Wednesday, December 24, 2008


-Finger Lakes Weekend Wino

Monday, December 15, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes - December 15, 2008

>>> The Finger Lakes 2008 Vintage Rating is out from Wine Spectator magazine:

Region: New York Grade: Finger Lakes (A-)

Despite a wetter-than-usual growing season, Finger Lakes vintners are happy with the results of their 2008 harvest, thanks primarily to a stretch of good weather from September through mid-October.
"In the Finger Lakes we're used to vintage fluctuations," said Morten Hallgren, owner and winemaker at Ravines Wine Cellars on Keuka Lake, which forms the western edge of the region. "But 2008 was still very unusual."

July was wetter than normal, with a number of thundershowers adding to the disease pressures that are common in this humid grapegrowing area, and growers reported having to undertake aggressive anti-mildew spray programs. But the extra moisture had a benefit, as the region's typically dry August period, when vines sometimes shut down due to drought stress, was virtually eliminated.

With the Indian summer weather stretching late into the harvest period, Riesling, the region's top vinifera variety, ripened slowly and steadily, while retaining its acidity.
"Riesling performed brilliantly," said Peter Bell, winemaker at Fox Run, located on Seneca Lake. "A little bit of noble rot will add some apricot and marmalade notes, way in the background. Acids are right where they should be. I think the dry styles will be especially exciting."

Other white vinifera varieties also came out well. "Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer showed better ripeness and balance in 2008 [than in 2007]," said Bob Madill, partner and winegrower for Sheldrake Point Vineyards, located on Cayuga Lake, the easternmost of the region's three major lakes.

Reds, though generally less compelling than the region's whites, also look promising in 2008. "Beautiful color, nice tannin structure and lots of fruit across the board in Pinot Noir, Cab Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon," said Marti Macinski, owner and winemaker at Standing Stone Vineyards.

"It could be a year to elevate our game here relative to other more established regions," said Steve Shaw, owner and winemaker at Seneca Lake's Shaw Vineyard. "No real excuses for bad wines this year!"
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>>> Casa Larga's perennially excellent Fiori Vidal Ice Wine wins the honor of World's Best Dessert Wine!!! An amazing accomplishment for an amazing Finger Lakes wine.

Casa Larga Vineyards, a vineyard and winery from the Finger Lakes Region of NY State, is proud to be the producer of the “World’s Best Dessert Wine”. The winery’s highly acclaimed 2005 Fiori Vidal Ice Wine was honored with the “Best Dessert Wine” trophy at the 2008 International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), one of the most prestigious wine competitions in the world. With over 600 awards in Casa Larga’s 35 year history, the award for “World’s Best Dessert Wine” makes a strong statement to the quality of wine produced by Casa Larga.

Out of over 5,000 wine entries, Casa Larga’s Fiori Vidal Ice Wine has come away with one of the most coveted awards in the competition, the trophy for “Best Dessert Wine”. This is the first year Casa Larga entered wines into the IWSC, deciding to take a chance and see how well its Ice Wines hold up against others from around the world. The winery’s Fiori Cabernet Franc Ice Wine received a Silver Medal & Best in Class rating, while the Fiori Vidal Ice Wine received a Gold Medal & Best in Class rating. The Fiori Vidal then went on to be tasted with a variety of other medal winners, in the end receiving the top award for Best Dessert Wine.

Winery owner Ann Colaruotolo and her son, Casa Larga’s Head Wine Maker, John Colaruotolo attended the IWSC awards banquet at Guild Hall in London on November 17th. Here, along with 22 other Trophy winners, the Colaruotolo’s accepted the trophy for Best Dessert Wine.
This award is a huge accomplishment for any winery, especially Finger Lakes winery Casa Larga. Past recipients of the Trophy for Best Dessert Wine have been awarded to industry leaders and world renowned producers such as Horst Saur Vineyards (Germany), Distell (Africa), Brown Brothers (Australia), De Bortoli Wines (Australia) and Chateau La Variere (France).

Fiori Vidal Ice Wine is produced entirely from vidal grapes harvested and processed at Casa Larga Vineyards on Turk Hill Road in Fairport. Made using the traditional German Eiswein process, the wine is a rich and luscious dessert wine, with flavors of butterscotch, apricot and pineapple.

The IWSC follows a strict methodology for tasting and rating wines, and has a strong portfolio of judges, including 40 masters of wine, 30 winemakers and key industry players such as master blender Richard Paterson. Wines are tasted in the competition through pre-poured blind flights which are prepared based on style of wine. Each wine is entered and initially tasted based on hemisphere (Northern & Southern) due to growing season differences. The wines that receive top medals from their respective hemisphere move on to be tasted at the international level where they compete against other medal winners from around the world. The competition received over 5,000 wine entries and awarded only 107 gold medals (less than 2% of total entries).

Both of Casa Larga’s Ice Wines, Fiori Vidal and Fiori Cabernet Franc, are produced using authentic German EisWein methods. The grapes remain on the vine until they freeze, and are then handpicked and pressed while frozen, extracting only the sweet, concentrated juices. The Ice Wines are available at Casa Larga’s Wine Shop in Fairport, online at and at select liquor stores across New York State. Call the winery at (585) 223-4210 for more information.

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>>> Wine & Spirits Magazine gave some love to Finger Lakes Rieslings with 10 being scored over 90 points

>>> New Riesling Festival set for August in Canandaigua

>>> NY Wineries express concerns to Wine Grape Task Force

Monday, December 01, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes - December 2008

Greetings and Happy Holidays to everyone!!!

- If you are looking for a Gift for that Finger Lakes enthusiast on your gift list, be sure to check out the Finger Lakes Gift Store.

- Finger Lakes Events Calendar for December

- Pompous Ass Winery has received their winery license and will be opening this Friday, December 5th. Read my Mountain Home magazine article on this new winery by clicking here.
Click here to read my Mountain Home magazine article about Rock Stream Winery's unique port-style wines.

- Finger Lakes' Dexter Creamery makes unique cheese

- 2 Finger Lakes wines win coveted Jefferson Cup

- Finger Lakes Photography Guild presents exhibit

- I spent a great evening blind tasting Rieslings from the Finger Lakes & Germany last month at The Riesling Shootout at Glenora Inn. This event was graciously hosted by John Zuccarino, owner of Silver Springs Winery & Tom Pellechio, wine writer and educator, who were basically testing a theory that wine ratings by national wine publications were skewed against Finger Lakes wine. A lively discussion about the event is available here.

- Culinary Institute Professor of Wine Studies Praises Finger Lakes Riesling
"I knew exactly what white wine I wanted to accompany this simple meal: a fine dry to semi-dry Riesling. A low-alcohol, high-acid, light-bodied, unoaked, fresh, fruity, flowery, flinty, tart Riesling, redolent of peaches, apricots and green apples, with a sweet attack on the palate and a lengthy, complex, dry finish.

I returned to the table with a well-chilled bottle of a very fine dry Riesling, a wine with the exact aroma and flavor profile I have been seeking. A wine to slake the thirst and engage the spirit. Such a fine Riesling must surely come from the Mosel or Rhine regions of Germany? (Danka sheine, but Nein.) From the North Coast of California? (No way. We like oak and alcohol bombs made in the hot sun, dude.) Oregon? (Nope. We’re all about Pinot Noir now, man.) Washington State? (Riesling is just another grape, folks. We can plant all of them and we do.) OK, then Australia? (G’day, but wrong, mate!

Our Riesling is unique, but it’s a warm and sexy flesh pot, if you get my meaning. Right? Right?)The $12 Riesling at our table, which transformed a simple lunch into a small feast, was produced in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Vineyards 2006 Estate Bottled Dry Riesling, grown along the banks of Keuka Lake, made the food taste sooooo good, and made us smile with every refreshing sip.I’m letting you in on a currently not-so-well-kept secret: Some of the finest Riesling wines in the New World – especially dry and semi-dry versions, but also some rare and wonderful sweet Rieslings – are to be found in the Finger Lakes American Viticultural Area (AVA), specifically along the banks of Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake. "
See full posting here.

- Holiday Wine Events at Finger Lakes Wineries

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dave Bagley

David A. Bagley, Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards & Winery Owner Age 57, of Valois, NY, passed away unexpectedly, Thursday, November 6, 2008 . The family will receive friends and relatives at Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, 212 E. 4th St, Watkins Glen, on Thursday, Nov 13, from 6-8pm. A celebration of his life will be held Friday, November 14, at 6:00pm at the Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards and Winery in Valois , NY. Dave was the owner and wine maker at Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards and Winery in Valois, NY. He loved life and was passionate about hunting pheasants with his Labradors and fishing with Bear. One could find him enjoying a nice glass of champagne with good company, shooting clay birds, or witnessing the beautiful sunsets from a rocking chair on his deck. He loved his country and his kids more than life itself. Dave was a memorable character, anyone who met him once would always remember him. He will be dearly missed. In Dave's words; "This too shall pass" and "It is what it is, Darlin". He is survived by his children, Guy Bagley of Los Angeles, CA, Matthew Bagley of Corning, Brittany Bagley of Valois, step-son, Sean Brown, of Valois; father, George F. Bagley of Orono, ME, brothers, George Bagley of Orono, ME, Bruce (Anne) Bagley of Kansas City, KS; fiancée, Punky Brown of Valois, and the extended Bagley family, R.J., Jodie Pulkinen, Mikey Rodrigues, Derek Smith, Justin Boyette, Mike Steinruck, Laura Copp, Thomas Harbot, and Kim Karius; and numerous nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.You may view his memorial online at Arrangements are by Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, Watkins Glen.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes - Oct.31, 2008

- Dr. Frank Wine Cellars unveils improved Riesling vines

- ABC profiles the Finger Lakes area

- Prejean Riesling wins Gold Medal in Canberra Riesling Challenge

- Finger Lakes wineries enjoying increased visitors this Fall season

- The San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 Wines of 2008 will include some Finger Lakes Rieslings

- For everything you ever wanted to know about Riesling, click here. Then click on the book.

