Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Finger Lakes Wines Win Medals at Grand Harvest Wine Awards

Here are the Finger Lakes medal winners at the Grand Harvest Wine Awards that took place in Santa Rosa CA last week.

Heron Hill, 05 Riesling, 0.76% rs, 391 cases produced, $17.99
Hunt Country Vineyards, 06 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, 23% rs, 716 cases produced, $39.99 / 375ml

Belhurst Winery, 06 Cayuga, n/a% rs, 250 cases produced, $14.95
Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery, NV Cayuga Cuvee, .25% rs, 300 cases produced, $11.00
Chateau Frank, 00 Blanc de Noirs, 1% rs, 400 cases produced, $29.99
Chateau Lafayette Reneau, 06 Pinot Noir Blanc, 2.8% rs, 800 cases produced, $9.99
Chateau Lafayette Reneau, 06 Johnnisberg Riesling, 2.5% rs, 1,800 cases produced, $14.99
Dr. Konstantin Frank, 06 Rkatsiteli, .7% rs, 2,000 cases produced, $19.99
Hunt Country Vineyards, 07 Pinot Gris, 0.5% rs, 862 cases produced, $15.99
Torrey Ridge Winery, NV Niagara, 6.5% rs, 631 cases produced, $9.99
Treleaven, 06 Riesling Late Harvest , 18% rs, 300 cases produced, $29.99

Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery, NV Cayuga White, .75% rs, 350 cases produced, $9.50
Chateau Frank, 00 Blanc de Blancs, 1% rs, 500 cases produced, $29.99
Chateau Lafayette Reneau, 05 Pinot Noir, Dry% rs, 500 cases produced, $19.99
Chateau Lafayette Reneau, 05 Chardonnay, .5% rs, 400 cases produced, $12.99
Chateau Lafayette Reneau, 06 Chardonnay, .5% rs, 200 cases produced, $18.99
Dr. Konstantin Frank, 06 Riesling, .7% rs, 2,500 cases produced, $17.99
Dr. Konstantin Frank, 06 Rose, .4% rs, 1,500 cases produced, $12.99
Fulkerson Winery, 06 Diamond, 5.5% rs, 597 cases produced, $6.99
Fulkerson Winery, 06 Traminette, 2.7% rs, 877 cases produced, $11.99
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, 05 Cabernet Franc, 0.4% rs, 341 cases produced, $17.99
Heron Hill, 04 Chardonnay, 0.02% rs, 241 cases produced, $17.99
Lucas Vineyards, 06 Riesling Semi Dry , 2.5% rs, 750 cases produced, $12.99
Torrey Ridge Winery, NV Diamond, 8% rs, 1,200 cases produced, $9.99

See the complete results here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Finger Lakes Weekend Wino 2007 Finger Lakes Winery of The Year - Bloomer Creek Vineyard

I think this picture from Bloomer Creek's website says it all about Bloomer Creek Vineyard, my 2007 Winery of The Year - it shows their passion and commitment to craft excellent wine and shows the sweat, grit, and determination that it takes to be a successful winery in the Finger Lakes.

It has taken owner and winemaker Kim Engle almost 3 decades from his college days to realize his dream of owning his own winery in his own space, but the result was well worth the wait. Kim and his wife, artist Debra Bermingham, have created a fresh and welcoming environment with their new tasting room, with its exposed wood beams and beautiful high ceilings, highlighted by local artistry. Yes, the new building welcomes us, but the wines- the wines draw us in!

Kim has toiled for decades for many other Finger Lakes wineries, honing his skills in the vineyard and in the cellar and we are the ones who now benefit from those many years of hard work. His proficiency shines through on both white and red wines from the beautiful balance of Bloomer Creek's Riesling to the soft and smoky Cafe Red (Cabernet Franc).
At Bloomer Creek, you get the feeling that they don't just want to sell you their wine, they want you to understand their wine.

I visited 81 Finger Lakes wineries in 2007 and it was not an easy choice to pick my first Winery of The Year. There were many wineries that had that combination of passion for crafting great wine, commitment to educating consumers, a welcoming and uplifting tasting experience and, of course, great wine that I was looking for, but in my several visits to Bloomer Creek, the blood, sweat, and tears of a dream becoming reality inspired my senses and filled my being with pride for what hard work and determination can accomplish. Bloomer Creek is certainly not the biggest or most well-known winery in the Finger Lakes, but a bigger heart and soul you will not find. So I raise my glass to Bloomer Creek Vineyard and encourage you to stop in and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Here are my tasting notes for Bloomer Creek in 2007:

