Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Finger Lakes New Year 2008!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!!! I wish you a very Prosperous & Healthy 2008 with lots of Good Finger Lakes Wine!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes - Christmas 2007

Where does the time go? It's Christmas already and I just passed the 2 year mark of writing this blog, with over 200 posts! Thank You to all of you who stop by and read my ramblings and I wish you all a Great Holiday Season with your Family and Friends!!!

- The Seneca Lake Wine Trail has their very own YouTube website now where they are posting videos.
- Kathleen Lisson, NY wine educator and now a Certified Specialist of Wine, posts wine wisdom on her blog.
- I've been testing a new Wine Club called Bottle Notes, and so far I am very impressed. They use a short questionnaire to establish a Personal Taste Profile for each member and base their wine selections on the taste profile, which has proven to be very accurate so far.
- Many states still face uphill battle in shipping wine.
- With a hops shortage increasing beer prices, will beer drinkers turn to wine?
- Jeff Richards gives his choices for Finger Lakes dessert wines. (He mentions a favorite of mine- Lakewood Port)
- Finger Lakes photographer Susan Verberg is profiled
- Bill Dowd reviews Finger Lakes wine, and so does Rick Lyke
- Indiana wine writer sings the praises of Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli
- Consumers rate Finger Lakes wine at Cellar Tracker
- Wine Spectator rates the Finger Lakes 2007 Wine Vintage as an A- "Upstate in the Finger Lakes, winter and spring passed by frost-free, giving producers solid yields after several years with few grapes on the vines. The summer was warm and sunny—hot and dry, in fact—which was good for the reds and a relief after a very cloudy, wet 2006. Several winemakers are raving about the dark colors in their Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. "The reds will surprise many Finger Lakes wine drinkers," said Thomas Laszlo, winemaker at Heron Hill Winery. "The Pinot Noirs will be displaying a New Zealand or New World style."
But the region's most acclaimed varietal, Riesling, may be a bit more uneven, thanks to the warm, dry weather. Drought-like conditions hit the area for most of the summer until some scattered showers in late August and September. "Many of the younger vineyards shut down at some point because of lack of water," said Johannes Reinhardt, winemaker at Anthony Road Winery. Acidity levels dropped in many of the white varieties while sugar levels rose. Some producers chose to add some acid in the tank, and most say this year's Rieslings will show more tropical fruit flavors and less bracing acidity, as a result."
- Sheila Livadas profiles Keuka Spring Winery and Knapp Vineyards, and she also profiles Finger Lakes winery pets at
- The Aperitif emag reviews the champagnes of Dr. Frank (pages 15-16)
- Loren Sonkin of IntoWine reviews her trip to Finger Lakes wine country

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Finger Lakes Holiday Gift Ideas

As the Holiday Season is in full swing now, here are some Online Finger Lakes Gift Suggestions for those of you looking for that perfect gift for the Finger Lakes Enthusiast on your gift list:

- Don't forget my CD "Sparkling Diamonds - Songs of The Finger Lakes". It makes a perfect gift. Look at the link on the left side of this page to find where it is available or get the CD online at The Finger Lakes Store Online or at The Grapery Online Store. Hear song clips from the CD by clicking here.

- Finger Lakes Gifts Online has many Finger Lakes gift products to choose from.

- And now, many of the Finger Lakes wineries have online stores, so check them out.

- Gift Certificates for Finger Lakes Wine Trail Events are available from the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, The Keuka Lake Wine Trail, or The Cayuga Wine Trail.

- has a variety of Finger Lakes books and gift items.

- "Doggin The Finger Lakes" is a new book out for anyone with pets on your gift list.

- The Coffee Lovers on your gift list will love a gift from Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters.

- As always, a Gift Subscription to Life In The Finger Lakes magazine will please any Finger Lakes fanatic on your list.

- If you are looking for that special unique Finger Lakes gift, check out the Finger Lakes Artists and Crafters Network.

- And many of the Finger Lakes Bed & Breakfasts offer Gift Certificates.

- Also, the Corning Museum of Glass has a very nice Online Gift Shop.

I hope this gives you some good gift ideas for all of the Finger Lakes Fanatics on your gift list. Have A Great Holiday Season!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Finger Lakes Weekend Wino Wine Awards - Reds

Well, It's that time of the year when I reveal my favorite Finger Lakes wines of the past year. After visiting 81 Finger Lakes wineries (No, I did not meet my goal of visiting them all and I do apologize to those that I missed) and sampling over 600 Finger Lakes wines (hey, somebody's got to do it), I will now reveal (do a drum roll with your tongue) the FINGER LAKES WEEKEND WINO WINE AWARDS (raise the curtain, cue the band featuring Paul Schaffer (he's in all the tv special bands), cue the dancing wine bottles for the lavish opening number, and introduce the freakishly angular-faced Conan O' Brien (our emcee for these distinguished awards).

Conan: Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here tonight to celebrate the finest wines of the Finger Lakes, as judged by some goofball who has an obsession with Finger Lakes wine. These wines have been selected as excellent, by the criteria of being extremely well-balanced, varietally correct, with complex aroma and flavor profiles, with an emphasis on value, and finally, they're just plain yummy! OK, How many Finger Lakes wine bloggers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Three - One for red bulbs, one for white bulbs, and one for blush bulbs! (Low murmur as audience grimaces) Hey, for what they are paying me for this, you're lucky to get any jokes at all out of me! And now, our first category is for Best Reds (These are in no particular order & these were all available at some point in 2007, but may be sold out now):

* Silver Springs Winery
> 2002 Cabernet Franc (with 10% Cab Sauv), $18.95, lovely cherry aroma, abundant cherry on the palate with a subtle smoky pepper finish, 18 months in French oak
> 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, $21.95, nice plum and cherry with hints of smoky anise, heavy tannins that are softening beautifully, will age very well, can't wait to taste this one in a few years.
> 2003 Bold Merlot, $27, 60% Finger Lakes fruit & 40% Long Island fruit, aged in French oak for 2 1/4 years, heavenly soft plum with deep chocolate undertones. drink now or lay it down.

* Damiani Wine Cellars
> 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $21, beautiful deep ruby color, raspberry and currant flavors, very heavy tannins, let this one rest a while
> 2005 Meritage, $25, Cab Franc/ Cab Sauv/ Merlot, deep tones of berry and hints of coffee, heavy tannins, will age well, the potential is extremely evident.

* Shalestone Vineyards
> 2005 Merlot, $18, Rounded tannins, very smooth with hints of pepper in a finish that's longer than a Texas highway.
> 2006 Rich Rose', $12.99, 100% Pinot Noir, excellent value, smooth cherry, well balanced, easy drinking wine.

* Chateau Lafayette Reneau > 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, $17.99, aromatic cherry nose, very silky tannins, amzingly expressive cherry fruit, excellent & delicious.

* Leidenfrost Vineyards > 2005 Pinot Noir, $20, Loads of cherry with a touch of cranberry, medium tannins, ready to drink now but will also age well.

* Hickory Hollow/ Highland Cellars > 2003 Pinot Noir, $12.49, excellent value, lots of smoky cherry with a hint of anise and a long finish with very soft tannins.

* Ravines Wine Cellars
> 2005 Pinot Noir, $21.95, soft medium tannins, ripe cherry with a complex earthiness

> 2005 Meritage, $23.95, 32% Cab Franc/ 45% Cab Sauv/ 23% Merlot, smooth berry fruit with beautifully balanced oak and spice.

* Shaw Vineyards > 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, $19.99, excellent color and balance, soft mouthfeel with medium tannins with a dash of pepper on the finish.

