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Pick of the Week: Penguin Bay Maroon Four

April 2012
Originally published in the Finger Lakes Times as part of my internship with the NY Wine and Culinary Center

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Why it’s worth trying: The Maroon Four from Penguin Bay Winery is a unique blend of primarily corot noir and noiret, two new red grape varieties developed by Cornell University, as well as merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The combination of the four grapes results in a fuller body and complexity of flavor.

This wine is a dry, oak-aged, Shiraz-style blend. It has a complex, spicy aroma, with notes of deep cherry and black pepper. On the palate there are vegetal hints of bell pepper as well as berry fruits, with a smooth, lingering finish. You are sure to enjoy this wine, as there are many layers to uncover and each taste seems to unearth more possibilities.

In 2005 the Finger Lakes Champagne House joined the Peterson family of wineries and became Penguin Bay Winery. Located just north of Watkins Glen, Penguin Bay Winery overlooks beautiful Seneca Lake. A portion of this wine’s proceeds are donated to the Syracuse Rosamond Gifford Zoo to support the Humboldt penguins, an endangered species.

Price: $14.99

Serving tips: This wine should be served slightly below room temperature (about 60 degrees) in order to fully enjoy its bountiful bouquet.

Food pairing: The spicy and vegetal aspects of this wine lend themselves nicely to rabbit and other game. Also try it with turkey for a balance of flavors that is sure not to disappoint.

You might also want to try: If you enjoyed this wine, try a 2010 wine called Inspiration from Inspire Moore Winery, or a 2010 Cabernet Franc/Lemberger from Anthony Road Wine Co.

Where to buy it: Penguin Bay Winery in Hector or the New York Wine and Culinary Center tasting room.