Sunday, March 25, 2007

Finger Lakes Winery Visits

This weekend was a nice weekend in The Finger Lakes, a little rainy, but it's good to get back out to the wineries. Spring is in the air and the snow is almost all melted. I felt a lot of excitement at the wineries for the new '06 whites and '05 reds that will be released this year. Here are my winery visit summaries:

White Springs Winery,
Northwest Seneca Lake

This is the newest winery on Seneca Lake and I was anxious to visit. I came away very impressed. But I should not have been surprised at the quality of the wine. Although White Springs is a new winery, the folks behind it are very experienced. Owner Carl Fribolin is a very successful businessman and winemaker Derek Wilber is a talented winemaker, formerly at Swedish Hill. My tasting notes:
- 2005 Chardonnay, 0% RS, $14.99, Bright citrus tones with hints of lemon zest and a long smooth finish.
- 2005 Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio blend, .05% RS, $13.99, 56% Chard & 44% Pinot Grigio, The P.G. toned down the brightness of the Chardonnay with some pear tones and gave a fuller mouthfeel, an interesting blend but I preferred the straight Chardonnay.
- 2005 Riesling, 2.5% RS, $12.99, a somewhat subdued start but a long smooth mineral finish
- 2002 Harvester, 3% RS, $7.49, Chardonnay/Cayuga White blend, another interesting blend, it occurred to me that it was both dry and sweet at the same time and, once again, a very long finish. Could be a nice food wine for a semi-dry/sweet? white and a good value.
- 2004 Merlot, 0% RS, $14.99, a bit thin for me, a bit Cab Franc-like.
- 2004 Cabernet Franc, 0% RS, $12.99, sometimes I get creative with my tasting notes especially when a wine speaks to me and my notes for this Cab Franc were "Middle aged cherries lounging in imported leather chairs at the Friars Club and smoking the finest Cubans".
I think that says it all.
- 2004 Happenstance, .3% RS, $8.99, a very unique blend of Lemberger, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, & Cab Franc. I can just picture the blending session for this one. My impression was that it was a white wine with tannins or a white wine that wanted to be a red wine. I applaud the effort, but it didn't work for me.
- Springhouse White, 5% RS, $7.49, Bold sweet and tangy mango/pineapple, good sweet sipping wine.
They will be releasing their new Gewurztraminer & their new Sauv. Blanc in May. I can't wait!

- Billsboro Winery, This winery is in a bit of a transition after the passing of it's founder, the venerable Professor Bob Pool, last June. But they are open and the legacy of Bob Pool continues on in the fruits of his research and dedication to the wine and grape industries of New York and in the elegant wines that he produced. Once again, I enjoyed Bob's classic Chardonnay, Cab Franc, & Pinot Noir. I've been told that Vinny Aliperti, the skilled winemaker at Atwater Estates Vineyards, will take over the winemaking operations at Billsboro, and he will still continue his work at Atwater. So Billsboro will continue on in good hands.

- Fox Run Vineyards, I learned 2 valuable lessons this time at Fox Run. Lesson 1) Their Cafe is excellent. I had lunch there for the first time and their deli sandwiches and salads are first-rate.
Lesson 2) If you are tasting wine, do not eat the pickles that come with lunch. After lunch, I tried to taste wine at Fox Run, but the pickles had saturated my taste buds and nothing tasted right. After a lot of water, I finally could taste the last selection, their Fine Old Tawny Port, 12% RS, $45, Excellent port, sweet but balanced, mocha and mild caramel on my cured taste buds. Oh well, it just gives me an excuse to go back again!

- Anthony Road, Here I found what I was looking for, '05 Cab Franc/Lemberger blend, amazingly deep ruby red, berries and toasted tobacco in light tannins, yes. '06 Semi-sweet Riesling, tangerine, pineapple, & lime with a finish that I was still tasting a mile down the road, Wow!!!

- Fulkerson Winery, After I told John & Sandy how I had accidentally turned Fulkerson Diamond juice into the best champagne I've ever had, they still allowed me to taste. The '05 Pinot Noir (0% RS, $20, sweet oak and smokey raspberry) & '04 Cab Franc (0% RS, $14, medium tannins, smoky cherries with a long peppery finish) are going fast. The newly released '06 Matinee (7.2% RS, $14), their unique dessert wine is slightly less sweet than last years 8% RS, but that just enhances those amazing melon, kiwi, and mint tastes. Always on the cutting edge of new grape varieties, Fulkerson will be releasing the new Noiret this May.

- Lakewood Vineyards, After seeing Tattoo & Mr. Rourke- Da plane boss- de plane (you had to be there), I was looking for the new stuff. But, alas, they are bottling the '06 Riesling & Carpe Vinum this week and they will soon be bottling their first Gewurztraminer & Pinot Grigio. Once more, it's just a reason to visit again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- 400 mile bicycling tour from Buffalo to Albany set for July 8-15

- King Ferry winery owner battles cancer with equestrian activity

- Can the White Deer & a Biofuels plant coexist on the former Seneca Army Depot

- Olympic gold medalist to visit Ithaca

- The Arabian-inspired Florida town that was founded by Finger Lakes aviator Glenn Curtiss is in decline