2006 Gewurztraminer, $18.00, light citrus into bold spice at the finish
2006 Riesling, 2% RS, (sold out), layers of citrus into smooth mineral, perfectly balanced
2006 Cafe White, $12.99, Chardonnay/Pinot Gris blend, crisp apple and citrus, very nice
2006 Chardonnay, $18.00, soft and light with well-defined crisp oak into a long finish
2006 Cayuga White, 3% RS, layers of pineapple and soft tropical fruits, crisp and balanced
2006 Gamay Noir, $14.00, a light Beaujolais-style red with hints of strawberry into a nice peppery finish
2006 Cafe Red, .8% RS, $12.99, Cabernet Franc, very soft and light, but with ample fruit of smoky strawberry, Excellent!
Half Moon Rose, $10.00, interesting blend of Cayuga White and Pinot Noir, a very soft rose', an excellent value.

Bloomer Creek Vineyard, 5301 Rte 414, Hector NY (southeast side of Seneca Lake, located next to The Stonecat Cafe)
607 546 5027 www.bloomercreek.com

Friday, February 15, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes Feb.16, 2008

- Check out my new song and music video for The Seneca Lake Wine Trail
- The 2008 Wine Competitions are in full swing now and Finger Lakes Rieslings made a great showing at the prestigious Riesling du Monde, Riesling-only, competition in France with 5 Finger Lakes wineries taking home Gold Medals. Congratulations to Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2006 Dry Riesling(always good Riesling from CLR), Dr. Frank 2006 Riesling (Always Classic), Fox Run 2006 Reserve Riesling(another perennial top producer), Glenora 2006 Dry Riesling(a great showing from Glenora that doesn't always get the respect it deserves), and Hazlitt 2006 Homestead Reserve Riesling (this is an incredible Riesling and has won Gold in many competitions. Unfortunately, it is sold out. I'm kicking myself for not buying a case or two) . Quite an impressive showing and this, once again, shows that Finger Lakes wine is world-class wine! And I believe that their are quite a few other Finger Lakes Rieslings that did not enter that would have done very well. Click here for the complete results.
- And the results are also in from the Florida State Fair Wine Competition. The following are the Finger Lakes Gold Medal winners:

Anthony Road Wine Company, Penn Yan, NY
GOLD 2006 Cabernet Franc / Lemberger

Casa Larga Vineyards, Fairport, NY
GOLD N/V Estate Bottled Pallido

Chateau Frank, Hammondsport, NY
GOLD N/V Methode Champenoise Célèbre Crémant

Dr. Konstantin Frank, Hammondsport, NY
GOLD 2006 Riesling Dry

Earle Estates Meadery, Penn Yan, NY
GOLD N/V Raspberry Reflections

Goose Watch Winery, Romulus, NY
GOLD N/A Diamond USA
GOLD 2006 Melody USA
GOLD N/A Golden Spumante USA
GOLD N/A Classic Cream Sherry

Hunt Country Vineyards, Branchport, NY
GOLD 2006 Simmons Vineyards Cayuga White

Knapp Winery, Romulus, NY
GOLD 2006 Estate Bottled Cayuga White USA
GOLD N/V Superstition

Lakewood Vineyards, Inc., Watkins Glen, NY
GOLD 2006 Chardonnay

Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Lodi, NY
GOLD 2006 Estate Bottled Chardonnay

Penguin Bay Winery, Romulus, NY
GOLD N/A Percussion

Torrey Ridge Winery, Penn Yan, NY
GOLD N/V Diamond USA
GOLD N/V Catawba
Get the complete results by clicking here.
- In his East Coast Wineries blog this week, Carlo Devito has listed the East Coast wines that are rated highly in the new Wine Spectator Ultimate Buying Guide. The following are the Finger Lakes wines that received ratings of 84 and above:

Anthony Road, Lemberger-Cab Franc 2005, 86 rating

Atwater Estate, Celsius 2005, 84 rating

Bloomer Creek, Riesling 2005, 87 rating

CasaLarga, Vidal Ice Wine 2005, 86

Dr. Konstantin Frank, Riesling Dry 2006, 87

Dr. Konstantin Frank, Riesling Reserve, 89

Fulkerson, Vidal Blanc Iced Wine, 86

Glenora, Cab Franc 2005, 85

Hazlitt 1852, Riesling Homestead Reserve 2006, 87

Knapp, Chardonnay Barrel Reserve 2005, 85

Lakewood, Riesling 2006, 85

Lakewood, Riesling Dry 2006, 87

Lucas, Riesling Dry 2005, 85

Lucas, Riesling Semi-Dry 2006, 84

Lucas, Riesling Semi-Dry 2005, 85

Standing Stone, Cailloux 2006, 88

Standing Stone, Cailloux 2005, 87

Standing Stone, Vidl Blanc Ice 2005, 85

Swedish Hill, Vignoles Late Harvest 2004, 85

Wagner, Riesling Ice 2006, 89

Riesling Semi-Dry, 84

- John Zuccarino of Silver Springs Winery (east side of Seneca Lake) has been producing an excellent series of educational wine videos on a variety of topics. Very Informative. Check them out.