- Ithaca Beer Co. wins awards in national beer competition

- New Finger Lakes distillery makes Honey Vodka

- Wine Spectator's James Molesworth has several new blog posts about his recent trip to the Finger Lakes and also some new Finger Lakes Riesling ratings. A subscription is required to view these. Finger Lakes Wine Country has the new ratings here. Shaw Vineyards sent me an excerpt about Shaw's Riesling ratings:
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator Magazine
Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008
Here's a selection of newly released Rieslings from New York's Finger Lakes region, covering the two most recent vintages.The 2006 vintage produced wines in a drier, leaner style, thanks to a typically cool growing season. On the other hand, 2007 was one of the warmer years in recent memory for vintners in upstate New York, and the wines tend to show plumper textures and more tropical fruit notes (though they still retain a cool-climate personality overall). As usual, value abounds in this overlooked region.
SHAW VINEYARD Riesling Finger Lakes 2006 Score: 88 $17
Tangy and fresh, with slate, green apple and fig notes that stay nervy through the nicely concentrated finish. Drink now. 250 cases made. —J.M.
SHAW VINEYARD Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2006 Score: 88 $19
Good focus and drive, with a bracing edge to the lime, watermelon and green apple notes. Nice slatelike tang on the finish. Drink now. 200 cases made. —J.M.

10/31/2008 8:22 AM While Anthony Road might be considered one of the bigger names in the region, Shaw Vineyard is at the other end of the spectrum. Owned and run by Steve Shaw, the facility is also located right on Route 14, on the western Seneca wine trail, but takes on a decidedly low-tech look with its green shack and rustic exposed beam and wooden plank-floored tasting room. Shaw, 51, is a local boy. Born and raised in Hammondsport, he caught the wine bug at an early age, bought a vineyard property on Keuka Lake in 1980 and has been growing grapes ever since, selling his production to Glenora, Hermann J. Wiemer and Dr. Konstantin Frank. In 2002 he began his own eponymous winery with the help of his good friend, Ravines winemaker Morten Hallgren (they share the same facility for their respective wines).Shaw owns 12 acres of vinifera vines and is currently producing just 2,500 cases annually, with a goal to stretch to 5,000 cases. While Riesling dominates the region’s wines qualitatively, Shaw is focusing on reds, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in particular.“It’s more interesting to me to try and break a little new ground with the reds,” he said.Shaw doesn’t crush the berries prior to fermentation, preferring a whole-berry ferment instead for brighter, more forward fruit and a more gentle extraction (see the accompanying video for more). Shaw also prefers to hold his wines back prior to release—his 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon is his current offering and it shows gentle tannins and elegant, lingering cherry and tobacco notes, without the crisp, or overtly leafy profile of many of the region’s reds. Shaw’s Keuka Hill Reserve is a non-vintage blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from the 2003 vintage along with Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2002 vintage, which also shows a gentle profile, with smoke, spice and cherry notes that mingle nicely.While Shaw prefers to emphasize his red wine production, his whites are hardly an afterthought. The 2005 Dry Riesling (just 0.2 percent residual sugar) is really taut and focused, with almond and slate notes. It’s a tasty drink right now. Both of Shaw’s just-released 2006 Rieslings (a dry and just off-dry bottling) are very good, though production is limited at around 200 cases of each.Small and unassuming, there’s a passion burning at Shaw Vineyard. Don’t let the simple, green roadside shack fool you.

- For a Calendar of all the upcoming Wine Trail and Holiday events in the Finger Lakes, click here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes

Greetings!!! I am currently involved with a number of very interesting writing, music, and wine-related projects right now, so my blogging has been severely limited. But I will post as time permits.

-I will be performing at the Naples Grape Fest this Saturday from 10am to Noon at Artizanns. Stop by and say hello.

- A new round of Finger Lakes Riesling ratings is out from James Molesworth of Wine Spectator magazine:

RAVINES Riesling Finger Lakes Dry Argetsinger Vineyard 2007 Score: 89 $25Focused and pure, with tangy fennel, anise and apple notes allied to a bright, pure frame. Nice drive on the finish. Drink now through 2009. 150 cases made. —J.M.
ANTHONY ROAD Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2007 Score: 88 $15Plump up front, with fennel and anise hints, before the dry edge emerges on the bright, minerally finish. Very solid. Drink now through 2009. 700 cases made. —J.M.
ANTHONY ROAD Riesling Finger Lakes Semi-Dry 2007 Score: 88 $16Broad and forward, with quince, dried pineapple and green almond notes followed by a rich, creamy finish. Drink now. 750 cases made. —J.M.
ATWATER ESTATE Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2007 Score: 88 $18Fresh and nicely defined, with a mouthwatering edge driving the apple, fennel seed and lime notes through the lengthy finish. Drink now through 2009. 500 cases made. —J.M.
DR. KONSTANTIN FRANK Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2007 Score: 88 $17Quite taut, despite a marzipan edge running through the tangy green apple and lime notes, which linger on the petrol-tinged finish. Has some mature hints already, but it's fresh and long, and should age nicely. Drink now through 2009. 4,500 cases made. —J.M.
STANDING STONE Riesling Finger Lakes 2007 Score: 88 $14Ripe and juicy, with a solid core of anise, melon and fig flavors backed by a nice mouthwatering MacIntosh apple note on the finish. Drink now through 2009. 1,124 cases made. —J.M.
BELHURST ESTATE Riesling Seneca Lake Semi-Dry 2007 Score: 87 $18Tangy for an off-dry style, with lively quince and lime notes leading the way for apple and pear hints on the juicy finish. Quite tasty. Drink now. 200 cases made. —J.M.
KING FERRY Riesling Cayuga Lake Treleaven Dry 2007 Score: 87 $15Quite dry and bony, with a slate-driven spine leading the taut green apple and lime notes. Tangy, chalk-tinged finish. Drink now through 2009. 1,320 cases made. —J.M.
KNAPP Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2007 Score: 87 $15Nice purity, with a crisp lime edge backed by slate and green apple notes that linger on the chiseled finish. Drink now. 307 cases made. —J.M.
LAKEWOOD Riesling Finger Lakes 2007 Score: 87 $13Quite crunchy, with a tangy lime streak running through the Pippen apple and green almond notes. Lively finish. Drink now through 2009. 800 cases made. —J.M.
SHELDRAKE POINT Riesling Finger Lakes 2007 Score: 87 $16Good focus, with a nice slatey edge to the apple and fig flavors. Good drive on the finish too. Drink now through 2009. 743 cases made. —J.M.
SHELDRAKE POINT Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2007 Score: 87 $16Juicy and open, with quince, pippen apple and braised fennel notes that stay fresh on the finish. Drink now. 987 cases made. —J.M.
FOX RUN Riesling Finger Lakes 2007 Score: 86 $14Fresh, with a bracing edge to the lime, green apple and chamomile hints. Good cut on the finish. Drink now. 2,500 cases made. —J.M.
DR. KONSTANTIN FRANK Riesling Finger Lakes Semi-Dry 2007 Score: 86 $15Fresh, with off-dry apple, pear and quince notes followed by a round, generous finish. Drink now. 3,900 cases made. —J.M.
SWEDISH HILL Riesling Finger Lakes 2007 Score: 86 $15Plump and forward, with good apple, green melon and anise notes. Round, juicy finish. Drink now. 1,500 cases made. —J.M.

- Dave Whiting of Red Newt has joined the blogosphere with his blog at Wine Spectator online.

- Melissa Dobson interviews Fox Run's Scott Osborn in her new Finger Lakes Visionaries Series at her blog.

- Congratulations to Fox Run Vineyard for being chosen as one of the top 100 wineries in the world for 2008 by Wine & Spirits Magazine.

- Another new winery opens on Seneca Lake.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Finger Lakes Winery Report - Imagine Moore Winery - August 2008

IMAGINE MOORE WINERY (south Canandaigua Lake)
In his sophomore year, Tim Moore of Imagine Moore Winery in Naples NY at the south end of Canandaigua Lake, continues to deliver a fresh style of winemaking and a unique winery concept. Tim talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to being environmentally friendly in his winery operations. From the growing of the grapes to the wine labels, Tim strives to “honor the earth” and make great wine as well. Here are my tasting notes:

> 2006 Peace, Pinot Gris, .4%RS, $16.99, one word keeps dominating my tasting notes again this year for Imagine Moore wines, and that word is “soft”, this one is soft with layers of apple and pear into hints of vanilla, very good depth of flavor here.