* Prejean Winery > 2005 Cabernet Franc, $15.99, intense berry fruit with hints of spice with a silky smooth mouthfeel and a long finish, a delicious wine.

* Anthony Road Wine Co. > 2005 Cabernet Franc (33%)/ Lemberger (67%), beautiful smoky raspberry flavors with soft velvety tannins.

* Arcadian Estate Winery, > Cafe Noir, $10.99, excellent value, Baco Noir/ Rougeon blend, soft and fruity dry red, Cab Franc-like.

* Hermann Wiemer Vineyards > Dry Rose', $11, excellent value, nice smoky cherry, extremely well balanced

* King Ferry Winery > Meritage, $22.99, Cab Franc/Merlot/CabSauv, ripe black cherry flavors with hints of leather and spice, smooth and balanced, heavy tannins, will age well.

* Castel Grisch Winery > Estate Reserve Burgundy, $9.99, excellent value, 75% Chancellor/ 25% Chardonnay, loads of black cherry into a long smooth finish.

* Montezuma Winery > 2004 Merlot, $17.99, opens with tasty berry fruit with deep toffee undertones into a long smoky finish, deep dark and smoky, nice

* Keuka Lake Vineyards > 2005 Leon Millot, $12, dry red hybrid, excellent value, 50 year old vines, deep color, berry aromas, 1 year in newer French oak, deep black raspberry flavor with nice oak.

* Seneca Shore Wine Cellars > 2001 Cab Sauv/Cab Franc, $29.99, abundant plum with chocolate notes, coming into its peak. > 2003 Lemberger, $19.99, smooth raspberry into a smoky finish.

* Long Point Winery > 2004 Syrah, $16.99, light-bodied but with abundant berry fruit with undertones of spice and oak. > 2006 Moon Puppy, $9.99, excellent value, unique semi-sweet Cabernet Franc that really works, 3% Residual Sugar brings out loads of cherry.

* Miles Wine Cellars > 2002 Milestone, $29.95, 50% Cab Franc/ 50% Merlot, Hungarian oak, Deep Plum with Dark Chocolate overtones, Yum. > 2005 Pinot Noir, $24.95, French oak, A perfect balance of cherry and oak.

* Bloomer Creek Vineyard > 2006 Cafe' Red, Cabernet Franc, $12.99, excellent value, Light-bodied but with abundant smoky strawberry.

* Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards > 2005 Merlot, $18.99, Medium tannins, deep and dark with fruit that just won't end, Yum.

* Lakewood Vineyards > 2005 Cabernet Franc, $15.99, very soft, beautifully balanced fruit and oak.

* Lucas Vineyards > 2006 Cabernet Franc Reserve, $17.99, Heavy semi-soft tannins, soft cherry that will age nicely. > 2006 Syrah Reserve, $24.99, lovely complex nose, beautiful cherry/raspberry, made to age. If these 2 are indicative of the 2006 Finger Lakes reds, all I can say is Wow! And I thought the 2005's were awesome.

* Fulkerson Winery > 2005 Pinot Noir, $20, smokey raspberry with sweet oak is a delicious combination. > 2005 Noiret, one of the newest Cornell grapes, complex nose of floral, mint, and pepper, complex flavors of cherry, plum, and cola with medium tannins, it sold out quickly.

* Sheldrake Point > 2004 Cabernet Franc, $16.99, layers of plum, cherry, and raspberry.

* Red Tail Ridge Winery > 2006 Dry Rose', 80% Pinot Noir/ 20% Cab Franc, smooth strawberry/cherry into a nice long finish.

* Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars > 2003 Merlot, $17.99, soft medium tannins, smooth nd balanced.

* Cobblestone Farm Winery > 2006 Cabernet Franc, $16.99, Rich berry fruit with hints of pepper and spice, another wine that shows the promise of the 2006 Finger Lakes Reds.

* Knapp Winery > Serenity, $11.95, Baco Noir, excellent value, .8% RS, fresh and fruity.

Congratulations to all of the Finger Lakes Red Wine winners for 2007!!! Unfortunately, with this blog's budget, all you win is the great feeling of knowing that your winemaking skills are appreciated and acknowledged! Besides, you don't need another award clogging up your walls, do you?

Stay tuned for the White Wine Winners coming soon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More Medals for Finger Lakes Wine

Here are the Finger Lakes Gold Medal winners at the recent American Wine Society Commercial Wine Competition:

Chateau Frank, New York
NV Celebre, Double Gold
2000 Blanc de Noirs, Gold
2000 Blanc de Blancs, Gold
NV Celebre Rosé, Gold

Chateau Lafayette Reneau, New York
NV Emperor's Blush, Gold

Cobblestone Farm Winery, New York
2006 Cobblestone Red, Gold

Dr. Konstantin Frank, New York
2006 Riesling, Semi-Dry, Gold

Fox Run Vineyards, New York
NV Sable, Gold

Glenora Wine Cellars, New York
2006 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, Gold

Click here for the complete results (Go to 2007 Results)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

- Myself & Mrs. Wino wish you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving!!!
- Don't forget about our military men and women. Click here for ways that you can help our soldiers.

- I thought that these were pretty cute. Glenora Wine Cellars have come up with some clever wine labels for the Holidays. My favorite is Grinchtraminer. These wines are available for a limited time at Glenora Wine Cellars.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes - Nov.15, 2007

Well, Thanksgiving is just around the corner already, the 2007 grapes have started on their journey to becoming fantastic Finger Lakes wine, and the cold winter season is soon upon us. Thank You to all the great people that I've met and who have emailed me and who have come out to see my shows and who have bought my CD (see the link to the left for more info on the CD, which makes a great gift) and to all of you who read my blog! I truly cherish you all and Give Thanks for you and for all the blessings in my life! Also, I'll be posting my very own 1st Annual Finger Lakes Wine Awards soon. Stay tuned.

- It's time once again for Thanksgiving wine suggestions

- It's Holiday time in The Finger Lakes

- Geneseo woman swims across 11 Finger Lakes to beat obesity

- Jeff Richards explains the difference between rose' and blush wine

- Sandra Silfven reviews Finger Lakes Rieslings and Rick Lyke also shares his thoughts

- Dr. Frank once again wins Greatest Wine Producer in Atlantic Northeast

- Plane crash lands in Seneca Lake

- Thanksgiving wine suggestions from NPR

- New York Wine Grape Task Force has been formed

- The Nose recommends Finger Lakes wine for Thanksgiving

- Sad times for the Keuka Maid Personally, I hope that they can find a way to keep it on Keuka Lake. Mrs. Wino & I have enjoyed our time cruising on her. It would be a shame if she weren't there.

- Prejean Winery wins Best Value Wine Awards from Beverage Tasting Institute Prejean's Gewurztraminer is also one of my favorites and Prejean makes an excellent Cabernet Franc

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Help Support the Osborn Family of Fox Run at Benefit Wine Dinner

If you can, please plan on coming out to this Benefit or please donate items. For more information about the benefit or to make a donation, call the Yates County Chamber of Commerce at 536-3111. See more information in the article below from the Finger Lakes Times.

Benefit will help Fox Run after fire By AMANDA FOLTS/Finger Lakes TimesMonday, November 5, 2007 11:03 AM CST

PENN YAN - Area winery and restaurant owners have banded together to help one of their own, organizing a wine and dine benefit for the owners of Fox Run Winery, whose home was damaged in an Oct. 27 fire. Scheduled for Nov. 13 at Anthony Road Winery, the benefit will raise money for members of the Osborn family, who escaped injury but lost a pet in the fire. Guests will receive a wine glass and plate to take to the stations set up at the winery. Restaurants will have samples of their best dishes at the tables, and other Finger Lakes wineries will provide tastings of their wines. “More than anything, I hope they realize how much the community cares about them and supports them,” said Meredith Race, Anthony Road's tasting room manager. Restaurants providing food for the event include the Red Newt, Veraisons, the caf頡t Fox Run, Simply Red Bistro at Sheldrake and the Classic Cafe in Dundee. Wineries that will be pouring include Glenora, Fulkerson, Four Chimneys and Bully Hill.

