Sunday, August 20, 2006

Finger Lakes Picture Time

- Since it takes so long to upload pictures via Blogger, I don't put that many photos in my regular posts. So I plan to do a monthly post of just the Finger Lakes pictures that I have taken. Double click on pictures for a larger view.

The beautiful tasting room at Ventosa Vineyards. Double Click on photos to enlarge

A Gorgeous summer day on our deck overlooking Seneca Lake.

From Atwater Vineyards looking toward Chateau Lafayette Reneau's tasting room and Seneca Lake.

This flower caught my eye at Chateau Lafayette Reneau.

I was mesmerized by the wood sculptures (above) and copper wire weaving (below) by June Szabo that were on display at Leidenfrost Vineyards. Here is June's website and an article about her.
What an amazing creative talent!

A Seneca Lake Sunset from Clute Park.
Double click on the photo to enlarge it.

The magnificent Belhurst Castle in Geneva.

As you can see by the photos, there are so many terrific sights and great things to do and places to visit in The Finger Lakes. I still haven't visited one tenth of them. But I'm trying!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- I had a great time last Saturday pouring tastings and talking wine with customers at Seneca Shore Winery. I'd like to thank Dave for the opportunity to see what it's like on the other side of the tasting bar. It's not all fun and games though, with plenty of stocking the shelves, washing the glasses, and pouring lots of wine! Be sure to stop by Seneca Shore when you are in the Finger Lakes. They have some of the finest wine, including my favorite Chardonnays (Mmmmm, Buttery).

- Jim Trezise of NYWGF gives this report from the 2006 New York Wine & Food Classic: Hermann J Wiemer Vineyards of the Finger Lakes Region won the coveted “Governor’s Cup” trophy at the 2006 New York Wine & Food Classic competition, held on August 15 & 16 at the Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua, the northwest gateway to Finger Lakes wine country. The “Winery of the Year” award went to Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars of the Finger Lakes region.

The elegant Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all entries in the Classic, known as “The Oscars” of New York wine. The “Winery of the Year” award is presented to the winery with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.

This year’s competition included over 700 New York wines from Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie, and other regions of New York State. The 2005 Riesling from the Finger Lakes region, was also voted “Best White Wine” and “Best Dry Riesling Wine” on its way to the ultimate award. Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars tied for Best Gewurztraminer with their 2005 Gewurztraminer and received 2 Double Gold and 5 Silver medals in being awarded “Winery of the Year” accolades.

The awards were announced at a special “Governor’s Cup Celebration” luncheon at The New York Wine & Culinary Center. The restaurant prepared a special multi-course luncheon using all New York ingredients and paired with award-winning wines from the 2005 competition, which was also held at the Inn on the Lake.

The awards were based on blind tastings by 24 expert judges, which included a majority from other states, with a large contingent from California. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators. Four-judge panels determined the initial awards, with top-scoring wines evaluated by all 24 judges for Best of Category and Governor’s Cup awards.

Celebrating its 21st year, the Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and is open to all 239 New York wineries from all regions. In 2006, a total of 30 Double Gold, 53 Gold, 200 Silver, and 249 Bronze medals were awarded. In addition, “Best of Category” and “Best of Class” designations were awarded to wines rated as the finest in various areas. Double Gold medals require unanimity among the judges on a panel that a wine deserves a Gold medal, whereas Gold medals require a majority vote.

The “Best of Category” awards went to Chateau Frank 2000 Blanc de Noirs for Best Sparkling Wine, Hermann J Wiemer 2005 Dry Riesling for Best White Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau Emperor’s Blush for Best Rose or Blush Wine, Jamesport Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Franc for Best Red Wine, Baldwin Vineyards Strawberry Wine for Best Specialty Wine and Wolffer Estate Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Chardonnay for Best Dessert Wine.

The “Best of Class” award for different varietals or proprietary blends went to Chateau Frank 2000 Blanc de Noirs for Best Vinifera Sparkling Wine, Bedell Cellars/Corey Creek Vineyards 2005 Reserve Chardonnay for Best Chardonnay Wine, Hermann J Wiemer 2005 Dry Riesling for Best Dry Riesling Wine, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars 2005 Riesling for Best Semi-Dry Riesling Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2005 Johannisberg Riesling for Best Semi-Sweet Riesling Wine, Bedell Cellars/Corey Creek Vineyards 2005 Gewurztraminer and Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars 2005 Gewurztraminer tied for Best Gewurztraminer Wine, Swedish Hill Vineyards 2005 Cayuga White for Best Cayuga White Wine, Atwater Estate Vineyards 2005 Vidal Blanc for Best Other White Hybrid Wine, Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2005 Diamond for Best Other Native Varietal Wine, Red Newt Cellars Red Newt White for Best White French American Hybrid Wine, Red Newt Cellars Blue Newt White for Best Niagara Wine, Lucas Vineyards Miss Behavin’ for Best Native White Blend Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau Emperor’s Blush for Best Blush Wine, Jamesport Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Franc for Best Cabernet Franc Wine, Peconic Bay Winery 2001 Merlot for Best Merlot Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon for Best Cabernet Sauvignon Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2002 Pinot Noir for Best Pinot Noir Wine, Keuka Spring Vineyards 2005 Lemberger for Best Other Red Vinifera Wine, Lucas Vineyards 2005 Tug Boat Red for Best French American Hybrid Red Blend Wine, Torrey Ridge Winery Scarlet Red for Best Mead Wine, Baldwin Vineyards Strawberry Wine for Best Fruit Wine, Wolffer Estate Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Chardonnay for Best Late Harvest Wine, and Lakewood Vineyards 2005 Borealis for Best Ice/Iced Wine.