> 2006 Joy, Dry Riesling, .6%RS, $14.99, Fresh floral aromas- I need a cologne with this scent, Alsatian style, layers of rose petals and a soft spice/mineral character, a perfectly balanced dry Riesling, I’d like a bit more intensity of flavor but it’s got style.
>2007 Gratitude, a unique blend of Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Gris/Cayuga Cayuga, .9%RS, $9.99, soft lemongrass with nicely balanced acidity, Tim has got a talent for blending and it shows here.
> 2007 Love, Semi-dry Riesling, 1.5%RS, $14.99, This is the star of the show in my opinion, soft (again) and subtle ripe peach with undertones of candied lemon drops and a smooth lime finish, hard to believe it’s only 1.5%RS.
What can I say, I love the Love.
> 2007 Harmony, 75% Cayuga White/ 25% Traminette, 3.5%RS, $10.99, another great blend, Beautiful orange blossom and lightly perfumed soft floral aromas, Tim gets excellent aromatics out of his wines, layers of soft orange, tangerine, and lime, an excellent value.
> 2007 Grace, Cabernet Franc, 3%RS, $10.99, 2 days on the skins and 3 months in the barrel, lots of soft strawberry, There’s a few of these sweeter Finger Lakes Cab Francs around that I think are very nice, a nice summer value sipper.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes - Sept. 5, 2008

Greetings!!! I must apologize for my lack of recent postings, but my gig as a writer for Mountain Home magazine has been taking up most of my free time. I'm having a great time meeting and interviewing a lot of interesting people. I just finished 3 articles for the October issue, so things should settle down a bit and I will be able to post more here. By the way, the September issue of Mountain Home is out and available free at many many locations in the Finger Lakes including most of the Finger Lakes wineries. My September article is on Dustin Dowdle at Bully Hill Winery and how "Laughter is the Best Marketing" at Bully Hill. Also, If you have any interesting Finger Lakes area story ideas, please let me know. You can fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page or email me at the email listed in the title box at the top of the page.
And, as happens every year, I am way way behind in posting my winery tasting reports. I have made it to about 60 Finger Lakes wineries so far this year.

- Upcoming gigs for the Finger Lakes Weekend Winos Acoustic Duo include:
Sept. 20 at Torrey Ridge Winery and Sept. 27 at the Naples Grape Festival (I'll be at Artizanns)

- See a complete Finger Lakes Calendar of Events for September here

- Attention all Wine Makers: Fulkerson Winery has announced their wine juice schedule and pricing, order your juice as soon as possible, they run out of some grape types quickly.

- Check out the upcoming Fall Events on the Cayuga Wine Trail, the Seneca Wine Trail, and the Keuka Wine Trail. Be sure to order your tickets early for the Fall & Holiday events as they normally sell out very quickly.

- It seems that the Fall Foliage season in the Finger Lakes may be coming early this year. Mrs. Wino and I noticed some leaves changing already within the last few weeks. See Fall Foliage Reports here (they will start updating soon).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Acclaimed Glass Maker Georg Riedel visits the Finger Lakes

Click on photographs to see larger view

The current patriarch of the acclaimed glass crafting and manufacturing company Riedel Glass, Georg Riedel (pronounced like "needle"), made a visit to the Finger Lakes area this week and I was fortunate to be invited to his seminar at Inn at Glenora. Many Thanks to the Cayuga Wine Trail and Finger Lakes Wine Country for inviting me and to Gene Pierce and Inn at Glenora for their hospitality.

The premise of the seminar was that the shape and size of a wine glass contributes to the aroma and taste profile of the wine in the glass and Mr. Riedel

was here to help Finger Lakes wineries deduce the perfect Riedel wine glass for Finger Lakes Riesling. Winery owners had attended an earlier session and had decided their preferences. The preferences of those of us at this evening session would be compared to the earlier session.

It was certainly an honor to be in the presence of glassware royalty. The Riedel family tradition of skilled glass craftsmanship extends back to the 1600's! The history of the company is a fascinating read as the Riedel family overcame the continuing obstacles of wars affecting their

homeland and stayed on the "cutting edge" of glassware advances. Click here to read more about the history of Riedel.

But our task at hand in this seminar was to detect the subtle changes that each of the 6 different Riedel wine glasses (and the obligatory plastic cup which gave no aromas) on our table brought to the same wine.

The charming and humorous Mr. Riedel opened the seminar with his impressions of the Finger Lakes region ("It's easier to find wine than gas here") and a short primer on wine tasting. Then
we got into the tastings. With the same Finger Lakes Riesling in each glass, we sniffed each glass first and noted the aromatic changes and then we tasted each glass and noted the taste differences for each glass. Riedel's theory, based on their many years of testing, is that different shapes and sizes of wine glasses direct the aromatic and flavor components of the wine to your tastebuds and olfactory senses in different ways and that wine glasses can be designed specifically to facilitate optimal tasting of the varietal characteristics of each wine. We did three rounds of tastings with three different Finger Lakes Rieslings.

There can be no doubt in my mind that there were different aromatic and taste profiles presented by each glass holding the same exact wine. And by hand vote of the seminar participants, there seemed to be a consensus that 2 of the glasses were preferable to the others, and this agreed with the winery owners' preferences in the earlier session. But I do not know if I can accept the premise that these differences are primarily attributable to the glass alone. Mr. Riedel advanced the concept that the width of the opening and height of the glass directs the flow of the wine into your mouth differently, thereby hitting different parts of your mouth at different times and bringing out more acidity for a certain glass or more softness for a certain glass, etc. But when I taste wine, I don't pour it directly into my mouth, but I hold my sip for all wines that I taste in the front part of my mouth while I "slurp" it against my lips to aerate it and then I swish it to all parts of my mouth. So that would seem to dismiss that theory in my mind. There is the possibility, though, that the shape and size of each glass is directing the vapors of the wine into my mouth differently and the vapors are directed to different parts of my mouth and olfactory senses at different times, thereby changing how I am perceiving the wine. And, as Mr. Riedel pointed out, human taste perception is 80 percent smell.

Another problem that I had was that Mr. Riedel gave us his own perceptions of how each glass affected the wines before most of us had a chance to develop our own perceptions, thereby influencing our own impressions by his suggestions. I do understand that Mr. Riedel's primary goal is to sell glassware and that this was certainly not a scientific undertaking by any means.

Overall, the seminar was very interesting and certainly raises the question of just how much influence the wine glass has on our sensory perceptions of the wine within it. In the home of Mrs. Wino and myself, we have a wide variety of glassware acquired from a variety of sources and now I have to wonder if the two of us and the guests that we pour wine for are each getting completely different impressions of the same wine. It's just another one of those things that makes you go Hmmmmm.

New York Wine and Food Classic Results

It seems like every post I've been writing about the wine awards being won by the Peterson family's trio of wineries Swedish Hill, Goose Watch, and Penguin Bay, and the accolades keep pouring in with Swedish Hill Winery winning the prestigious Governors Cup and Winery of the Year award at the New York Wine and Food Classic competition. A well-deserved congratulations goes to Swedish Hill Winery!

I continue to be surprised at the number of Native and Hybrid grape varieties and blends that are winning top awards in wine competitions this year. The surprise is not that they are winning, because I have been touting the quality of these wines for some time, but the surprise is that "professional" wine judges who have been historically skimpy at givng these wines their due seem to be warming up to these often sweeter style wines. I believe it is marking a paradigm shift in wine judging. As usual, the "professionals" are late to this shift as consumers seem to have already made the trend shift. Also noteworthy is the number of "value" wines under $10 that won Gold medals in this competition. Like I have said ad nauseum, you don't have to spend a fortune to find well-crafted, balanced, and flavorful wine.

See the full list of awards here.

Best of Class Awards
Best Native Sparkling Wine: Swedish Hill Winery NV Spumante Blush
Best Dry Riesling Wine: Lakewood Vineyards 2007 Dry Riesling
Best Semi-Dry Riesling Wine: Hosmer 2007 Riesling
Best Semi-Sweet Riesling Wine: Paumanok Vineyards 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling
Best Chardonnay Wine: Castello di Borghese 2006 Chardonnay
Best Sauvignon Blanc Wine: Macari Vineyards 2007 Katherine's Field Sauvignon Blanc
Best White Vinifera Blend: McGregor Vineyards 2007 Rkatsiteli-Sereksiya
Best Traminette Wine: Whitecliff Vineyards 2007 Traminette
Best Vidal Blanc Wine: Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Vidal Blanc
Best White Hybrid Blend: Rooster Hill Vineyards 2007 Silver Pencil
Best Other Native White Wine: Arbor Hill Grapery 2007 Vergennes
Best Niagara Wine: Hickory Hollow Cellars Liquid Wisdom
Best Blush or Rose Wine: Anthony Road Wine Company 2007 Dry Rose
Best Concord Wine: Torrey Ridge Winery Blue Sapphire
Best Baco Noir Wine: Barrington Cellars Baco Noir
Best Red Hybrid Blend: Swedish Hill Winery Viking Red
Best Cabernet Franc Wine: Red Newt Cellars 2005 Cabernet Franc
Best Merlot Wine: Osprey's Dominion 2005 Reserve Merlot
Best Cabernet Sauvignon Wine: Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
Best Red Vinifera Blend: Bedell Cellars 2006 Musee
Best Mead: Earle Estates Meadery Creamy Apricot
Best Late Harvest Wine: Heron Hill 2006 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc
Best Ice Wine: Casa Larga Vineyards 2005 Fiori Vidal Ice Wine
Best of Category Awards
Best Sparkling Wine: Swedish Hill Winery NV Spumante Blush
Best White Wine: Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Vidal Blanc
Best Blush or Rose Wine: Anthony Road Wine Company 2007 Dry Rose
Best Red Wine: Bedell Cellars 2006 Musee
Best Specialty Wine: Earle Estates Meadery Creamy Apricot
Best Dessert Wine: Casa Larga Vineyards 2005 Fiori Vidal Ice Wine