There will also be a silent auction, which will include gift certificates, wines and local art. Organizers are still accepting contributions. “We have a great committee - we pulled the event together very quickly,” said Joyce Hunt, co-owner of Hunt Country Winery. “We had a good response from wineries and restaurants, so we hope the community will support it by showing up.” Hunt said her husband is a volunteer firefighter and that he saw fairly substantial damage when he went to the Osborn's house. She said the funds from the benefit will help the family get back on its feet and replace the possessions they lost in the fire. The Osborns are renting a house in Geneva until their Benton home can be rebuilt. Ruth Osborn said she believes repairs will take about six months. Only the back of the house was burned, she said, but smoke and water damaged the rest.

The kitchen, laundry room, pantry, back and side porches, powder room and both bathrooms are completely gone, but the attic and roof remain intact. Osborn stressed the need for people to check the personal contents coverage on their insurance policies, which basically covers everything in the house that is not nailed down. “You think you have enough - then something like this happens,” she said. “It's really an eye-opener.” Most of all, Osborn said, her family has benefited from the care, support and outpouring of kindness they have received since the fire.
“We've had so much support and love - calls, E-mails, people just stopping in,” she said. “Everyone offering us places to stay, to do our laundry, to walk our dog. We've had food brought to us. Even people we don't know. It's amazing.”This weekend, the Osborns and some of their friends plan to go through the house to salvage anything that was not destroyed and discard anything that was. She said some of the furniture can be saved, but the family's beds are gone. Osborn's husband Scott and her 17-year-old son Michael were in the house at the time of the fire. Both were able to exit without injury and save their dog, but their cat was lost. “Something good always comes out of something bad.” Osborn said. “We feel so rich to have the friends we have. There's so much support to help us get through this, we can't thank people enough.” The benefit will be held Nov. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Anthony Road Winery, 1020 Anthony Road. “We're just happy we can help out,” Martini said. “We have good space for everyone to congregate. People can come and share good food and good wine with good friends.”

For more information about the benefit or to make a donation, call the Yates County Chamber of Commerce at 536-3111.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes Oct. 24, 2007

- If you are in the Naples NY area, I'll be performing at The Brown Hound Bistro this Friday from 6pm to 9pm. Come out for some great food & some great tunes! Check out the links on the right side of this page for my upcoming performance dates and where to purchase my new CD.

- Scott Osborn & Peter Bell of Fox Run share their thoughts on the 2007 Harvest

- Fulkerson Winery expands vineyard with an additional 12.6 acres of Riesling

- Peak Fall Foliage colors finally arrive in the Finger Lakes

- New hybrid grape varieties continue to be developed

- Retired Californians make Sunset On Seneca a beautiful place

- Check out some great art from the Ithaca Art trail

- Upstate New York folks like to eat, maybe too much?

- Finger Lakes region gets share of state funding

- The New York Times profiles Watkins Glen

- Ken's Wine Guide reviews their favorites from their recent Finger Lakes trip

- The thrill of catching rainbows in Skaneateles

-Fulkerson Winery announces the following new releases (with tasting notes by Fulkerson):
2006 Dry Riesling
$13.99 per btl. .7% rs
Let the fragrant sweet nose of green melon, pear and honey lead you
onto vibrant refreshing tastes of crisp lemon and grapefruit. The acidic
mineral finish is a true palate cleanser – that’s why we love Riesling!

2006 Gewurztraminer
$15.99 per btl. 1.1% rs
Your going to fall in love with this fascinating new vintage. The exotic
floral and lychee fruit aromas are followed by soft pleasant full tastes
of citrus and spice. A perfect wine to ring in October-fest!

2005 Reserve Red
$8.88 per btl. 0% rs
Aged 10 months in 2/3 French Oak and 1/3 American Oak barrels. Our
everyday red for everyday foods is back with Oomph! It is a blend of Baco Noir
and Corot Noir Grapes. The bouquet of spicy black plums and dried figs integrates
nicely with the smooth taste of cherry and oak that ends on a suprising sweet note.

2005 Caleb
$13.99 per btl. 0% rs
Our meritage blend was named in honor of Caleb Fulkerson who journeyed here
and staked out land in 1805. An exquisitely handcrafted blend comprised of three
red grape varieties (Noiret, Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc). It begins with
a toasty buttery nose laced with black pepper. Smooth round flavors of black fruit
with a long expansive finish.

2005 Merlot
$17.99 per btl. 0% rs
An exceptional full-bodied Merlot-it's not going "Sideways"! Notice the
beautiful garnet color and aromas of ripe plums, cranberries and smoky oak
of this serious red. It has a lively mouthfeel with tastes of berries and a little
black pepper coupled with a generous tannic backbone.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Finger Lakes Wine Alliance Riesling Tasting

I was honored to be invited to participate in The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance Riesling Tasting.

My thanks to Rick Lyke and Amanda Slaver for coordinating the event.

Myself and several other wine writers from around the country tasted 6 Finger Lakes Rieslings as presented by representatives of each winery:

Dr Frank 2006 Dry Riesling

Hunt Country 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling

Rooster Hill Estate 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling

Standing Stone 2006 Riesling

White Springs 2006 Red Label Riesling

Wagner 2006 Riesling Ice Wine

I'm not going to comment on each individual wine here because you can find my tasting notes in my archives, but I do want to comment on my overall impressions. All of these Rieslings are well-crafted and very well balanced, but each one is entirely different from the other. From clean and crisp to racy and vibrant, from .8% Residual Sugar to 11.8% Residual Sugar, the excellent diversity that can be brought forth from the Riesling grape is truly amazing. And each of these fine winemakers adds their own expression of the grape. It is truly amazing how Riesling expresses its terroir. I consider myself lucky to be able to have the opportunity to every year taste the wines from just about all of the 90-some wineries in The Finger Lakes and it's always amazing how much the aroma and flavor profiles can vary even at wineries within a half-mile apart or closer.

This brings me to the sweet dilemma that this creates for new visitors to The Finger Lakes. I get emails all the time asking me which Finger Lakes winery makes the best Rieslings. I really don't think that question can be answered. The best for your palate may not be the best for my palate. That's why I do not like wine ratings. It's just one person's opinion based on one person's palate. I tell new visitors to The Finger Lakes to taste as many Finger Lakes wines as you can. There is a Finger Lakes wine for everyone, from dry reds to sweet whites. It may take you a while to explore the wineries and find it, but to me, that's not a problem, that's an adventure. There are much worse things than having to taste more wine.

Another question that I'm asked all the time is, "What do Finger Lakes wines taste like", as if there is one taste profile for this entire region. Finger Lakes wine is diverse and expressive and passionate and as different as each individual vineyard and winemaker, and that's a very good thing in my book. So my advice is Take the time to explore Finger Lakes wine and I guarantee that you will find wine to fall in love with.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Finger Lakes Winery Visit Reports

McGregor Vineyards - east side of Keuka Lake,
5 samples for 5 dollars includes snack plate and sit down sampling. Beautiful rustic tasting room with views of Keuka Lake. Very knowledgable staff. Specializing in dry reds and whites.
My tasting notes are: -2004 Sparkling Riesling, $24.99, not many FL wineries make Riesling in a Sparkling style but I wish they would, 3%RS, a touch of sweetness perfectly balances the smooth acidity of this excellent sparkler. - 2006 Rkatsitelli/Sereksiya, $24.99, 2% RS, this is the only place you can find this blend, truly unique, light citrus leading to a solid finish with a touch of spicy herb. - Thistle Blush, $8.99, 3.25% RS, a unique blend of Rosette & Ives, light fruity and well balanced, very nice value sipper. - 2005 Late Harvest Vignoles, $19.99, 375ml, 6.5% RS, very floral aromas of citrus and floral blossoms, complex layers of luscious mango, pineapple, and honey.

