Friday, March 28, 2014

Finger Lakes Rose wine trial - Sheldrake versus Kelby (aka Red Newt Cellars)

I don't usually like to form this type of tasting comparison, but it came upon us as a happy accident.  We ( four good friends ) had a spontaneous dinner party, and our two guests unknowingly brought over these two Rose wines.  The Sheldrake has a pale, almost faint pink.  The Kelby has a very artificial tone of color - bubble gum-like.  I wanted to think it was the light, and maybe it was, but if it's real, they should figure out a way to let that color seem perceptively accurate, or explain it on the narcissistic, but sexy label.  As we tasted, prior to the full visual comparison, we found the Sheldrake Rose to be well balanced and fully capable of working with a variety of poultry and seafood.  The Kelby (aka Red Newt) seemed astringent to be overly critical, but the color just turned us down a dark path as we continued to ignore it with the option of the Sheldrake Rose next to it with our meal of roasted chicken and herb baked wild Russian salmon.  Sheldrake Rose Score - 87  versus Kelby (aka Red Newt Cellars Rose) Score - 84

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Collaboration with wine and food - and ice cream

Raspberry wine ice cream.  Not the first thing I would think to write about, but as the Finger Lakes embraces local food and wine culture, it makes perfect sense.  The idea is clearly ahead of its time and while not prolific, it should be.  Take a semi-sweet Three Brothers Winery rose and pair it with some of the finest New York State cows milk ice cream, and what you will find is complete dessert bliss - not the type of super sweet stomach ache, you wish you didn't have it type of indulgence, but the - wow - can I have this every Friday kind of bliss. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Stony Lonesome Estates Sauvignon Blanc

This 2012 vintage is their best wine yet.  Passion fruit is prevalent on the nose and carries through on the palate, and there is plenty of acidity and minerality to make for a well balanced addition to the Three Brothers Wineries lineup.  I paired it with Waterloo, New York's Muranda Cheese Company's Bel Ceillo, which they describe as a provolone asiago cross.  There seems to be very little residual sugar with this Sauv Blanc, and it would also do well with a fried Haddock or it would be perfect paired with Sharkey's spiedies - lamb or chicken - out of Johnson City, NY. Score: 89

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Monday, May 07, 2012

Hosmer Pinot Noir

I had an opportunity to do a vertical tasting of the 2009, 2010, and 2011 (which is still in the barrel), and the 2009 was the only one for sale.  The 2010 isn't being released until this fall.  2009 was a warmer than average summer in the Finger Lakes, and this wine displays those warmer weather characteristics of ripe concentrated fruits.  Concentrated black raspberry is on the nose with a rich sort of jammy introduction to what a warm weather Pinot is like from California on the palate.  A lamb burger with the feta and kalamata olive tapanade from Americana's cafe would be a suitable choice for food. Score: 88

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Damiani Wine Cellars Saw Mill Creek Syrah

This 2010 vintage Syrah is light and airy compared with a big California Syrah, but don't let that discourage.  It has the full fruity profile one expects from a Syrah, without the chewy, inky, syrupy characteristics of the warmer climate Syrahs.  There are a number of foods that will work well with this, and that's another reason this is such an attractive varietal in cooler climates.  Make a homemade burger and wilt some kale as a topping.  Harnessing the power of this big grape was done well at Damiani. Score: 87

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Standing Stone Vineyards Gewurztraminer

The wineries in the Finger Lakes finally are embracing the cooler climate varietals that are found in the cooler Alsace region of Germany.  This 2008 vintage starts out very floral with lots of rose, a hint of thyme and minerality.  It looks like honey - which invites everyone.  The finish of thyme and minerals sits around for a while - a long while, but it's not obstructive to food or thought.  The winemaker notes other profiles.  I found an indian curry worked well with it, but I would also bring a variety of cheese to it as its oxidation is dynamic throughout the life of the bottle. Score: 86