Complete results of the 2006 Classic will soon be posted under “New York Gold” at, which also includes Gold medal New York wines from other major competitions.

- I stopped by Fulkerson Winery the other weekend and John told me that the 2005 Vincent, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, & Gewurztraminer will be released soon. Also, as of a couple weekends ago, only 30 cases of the 2005 Traminette were remaining, so get it while you can. And Sayre & John from Fulkerson will be leading a wine class at the New York Wine & Culinary Center on Aug. 30.

- I stopped by to see Ted at Atwater Estate Vineyards (east side of Seneca Lake) but, alas, he was not there. But his excellent staff treated me to tastings of the 2003 Chardonnay (nice vanilla and oak balance), 2005 Gewurztraminer (aromatic and spicy), the very nice 2005 Reserve Riesling, the smooth and excellent summer wine Somerset Blush (Catawba/Cayuga blend), and surprise, their 2005 Columbia Valley Riesling (when bad winters damaged their Riesling vines, they outsourced from Washington state)- Washington state makes my second favorite Rieslings. It's interesting to compare the differences between New York & Washington Rieslings. Washington has more tangerine and less of that Finger Lakes mineral that I have come to love.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Contest & News & Notes

- Announcing The First Finger Lakes Weekend Wino Blog Contest-
I'm giving away one of my new Finger Lakes T-shirts (See link at left) and a Pre-Release CD copy of my new Finger Lakes CD titled "Sparkling Diamonds - Songs of the Finger Lakes" to one lucky winner. All you have to do is write the name of the 11 Finger Lakes (I know some people will debate how many there are, but most sources are in agreement that there are 11) in the form at the bottom of the page. Only one entry per email address. The contest will end next Wednesday, August 16 at midnight. I will print all of the emails with correct answers out, fold them real small, put them in a bucket, and have the neighbor kid pull one out randomly. Very Scientific. My decision is final. I hope I don't have to include a lot of legalese. Good Luck and start sending those entries!

- Jim Trezise of NYWGF reports the following from the Indy International Wine Competition:
INDY INTERNATIONAL wine competition celebrated its 15th anniversary last week by becoming the largest wine competition in the country, with 3,859 entries. New York wineries came away with a total of 118 medals including 4 “Concordance Gold” (requiring unanimity), 8 Gold, 44 Silver, and 62 Bronze. The Concordance Gold winners included Chiappone Cellars Winery 2005 Ives, and three 2005 Finger Lakes Rieslings from Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Hosmer Winery, and Thirsty Owl Wine Company. Gold medals went to Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2003 Chardonnay, Chiappone 2005 Diamond, Earle Estates Apple Enchantment, Hazlitt 2005 Pinot Gris, Hosmer 2005 Cayuga, Honeymoon Trail 2005 Pink Catawba, Lakewood 2005 Delaware and 2005 Abby Rose. These and other recent competition results or other forms of recognition will soon be posted under “New York Gold” at

- The Finger Lakes Weekend Wino will be on the other side of the tasting room bar this Saturday as I help pour wine for tastings at Seneca Shore Winery on the northwest side of Seneca Lake. Stop by and say Hi. But you'll have to help sing the Seneca Shore song if you want to taste!

- I had a great time last weekend at the Italian-American festival by the lake in Watkins Glen (awesome pierogies) and also at the Garlic Festival at Fox Run Vineyards (I never knew there were so many different types of garlic and now I know what scapes are). There's always something happening in the Finger Lakes. This weekend is no exception with a ton of things happening:
Keuka East Side Wineries- Summer, Sip, & Savor event
Keuka Overlook Wine Cellars- A Touch of Venice & Sicily
McGregor Vineyard Winery- Blues and Blueberries event
Barrington Cellars- Cold Pastabilities
Keuka Spring Vineyards- Merlot and Mignon
Swedish Hill Vineyard- Limited Release Tasting event
Ravines Wine Cellars- Cab Franc with Argentine Beef
Catch the last month of the Ansel Adams exhibit at The Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning
The Skaneateles Festival features top Classical performers
And I hope to see you at The Glen for NASCAR on Sunday.
It's going to be a BUSY weekend!!!
For more info on what's happening in the Finger Lakes, The Visit Finger Lakes website has a nice calendar feature.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- New Ethanol plant to be located at former Seneca Army Depot

- A few fun things to do in August

- Another tragic warning to be very careful when swimming in the lakes

- A reminder not to release fish or bait from one lake into another lake

- According to this article, millions of pounds of eels used to be harvested from the Finger Lakes

- Dundee proposes new codes for the village such as banning open fire pits

- Owasco Lake in the worst shape environmentally due to high levels of phosphorous

- Finger Lakes wineries using worms to fertilize vines

- A writer contemplates the many moods of Keuka Lake

- 10 pieces of Geneva history

- If you are interested in the history of New York wine, as well as just about anything else you'd want to know, this New York wine course produced by super-knowledgable and well-traveled president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation Jim Trezise has all the info for you. The NYWGF's Uncork New York website is the ultimate source for info about New York wine.