Seneca Shore Wine Cellars, (west side of Seneca Lake), -2003 Reserve Chardonnay, $13.99, You all know how I love the buttery Chardonnays & Seneca Shore does it good, Buttery and balanced with smooth oak and a finish that lasts as long as George Hamilton's tan. - White Castle, $8.99, fruit salad with a drizzle of lightly sweet lemon, for those of us who aren't afraid to admit that we also drink sweet wines. - Castle Blush, $7.99, sweet blush, fruity sweet and tangy. -2003 Lemberger, $20.99, raspberry hints with a smoky berry finish, a very nice vintage of this increasingly popular grape in the Finger Lakes. -2001 Cab Sauv/Cab Franc, $29.99, Juicy Plum notes with hints of chocolate and a very long finish, this 2001 is ready to drink!

Miles Wine Cellars, west side of Seneca Lake,
located right on the lake with gorgeous views, -2002 Milestone, $29.95, 0% RS, 50% Cab Franc & 50% Merlot, deep plum notes with succulent chocolate overtones. -2005 Pinot Noir, $24.95, 0% RS, perfectly balanced cherry and oak with a beautiful long finish, this is how you do Finger Lakes Pinot Noir. - Ghost (named that because the winery is said to be haunted), $15.95, 1.5% RS, Chardonnay/Cayuga blend, light bodied but with good fruit and a solid backbone.

Bloomer Creek Vineyard, east side of Seneca Lake,
Owner and winemaker Kim Engle has put his heart and soul into his dream of establishing a top-notch winery and that hard work shows when you taste Bloomer Creek wine. I give Bloomer Creek my vote for one of the best 2006 Finger Lakes Riesling, $14.00, 2% RS, perfectly balanced and integrated fruit, acidity, and that east Seneca mineral that I love so well, This Riesling (that I am enjoying right now) is perfect in my book. - 2006 Cafe White, $12.99, Chardonnay/Pinot Gris, soft with nicely balanced fruit and acidity. - 2006 Chardonnay, $18.00, soft and light bodied with well defined oak. - 2006 Cayuga White, $9.00, 3% RS, the fruit comes right at you with pineapple and melon up front with a crisp balanced finished & a great value. -2006 Gamay Noir, $14.00, Beaujolais-style wine starting with hints of strawberry and finishing with notes of pepper and spice. - 2006 Cafe Red, $12.99, .8% RS, very soft and light-bodied Cabernet Franc, but with ample fruit of smoky strawberry/raspberry. -Half Moon Rose, $10.00, Excellent blush, blend of Cayuga White & Pinot Noir, soft and fruity.

Shalestone Vineyards, east side of Seneca Lake,
Owner & Winemaker Rob Thomas makes wine the way he lives his life - on his own terms. If you don't like dry reds, you might as well not even bother turning into the driveway. In an area filled with 100 other wineries that compromise at least a little and make at least one sweeter wine to appease the non-dry drinker, Rob is steadfast. And he is doing quite well, thank you.
2005 Merlot, $18.00, full rounded tannins, very smooth with a long finish hinting of pepper.
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $20.00, full bodied with smooth strong tannins, made to age.
2005 Cabernet Franc, $20.00, full of cherry and smoke, but be patient, tannins are begging to be left alone for a while. - 2006 Rich Rose, $12.99, 100% Pinot Noir, soft mouth feel of light cherry, very well-balanced, ready to drink now!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Finger Lakes Pictures for 2007

Wow, it's October already and I haven't done a Picture Post yet. Here are some of my favorite pics that I have taken this year so far. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

This first picture is the unveiling of the restored Curtiss seaplane "America" on Keuka Lake in Hammondsport for the Seaplane Homecoming festivities. Click on photo to enlarge it.

Here are some of the Seaplanes that gave us a spectacular air show above Keuka Lake.

Here is the Friendly Cow that greets visitors at Cowlick Farm. If you are ever on the Northeast side of Seneca Lake, stop in and sample their cheese. It is excellent and you must pet the cow!!!

Mrs. Wino & I took a wine tasting ride on The Finger Lakes Railway and had a great time.
As you can see, there were some great views from the train.

Ahhhhh, Another Beautiful Day overlooking Seneca Lake!

And now for some of my favorite Animal Photos this year.

This is the Farm Dog at Weaver View Farms. A hard-working dog deserves a nap every now and then.

And hard-working Cats deserve Cat Naps too. This is the winery cat at McGregor Winery. Probably tired from working in the gift shop all day.

This is Toby, the newest winery dog at Arcadian Estate Winery, and cute as a button. Shameless Plug #1 - I'll be performing at Arcadian Estate
Winery on Sunday, Nov. 11th. Come on out and see me and Toby. Toby plays one heckuva dogbone.

One of the beautiful Australian Shepherds at Lakewood Vineyards. But then, I'm biased because we have 2 Australian Shepherds of our own.

The Peaceful Tranquility of Rainbow Cove.

A Sailboat On Seneca gliding so majestically. Gee, Someone should write a song about that. Oh wait, someone did. Me.
Shameless Plug #2 - My new CD "Sparkling Diamonds- Songs of The Finger Lakes" makes a great gift for the upcoming Holiday Season. Click here for where to get it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes Sept. 28, 2007

- Yours truly, the Weekend Wino, will bring my scholarly side to the hallowed halls of Hobart & Smith College in Geneva on Friday, November 2nd when I present a seminar for "Releasing Your Creativity Through Music & Lyrics" at noon (free admission, lunch included, you must register in adavnce, seating is limited) and a Finger Lakes Weekend Wino Concert (free admission) at 8pm featuring songs from my new CD "Sparkling Diamonds - Songs of The Finger Lakes" (hear clips of the songs here). Remember to register for the Creativity Seminar by calling 315-781-4382. This seminar is for anyone who is interested in learning creative techniques to enhance your creativity. Click here for more information -scroll down to Nov. 2nd
A Special Weekend Wino Thank You goes out to Sarah Meyer at The Finger Lakes Institute for organizing this event!!!

- Hermann Wiemer retires, leaves winery in very capable hands

- My blogger friends Ken & Theresa at Ken's Wine Guide post their travelogue of their recent Finger Lakes trip

- Mark Hare reviews "Finger Lakes Memories"

- Finger Lakes wineries turning to netting to protect grape crop

- Appellation America profiles Damiani Vineyards. Lou Damiani and a small group of other wineries clustered on the east side of Seneca Lake like Silver Spring, Shalestone, Red Newt, & Silver Thread are taking on the task of showing that premium red wines CAN be made in The Finger Lakes and I applaud them. Talk to any of these winemakers and they bleed passion for crafting top-notch red wines in The Finger Lakes.

- New book chronicles 'Wine Across America'

- Fall Foliage report and Finger Lakes Foliage may peak early this year

- Lenn Thompson reviews Ravines Keuka Village White

- Crackdown on migrant workers affecting Finger Lakes wineries

- This is one of those stories that you hate to hear and makes you not take life for granted. Actress who worked in Finger Lakes region taken from us way too soon.