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Red Newt Cellars Saw Mill Creek Reisling

2009 vintage has buttered quince upfront and plenty of acid and minerals - perfect for a warm evening on the porch after working hard in the garden. The mineral content lingers a bit too long on the palate, but that encourages another sip as the fruit is ripe and contains a bit of residual sugar. I'm thinking fish and chips with subtle use of Tabasco would be an excellent choice of food. The fried chickpeas at the Red Dove Tavern might also work well. BTW - changing the scorecard method - 87 (VERY GOOD)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Eremita Chardonnay

Eremita is the newest installment of winery on Seneca Lake. The 2010 Chardonnay is "un-oaked" with passion fruit on the nose and plenty of minerality and acidity. Think Gewurztraminer meets Viognier. You'll need to pair this with an assertive cheese, like a New York State sharp cheddar or a brined chicken or turkey. GOOD - 85

Savor Every Bite

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kings Garden Pinot Noir

2009 is currently offered and it is bursting with berry flavors on the nose. Ripe fruit is the predominant characteristic, but assertive points of oak keep the berries in check and the winemaker appears to be patient with this grape and its fussiness. VERY VERY GOOD

Kings Garden Vineyard Chardonnay

I did a vertical tasting between the 2003, 2005, and 2008 vintages of this wine. The 2003 was the favorite and is sold out, but with more time the 2005 could become the ultimate champion of this wine tasting. It should age well for the next few years. The 2005 is rich, with a butterscotch finish, and the 2008 is very similar to the 2005 but more acidic. Minerality is more prevalent with the 2008 as the 2005 is warm and silky, perfect for sharing with your companion on a night next to the fireplace. The 2008 went perfectly with Tandoori chicken from New Delhi Diamonds of Ithaca, but the 2005 stood up better to the spicy layers of the Aloo Gobi. 2003 - VERY VERY GOOD 2005 - VERY GOOD 2008 - VERY GOOD

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Hector Wine Company Chardonnay

This 2009 chardonnay is light, refreshing, but has more complexity than most chardonnays of the Finger Lakes, or even of California that I can recall. On the nose there is a distinct, but subtle smokiness, and this carries through the palate. This profile also carries with it the same type of smokiness you would find in a smoked gouda. When I first opened the bottle, the acidity was too overpowering for any type of food, but on the third day open refrigerated in the bottle, it mellowed out a bit. I gather that it could use a bit more time, 6 months or so, in the bottle before enjoying. Obviously well suited to smoked gouda, and perfect with a brunch of pancakes, maple syrup, eggs, and bacon. GOOD

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Hector Wine Company Sauvignon Blanc

This 2009 inaugural vintage Sauvignon Blanc is a solid white player in the region. No one will argue that Riesling is the forefront varietal here in the Finger Lakes wine region, but with some coaxing, I see much potential in the Sauvignon Blanc. This particular wine is the first vintage from this brand new winery, but the grapes come from a veteran vineyard just across the street. This wine is well balanced; it has plenty of acid and minerality to work with a number of different cheeses. I tasted it with an aged sharp provolone. It worked, but a milder provolone would be a hit. This is definitely a food wine, otherwise the yeast will linger a bit too long on the palate. GOOD.

Savor Every Bite

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Finger Lakes Pinot Noir Wine Tastings

As I look back over my previous tasting notes and reviews, it seems like I'm in a rut, but I'm not. I just have been stumbling upon some very good Pinot Noir wines made right here in the Finger Lakes. These Pinots have all been in the lighter Burgundian style, and I'm starting to think that the Pinot may have found a foothold here in the Finger Lakes, much like Riesling has. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bloomer Creek Pinot Noir