New York Wine & Food Classic 2008 Double Gold & Gold for Finger Lakes wineries:
Double Gold
Hosmer Winery 2007 Vintners Reserve Riesling FL/ Cayuga $25.00
Hosmer Winery 2007 Riesling FL/ Cayuga $12.00
Miles Wine Cellars 2002 Milestone FL/ Seneca $29.95
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2006 Reserve Riesling Reserve FL/ Cayuga $23.99
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2007 Riesling Ice FL/ Cayuga $64.99
Swedish Hill Winery NV Spumante Blush FL/ Cayuga $11.99
Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Vidal Blanc FL/ Cayuga $10.99

Americana Vineyards & Winery NV Riesling FL/ Cayuga $15.99
Americana Vineyards & Winery 2007 Americana White FL/ Cayuga $8.99
Anthony Road Wine Company 2007 Dry Rose Seneca Lake FL/ Seneca $9.99
Anthony Road Wine Company 2006 Vignoles Berry Selection Seneca Lake FL/ Seneca $45.00
Arbor Hill Grapery 2007 Vergennes FL/ Canandaigua $11.95
Atwater Estate Vineyards 2007 Dry Riesling FL/ Seneca $18.00
Atwater Estate Vineyards 2007 Riesling FL/ Seneca $17.00
Barrington Cellars NV Baco Noir FL/ Keuka $9.50
Billsboro Winery 2007 Dry Riesling FL/ Seneca $16.00
Casa Larga Vineyards 2005 Fiori Vidal Ice Wine Finger Lakes $34.99
Cascata Winery NV Fireside Chardonnay FL/ Seneca $18.95
Cascata Winery 2007 Regatta Red FL/ Seneca $8.95
Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled FL/ Seneca $19.99
Clovis Point Wines 2005 Chardonnay LI/ North Fork $15.00
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2007 Gewürztraminer FL/ Keuka $17.99
Earle Estates Meadery NV Creamy Apricot FL/ Seneca $13.99
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards NV Bramble Berry FL/ Seneca $8.99
Heron Hill Winery 2005 Ingle Vineyard Cabernet Franc FL/ Keuka $34.99
Heron Hill Winery 2006 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc FL/ Keuka $19.99
Hickory Hollow Wine Cellars NV Liquid Wisdom FL/ Seneca $7.99
Hosmer Winery 2007 Dry Riesling FL/ Cayuga $12.00
Imagine Moore 2006 Passion Ice Wine FL/ Canandaigua $30.00
Lakewood Vineyards 2007 Dry Riesling FL/ Seneca $12.99
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2006 Chardonnay Reserve FL/ Seneca $19.99
Lucas Vineyards 2007 Semi Dry Riesling FL/ Cayuga $12.99
Lucas Vineyards 2007 Vignoles FL/ Cayuga $11.99
McGregor Vineyard 2007 Riesling Estate Grown FL/ Keuka $17.99
McGregor Vineyard 2007 Rkatsiteli - Sereksiya Estate Grown FL/ Keuka $24.99
Montezuma Winery NV Semi Sweet Mead Finger Lakes $10.99
Red Newt Cellars 2005 Cabernet Franc FL/ Seneca $19.50
Rooster Hill Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay FL/ Keuka $14.99
Rooster Hill Vineyards 2007 Silver Pencil FL/ Keuka $10.99
Six Mile Creek Vineyard 2007 Semi Sweet Riesling FL/ Cayuga $13.50
Six Mile Creek Vineyard NV Pasa Tiempo FL/ Cayuga $8.50
Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Dry Riesling FL/ Cayuga $14.99
Swedish Hill Winery NV Viking Red FL/ Cayuga $7.99
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2007 Diamond FL/ Cayuga $8.95
Torrey Ridge Winery NV Diamond FL/ Seneca $9.99
Torrey Ridge Winery NV Blue Sapphire FL/ Seneca $9.99
Torrey Ridge Winery NV Scarlet Red FL/ Seneca $14.99
Ventosa Vineyards 2007 Riesling FL/ Seneca $17.95
Ventosa Vineyards 2007 Tocai Friulano FL/ Seneca $15.95
Ventosa Vineyards 2005 Saggio FL/ Seneca $23.95
White Springs Winery 2005 Riesling FL/ Seneca $12.99

Monday, August 11, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes - Aug. 12, 2008

- The Finger Lakes Weekend Wino (that’s me) will be performing this Saturday at Artizanns in Naples NY from Noon to 3pm. Come out and enjoy my tunes and the amazing artwork and crafts at Artizanns!

- Jason Feulner opines about Pompous Ass Winery

- Photography Tips for your Finger Lakes Vacation

- Company uses Finger Lakes Ice Cream Trail in business

- Enjoy outdoor dining at these Canandaigua eateries

- NY sommelier is passionate about Riesling

- Recap of Long Island Wine Conference (with some Finger Lakes winemakers attending) here
and here

- “Staycations” is the new buzzword for vacationing close to home

- Forest Fest to honor 25th Anniversary of Finger Lakes National Forest

- Prejean Winery is profiled

- Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel offers new lodging option in Finger Lakes

- Hot Wheels 40th Anniversary Celebration comes to Watkins Glen Sept. 5th

- White Springs Riesling wins medal at Best of Riesling Competition

- Balance Photo’s blog reviews their recent Finger Lakes trip

- Finger Lakes Events for this week from Scan & Plan

- Pickin In The Pasture, the Finger Lakes Bluegrass Event is Aug. 21-24

- Another sommelier reviews the Finger Lakes

- A winery's perspective on the Finger Lakes Wine Festival here
and here and here

- Casa Larga champagne gets high rating from Beverage Testing Institute

- Swedish Hill's latest newsletter is out

- Thomas Laszlo, winemaker of Heron Hill reveals the tribulations of Ice Wine and owner John Ingle gives this mid-summer crop report:
"The relatively mild winter of 07-08 has set up a bountiful crop potential for the fall. Early surges of temperatures into the 90's in April got the vines off to a quick start, almost too quick since later spring frosts were still to come. By burning hay bales in the vineyard on those frosty nights we were able to avert frost damage, thus minimizing bud loss. Plentiful rain in late June and July helped to relieve the drought-like conditions of the late spring and the vines have grown lush. On Keuka Lake we suffered some mild hail damage in late July from severe thunderstorms but the verdant health of the vines has kept them from being overly traumatized. As we get closer to harvest we will continue hand manicuring the vines to allow for good air and sun penetration. This is the cornerstone of sustainable viticulture, a hands-on approach that is reflected in the quality wines we produce."


Friday, August 08, 2008

Finger Lake Photos

I have not done a Photo Post in a while, so here are some photos that I have taken in 2008. Click on the photos for larger view.

It had been a while since I hiked through Watkins Glen State Park and it is still one of the most beautiful hikes with waterfalls around every corner.

The gas prices have not affected the sailboats on Seneca Lake.

The dark clouds make way for a rainbow over Seneca Lake.

Doug Hazlitt, Sales Mgr Steve Cruty, and Winemaker Tim Benedict in the fun atmosphere of Hazlitt Winery's tasting room.

The Weekend Winos perform at The Finger Lakes Wine Festival.

The Toga Parade at the Launch of The Lakes Party is always an interesting sight.

Dave Peterson at the Festival Media Event. Dave is having a very good 2008 with major wine competition wins for his 3 wineries, Swedish Hill, Penguin Bay, & Goose Watch.

The new Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen makes it debut.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Peterson Wineries Continue to Dominate

I’m going to print this complete article by Mike Dunne at the Sacramento Bee because I think this dramatizes the point that I’ve been preaching for the past several years that Finger Lakes off-dry wines from grapes such as Diamond, Cayuga White, Vignoles, etc. are top-notch and extremely well-balanced wines, with layers of fruit and complexity. The Peterson family’s trio of wineries Swedish Hill, Penguin Bay, and Goose Watch are proving this point with a vengeance this year (click here for more on their winning ways), winning Gold after Gold and Sweepstake after Sweepstake at well-respected International Wine Competitions! And there are many other Finger Lake wines that are just as award-worthy that are never sent to competitions. A great wine is a great wine whether it be dry, sweet, white, or red!!! The Wine Judging community seems to finally be getting it!