- JFK Wine Bar serves Hermann Wiemer Riesling

- Finger Lakes Vineyards are poised for a very good crop

- New winery on Cayuga Lake 'bets the farm'

- The Daily Orange reviews 3 Keuka Lake wineries and we find out that Dr Frank Wine Cellars is planning an "all Riesling" winery on Seneca Lake within the next 3 years... excellent!!!

- Mens Fitness magazine recommends Finger Lakes Riesling with their Ahi Tuna recipe

- New York seeks more British tourists

- One Tank Trips features The Windmill Farm & Crafts Market (one of me and Mrs. Wino's favorite places to browse)

- Canoeing on Hemlock Lake

- Is there a new "oldest Finger Lakes winery"?

- WineAmerica has some interesting statistics on the wine industry including this chart on the growth of wineries per state

- Cornell's Geneva Agricultural Experimental Station is 125 years young

- Now I know what an ocelot is

- Rare Book of Mormon found, auctioned in Geneva for $105,600

- A big Weekend Wino welcome to Cynthia Kimble, new president of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance

- The new York Post profiles Canandaigua

- Here's your chance to win An Ultimate Finger Lakes Wine Country Experience

Cheers, Finger Lakes Weekend Wino

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Weekend Wino update

Fellow Wino's, Sorry for the long time between posts. Things are extremely busy. My CD "Sparkling Diamonds - Songs of The Finger Lakes" has sold out the first run already and we are well in to the second run. Thank You to all of you who have purchased a copy!!! If you would like a copy, you can find it at the following locations:
* Dr. Frank Wine Cellars, west side of Keuka Lake
*Arbor Hill Winery (in Naples NY) and for sale online at Arbor Hill's website
* Arcadian Estate Winery (west side of Seneca Lake)
* Artizanns, Gifts from the Finger Lakes (in Naples NY)
* Barrington Cellars, east side of Keuka Lake
* Lakewood Vineyards, west side of Seneca Lake
* Fulkerson Winery, west side of Seneca Lake
* Hope Farm Books in Saugerties NY
And coming soon to Montezuma Winery (north end of Cayuga Lake)
and for sale online soon at
Thank You to all of these fine establishments!!! Hear clips of the songs here

Myself and Tommy the Wino had another great time performing last weekend at Dr. Franks. A Big Thank You to Joe and the whole gang there!!! Upcoming performances include
Oct. 26 at the delicious Brown Hound Bistro in Bristol Springs at the south end of Canandaigua Lake and Nov. 11 at Arcadian Estate Winery (west side of Seneca Lake).

I also want to send a Special Thanks out to Stacy Majewicz at Life In The Finger Lakes magazine for her writeup about my CD in the new Fall edition of the magazine. And also a Special Thank You to my fellow Golden Nose judge Richard Frisbie for a mention in his excellent article also in the new Fall edition of Life In The Finger Lakes magazine.

- Check out the September Finger Lakes calendar of events from Finger Lakes Wine Country

- Me and Mrs. Wino and some wino friends will be checking out the SeaPlane Homecoming this weekend in Hammondsport. It is amazing to watch the seaplanes on Keuka Lake!

- So much to do and so little time to do it. Keep the emails coming. I try to reply to them all. Hope your summer was great and I hope you enjoy the beautiful Fall Harvest time in the Finger Lakes!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tips for Planning Your Trip to the Finger Lakes

I get a lot of emails from people that are planning trips to the Finger Lakes for the first time asking advice about what to see, where to stay, and what wineries to visit, and I enjoy getting emails and giving advice, so keep them coming. However, common themes arise as I exchange email replies. My first reply usually asks questions like how long are you staying, at which lake do you want to make your base, what are your wine preferences, and what is your budget

Most folks are trying to do too much with too little time and do not realize how big The Finger Lakes area is (over 7500 square miles) and how many wineries (over 90) are here. So once I get them to zero in on a specific lake to explore and make their base at, and I get an idea of their wine palate, their interests, and their budget, then I can offer them my recommendations.

When visiting the Finger Lakes for the first time, especially if it's just for a long weekend, you really must do some planning if you want to get the most out of your visit. What are you most interested in doing? Wine Tasting, Hiking, Boating, Fishing, Visiting historical and/or touristy sites, Dinner cruises on a lake, Nightlife, or Relaxing (I always recommend SCHEDULING time for relaxing on a vacation because we get so caught up in trying to do everything that we end up exhausted when we get back home). Once you prioritize your interests, then research. and the other major search engines are a huge help. Just do searches for such keywords as "Finger Lakes", "Finger Lakes Lodging", "Finger Lakes Wine", "Finger Lakes Attractions", "Finger Lakes Tourism", "Finger Lakes Travel", "Finger Lakes Event Calendar", "Finger Lakes Dining", "Finger Lakes Fishing", etc. You get the idea.

Also, you can order (and also download some) free Finger Lakes Tourist Guides from,,

(or you can download this tourist guide at,

(or download this travel guide at,

(or download this guide in color at or in black and white for speedier download and using less ink if you want to print it out at,,,

For researching Finger Lakes wineries, visit or or or search through my archives.
or visit the Finger Lakes Wine Trail websites at or or

And above all, Have Fun!!! The Finger Lakes is a very special place with amazingly beautiful scenic treasures and world-class wines. A little bit of research will make your trip more enjoyable and relaxing. And if you have any questions about planning your trip, feel free to email me by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- Lots of good features on including the current winery profile by Sheila Livadas, a very interesting Question and Answer feature with 10 Finger Lakes winemakers, and a great Interactive Map of The Finger Lakes.

- I came across this well-written article from 2006 by Pennsylvania state viticulturist Mark Chien "In Praise of Grape Varietal Diversity" that echoes my thoughts completely.

- If you want to do something to help our troops, this Beer Website has a list of websites where you can help.

- I've talked to some Finger Lakes winemakers in the last week who tell me the Finger Lakes grape crop is doing very well this year heading into the final months before harvest. The weather during these last weeks will be critical.

- Opici acquisition means broader distribution for some Finger Lakes wineries.

- Winery Tourism growing in less known local wine regions.

- Apple Farm is doing well

- Farm worker summit searches for answers.

- Finger Lakes Dairy treats are listed

- How about some Finger Lakes vodka?

- The second round of New York winery website improvement grants is announced. I've already noticed a huge improvement at a lot of Finger Lakes winery websites with colorful graphics, informative copy, pulldown menus, and ecommerce!

- State and local officials differ over Cayuga Indian land agreement

- Lake Trout fishing in the Finger Lakes

- Casa Larga ready for champagne shortage

- Iowa winery makes wine from Finger Lakes grapes

- A week of tranquility on Keuka Lake

- Keuka Lake travelogue

- Jason Feulner's latest post at LennDevour focuses on Bully Hill

- Ken & Theresa from Ken's Wine Guide post some reviews from their recent visit to the Finger Lakes.

- See Kathleen Lisson's informative webcast of Fred Frank giving a primer on how weather affects the grapes in the Finger Lakes. I visited Dr. Frank's new tasting room last weekend and it is fantastic; spacious with simple elegance and, of course, a fantastic view of Keuka Lake. Dr. Frank's 45th Anniversary Celebration is this Sunday (sold out).
Also, I will be performing again at Dr. Franks's on Sept. 8 & 9. Come on out!!!