Please reference the previous post to this, Trends Meet Finger Lakes Wines, on this 2006 vintage Pinot Noir. And continuing the tasting notes on this wine, I find intense bouquet of cherry syrup and some pepper. The ripe fruit on the tongue, while there, is not overwhelming as it might seem from the bouquet. To clarify, there seems to be no residual sugar content, and the winemaker created a perfect balance with his methods from the barrel time. It is silky, and will pair well with traditional dark chocolate truffles that are dusted with cocoa powder. The wine label states that pan seared duck would be appropriate. I would agree with that assessment, but would also recommend an authentic mole poblano. VERY VERY GOOD

Monday, May 03, 2010

Trends meet Finger Lakes Wines

While finger lakes wine makers often admit themselves that they do not set trends in wine making, it seems as though there are a few wine makers that have been producing the lighter french style reds, some would say the more traditional Burgundian style that was taken over by the big, jammy, dark colored, ink staining brethren during the past decade. Noted experts in wine say that the ink staining revolution is close to an end, and there are a few wine makers that may be ready to hit their stride. One wine I specifically speak of is the 2006 Bloomer Creek Pinot Noir. Upon first poor the color is pale, but the time in the barrel is evident in the hue. It is not a rose - it is darker and richer. The color contains a body of complexity in its own right. The taste is intense, uncanny to the senses as your eyes expect a much lighter taste, but it is a concentrated bouquet of full flavor Pinot Noir. I will post the official tasting notes next week and relevant food pairings.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Atwater Estate Vineyards Cuvee Brut

2004 was a delightful year for this sparkling gem. Produced in the traditional method of riddling, and all the other aspects of traditional champagne production, this sparkling wine is as versatile as traditional, and could fool most with its expert blend of Chardonnay and Cayuga, as an authentic Champagne. VERY GOOD

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lamoreaux Landing Pinot Noir

I was pleasantly surprised by this 2007 vintage Pinot Noir. Very light, in both color and body, but also truly magnificent in its versatility and its ability to embrace the cooler climate of the Finger Lakes. Definitely of French styling, this wine offers delicate fruit forward tastes - blackberry and cherry - and will work well with a range of hard cheeses - primarily asiago. The wine maker says salmon or fresh tuna, but I tried it with fresh wild King Salmon and did not find that it paired well. VERY GOOD

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Standing Stone Pinot Noir

This 2007 vintage estate produced and bottled Pinot Noir is quite enjoyable, balanced and contains hints of chocolate on the nose along with notes of leather accompanied by assertive ripe cherries throughout. The winemaker says hints of truffles, tobacco and leather. This wine went very well with fresh wild cod encrusted with coriander, cinammon and a hint of paprika along with garlic infused EV olive oil. The flavors brought out the best in each. GOOD

Finger Lakes Wine Reviews

Back in the saddle again. After a long hiatus, it is time to start posting again. Frankly, I had not been inspired to review any wine I had been consuming. I found some personal favorites that I enjoyed for a while, and did not find much to write about that I already hadn't reviewed. There is never one culprit, but let's just say I got stuck in a rut...Hope you continue to enjoy.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Shalestone Vineyards Synergy

This 2005 vintage blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot and Syrah is full of ripe fruit, black pepper, a subtle hint of molasses, and pleasantly velvet like on the palate. This is very much like a high quality Zin - very well balanced, but not a usually occurring example of what most Finger Lakes red wines have to offer. This wine could very well stand up to some California kings - Turley of old, Shafer, and such. Pasture raised pork, Alder wood smoked pork, or even a fire roasted pizza with goat cheese would pair well with this behemoth of a wine. VERY VERY GOOD

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sheldrake Point Fleur de Pinot

This 2006 Finger Lakes Pinot Noir from various clones starts out as an easy quaffer, but develops into something intriguing. The first few tastes were light and fruity, mostly cherry, balanced by tannins from old French Oak. However, after about twenty or thirty minutes sitting in the glass, it takes on a much more complex character. It hints of sweet earth and lilac on the nose right through the finish. This is easily something to slightly chill for an afternoon BBQ, and versatile enough to combine it with just about any grilled meat or vegetable. GOOD

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ravines Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Ravines, located on the East side of Keuka Lake (the one shaped like a Y), is nestled on a hill, and upon reviewing this Sauvignon Blanc, I discovered that this 100% Finger Lakes wine may be another perfect varietal for the Finger Lakes region's wine makers to have a go with producing. Generally, Sauv Blanc is under appreciated in both taste and consumption, but it will do very well in the cooler climates of the region. California wine makers tried to make it into a hearty Chardonnay, but that didn't bode well for increasing its popularity.