Dunne on Wine: White wine honors go to hybrids
By Mike Dunne -
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, July 23, 2008Story appeared in TASTE section, Page F1

A Sacramento-area wine won the best-red sweepstakes at last weekend's 2008 Long Beach Grand Cru, but the white-wine sweepstakes is what left judges buzzing.
First, the local angle: By a surprisingly wide margin, given the diversity and size of the field – 18 nominees – the muscular Mettler Family Vineyards 2005 Lodi Petite Sirah ($25) seized the top honor among red wines.
The white-wine showdown was even more crowded with 20 nominees. They included three sauvignon blancs, two chardonnays, two pinot grigios, two rieslings and a viognier.
When votes were tallied, however, the two wines to tie for sweepstakes honors were varietals largely unknown in the United States, especially in California, though both were American.
The wines were the peachy Wollersheim Winery 2007 American Prairie Fumé Seyval Blanc ($8) and the aromatic, floral and lusciously fruity Goose Watch Winery Finger Lakes Diamond ($9).
Wollersheim Winery is in Prairie du Sac, Wis., in a state better known for milk than wine, while Goose Watch Winery is in Romulus, N.Y.
Both seyval blanc and diamond are hybrid grapes developed to flourish in climates hostile to such traditional vitis vinifera varieties as chardonnay and pinot noir.
While wines from hybrid grapes occasionally shine in competitions – the Goose Watch diamond consistently wins high honors – the Long Beach judging well might be the first where two hybrids tied for sweepstakes.
What's it mean? One of the judges, Jim Trezise, took the floor immediately after the voting to say the results of the white-wine sweepstakes represent no less than a "paradigm shift" in the stature of wines from hybrid grapes.
"It used to be that no one would give any time to hybrids," said Trezise, who as executive director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation has been at the forefront of efforts to raise the profile of wines from hybrid and native American grapes, which are grown extensively in the Empire State.
He applauded the judges, most of them Californians, for their "open minds" and "open palates" in evaluating wines from grapes and regions that in many instances are only marginally familiar to them.
Trezise also praised the "missionary" efforts of wine writer Dan Berger, chief judge at the Long Beach Grand Cru, who is keen on persuading wineries from beyond California to join the competition.
While most wines in the judging were Californian, an observer wouldn't know it by looking at the 20 wines arranged before each judge during the white-wine sweepstakes. Only eight were from California, though judges didn't know that until after the votes were tabulated. Of the three sauvignon blancs, two were from New Zealand and one was from Chile. Of the two proprietary wines, one was from Missouri, the other from Ohio. Other wines were from Michigan, New York and Washington state.
Trezise is correct in sensing a paradigm shift among wine judges when it comes to wines from hybrid grapes. Part of that could be due to fatigue brought about by the stylistic similarity of such familiar varietals as chardonnay and syrah, coupled with the novelty of the hybrids.
And don't discount the influence of the frequent sweetness of hybrids, which at the end of two days of judging some 1,900 wines in the Long Beach Petroleum Club was refreshing. The seyval blanc has 1 percent residual sugar, the diamond 5.8.
But it wasn't sweetness alone that accounted for the hybrids' strong showing in the sweepstakes round. They are wines of clarity, balance and distinction. Judges had no idea of their price, and the fact that they cost less than $10 each is another sign that exciting things are happening beyond the vineyards of California.
As to the award-winning and other wines from hybrids, Californians won't often find them in wine shops or on restaurant wine lists hereabouts. Compared with such California varietals as chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, they are made in small amounts, and sales mostly are often through tasting rooms and winery Web sites.
Californians lucky enough to come across a marechal foch, seyval blanc, traminette, vignoles, diamond or other obscure hybrid while traveling along the East Coast or through the Midwest will discover a whole new wine world rising among the soybeans and corn.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finger Lakes Winery Report - Penguin Bay Winery, July 2008

As part of the Peterson family’s trio of wineries, Penguin Bay is the young and upcoming star this year, winning a substantial number of Gold and Double Gold medals, including 2 best white wine of shows at International Wine Competitions with their 2007 Gewurztraminer. Don’t get me wrong, Penguin Bay's sister wineries Swedish Hill and Goose Watch are also winning their share of medals, but Penguin Bay has always seemed to be the ugly duckling of the three. But within the last several years, the name and label have been revamped with the “cute animal” Flying Penguin label and the quality of the wines has improved dramatically. In the past, they have focused primarily on “Champagne” and Sparkling Wines, but their wine list now boasts an array of red and white still wines. Here are my tasting notes:
> Pinot Noir Brut Rose Champagne, $18, very dry but also very fruit forward with abundant sparkling cherry and strawberry flavors. I often find dry champagnes very flavorless, but this one brings the flavor!
> 2006 Rose’ of Chambourcin, $11, Beautiful salmon pink color, This is dry, but again, great fruit extraction with delicate berry flavors mingling with the bubbles into a lingering finish. And a great value at $11.
> 2007 Gewurztraminer, $17, This wine has won 2 best White Wine of Shows in the last several months. Overall, the ’07 Finger Lakes Gewurz’s that I have tasted have been fantastic with BIG aromas and Bold but smooth spice, perhaps even the best year ever for Finger Lakes Gewurz! This Gewurz shows lovely floral and citrus blossom aromas, this is a dry wine, but with delicate honeysuckle flavors on the front end with smooth cinnamon and allspice hints on the finish, this one’s not as big as some I’ve tasted but it is nuanced and elegant.
> Blanc de Blanc Champagne, $13.99, semi-dry with light lemon citrus overtones and good structure, a solid Cayuga White sparkler.
> 2006 Valvin Muscat, $15, one of the newest grapes from Cornell in a sweet dessert wine, tangerine with honeyed nutmeg highlights, finishes with that inherent herbal spice quality that I’m still not quite sure if I’m fond of, But this is my favorite Valvin Muscat out of the ones that I’ve tasted.
> Golden Spumante Champagne, $12, made from my beloved Diamond grape, yes I will bore you one more time with the story of how I accidentally made a Sparkling Diamond wine that (in the bottles that we salvaged that did not explode), tasted very similar to this Golden Spumante, splashes of baked apple and light orange citrus pirouette among the bubbles and dance like frantic Irish clog dancers across your palate!

- On another note, I have an announcement. I am proud to announce that I will be writing a monthly Finger Lakes column for Mountain Home magazine starting with the August issue. Mountain Home is a well-respected regional monthly that features articles about the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York. Mountain Home magazine is available free every month in many of the wineries in The Finger Lakes and many other locations in PA & NY.
- I forgot to mention in my last news and notes post that THE PORT IS BACK at Lakewood. And it’s every bit as good as the ’05. Lakewood bottled 750 cases, but it will go fast, so get yours soon.
- Also, Alta B Day at Wagner Vineyards is this Sunday, July 27. It is their annual celebration in memory of Alta Button Wagner featuring entertainment on the brewdeck from 1:30 to 4:30 pm by The One Man Band, Peter Haskell with Door prizes and Wine specials with the lowest pricing of the year on many wines. One day only, 10am - 5pm.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- Some big shows coming up for Myself and Mr. Tom, The Finger Lakes Weekend Winos Acoustic Duo, this coming Saturday at Torrey Ridge Winery from 1:30 to 4:30pm and then The Winos will appear in a Special Show at The Finger Lakes Wine Festival at Watkins Glen Race Track on Saturday, July 19th from 10am to 1pm in The Cabernet Courtyard. Be sure to stop by and say Hello to us if you are attending. Click here for more information about the Finger Lakes Wine Festival.

- More Medals were awarded to Finger Lakes wineries at the Indy International Wine Competition with Penguin Bay's Gewurztraminer winning Best White Wine of the entire competition!!! Other top winners were:

Double Gold
Torrey Ridge Niagara
Torrey Ridge Traminette
Chateau Frank Celebre (Sparkling Riesling)
Dr. Frank 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling
Long Point 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
Swedish Hill Svenska White
Swedish Hill 2007 Riesling

Lakewood 2007 Catawba
Torrey Ridge Diamond
Fulkerson Red Zeppelin
Lucas 2007 Cayuga White
Torrey Ridge Cayuga
Glenora Alpine White
Hazlitt 2007 Homestead Reserve Riesling
Thirsty Owl 2007 Dry Riesling
White Springs 2005 Riesling
Anthony Road 2006 Cabernet Franc Rosé
Sheldrake Point 2007 Dry Rosé
Torrey Ridge Scarlet Red
Hazlitt Bramble Berry
Goose Watch Golden Spumante
Goose Watch 2007 Traminette
Goose watch 2007 Viogner
Swedish Hill Svenska Red
Swedish Hill 2007 Cayuga White
Swedish Hill Blue Waters Riesling
Swedish Hill 2007 Dry Riesling

The complete results are available here

- Fulkerson Winery has released a white wine companion to their Red Zeppelin. The new sweet Niagara based wine is called Airship White and it is a good summer sipper with tastes of fresh grapes and honeysuckle.

- McGregor Vineyard Winery will host a celebration of locally made cheeses and dairy products from Noon to 6 pm this Saturday and Sunday, July 12&13. The winery has recently released a large number of white wines from the 2007 season as well as a number of reds from the 2006 season. Guests can sample Gewürztraminers, Rieslings, Traminette, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Black Russian Red among many others. The winery is hosting four regional cheese makers- Sunset View Creamery, Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese Company, Side Hill Acres Dairy Goat Farm, & Cowlick Farms.

