2017 Heron Hill “Reserve” Pinot Noir, Finger Lakes, New York (Alcohol 13%, Residual Sugar 0%) LCBO Destination Collection $38.15 (750ml bottle)

Although I never really go out of my way to celebrate American Independence Day, this July 4th I celebrated in my own small way by cracking open a bottle of Heron Hill Pinot and languidly enjoying it over the course of a serene afternoon in the countryside.

Pinot Noir is infamously a complete bugger to make great wine from no matter where one plants it, and I’ve tasted a whole load of mediocre Pinot Noir in my time, but when it’s done right it, can be so very lovely, and this Finger Lakes bottling really hits the spot for me.

This evolved, cooler vintage wine, made from fruit sourced from both Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake, is a lesson in focused, elegant Finger Lakes Pinot. Family-owned and operated since 1972, Heron Hill are known for their top drawer white wines, but this red is certainly no slouch. Far from it.

Medium weight, and showing its relative age gracefully, within the decidedly herbal and peppery bouquet one will also discover mainly dark berry fruits, homely baking spices, iodine notes, and warm, wet earth. The dense (but not heavy) palate gives dark cherries, firm acidity, tannins that are apparent but never aggressive, and a definite saline stoniness that is most appealing for my palate. The finish is more savoury minerals than fruit, and most satisfying.

There were only 609 cases of this created, so I’d go out and grab a few bottles while one still can… and if you have the patience, try to cellar a couple of bottles for a few years, as I can see this evolving rather wonderfully through 2027.

4.5 apples out of 5
(four and a half apples out of a possible five)


Edinburgh-born/Ontario-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, educator, and dad, Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Senior Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’ll have another bottle of that, thank you very much.