As I have written before (French Lick visit and Vintage Indiana summary) French Lick Winery continues to impress me. Their wines could fit well with much more recognized varieties from more well known regions. I applaud their efforts with dry, red table wines and with unheralded grapes.
Vintage Indiana provided me an opportunity to taste them against their immediate competition and they blew me away. My favorite continues to be the norton but the chambourcin always makes my mouth happy too.
Here are updated reviews for my two favorites.
Chambourcin - non-vintage? The bottling has been vintage dated in the past but this one seems to lack that information. It is possible I missed it, the norton has the vintage in a strange place, see below, but I am pretty sure no vintage appeared anywhere. The back label also says "for sale in Indiana only," which I found interesting (norton has the same caveat.)
The wine shows a great, vibrant purple color with ruby edges. It is bright and clear (not even slightly cloudy) with a hint of cedar on the nose but otherwise fairly mute. The palate has enough fruit to carry it through, with tannin appearing on the finish. The mouthfeel borders on lush but the tannins clip the finish a bit - the lingering impression seems more aromatic than tactile but that flavor hangs on for a full minute after a sip. This wine is not huge or intense or particularly complex but it is a happy drink.
Norton 2009 - You can see the unusual placement of the vintage here.
This wine has an impressive, deep color with a red edge. The nose was a but mute straight out of the bottle but the palate is all there! The nose is subtle fruits - blackberries in a not quite air-tight container(?) - and some vanilla. The oak is not overwhelming despite the obvious appearance of vanilla on the aroma. The palate is medium-bodied but full and rich, engaging the tongue more than the roof of the mouth. Great texture. Again, after opening up a bit, dark berry and vanilla dominate. There is not a whole lot else present but the wine is delicious anyway. I would love to serve this to a cabernet fan and see what they say.
Go see the winery if you're in the neighborhood.
French Lick Winery