- Seneca Lake has plenty of water for biofuels plant

- Finger Lakes Land Trust helps preserve Finger Lakes land

- Yates counties' 22 wineries had strong sales in 2006

- Bibliochef reviews Veraisons at Glenora Winery

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- The Monterey Wine Competition Results are in and 3 Finger Lakes wineries did very well. Heron Hill had the following 2 Rieslings nominated for best of show white wine, Lakewood received a Gold for their 2005 Chardonnay, & Hosmer garnered a Silver for its 2006 Seyval. Congrats to all.
Gold, Sweepstake, 2004 Heron Hill Johannisberg Riesling, Ingle Vineyard, Finger Lakes 01.00%, $24.99
Gold, Sweepstake, 2004 Heron Hill Riesling Late Harvest, Finger Lakes 11.00% $35.99
Lakewood Vineyards Inc
Gold, 2005 Lakewood Vineyards Chardonnay, Finger Lakes, $12.99
Silver, 2006 Hosmer Seyval, Cayuga Lake, $10.00
(My thanks to Robert Whitley for the results)

- Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association names new president

- Indian tribe wants to put casino in Finger Lakes region

- Another New York wine and culinary center is considered

- It's March and we're getting a small taste of spring today. So, in my mind, that marks the official beginning of Finger Lakes wine season. I'm already planning my winery visit schedule. I can't wait to report on the new offerings this year!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

- The Grand Harvest Wine Competition Awards Results are in with Cayuga Lakes' King Ferry Winery winning Gold for their Treleaven 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling. The complete results can be found at Click on "Wine Competitions" at top of page and then click on Grand Harvest. I noticed that a lot of states wineries are getting gold medals like Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Vermont, Virginia and Silver medals to wineries in Kentucky, South Dakota, & Rhode Island. There is good wine being made everywhere. And Here are the Finger Lakes winery medal winners:

New York
Finger Lakes
Treleaven Wines, 06 Riesling Semi-Dry, 2.5% rs, 2400 cases produced, $12.99

Treleaven Wines, NV Chardonnay, .5% rs, 560 cases produced, $11.99
Treleaven Wines, 03 Merlot, 0% rs, 409 cases produced, $18.99
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, 05 Chardonnay, 12.5% rs, 400 cases produced, $11.99
Lucas Vineyards, 05 Dry Riesling, 0.7% rs, 500 cases produced, $12.99,
05 Riesling, 2.2% rs, <1000 cases produced, $16.99

Belhurst Estate Winery, 03 Cabernet Franc Reserve, -% rs, 150 cases produced, $21.95
Treleaven Wines, 05 Chardonnay, 0% rs, 575 cases produced, $16.99
Treleaven Wines, 05 Chardonnay, 0% rs, 965 cases produced, $12.99
Treleaven Wines, 05 Cabernet Franc, 0% rs, 225 cases produced, $14.99
Casa Larga Vineyards, 05 Fiore Delle Stelle Cabernet Franc, 15% rs, 80 cases produced, $74.99
Fulkerson Winery, 05 Semi-Dry Riesling, 1.2% rs, 653 cases produced, $13
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, 05 Homestead Reserve, 13% rs, 700 cases produced, $17.99
Lucas Vineyards, NV Extra Dry, 1.1% rs, 250 cases produced, $15.99
Lucas Vineyards, 05 Semi Dry Riesling, 2.75% rs, 600 cases produced, $12.99

Finger Lakes Winery Events Calendar for March 2007

- March 10, A Taste of Burgundy, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sheldrake Point Vineyard and Café
Be the first to taste the new releases of Pinot Noir and Barrel Reserve Chardonnay, paired with regional cheeses. Website:

- March 10-11, Cabin Fever Days, 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Swedish Hill Winery
Winter got you down? Come out of hibernation and join us for great end of winter sales and Winemaker's Dozen Case specials! Website:

- March 17, Meet the Winemakers, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Cayuga Wine Trail
Take the mystery out of winemaking with special tastings and personal discussions that get you to the source of it all. Wine topics are presented every 1/2 hour. FREE
800.684.5217 Website:

- March 17, Say Cheese
Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery
Smile while tasting wonderful cheese treats and sipping delicious wines! Cheese happily provided by Lively Run Dairy.
800.598.9463 Website:

- March 17, Winter Wine-Speak at the Creek, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Six Mile Creek Vineyard
Come in to improve your palate, vocabulary, and overall wine knowledge. Classes are suited for both the seasoned and novice wine lover. Wine tasting and cooking demonstrations at every class. Call to reserve.
800.260.0612 Website:

- March 24-25, Cruisin’ the Tropics
Seneca Lake Wine Trail Event
Contact Information
Seneca Lake Wine Trail, NY
877.536.2717 Website:

- March 31 - April 1, Murder Mystery Tour
Keuka Lake Wine Trail Event
Who done it? Don your Sherlock Homes hat and replace his familiar pipe with a wineglass. The game is afoot! Enjoy wines and hors d'oeuvres at each of the nine wineries as you unravel clues to piece together a solution to the crime.
$20 per person in advance$25 per person at the door
10AM to 5PM Saturday; Noon to 5PM Sunday
Contact Information
Keuka Lake Wine Trail, NY
800.440.4898 Website:

These events are also listed at my Finger Lakes Calendar page.
If you know of any winery events that I have not included, please leave me a comment, email me, or use the form at the bottom of this page to send me a message.