Ravines Sauvignon Blanc 2006 contains the classic crisp and refreshing characteristics. It is also with fruits of lime, and passion fruit, but with little, if any, residual sugar. It boasts of minerals, slate and lime on both the nose and the palate, much the way a superstar Gewurztraminer will. Try it with a young Gruyere before dinner or with Sunday Brunch on Mother's Day. VERY GOOD

Friday, April 25, 2008

Glenora Blanc de Blancs New York Sparkling Wine

This NV champagne style wine has a touch of sweetness with a hint of ripe McIntosh apple and also a hint of passion fruit. My first impression was that this would be a great sparkling wine to take the place of a prosecco for bellinis. I thoroughly enjoyed it until the finish, which is a bit heavy and sits around a little too long on the palate. It is very well balanced until the finish, with a proper amount of carbonation and acidity, which would make it work well with a spiedie and a hot summer day. MARGINAL

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wagner Winery Horizontal Tasting

Okay. I must admit that I have become a bit cynical about the quality of Finger Lakes red wines. I believe better wine can be produced, but the winemakers are failing to produce it on a consistent basis. Now to carry on my thesis, I took 2 Wagner Vineyards wines, both Cabernet Franc and both vintage 2005. One of them was a special release with fruit forwardness, bits of oak and vanilla. Very nice and very well balanced; priced at $20. The other, the standard release Cab Franc was lighter on the fruit, overpowered by oak, and just completely out of balance; priced at $15. Even after being open for 2 days it didn't really even begin to work itself out. I wonder if the efforts to make those 2 releases were combined into a single concerted effort to produce 1 high quality release would have resulted in Wagner red wine utopia? One will never know. I have a feeling it is a number of factors at play that are singing me the red wine blues - weather, customer demand, perceptions in customer tastes, and business cost factors. Off to my day job, see you in March.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hunt Country Vineyards Meritage

This 2004 vintage Finger Lakes Wine was a solid player with the grass fed beef. It was a bit riper than most other Finger Lakes Meritage wines, and that brought out some more of the strength of this popular Bordeaux style wine. Fruit of cherries and small oak, with a hint of sugar. GOOD

Friday, November 16, 2007

Swedish Hill Cabernet Franc

This 2004 Cabernet Franc is what I would consider the cream of the crop. This wine displays quintessential of Cab Franc, but elevates it with concentrated fruit, soft notes of oak, with a bit darker color than most Cab Francs of the Finger Lakes. If I didn't know better, I would have guessed this was an '02 or '03. Some may find a hint of butter and nuts, but it always ends with a delightful easy finish. It will stand up to grass fed beef, but nurtures lighter dishes. VERY GOOD.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cayuga Ridge Chancellor Reserve

While the label is lacking, it is actually a 2006 vintage that was 6 months in American Oak. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of this 100% Chancellor vintage. It hints of butter and cocoa, and is creamy and silky with a straight forward finish. Alongside their standard Chancellor of the same crop, but without any finishing in Oak a comparison brings a full appreciation for the Chancellor grape. GOOD

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Standing Stone Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay

This 2005 vintage Finger Lakes Chardonnay which retails in the $17-20 range, is overpriced by about 3 bucks, has a soft nose with a bit of butter and hints of hazelnut and pignoles (pine nuts)matched with a layer of Oak. The creaminess coats the entire palate giving way to ripe fruit with enough acid and tannins to deliver a strong but not overbearing finish. GOOD

