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.

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