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 www.newyorkwines.org, 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.

1 comment:

Lenn said...

Atwater is a favorite in our house...I need to get my hands on some of that 05 riesling!