- News from my neighbors to the south, Fulkerson Winery. New Releases:
*Cabernet Franc 2005, Residual Sugar: 0%, Alcohol: 12%, Bottling: 135 cases
Price: $14.00, I tasted this last weekend and it is excellent, ripe cherries and sweet vanilla with a touch of petrol on the finish.
* Dornfelder 2006, Residual Sugar: 0%, Alcohol: 12%, Bottling: 191 cases, Price: $16.00. A German red hybrid showing great promise. It is a cross between Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe grapes. Dornfelder is the 3rd most planted red wine grape in Germany . In the Finger Lakes region it is very scarce, only two wineries grow Dornfelder and Fulkerson is the only varietal wine producer.Tasting NotesOur innovative cult wine. Take a break from the ordinary with this hybrid grape variety from Germany . The Currant and spicy nose draws you into the medium bodied fruity taste with a long finish. Fulkerson Winery is the only producer of a Dornfelder varietal in the Finger Lakes with this Limited Quanity wine aged 8 months in 2 year old French Oak.
* Reserve Red 2005, Residual Sugar: 0%, Alcohol: 12%, Bottling: 323 cases, Price: $9.00
Comprised of Baco Noir and Corot Noir (NY 70.0809.10), a newly named numbered variety from the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva NY . Aged 10 months in 2/3 French Oak and 1/3 American Oak barrels.
* Ratings from Wine Enthusiast Magazine: October 2007 issue
87 Fulkerson 2006 Traminette $12.00 * Best Buy
84 Fulkerson 2005 Gewurztraminer $16.00
83 Fulkerson 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon $16.00

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2007 New York Wine & Food Classic Winners Announced

Thanks to Jim Trezise at NYWGF for providing the results.
The Finger Lakes wineries winning top honors this year were:

2007 New York Wine & Food Classic
COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts
Napa, CA
August 7 & 8, 2007

Governor’s Cup
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2006 Dry Riesling

Winery of the Year
Red Barn Winery

Best Sparkling Wine
Swedish Hill Vineyards NV Spumante Blush

Best White Wine
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2006 Dry Riesling

Best Blush Wine
Barrington Cellars 2006 Buzzard’s Blush (Weekend Wino Favorite)

Best Specialty Wine
Red Barn Winery 2006 Raspberry Wine

Best of Class

Best Other Sparkling
Swedish Hill Vineyards NV Spumante Blush

Best Dry Riesling
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2006 Dry Riesling

Best Unoaked Chardonnay
Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery 2006 Chardonnay

Best Pinot Gris
Hunt Country Vineyards 2006 Pinot Gris

Best Pinot Blanc
Glenora Wine Cellars 2006 Pinot Blanc

Best Gewürztraminer
Standing Stone Vineyard 2006 Gewürztraminer

Best Hybrid White Blend
Bloomer Creek Vineyards 2006 Reserve White

Best Vignoles
Anthony Road Wine Company 2006 Vignoles (Weekend Wino Favorite)

Best Vidal Blanc
Long Point Winery 2006 Vidal Blanc (Weekend Wino Value Pick)

Best Cayuga White
McGregor Vineyard Winery 2006 Cayuga White (Weekend Wino Favorite)

Best Other Blush
Barrington Cellars 2006 Buzzard’s Blush

Best Catawba
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Cabin Fever

Best Pinot Noir
Six Mile Creek Vineyard 2005 Pinot Noir

Best Native Red Blend
Fox Run Vineyards NV Fox Trot Red

Best Late Harvest
Swedish Hill Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Vignoles

Best Port
Red Barn Winery 2005 Pauley’s Port

Best Mead
Torrey Ridge Scarlet Red (Weekend Wino Favorite)

Best Fruit Wine
Red Barn Winery 2006 Raspberry Wine

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- (Shameless Plug) My new CD "Sparkling Diamonds - Songs of The Finger Lakes" is now for sale at the following locations:
* Dr. Frank Wine Cellars, Stop by Dr. Franks for their 45th Anniversary Celebration this month and see the brand new Tasting Room (and purchase a copy of my CD!).
* Arbor Hill Winery (in Naples NY and the CD will soon be available for sale online at Arbor Hill's website )
* Artizanns, Gifts from the Finger Lakes (in Naples NY)
* Barrington Cellars, east side of Keuka Lak
* Lakewood Vineyards, west side of Seneca Lak
* And the CD is coming soon to Fulkerson Winery. Check out Fulkerson's new very cool website.

* Or you can order the CD by mail by filling out the form at the bottom of this page
This CD makes a great gift for any fan of the Finger Lakes!!! Hear song clips by clicking here

- Fellow Golden Nose Graduate Kathleen Lisson is webcasting about Finger Lakes wine

- Lenndevours Finger Lakes' correspondent Jason Feulner posts about the growth of the Finger Lakes wine industry.

- Check out Glenora Winery's latest news, including a 20% off special!

- Check out the August Finger Lakes Event Calendar here

- Orchestra of The Southern Finger Lakes announces performance schedule

- The New York State Fair Wine Competition winners are announced with Atwater, Chateau Frank, Fox Run, Goose Watch, Knapp, Penguin Bay, & Torrey Rdige winning Best Of Category honors.

- The Indy International Wine Competition awards are announced with Torrey Ridge getting 3 Best Of Class Awards. Congratulations to The Earle's! Torrey Ridge & Earle Estates are kicking some serious butt in wine competitions this year. What I really like about Torrey Ridge is that its wines, even the sweet wines, are very balanced and full-flavored. And I always enjoy visiting the beautiful tasting room.

- This is a great story about Bob & Terry at Keuka Overlook and well-written by Barbara Cunningham at The Star-Gazette. I just have one thing to say to Bob- Make more Chardonnay, Everytime I go there, they are out of it, and Bob makes a helluva Chardonnay.

- Michael Leavy debuts new Finger Lakes book

- Seneca White Deer tours could become a reality

- Another great story, this one about Sam Argetsinger, and well-written as usual by the Star-Gazzette's Wine Guy, Jeff Richards.

- Got document water damage- this Finger Lakes company can help.

- New Canalway Trail segment opens

- Artists support Organic Farming

- Finger Lakes real estate prices are skyrocketing

- Fish Virus is spreading in Finger Lakes

- Finger Lakes Wine Festival recap

- The Grape Guy reviews Finger Lakes wine

- Folks give their opinion on Finger Lakes restaurants

- Retirees travelogue of Watkins Glen

- Student Pilot flies over The Finger Lakes

- Finger Lakes wineries did well at the Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition:

Best of Class:
Earle Estates, Niagara, & Red Raspberry Honey Wine.
Glenora Winery, 2006 Pinot Blanc.
Hazlitt 1852 Winery, 2006 Riesling, Reserve. (This wine is winning award after award)
Lamoreaux Landing, 2006 Riesling, Ice
Swedish Hill, NV Riesling Blue Waters & American 2005 Vignoles, Late Harvest
Torrey Ridge, NV Peach

See the complete results here

Monday, July 23, 2007

2 More Finger Lakes Wineries Open Their Doors

Imagine Moore Winery

Tim Moore, owner of the new Imagine Moore Winery in Naples NY, has realized his lifelong dream of opening his own winery and he is certainly well-qualified. Tim is a graduate of U.C. Davis and has worked around the world in the wine industry, but his "day job" overseeing Vineyard Operations with a company you may have heard of called Constellation Brands brought him to the Finger Lakes and this is where Tim is putting down roots.

Tim's vision for Imagine Moore Winery is to be a winery that makes superior wines and does it by being environmentally-friendly, emphasizing sustainable farming practices, and even going so far as to use recycled wood from old homes nearby in the building of the tasting room and using lead-free organic inks on his colorful bottles.