- On July 24-27, The Cayuga Wine Trail is hosting its third annual celebration of greyhound adoption, The Grapehound Wine Tour. This unique wine tasting event promotes greyhound adoption in the region and brings together greyhounds and their owners with visitors who have never considered adopting a greyhound. Attendees will receive a commemorative greyhound wine glass and enjoy wine tasting and food pairings at each winery throughout the weekend.

- This Saturday July 12th is Vergennes Day at Arbor Hill Winery from Noon to 3pm. Arbor Hill celebrates their unique Vergennes wine along with paying tribute to its birthplace of Vergenne Vermont.

- New laws help NY wineries and breweries

- Western NY plans own Wine Fest

- Rooster Hill Winery does well at Riesling Championship

- Finger Lakes area to be featured in magazine

- Watkins Glen racetrack to run on wind power (I can just picture the little windmills on the roofs of the race cars :) :)

- Campers staying closer to home

- A Finger Lakes Ice Cream Trail?

- An Alabama writer sings the praises of the Finger Lakes

- 100 years since aviation first in the Finger Lakes

- Art Center features Finger Lakes landscapes

- Finger Lakes winery makes beer from grapes

- Emerson Klees' updated Finger Lakes Winery Guide released

- Chowhound posters give their tips on favorite Finger Lakes wineries

- Lenn Thompson reviews Billsboro Winery Pinot Noir

Monday, July 07, 2008

Finger Lakes Mid Year Wine Report 2008

As we reach the midpoint of 2008, it's time for my Mid-Year Finger Lakes Wine report. I have visited 39 wineries so far this year (some of them multiple times) and tasted well over 300 Finger Lakes wines. As usual, I am behind on writing and posting my winery reports, but I will catch up. Some trends that I am noticing are:

- Gas prices may be affecting the Finger Lakes as visitor traffic seems down in some areas and I'm hearing anecdotal reports of less customers in some wineries, but that sales are still steady. The main tourism season for the Finger Lakes is the Fall Foliage/Grape Harvest/Christmas months of October, November, and December so we probably won't know the true effect of gas prices until then. Let's hope that fuel prices come down a bit by then.

- I don't know if it's an effect of lower visitor traffic in addition to a lot of wineries increasing wine production over the last few years, but it seems that new vintages are taking a bit longer to appear, as wineries must wait for current stock to sell. That's a good thing in a way as the wines get more time in the barrell and bottle, but for those of us who can't wait to taste the new releases, it's grueling.

- I'm seeing more Finger Lakes Pinot Gris (Grigio) than ever before being released as it seems as if just about every winery is releasing one. But, unfortunately, I have been sorely disappointed with most of them. I have tried at least 15 now and, in my humble opinion, only 2 of them (Lakewood and Silver Springs) had any real depth and complexity. I think that this could be a great grape for the Finger Lakes and the best of them have layers of apple and pear tones with solid acidity, but the rest are pretty much one dimensional. Maybe it's me but I want a little more from my Pinot Grigio than just muted flavors with token acidity. But it's a new grape here for a lot of the wineries and I have faith that they will get better.

- Another grape that is appearing more and more, Sauvignon Blanc, is making a big splash in the Finger Lakes. And in contrast to Pinot Gris, I feel that it is showing much greater depth and balance. Perhaps the recent warm years have had a favorable effect on Finger Lakes Sauv Blanc, but I'm liking many of the recent releases.

- The '07 Gewurztraminers have been slow to be released, but the ones that are out and ones that are not out that I have barrel tasted are spectacular - BIG Aromas & BIG Flavors! And proof of that is Penguin Bay's '07 Gewurz winning 2 Best of Shows (that's best wine overall!!!) at 2 recent well-respected International competitions. And, surely not to put the Penguin Bay down because it IS a fantastic wine, BUT there are several that I feel are even better that are coming out soon. In the same vein, the '07 Traminette's are also showing big aromas and flavors.

- As far as Finger Lakes Reds, winemakers are salivating over the '07 reds in the barrel right now. I have barrel tasted some and I agree that these wines have more depth, complexity, and ageworthiness than perhaps even the '05's. I can't wait until next year when they are released.

- Perhaps the most surprising thing that is taking place this year is the amazing amount of Finger Lakes white blends (a lot of them on the sweeter side) that are winning Double Golds and Golds in international competitions. I have been trying to tell people for years now that Finger Lakes winemakers craft extremely balanced and complex off-dry blends and now the wine judging community is finally agreeing. I think that Finger Lakes winemakers are Masters when it comes to blending and I feel that a lot of the reason for that is because the "second string" (first string being your Rieslings, Chardonnay, etc.) grapes that are grown here (Cayuga White, Diamond, Vidal Blanc, etc.) provide distinctive and complex yet integrated flavors when blended.

- One last trend that I am noticing is perhaps a slowing of the new winery boom with only a few new wineries opening this year that I am aware of, the most notable because of its name, being Pompous Ass Winery just north of Watkins Glen. Several new microbreweries are in the works and a Distillery is opening soon on the east side of Seneca Lake.

- Overall it's been a great season so far. I've been surprised, shocked, disappointed, and amazed. I will continue my journey to get through the other 60-some wineries by the end of the year. Even if I don't make it, I'll sure have fun trying. Be sure to come back and visit and as always, I invite your comments. Thank You for reading my ramblings!!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy 4th of July - Drink American Wine!!!

Happy 4th Everyone! Remember to Celebrate with your Favorite wine made in the United States. United States wineries are putting out some great wines these days, so Drink American and visit your local wineries!!!
I'll see you on the Finger Lakes Wine Trails this weekend. FLWW

Monday, June 30, 2008

Finger Lakes Winery Report - Red Newt Wine Cellars

Red Newt Cellars (east side of Seneca Lake) is the home of two of the most prominent Finger Lakes wine and food people, Dave & Deb Whiting. Both are passionate about food and wine and their winery and restaurant (Red Newt Bistro) are always both at the top of "Best Of" lists. Dave graciously took some time out of his busy schedule to share some barrel tastings of upcoming releases and I also tasted the current releases. Here are the highlights of my tasting notes:

> 2006 Gewurztraminer, $18.50, Very Aromatic floral perfume on the nose, a lighter style Gewurz but still very flavorful with light lychee tones and complex spice and herbal highlights. Dave shared a barrel tasting of the '07 Gewurz and it is a BIG Gewurz, big on aromatics and big on flavor with lots of ginger and smooth spice. I have tasted a few '07 Gewurz's and they have been very good, it looks like '07 was a good year for Finger Lakes Gewurz.

> 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling, $13.50, 3% RS, Wow! This is a great Semi-dry Riesling, layers of apricot, orange, tangerine, and juicy ripe peach. At $13.50, it won't last long so get it while you can.
> 2006 Tierce Dry Riesling, $30, The newest Tierce, which is a collaboration of Dave Whiting (Red Newt), Peter Bell (Fox Run), and Johannes Reinhardt (Anthony Road), 3 of the regions premier winemakers has just been released. Each winemaker contributes one third of the wine and their goal is to produce a unique expression of terroir combining the 3 Finger Lakes regions where they are located. In my opinion, some years it has worked out well and some years it has not. This year's is my favorite of the 3 that have been released. This wine conveys citrus and a little flint on the nose with plentiful lime and grapefruit on the attack and mouthwatering lime and mineral on the finish. But I do have a problem with the $30 price point. This is a good wine that will develop even further, but I can't bring myself to part with $30 for it.

From the '07 vintage, the Tierce Brothers will not be doing a Riesling but they plan on collaborating on a Red Tierce to take advantage of the wonderful '07 reds. It will be a blend of Cab Franc, Lemberger, and Syrah. Sounds very interesting.

> 2005 Viridescens, $45.50, blend of Cab Sauv/Cab Franc/Merlot/Syrah, wonderful cherry and blackberry fruit with ripe medium tannins make this an ageworthy wine. This wine is worth every penny of the $45.50 and is actually a terrific value. The '07 Viridescens is scheduled to be released soon and will be a Meritage-style blend. A barrel tasting revealed smoky blackberry and loganberry in this young wine.

> 2005 Cabernet Franc, $19.50, from the excellent '05 vintage, deep cherry and coffee flavors mingle with perfect balance between all elements in this multi-award winning wine.
> Red Newt offers some value sippers whose elegance belies their value price points. Salamander White (Pinot Gris/Vidal Blanc/Cayuga White/Chardonnay/$12.49) offers citrus, lemongrass, and crisp apple. Red Newt White (Cayuga White/Vidal Blanc/$9.99) offers up refreshing fruit with nice acidity. Blue Newt White (Niagara Blend/$8.99) offers crisp fruitiness without being too grapey.

> 2006 Red Eft, $14.99, Cab Franc/Cab Sauv/Merlot/Pinot Noir/Syrah- everything but the kitchen sink but it works nicely, Fruit-forward cherry and blackberry make this wine taste sweeter than its .8% RS.