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bet The Farm Franc Blanche

This 2006 vintage 100% pinot noir is without the skins so it is a white wine. At first review, I was wondering if I would post this wine, but upon a day open in the bottle and at room temperature, this wine really began to open up. After re-frigeration, I took another glass of this slightly pinkish white wine, and began to notice subtle hints of floral notes, along with minerals. This turned into hints of almond after a few more minutes of swirling. The taste is sweeter than I normally enjoy, but the mineral and acid balance this out. My instinct tells me this would work very well with truffled home fries. GOOD

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lucas Cabernet Franc Limited Reserve Finger Lakes

Back to the wine reviews and tasting notes, this 2005 Cab franc is ripe and it's full potential is like the sun just about to burst through some heavy storm clouds. The tannins suck the moisture out of my mouth and throat, and the heat from the nose is impossible to get past. I'm going to let some stay open for a few days and see how it goes, but I'm guessing this will age nicely - 4-5 years. CELLAR IT

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Time for other wines

I'm taking a couple weeks off from Finger Lakes wines. I find it necessary to keep a broad and general knowledge of what the rest of the world has to offer in order to properly review Finger Lakes wines. See you soon. Remember to subscribe to many of the ping services so you know when the next review is posted.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Knapp Seyval Blanc

Although the Seyval Blanc grape is a hybrid that was developed to grow well in cooler weather, this 2004 Vintage Finger Lakes wine is perfect for summer. This particular wine from Knapp Vineyards contains hints of vanilla, hints of oak, and enough acid and mineral to keep it crisp and fairly complex at the same time. This is so well balanced that it will perform well with a variety of foods, but might go best with a wild mushroom burger and truffled mashed potatoes. GOOD

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Damiani Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Smokey, ripe, and pretty well balanced, this 2004 Cab is one that would work very well with The Forge's "Super Steak" that was voted "Best Steak in America" by Wine Spectator Magazine. The nose is smoke, tobacco, and cinammon, and upon sipping it, ripe fruits with smoke are dominant. The tannins keep it intact, and I bet this will cellar very well, but it is very drinkable now. VERY VERY GOOD

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Shalestone Vineyards Harmony

This 2004 vintage is a combination of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. On the nose, it is difficult to pin down one predominant characteristic, but there moments when there are hints of chocolate, among very ripe fruits. Once inside the mouth, the ripe fruits are prevalent, but the tannins, oak, and touch of smoke balance everything out nicely. I paired this with some Spanish goat cheese, and it worked very well. I've also had this with a number of dishes at Dano's on Seneca and it holds up well to a variety of flavors and combinations almost all of which are robust in their own right. VERY VERY GOOD

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Damiani Wine Cellars Cabernet Franc

Ripe fruit, manageable tannins and an assertive oak finish create a very well balanced wine. This is a straightforward 2004 vintage Cab Franc with plenty of oomph, and would work wonderfully with a wood fired or charcoal grilled New York Strip or even a Porterhouse. VERY GOOD

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fulkerson Winery Matinee 2005

Since having the 2006 Matinee, I stumbled upon a wine shop that still had the 2005 vintage. Either father time made its toll, or 2006 is just that much better. This wine would stand okay on its own, but comparing it to the 2006, I need to say it lacks depth and balance. This is a sweet wine with much citrus and passion fruit, and the finish lingers like a rich syrup. It opened up a bit after a couple days, so if I had another bottle, I would try decanting it, but the best thing to do would be to let it swirl in your glass for about 15 minutes. MARGINAL

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fulkerson Reserve Red

This is a light and airy red 2004 vintage of 100% NY 70.0809.10. Don't ask what this number means, but that is the name of the grape. 7 months in 2/3 French Oak and 1/3 American Oak. Not many in the Finger Lakes use French Oak, so this alone is a nice treat, especially at nine bucks a bottle. Fruity without any residual sugar and the Oak and gentle tannins offer a wonderful balance at a great value. The winemaker notes indicate blackberry fruit, but I don't taste it. This wine goes great with a Grist Mill Cafe chocolate cookie.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fulkerson Winery Matinee