Tim, along with co-owner and wife Diane and Finger Lakes tasting room veteran Mike Johnson have created a unique tasting room experience, from the cozy and artful decor to the very cool stemless wine tasting glasses that you get to keep with a tasting ($3 for tastings, 4 wines right now, but more on the way). You can feel the passion and vision that this team puts in to every aspect of Imagine Moore, and especially in the wine. Here are my tasting notes:

2006 Peace- Pinot Gris: .4%RS, $16.99, in New French Oak for 2 weeks then finished in Stainless, Very Soft mouthfeel with rounded green apple and citrus tones and finishing with the perfect touch of vanilla and subtly spicy oak.

2006 Joy- Dry Riesling: .6%RS, $14.99, 1st vintage of grapes from new vineyard, very fresh and floral aromas, Once again very soft mouthfeel with rounded citrus tones and long but subtle mineral finish that just melts into your mouth.

2006 Love- Semi-Dry Riesling: 3.0%RS, $14.99, Again that very soft mouthfeel (In all of the Finger Lakes Riesling I've tasted, I don't remember any other Finger Lakes Riesling being this soft and rounded- Tim attributes it to the low yield from the new vineyard). It has an amazingly soft and delicate texture, but it doesn't sacrifice fruit with velvety peach and honeyed citrus highlights.

2006 Change- $11.99, 88% Cabernet Franc & 12% Corot Noir (one of the new grape varieties from Cornell). This is 2006 fruit using carbonic maceration (click here for info on carbonic maceration) in a Beaujolais style, Soft berry fruit with a hint of pepper and a little edginess at the finish, perhaps from the Corot Noir.

Coming within the next month are new bottlings of 2006 Cab Franc (labeled Wisdom), a 2006 Cab/Syrah blend (labeled Synchronicity), and a semis-sweet 5.5% RS Cayuga/Traminette blend (labeled Harmony). The website at will be up soon.

Keuka Lake Vineyards

Mel Goldman, owner of the newest winery to open on Keuka Lake (aptly named Keuka Lake Vineyard), has always admired and respected the small farmer. So after retiring from his life in International Development which took him all around the world to Nepal, India, Korea, South America & Europe, Pittsburgh-born Goldman decided that farming would be a suitable and noble pastime for his retirement.

With degrees from MIT and Princeton, he certainly had the ability to learn new skills and, through a fortuitous series of events 15 years ago, he ended up purchasing a vineyard right smack dab in the middle of Finger Lakes Rieslings' birthplace and neighboring the venerable Dr. Frank. But Mel, who is a self-taught winemaker (which it seems is rare and refreshing in this day) is not intimidated by his well-known neighbors because he likes to do things his own way.
For instance, tell him that a Dry Vignoles or Dry Delaware won't work, and he'll prove you wrong.

Mel has spent the last 10 years selling his grapes to top Finger Lakes wineries and now it's his turn to taste the fruit of his labor. In fact, Goldman's vision is to be a small batch (1500 cases this year) estate winery focusing on high quality Rieslings (of course) and top-notch food-friendly Vignoles (what's that you say? - but sweet Vignoles is how its always been done). Don't tell that to Mel. He has proof that top restaurants will buy and serve his Dry Vignoles...Because They DO! And a Dry Delaware sounds like the ultimate oxymoron, but you'd be the moron not to try it!

Here are my tasting notes:

2006 Dry Riesling: $15.00, .45%RS, Crisp and clean with lots of that classic Keuka mineral and a hint of spice at the finish, sort of similar to his famous neighbor and that's saying a lot.

2005 Dry Vignoles: $13.00, 1.0%RS, Rounded lime and lime zest with a long dry finish. A unique Dry Vignoles and it really works. I'll drink it with Mrs. Wino's famous pork tenderloin.

2005 Delaware: $10.00, the label says semi-dry, but a Delaware at 1%RS is Dry in my book. I got a little sweet banana & petrol on the nose, very soft and subtle pear and light tropical fruit, but still crisp and clean with a touch of good petrol at the finish, a very complex Delaware, this is not your Father's Delaware but a Delaware that wants to be taken very seriously. And an excellent value at $10.00.

2005 Leon Millot: $12.00, This grape was a new one for me, so it was Appellation America to the rescue with info, it seems this grape was popular in France as a way to deepen the color of Pinot Noir but now the French have all but banished it. Mel actually inherited these 50 year old experimental vines on his property planted under the direction of none other than Charles Fournier of Gold Seal fame. 1 year in French Oak, clean and balanced with dark berry fruit balanced with oak.

With Finger Lakes winery veteran Sharon Morrell overseeing the tasting room and Mel at the helm of Keuka Lake Vineyards, expect the unexpected and don't be afraid to try something a little different. You just might like it.
In closing, I just have to say that the quality of the new wineries opening in the Finger Lakes is truly excellent and, just when you think that it's all been done and how will a new winery ever be able to differentiate itself from the herd, people like Tim Moore and Mel Goldman come along and wow us by putting their unique spin on Finger Lakes wine. It surely bodes well for the Finger Lakes region.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- Finger Lakes Wine Festival is this weekend!!!

- Dan Berger rates Finger Lakes Rieslings

- Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli is truly unique

- Grass Roots Festival starts today

- This sounds very cool & I'm going to try and get up to Geneva this weekend for the Hobie Cat championship.

- Waterpark & Resort get preliminary approval in Ontario County

- The Riesling Rennaisance continues

- Millie Sherwood gives gift of nature

- Invasion of the giant hogweed

- Tourists want more than just Finger Lakes wine

- Chili Judging is similar to Wine Judging

- A very nice and detailed Finger Lakes travelogue

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Finger Lakes Wine Industry Trends for 2007

As the second half of 2007 begins, and after visiting & tasting at about half of the Finger Lakes 90-some wineries (I know, I'm way behind in posting my winery visit reports) I thought I would write about some trends that I have taken note of during my travels and tastings this year:

1. 2006 Rieslings- I'm finding that a good number (not all) of the 2006 Dry Rieslings I've tasted have a very bold citrus up front that I find a bit overwhelming (it also overwhelms that classic Finger Lakes mineral finish for me) and tends to make the wine seem unbalanced in my opinion. Several winemakers have told me that the 2006 Riesling crop had high acidity, leading to the bold citrus. However, after retasting some of these Dry rieslings recently, I'm noticing that a little bottle aging is toning down the citrus a bit. Now, the Semi-dry Rieslings are an entirely different story. It seems as if a little Residual Sugar balances that acidity and brings out those terrific peach, honey, and lime flavors. For now, the Semi-Dry's get my vote.

2. Grape types - As each year goes by, it seems as if Cabernet Franc solidifies itself as the premier red grape in the Finger Lakes. The 2005 Cab Francs, in general, are truly spectactular. Finger Lakes wineries are putting out quality Cab Francs in a variety of styles and I'm particularly intrigued by a number of Semi-Dry Cab Francs (for those of us who aren't afraid of a little Residual Sugar). But Cab Franc better watch it's back, because Lemberger is being planted more and more and is appearing on its own and is favored in a lot of red blends. A few wineries are making a good attempt at Syrah, but I think the verdict is still out on it. Also, Rougeon & Dechaunac seem to be popping up more. A core group of wineries has emerged that are dedicated to the challenging task of producing quality reds in the Finger Lakes and I applaud their efforts. And I can't forget the Ports. In my opinion, the Finger Lakes makes some of the best American Ports for my money.

