.S.  I almost always buy it.

This one is from a small, family run winery in Staunton, Virginia.  Aromas of spiced, black cherry and intense black pepper highlights are accompanied by a mineral seam. The medium-bodied palate opens with a cherry core wrapped in mineral notes melded together by resonant acidity than brings out cranberry as it evolves. The silken texture is punctuated with prickly, peppery sensations that blend elegance with vitality and zip leading to a balanced, medium length finish. The oak influence is subtle and subdued, the tannins firm but not too prominent.

For Virginia, Ox-eye’s vineyards are in a relatively cool, dry area of the Shenandoah Valley and resting on Limestone soil, a seemingly good match for this grape.

A fun, flavorful wine from a varietal that doesn’t get enough attention.

Score: 89

Price: $20

Alc: 13.2%

You want spicy? Like Santana at Woodstock?

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