This 2006 vintage of the Matinee grape, which was developed from interspecific hybrids named Himrod and Lakemont. Passionfrut is prevalent on the nose and in the mouth as is a distinct mint flavor. At one point in tasting, it was also just like drinking a Mojito, but as it warmed up, the passion fruit flavor became the dominating characteristic. This is considered a dessert wine by the winery, but it is balanced well enough to go with appetizers of fruit, fresh mozzarella, and a Boston Bibb lettuce salad or even a Caesar minus the fresh anchovies. VERY GOOD

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Four Chimneys Reserve White

Four Chimneys claims they are America's first organic winery. Probably in modern times, but I imagine some historical wine makers might argue with them. This 2005 vintage is a blend of Chardonnay and some other unknown white varietal. It is what I would call a Chardonnay for beginners. It is very light on the palate, some acid up front, citrus, soft oak, minimal tannins and a smooth soft buttery finish that lingers longer than expected. This is very well balanced and an easy drinker, but with a subtle complexity that even the most sophisticated wine drinker will appreciate. VERY GOOD

Monday, February 05, 2007

Long Point Winery Cabernet Franc New York

This 2005 vintage Cabernet Franc has much fruit, but it is difficult to get around the tannins. Even after sitting in the glass for twenty minutes, the tannins just overpower the rest through the entire palate. The nose is reminiscent of a big juicy Syrah - a fruit bomb. I can imagine this wine being much better after 2 years in the cellar, and that tasting would probably reveal more. At about 13 bucks a bottle, and the potential this wine could have, I would cellar a couple bottles. CELLAR IT

Finger Lakes Wine Reviews

As we embark on the wine season of 2007, I'd like to remind my readers that I try to stay as positive as possible while being as candid as possible when reviewing Finger Lakes wines. You'll notice that the GOODS and VERY GOODS are plenty, and i don't intend on ever publishing a BAD review rating. If there is a BAD wine that I taste, it will not be published. Happy Tasting.

Salmon Run Coho Red

This NV red table wine is produced and bottled by the famous Dr. Frank & Sons Vinifera Wine Cellars. Not much to this wine. It is red, sweet, and there is a bit of oak. The balance is off, but it did become manageable after being open in the bottle for 48 hours. MARGINAL

Chateau Lafayette Reneau Roaring Red

This NV Vintage wine is light and easy drinking, very dark, deep purple in color, with soft oak and soft tannins. It is a bit sweet for my tastes, but as I spend more time on the Finger Lakes wine trail, many of the wine drinkers here enjoy more residual sugar than I do. For those that enjoy that sugar, I would rate this a VERY GOOD. My rating is GOOD.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Atwater Meritage Finger Lakes

On the nose, this seems like another baked fruit pie, but as it touches the tongue it hits the tip with acid and rolls through the mouth with a balance that is unexpected. Fruity, but not sweet, with deliberate tannins and enough oak to make it drinkable now, but encourage a few years of cellaring with a couple extra bottles. I fear cellaring it too long would result in one of those bottles that would need to be drunk within five minutes or flatten out. VERY GOOD.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Poplar Ridge Vineyards Bagley's Chelois Finger Lakes

This Non Vintage red is from the Chelois grape. The wine is very dark and judging from the cork has been in the bottle a while. The legs are oily but light, and the nose is ripe plum with a hint of eucalyptus. After much air, there are tannins, but it is very difficult to get past the acidity. MARGINAL

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lamoreaux Landing Cabernet Franc