As for the whites, Pinot Gris seems to be the new starlet in the Finger Lakes. I have sampled several excellent and very complex Pinot Gris' this year. I sure hope this Pinot Gris trend continues. And of course, Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli mania continues with the rare grape creating a unique and quite good wine. Unfortunately, I don't foresee a lot of plantings of Rkatsiteli throughout the Finger Lakes. There's also a couple of Sauvignon Blancs being attempted. Also, I'm seeing Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Gewurz & Chardonnay and a lot of the white grapes being attempted in a lot of different styles away from the norm from dry to sweet to (some very good) sparkling wines & excellent ice wines (always big sellers, even at the high prices). One thing you do get in the Finger Lakes is variety and experimentation. The Finger Lakes is still a very young wine region and it's great to be able to watch it grow. I just hope it doesn't grow up too fast.

3. Improved Quality Overall - I'm noticing improved quality, especially from the "lower tier" producers. There seems to be a general effort to improve wine quality through education and the sharing of information. Just the sheer number and diversity of Finger Lakes wineries winning top awards in competitions this year is proof of the quality. But unfortunately, a few "top tier" producers have actually disappointed me this year. Although it may be a "stylistic" change that I will address in my next point.

4. Stylistic & Price Changes - I'm noticing a trend toward lighter-bodied wines. Now in my opinion, there's a fine line between light-bodied wines that are still full flavored and wines that are thin and lifeless. Some wineries tell me that these are more food-friendly wines that don't overpower food. I guess I'm a rebel these days, but I want to taste the fruit!!! As far as pricing, I hope the trend of some of the "top tier" wineries pricing like they are California wineries stops soon. I'm just a simple working stiff. I won't be able to afford Finger Lakes wine soon! But for now, this cheapskate still manages to find some great bargains.

5. Odds & Ends - I'm noticing that the tasting room personnel, in general, just get more knowledgable and helpful all the time. That, along with good wine, is what keeps people coming back. I'm noticing more wine dinners, special themed tastings, and special events at the wineries. I think events such as Glenora's Jazz concerts that attracts top-level entertainers is the kind of thing that will replicate in other wineries as the Finger Lakes becomes a world-class tourist destination and wineries look to become places where tourists spend a day and not just an hour. I'm noticing that the wineries are updating their websites with ecommerce capabilities and more information and better graphics, which is a great improvement from the static websites that proliferated the internet just a year ago. The Wine Trails continue to work to balance the bus groups vs. the individuals visiting the wineries, which I commend. There are still new wineries opening (I know of 3 opening in July), but I'm wondering how many is too many. One big problem trend that still remains is the lack of quality lodging in the mid-range pricing level. How the Finger Lakes balances its rustic charm against creating more modern lodging for the anticipated influx of more tourists is sure to be a growing challenge.

Well, Those are my thoughts. If you have any comments or additional thoughts, please share them by posting a comment. I do still moderate the comments because of the spammers, but I will post non-spam comments. Here's to a great 2nd half of 2007. I gotta get going and get to the rest of the Finger Lakes wineries. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it!!!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Shaw Vineyards - Newest Winery on Seneca Lake

SHAW VINEYARDS, owned by Steve Shaw, has just opened (west side of Seneca Lake, near Hermann Wiemer) but already has impressive credentials. Steve has been growing wine grapes in the Finger Lakes for many years and the wineries that have purchased grapes from him are solid proof of the quality of his grapes (Do Dr. Frank or Hermann Wiemmer ring a bell to anyone?). Steve's meticulous attention to the grapevines has now evolved into his lifelong ambition of owning his own winery finally bearing fruit.
The parking lot and tasting room are still works in progress (you might even miss the turn into the driveway (like me) if you are not paying attention, but the wines are Very Ready and well worth the visit. With Morten Hallgren (owner and winemaker of Ravines) as his mentor, consultant, and winemaking partner, Steve Shaw has hit the ground running and ready to join the ranks of a growing number of Finger Lakes wineries committed to the difficult task (with a short growing season and the potential of harsh winters) of crafting world-class red wines in the Finger Lakes. Shaw & Hallgren use innovative whole cluster pressing techniques and a commitment to letting the wines age properly before releasing to craft elegant food-friendly wines. Here are my tasting notes:

2002 Chardonnay, 1.2% RS, $15.99, 12 months in French Oak & Pennsylvania Fine Grain Oak (200 to 300 year old trees!), bright fruit with fresh clean acidity, long finish with hints of white pepper and smooth oak.

2005 Semi-Dry Riesling, 1.2% RS, $16.99, clean and fresh on the attack, bright fruit with a solid backbone, with a touch of botrytis lending honeyed citrus notes, very food-friendly.

Non Vintage Merlot, .4% RS, $12.99, Grapes from Long Island North Fork (Martha Clara/ Entenmann Vineyard), 28 months in French Oak, Lots of fruit, abundant raspberry with hints of smoke and pepper, very soft rounded tannins, And at $12.99 a great value!!! Also, a 2004 Merlot (same grape source) that was barrell selected is available for $17.99

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, $19.99 deep ruby color, elegant soft fruit with medium tannins and perfect balance, in my opinion, one of the best Cab Sauv's in the Finger Lakes. Cab Sauv is difficult to do well in the Finger Lakes and '02 was a particularly difficult growing season, but Shaw & Hallgren have crafted a winner with this Cab Sauv. And again a great value at $19.99, Gee, Patience really IS a virtue!

Keuka Hill Reserve, Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon, Shaw's Meritage, nice fruit with hints of pepper, beautiful tannins, needs a little more time, will age nicely.

Shaw Vineyards tasting room summer hours are Fri., Sat., Sun., & Mon. from Noon to 5pm with Steve Shaw Jr. manning the tasting toom operations. Future Summer & Fall New Releases include Cabernet Franc, Dry Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Cayuga, & Sauvignon Blanc. Current Annual Production is 1700 cases. (No Website yet. Website will be up by Fall at

Friday, June 29, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- We had another great weekend last weekend performing songs from the new CD as well as palying acoustic rock and blues classics at Dr. Frank Wine Cellars. I want to Thank Joe, George, The "Finger Lake Shake" Dancers, and everyone at Dr. Frank for their warm hospitality and for making it so much fun to be there. Remember, My new CD "Sparkling Diamonds- Songs of The Finger Lakes" is now available at the retail shops at Dr. Frank Wine Cellars (west side of Keuka Lake), Lakewood Vineyards (west side of Seneca Lake), Barrington Cellars (east side of Keuka Lake), & Artizans Gift Shop in Naples NY (south end of Canandaigua Lake). Or to order a CD by mail, just fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

If you are a Finger Lakes winery or an organization having a Finger Lakes wine-related event, I am available to perform. Also, I'm looking for additional wineries or gift stores or retailers to carry the CD. It makes a great Finger Lakes gift item. Just email me by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.

- Another Finger Lakes Wine Center is proposed for Ithaca

- Sandra Silfven (one of my favorite wine writers) visits the Finger Lakes

- Californians to open new winery in The Finger Lakes. Also watch a nice video of the new owners talking about the winery

- Finger Lakes Calendar of Events for July

- Finger Lakes wine finds gold in Michigan

- profiles White Springs Winery

- Here's proof that wine does not have to be expensive to be good. $2.00 Chardonnay beats out the rest in California wine competition.

- Owasco Lake water quality still a major concern

- Finger Lakes wineries cracking down on rowdy wine tour groups

- If you're looking for books, music, and gifts about New York state, check out Hope Farm

- Hotels offering unique Food & Wine Experiences

- Ethanol plant controversy rages on

- New Yates County lodging tax is debated

- Chinese Honey making a buzz with New York Honey producers

- Finger Lakes town mistakenly voted to be "dry"

- Cycling the Erie Canal (Floating bicycles? No!!!)

- Booze Brother Dan Ackroyd to open winery in the Niagara wine region

- Are high gas prices GOOD for Finger Lakes tourism?

- Has anybody ever tried these Copper Wine Enhancers?