Additional Notes: Grower Jim Hazlitt at Sawmill Creek Vineyards has again provided amazing fruit to Red Newt in the new '07 Syrah. The combination of the skilled vineyard operations of Jim Hazlitt with the winemaking skills of Dave Whiting make them "The Masters of Syrah" in the Finger Lakes, in my opinion. Most people would call them crazy to even try Syrah in The Finger Lakes. But try they do, and they actually succeed. A barrel tasting of the '07 Syrah showed lots of plum with white pepper highlights. This should be excellent.
Red Newt will also be using the Syrah in a unique sweet blend (5% RS) with the new Cornell grape, Noiret. It will be amusingly called Soiree. Also, Red Newt's new Port (Cab Franc/Cab Sauv/Syrah) will be released in July and Dave is planning a unique '07 Cab Franc strategy. He will be crafting 3 separate single vineyard '07 Cab Franc bottlings from 3 separate growers to express the unique terroirs associated with each vineyard. I can't wait to taste them.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Finger Lakes Winery Report - Silver Springs Winery

A winetasting at Silver Springs Winery (east side of Seneca Lake) is like attending a Wine Appreciation Course, with your professor being owner John Zuccarino. John doesn't want you to just taste wine, he wants you to be an educated wine taster. He is passionate about wine education, as proven by his weekly educational videos - click here to watch. I guarantee that you will come out of Silver Springs more knowledgable about wine than you came in. John and his wife Sari are hands-on owners and it is refreshing to be able to talk directly with the owners when you come in for a tasting. Silver Spring's red wines are some of the best in The Finger Lakes and you can taste their passion for crafting fine wines.

Here are the highlights of my tasting notes:
> 2002 Cabernet Franc (with 10% Cab Sauv), $19.95, 18 months in French oak, coffee and rounded oak overtones, exquisitely balanced and smooth, it is wonderful to taste aged Finger Lakes reds, a few years in the bottle really brings out the best in Finger Lakes reds. Too many times I think that Finger Lakes wineries bring out their reds too early (although I do understand that a lot of times they need to have new product out so they are forced into releasing their reds perhaps before they should).
> 2003 Cabernet Franc, $21.95, Nuanced coffee overtones with abundant cherry and hints of anise, medium tannins that drink well now but will also age well, an excellent example of an ageworthy Finger Lakes Cab Franc.
> 2003 Merlot, $21.95, 18 months in oak, flavors of mocha, plum, cherry, and blackberry with tannins softening nicely.
> 2003 Bold Merlot, 2 1/4 years in French oak!, full-bodied with deep coffee undertones with hints of cocoa and licorice, medium tannins, John says its got 15 years until it peaks but I like it just fine right now.
Lest you think that Silver Springs just does good reds, they've got some fine whites also.
> 2004 Cayuga White, 3% RS, $11.99, This '04 is still putting out great flavor with perfectly balanced pineapple/grapefruit and ripe peach. A 5% RS '04 Cayuga White is also available for those who prefer a touch more sweetness.
> 2007 Vintners Select Pinot Grigio, $18.95, 1% RS, I have been lamenting the lack of complex multidimensional Pinot Grigio in The Finger Lakes but Silver Springs gives me hope with this full-flavored and complex Grigio, loads of apple and pear with brisk acidity. John attributes late harvesting as a major factor in enhancing the flavor profile of his Grigio.
> 2004 Gewurztraminer Ice Wine, $42, 15% RS, What a Special Treat this is!, layers of apricot, tangerine, raisins, and honey! This is a world-class Ice Wine and is a bargain at $42. Too bad the vines that made this are no longer with us. I drink a toast to those vines. Get a taste of this while it lasts!

New York State Fair Wine Competition Results

Winery, Year, Label Designation, Medal
Americana Vineyards & Winery, Inc. 2007 Riesling Double Gold
Anthony Road Wine Company 2007 Dry Riesling Double Gold
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2007 Riesling, Dry Double Gold
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2006 Rkatsiteli Double Gold
Goose Watch Winery 2007 Viognier Double Gold
Goose Watch Winery NV Snow Goose Double Gold
Heron Hill Winery 2006 Semi- Sweet Riesling Double Gold
Heron Hill Winery 2006 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc Double Gold
Hosmer Winery 2007 Vintners Reserve Riesling Double Gold
Hunt Country Vineyards 2006 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine Estate Bottled Double Gold
Jason's Vineyard 2000 Meritage, Estate Grown Double Gold
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2005 Merlot Double Gold
Long Point Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Long Point Winery Double Gold
Mazza Chautauqua Cellars 2006 Ice Wine of Vidal Blanc Double Gold
Penguin Bay Winery NV Percussion Double Gold
Pindar Vineyards 2007 Johannisburg Riesling Double Gold
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2007 Riesling Ice Double Gold
Swedish Hill Winery 2006 Maréchal Foch Double Gold
Torry Ridge Winery NV Scarlet Red Double Gold
Americana Vineyards & Winery, Inc. 2007 Americana White Gold
Anyela's Vineyards 2006 Riesling Gold
Arbor Hill Winery NV Rhine Street Red Gold
Buttonwood Grove Winery 2007 Blackberry Briar Gold
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2006 Gewürztraminer Gold
Heron Hill Winery 2005 Eclipse White Gold
Hickory Hollow Wine Cellars NV Liquid Wisdom Gold
Hosmer Winery 2007 Riesling Gold
Hosmer Winery 2006 Cabernet Franc Gold
Hudson-Chatham Winery NV Paperbirch Raspberry Fine Ruby Gold
Imagine Moore 2006 LOVE Gold
Keuka Spring Vineyards NV Crooked Lake White Gold
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2007 Seyval Blanc Gold
Knapp Winery NV Curiosity Gold
Long Point Winery 2007 Riesling Semi Dry Long Point Winery Gold
Lucas Vineyards 2007 Blues Gold
Magpie Farms NV Red Raspberry Mead Gold
Palmer Vineyards 2007 North Fork of Long Island Sauvignon Blanc Gold
Pindar Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay Late Harvest Gold
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2007 Gewürztraminer Gold
Swedish Hill Winery 2007 Riesling Gold
Swedish Hill Winery NV Country Concord Gold
Swedish Hill Winery NV Svenska Red Gold
Swedish Hill Winery NV Blanc de Blanc Gold
Torry Ridge Winery NV Diamond Gold
Wagner Vineyards 2006 Vidal Blanc Ice Gold

Monday, June 23, 2008

-It's official- The newest winery on Seneca Lake will be opening soon and yes, the name is Pompous Ass winery! More to come on this new winery.

- The following Finger Lakes wineries won Gold at the Big E Wine Competition earlier this month:

Double Gold Medal Winners:
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2007 Dry Riesling (see my recent review of this excellent wine)

Torrey Ridge Winery NV Summer Delight

Gold Medal Winners:

Glenora Wine Cellars 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling

Lucas Vineyards 2007 Vignoles

Torrey Ridge Winery NV Concord

Hunt Country Vrds 2006 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

Hunt Country Vrds 2007 Late Harvest Vignoles

See the complete results here.

- More Finger Lakes Gold Medal Winners at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition:

Best White Wine of Show:
Goose Watch Winery, 2007 Traminette, $12.00. Goose Watch and its sister wineries, Swedish Hill & Penguin Bay, continue to claim gold medal after gold medal at this years wine competitions with the Goose Watch 2007 Traminette winning Best White Wine out of over 900 International entries at LA International Wine Competition. Very Impressive!!!

Best of Class:
Heron Hill Winery Riesling, Select Late Harvest, 2006, $74.99
Penguin Bay Winery 2007 Gewurztraminer, $17.00
Swedish Hill Winery, Svenska Red, $7.49
Swedish Hill Winery, Svenska White, $7.49
Swedish Hill Winery, 2007 Cayuga White, $8.99

Dr. Konstantin Frank, 2007 Dry Riesling
Heron Hill Winery Vidal, Late Harvest 2006

Penguin Bay, Maroon Four

Swedish Hill, 2005 Cabernet Franc

Swedish Hill, 2007 Marechal Foch

Swedish Hill, 2007 Vidal Blanc

Swedish Hill, Doobie Blues

Chateau Frank Blanc de Blanc,

Chateau Frank, Blanc de Noir

Knapp Winery, Sovereign Opal

See the complete results here.

- 2 new books showcase the Finger Lakes area
- Proposed Finger Lakes Museum gains more support
- Check out this amazing photo of a Finger Lakes sunrise. I really have to get out and see the Ontario County Arts Council's current exhibit.
- Finger Lakes wineries dodged the recent hail damage, but upstate Apple crop not as fortunate.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Big Wine Sale at Fulkerson Winery

Attention all you Bargain Wine Shoppers out there, Fulkerson Winery is having a "Summer Splash" Wine Sale with some great bargains on some great wine. I know I'll be stopping by to load up the van. See below for details:

Dundee, NY – June 17, 2008 – Summer is just around the corner and the staff at Fulkerson Winery would like you to be aware of our
“Big Summer Splash Wine Specials” that are on sale at the winery for the months of June and July.