This NV bottle Cab Franc I recently purchased is fruit forward, very ripe, almost candied, but not sweet, kind of like a baked fruit pie where the crust tones down the fruit. The tannins balance the fruit here and it lingers on the palate longer than expected. I'm thinking if they left it to allow for a slight increase in alcohol content it would be reminiscent of those California Syrah fruit bombs I relish. This is balanced well as it is and will go well with just about anything on the dinner or lunch table. It worked hard to keep up with a Mackeral dish, though I wouldn't recommend doing that. Perhaps a fresh grilled salmon with an acidic relish or side dish though. GOOD

Monday, January 08, 2007

Finger Lakes Wine Tasting Room Notes

I went to four wineries yesterday to do some tastings. I had been to one of them once prior, and it was the first time I got hit in the face with the "I don't really like my job" and "I wish you would taste your wine and go" attitude. It was at the end of the tasting hours in the 4 o'clock hour and two of the wineries, one more restrained than the other, were just kind of zooming through the motions. We can all understand that at the end of the work day, most of us want to spend time with our families, go to class, or go to dinner, or whatever. Yes, we all want to be somewhere else. The wineries are sophisticated businesses existing to make wine and make money making wine. Most wineries recognize it, but not all put it into practice, and that is that the wineries are also in the hospitality business, especially in their tasting rooms. It leaves a bad impression encountering this, "I wish you would taste your wine and go" attitude. I would recommend the wineries add yet another item to their ever growing "To Do List" and spend more time training their front line staff on the basics of hospitality.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Silver Springs Merlot

This 2002 vintage as with many of the other wines available by this label are limited production wines. The colors are dark and rich, but it is light on the palate and full of fruit, mostly blackberry. Not many tannins to speak of and this is a perfect wine for a burger or even a portobello veggie burger. I don't know if I would put this on the table with a steak, but it would certainly work well with prime rib. GOOD.

Silver Springs aka Don Giovanni Wines

Well I must say upon first tasting and interaction with the winemaker on a slow and quiet December 26th, that Silver Springs has some great wines. We tried just about all of their offerings except for the really sweet wines. The Merlots and Cabernet Francs were standouts and the Cabernet Sauvignon was also quite good. In the midst of our New Year parties and celebrations they all went down pretty fast. The 2002 Silver Springs Cabernet Franc was among the favorite, and I feel compelled to give it a proper tasting review, however, before I do that I must comment that this winery is not a true Finger Lakes winery as it seems as though some of their production is in Mattituck, NY. Since we are focused on Finger Lakes wines, I thought it prudent to mention this.

Happy New Year!

Taking a break from hobbies and work activities can be very refreshing. We don't do it enough. May the wine be plenty for this year's vintages, and may the crops show promise for the vintages to come. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wine Trial

I recently sampled 3 different wines from 3 different regions. The first was a French Syrah, the second an Australian Shiraz, and the third a Finger Lakes Meritage. Now, my laziness is showing in not referring to the specific terrior of the French and the Australian wines, but this trial was about something that was weighing on my mind for the past few months. The weight has not yet been lifted. It seems as though pound for pound, dollar for dollar, Finger Lakes wines cost more than many of their counterparts of different regions that are of the same caliber. Now this is obviously a very subjective type of statement based on my anecdotal observations and tastings, however what is important here is this: I have observed and tasted this, but I have truly hoped I would come to the opposite conclusion.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Glenora Meritage

This 2002 vintaqe is full of fruit, with an overbearing black cherry flavor. I enjoyed it, however, I could see this being difficult to pair with an appropriate food, especially at 20 bucks. The winemaker's comments on the bottle recommend cellaring it for at least 4 years. That's probably great advice. CELLAR IT.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chateau Lafayette Reneau Cabernet Sauvignon

This 2002 cab is outstanding! It retails for 15.99 - 19.99, and it is a solid player among any wine in that price range. The second day, this wine really opened up. It was smoky, full of chocolate with hints of ripe pomegranate. This deep, dark, oily cabernet is not heavy, but voluptuous. VERY VERY GOOD

