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.