Buy one bottle at regular price, get the second bottle (same variety) 40% off on the following premium Fulkerson Wines: *

Centennial $13.99 - per bottle @ reg. price
2005 Delaware $ 6.99
2006 Diamond $ 6.99
2006 Chardonnay $10.99
2006 Gewurztraminer $15.99
2006 Dornfelder $15.99
2006 Lemberger $15.99

2006 Traminette $11.99- per bottle @ reg. price
2005 Delaware $ 6.99
Sunset Blush $ 6.49
Sunset Blush $ 6.49
Centennial $13.99
2006 Dornfelder $15.99
2006 Cabernet Franc $13.99

Riesling 4-Pack:
Available exclusively at Fulkerson Winery, our exciting and refreshing “Summer Riesling 4 Pack”,
with discounts of 20% off 2 bottles of 2006 Dry Riesling & 2 bottles of 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling in a pre-packaged 4-pack.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Winery Visit Report - Dr. Frank Wine Cellars, June 2008

This time around, I tasted the white wines at Dr. Frank in their stylish new tasting room overlooking Keuka Lake on a hot but beautiful day. Here are my tasting notes:
> 2007 Dry Riesling, $17.99, The Doctor has done it again. Dr. Frank’s 2007 Dry Riesling is out and it is superb, but haven't we come to expect nothing less than superb from Dr. Frank Riesling. This wine opens up with amazing aromatics, which is a trademark of Dr. Frank Riesling. Beautifully fragrant floral highlights mixed with citrus blossoms lets you know that you are about to partake of something special. On the palate, it is complex with layers of peach, pear, and that distinctive unmistakable Dr. Frank lime and mineral on the mouthwatering finish. Is it the terroir? Is it those wonderful old vines? Is it the great winemaking team? All I know is that everything seems to come together year after year to craft one of the finest Rieslings in the world, in my opinion.
> 2006 Pinot Gris, $19.99, I think most everyone in the Finger Lakes has put out a Pinot Gris (Grigio) this year and, unfortunately, most have disappointed. Dr. Franks version has some nice pear but that distinctive lime and acidity that makes the Riesling so wonderful sort of overpowers in the Pinot Gris.
> 2005 Chardonnay, $14.99, Nice hints of pear and that distinctive acidity give it a nice backbone, but it fades a bit on the finish.
> 2006 Rkatsiteli, $19.99, The Russian grape that was the talk of the region last year, Clean citrus with unique herbal hints, but with age, it is now giving out some grapefruit on the finish, still a unique treat.
> 2006 Gewurztraminer, $19.99, lots of clean lychee and lime,Big Flavors here, a wonderful Gewurz.
> 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling, $15.99, this is a wonderful wine that I reviewed last year, but after tasting the ’07 Dry Riesling, it just didn’t stand a chance. No disrespect to the ’06 intended, but I can’t wait to taste the ’07 Semi-Dry. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be available for a while until the ’06 supply is sold. Maybe Fred will let me sneak a taste next time I’m there (hint, hint). > And last but certainly not least, the Celebre’ (Riesling Champagne ), $19.99, from the 2002 Riesling vintage, beautiful acidity with a touch of honeysuckle sweetness. This is my pick for any special occasion.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Finger Lakes Wineries Do Well at the Decanter Wine Awards

The Following Finger Lakes wines placed well at the prestigious Decanter Wine Awards:

Casa Larga Vineyards Fiori Vidal Ice Wine Limited Edition 2005New York State, United States
(White - Sweet)
US price: $38.00

Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs 2000New York State, United States
(White - Sparkling)
US price: $29.99

Chateau Lafayette Reneau Dry Riesling 2006New York State, United States
(White - Still)
US price: $14.99 USAS USWSLG

Glenora Wine Cellars Dry Riesling 2006New York State, United States
(White - Still)
US price: $15.99 Empire Merchants North (845 33

Glenora Wine Cellars Dry Riesling Vintner's Select 2006New York State, United States
(White - Still)
US price: $23.99

Glenora Wine Cellars Riesling 2007New York State, United States
(White - Still)
US price: $15.99

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2006New York State, United States
(White - Still)
US price: $10.79 USSWSA USTOT

Heron Hill Winery Ingle Vineyard Riesling 2005New York State, United States
(White - Still)
US price: $17.99 USNLW

Red Tail Ridge Winery Semi-Dry Riesling 2006New York State, United States
(White - Still)
US price: $22.00

Sheldrake Point Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2005New York State, United States
(Red - Still)
US price: $16.99

Sheldrake Point Vineyard Riesling 2006New York State, United States
(White - Still)
US price: $14.99

Sheldrake Point Vineyard Riesling Ice Wine 2007New York State, United States
(White - Sweet)
US price: $74.99

See the complete results here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes

-The Critics Challenge Wine Awards have been announced and the following Finger Lakes wineries won awards:

Chateau Frank
Critics Platinum 2000 Blanc de Blanc Finger Lakes $29.99

Chateau Lafayette Reneau
Critics Silver, 2005 Chardonnay, Barrel Fermented, $14.99
Critics Silver 2006 Dry Riesling Finger Lakes $14.99

Glenora Wine Cellars
Critics Silver 2001 Brut, Méthode Champenoise, $24.99
Critics Silver 2007 Pinot Blanc Finger Lakes $19.99
Critics Silver 2006 Dry Riesling, Vintner's Select Finger Lakes $23.99
Critics Silver 2007 Riesling Finger Lakes $17.99

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyard
Critics Silver 2005 Cabernet Franc Finger Lakes $17.99
Critics Silver 2006 Chardonnay Finger Lakes $9.99
Critics Silver 2007 Riesling, Homestead Reserve Finger Lakes $17.99
Critics Silver 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Finger Lakes $12.99

Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard
Critics Silver 2006 Gewürztraminer Dry Finger Lakes $20.00

Knapp Vineyards & Winery
Critics Gold 2006 Dry Riesling Cayuga Lake $18.95

Lakewood Vineyards
Critics Silver 2006 Gewürztraminer Finger Lakes $16.99
Critics Gold 2007 Dry Riesling Finger Lakes $12.99
Critics Silver 2006 Riesling Finger Lakes $12.99

Lucas Vineyards
Critics Silver 2007 Vignoles Finger Lakes $10.99
Critics Platinum 2007 Dry Riesling Finger Lakes $12.99

- Ventosa Vineyards received a Vinum Cum Laude prize for its 2007 Pinot Gris at the 18th annual Wine Literary Award ceremony in San Francisco. A group of 90 wine journalists tasted about 1,000 wines from around the world, with only 20 (2%) receiving the Vinum Cum Laude accolades.

- Lakewood Vineyards reports that their new 2007 (already award-winning) Riesling will be available at their tasting room in a few months. Also, for you fellow Lakewood Port fans out there, Liz tells me that a delay in receiving bottles has delayed the new Port's release, but it should be out by August. I've got one bottle left in my cellar and I don't know if it's going to last that long!

- Fox Run Vineyards has received national attention concerning four of its wines. The June 2008 issue of Wine & Spirits magazine has chosen Fox Run’s 2006 Reserve Riesling ($30) as one of its Critics’ Picks and rated the Riesling at 93 points – the highest ever in the Finger Lakes! Fox Run’s 2006 Riesling (sold out) was chosen as a "100 Top Values" and the magazine gave this wine 91 points! The magazine has also given Fox Run’s 2006 Dry Riesling ($15) 91 points and described it as follows, "The flavors come in layers – white peach, passion fruit, nectarine – and that fruit is supported by a slatey minerality that give the wine a fine, gripping texture." Fox Run’s 2006 Gewurztraminer ($20) was rated with 91 points as well, "…peach flavors balanced against a mineral edge."

- If you've seen a new tasting-room like building being erected just north of Watkins Glen on the west side of Seneca Lake, word on the street has it that another new winery is being built. The rumored new name of the winery is quite bold and just might stir up some controversy. Stay Tuned.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Golden Nose- Part 2

What a fun weekend it was at The Golden Nose event with the largest number of participants yet! Starting with the Friday night reception at the phenomenal Rockwell Museum of Western Art where we got to see the premiere of the new Ansel Adams exhibit and mingle with the other judges, to the Training and Judging sessions on Saturday, it is always a fun and educational experience.

Some of the highlights for me were a surprise special seminar for the returning alum of Golden Nose (4 of us) with Dave Whiting of Red Newt Wine Cellars and Peter Bell of Fox Run Vineyards, where we did a blind tasting of Rieslings from 6 different regions in the world. I guessed them all wrong, but I got to pick 2 of my favorite winemakers brains for a while.

Of course, the judging is always a treat and I had a real treat with another favorite Finger Lakes winemaker, Derek Wilber of White Springs Winery, as the group leader of my judging group. Derek's wealth of experience was a joy to listen to and learn from. To me, it's just a lot of fun to compare tasting notes with others who are passionate about wine. In my group of 6 judges, there were 2 that had vineyards, 2 of us were amateur winemakers, 1 worked at a winery, and 1 was a reporter for a Toronto newspaper. I don't know whether we were super picky or not, but our group did not give out one single Gold medal. But then again, we did not have any Riesling or Cab Franc flights to judge.

Then of course, there was the Awards Dinner with fabulous food and all the wine you could ever hope to taste. I also got to perform a couple of songs, but the star of the show was Paul, our host from the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, dancing to Devo's "Whip It", as performed by Virgil Cain, our entertainer for the night who is a sensational multi-instrumentalist and singer. I sure hope somebody got some video of Paul cracking the whip.

This was my third year at The Golden Nose and it just keeps getting bigger and better. I can't wait until next year!
The 1st picture is John from Fulkerson Winery and Glenda from the Seneca Lake Wine Trail welcoming the judges on Saturday morning.
This is my judging group led by Derek Wilber of White Springs Winery.