Atwater Estate Vineyards Riesling

This NV Riesling from the Finger Lakes, Seneca to be specific, is at first very acidic, but it mellows out after about 15 minutes and the spicy apples come out nicely. The comments on the bottle note pear and honey, but it was tough to find the honey and pear was not noticeable. We paired this with garlic pork chops and it was very suitable. This will be a great wine for a summer Sunday brunch. GOOD

Monday, October 23, 2006

Glenora Yellow Cab

This is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc. The winery describes it as, "warm, ripe fruit flavors and a great package!" I would call it, light, fruity, and an easy drinker. A perfect red for a warm summer afternoon. When I hear warm described with a wine, I think cozy, something that has enough body to go along with a nice comfort food like macaroni and cheese. While you could drink this with mac and cheese, it would be better suited to a balsamic salad. GOOD

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hazlitt Vineyards Pinot Noir

I found this gem on closeout. It was a 2002 and was bursting with fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Blueberry and currant were the most prevalent, and the wine was a deep dark ruby color. It was smooth as silk, well balanced, and completely settled down after a little time in the bottle. VERY GOOD

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Long Point Winery Vidal Blanc Finger Lakes

This 2005 vintage is easy drinking, light, airy and sweet. This Vidal Blanc is too sweet for my palate, but those who enjoy a sweeter wine will love this wine. We've had it open for a few days and it holds up very well. It will go perfect with an arugula walnut salad with a citrus dressing. GOOD.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Leidenfrost Vineyards Pinot Noir Finger Lakes

This Non Vintage table wine is Estate Bottled and while tasty, this needs a few years in the cellar. This is one of those unbeatable values that was too good to pass up. The fruit is overpowered by the tannins and the oak. It goes well with mater paneer right now, and it doesn't change much over 2 days. CELLAR IT.

Thirsty Owl Dry Reisling Cayuga Lake

This 2005 Dry Reisling is a testament to why the Finger Lakes wine makers are in love with this grape. This wine is well balanced, has a solid fruit and citrus of lemon and pineapple while neither overpowers the other. This is the perfect wne to pair with a shrimp cocktail or a lobster martini. This also made for a great after dinner drink that was light and airy. VERY GOOD.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dr. Konstantin Frank New York Cabernet

This wine could stand a year or so in the cellar, although I don't think that was its purpose. While it was very good and worked with the rare beef tenderloin, the tannins were a little cumbersome. The nose reminds me of how Robert Parker likes to make his wines - a very distinct oakiness. While mostly merlot, it is difficult to discern as the oak overpowers. Spicy and on day 1 reminiscent of a big Zin. Day 2 brings out further smokiness. I think this might work very well with a Parmigian Reggiano and probably even an aged Guyere. GOOD.

Goose Watch Traminette Finger Lakes

Very similar to a German Gwertz, this 2004 Traminette is strong on the nose of spice and oak but is balanced by the fruit and acid. Very apple-like, maybe a Mac or a Pink Lady. It held up well to a creamed spinach and it didn't back down to a rare beef tenderloin. On day 2, the alcohol lingers a bit too long on the palate, but the fruit really opens up. Also as it warms up the nose has wonderful florals. VERY GOOD.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Swedish Hill Chardonnay Reserve

This Chard was either 99 or 2000 vintage, and it had more butter than the pancakes at the Annual Maple Festival. However it was so well balanced by the oak and the acid that it just rolled across your tongue smooth as silk. I wonder how it held up...Did anyone cellar any of it?

Vidal Blanc

This varietal is everywhere, and seems to be immensely popular. While it's known to be light, fruity and floral, I have found that the wines I've encountered among Finger Lakes producers are lacking in character and depth of what one might find in an ice wine from Vidal Blanc grapes. Has anyone yet found a Vidal Blanc wine from the Finger Lakes that bombs you with fruit and florals?