Thursday, July 27, 2006

More Finger Lakes Winery Visit Summaries

- I had not been to Catherine Valley Winery (east side of Seneca Lake) since right after they first opened. The Texans are still trying to get on their feet after a couple of hard winters, but are moving ahead with plantings of new grape varieties. Charlie, the winery dog, greeted us cordially as all winery dogs should do and we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of their tasting room. Highlights were their unique blend of Riesling and Vidal called "The Blue Goose"($12.00), named after a local Prohibition-era watering hole, and "The Lost Irishman" ($9.00), a sweet refreshing Catawba wine perfect for summer picnics.

- I made my yearly (or as often as I can get there) pilgrimmage to visit my wine tasting mentor Dave Whiting at his Red Newt Cellars and, alas, he was not there. But we had fun tasting his wines and having lunch on the deck. I enjoyed the Cabernet Franc ($19.50), Medium tannins with cranberry and smoky berry flavors; Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.50), hints of smoke and tobacco, but very smooth; My summer favorite Red Newt White, (9.99) perfectly balanced with citrus highlights into a dry finish; and the excellent Syrah Reserve $28.50), one of the few Finger Lakes Syrah that I know of and it bodes well for this grape's future in the Finger Lakes if the winters cooperate.

- Leidenfrost Vineyards- I think they sort of like to stay under the radar and they don't get the publicity that some of the other wineries do, but I am always impressed by the quality of their wines. 2002 Pinot Noir ($15) smoky cherry aromas and smooth cherry flavor with light tannins and a great value; 2005 Riesling ($12) citrus and mineral in a very light semi-dry style; and Sonata ($8) a unique blend of 3 of my favorites Gewurztraminer, Cayuga, and Vignoles, honey and pineapple with a spicy finish... Heaven!, And the artwork on exhibit is wonderful.

- Bloomer Creek Vineyard- We visited their temporary tasting room in the cellar of the still-being-constructed new tasting room located beside my favorite pulled pork bar b q at The Stonecat Cafe. Highlights for me were 2003 Cabernet Franc ($14) grass and berry aromas with lots of raspberry and cherry fuit and just a touch of smoke; Arabella ($10) a blend of Riesling & Cayuga (but I would swear there was some Gewurz in there) Grapefruit, spice and nice acidity; Half Moon Rose ($10) a blend of Cabernet Franc & Chardonnay that finishes dry, but soft... like Rodney Dangerfield hooking up with Marilyn Monroe. I know, probably not the best image to conjure up, but the wine is good; Cayuga White ($8) Oh the many faces of Cayuga, this one presents a semi-dry citrussy facade with a unique spicy bite at the end. Wino Like.

- Chateau Lafayette Reneau- It's like coming home to the Castle Royale. They do take their wine serious here, and for good reason. I still reminisce about our anniversary weekend at The Inn. The Wine,The Breakfast, The View, The Vineyards, The Deck, The Hot Tub. They treat you like royalty. The awards speak for themselves. 2002 Pinot Noir (19.99) smoke, cherries, and tobacco dressed in smooth silky tannins, delightful; 2003 Reserve Chardonnay ($19.99) Vanilla, butter, and the perfect amount of smooth oak; 2005 Dry Riesling ($14.99) Amazing amounts of peach with citrus and mineral; 2005 Johannisberg Riesling ($14.99) Peach and pear flavors perfectly balanced on a backbone of citrus; 2003 Late Harvest Riesling (14.99) Honey, peach , and pineapple, but NOT sickingly sweet, just right.

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