- Rochester photographer Lisa Hughes creates portraits of life in the Finger Lakes

- Bet The Farm Winery provides wine education program

- Sandra Silfven spotlights the difference in state wine tasting fee regulations

It won't be long now until Spring. Start planning your Finger Lakes vacation now. Be sure to Read my Tips for Planning Your Trip to The Finger Lakes. Cheers!!!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

2007 Finger Lakes Weekend Wino Wine Awards- White Wines

When we last went to commercial break at The Finger Lakes Weekend Wino Wine Awards show, we had just announced the winners for Favorite Red Wines (click here to see the post for Favorite Finger Lakes Red Wines of 2007) and our host, Conan O’Brien was cracking bad jokes like "Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it’s up to women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with." (Can‘t wait until the Hollywood writer‘s strike is over). Return from commercial break (seat fillers in place) and cue Conan.

Conan: Welcome back to The Something Something Wine Something? I really need to get a new agent and stop doing these low budget events. Well anyway, here are the winners for Favorite Finger Lakes White Wines of 2007 as chosen by some doofus calling himself the Finger Lakes Weekend Wino, who visited 81 Finger Lakes wineries and tasted over 600 Finger Lakes wines in 2007.

(These are in no particular order and some of these wines may be sold out - contact the wineries for more information, what I‘m looking for is excellent balance - if dry, sufficient fruit- if sweet, sufficient acidity, excellent Flavor, varietally correct, and no off tastes, and those intangibles that elevate a wine above the rest, and good value) -

* Knapp Winery > 2005 Vidal Blanc, $12.95, 3.3% RS (Residual Sugar -click here for an excellent article about Residual Sugar from Red Newt's Brandon Seager), Citrus and apricot balanced with the perfect amount of sweetness, I’m really starting to enjoy Vidal Blanc in a sweeter style.

* Cobblestone Farm Winery > 2006 Cobblestone White, $10.99, 3.8% RS, Cayuga White with a touch of Seyval, Pineapple and grapefruit citrus perfectly balanced in a semi-sweet style.

* Lamoreaux Landing > 2005 Chardonnay, $12.99, barrel fermented in oak, lots of fruit with just a kiss of nice oak, smooth and balanced.

* Casa Larga > Lilac Hill, Muscat/Riesling blend, 2.4% RS, clean and delicate orange/tangerine with a hint of honey, I don’t see much Muscat being used in the Finger Lakes, but it definitely works in Lilac Hill. > Fiori Delle Stelle Vidal Ice Wine, 17% RS, Casa Larga’s signature Dessert wine, it seems to win Gold medals in every competition it’s entered and rightly so, layers and layers of apricot, pineapple, and honey without being overly sweet, your taste buds will thank you!

* Bellwether Hard Cider, Judging Hard Cider is a bit different than judging wine because the tastes are much more subtle and delicate, but in my opinion, just like good wine, balance is the key. If it has less than 7% alcohol it’s cider, over 7% and it’s wine. > Original Hard Cider, semi-dry, 6.5% alcohol, $9.50, crisp apple taste, well balanced acidity and sweetness and lightly carbonated.

* Goose Watch Winery > 2006 Villard Blanc, .5% RS, $11.00, The only Villard Blanc in the Finger Lakes that I am aware of, complex expressive and unique. Citrus, herb, spice, and lemongrass. > 2006 Viognier, .5% RS, $18.00, you don't see too much of this low-yield grape in the Finger Lakes, citrus and delicate tropical fruit with a nice clean acidic bite on the finish. > Golden Spumante, 4.2% RS, $12.00, maybe news has spread about my delicious Sparkling Diamond wine (that I made last year by accident) as this is the 2nd Diamond grape sparkler that sprang up in 2007, I hope that more wineries will use the Diamond grape this way because it is gooooood, pineapple/tangerine with the perfect kiss of bubbly sweetness.

* Four Chimneys Winery, Certified Organic Winery, I think Four Chimneys makes some of the best “fruit wines” (theirs are a grape wine base with fruit soaked in) in the Finger Lakes, they are all natural with no preservatives or flavorings added and I think you can taste the difference.
> Peach/ Blueberry/ Honeydew, Each of these 3 wines expresses the fruit very intensely with a delicate sweetness, when I drink that Honeydew it tastes like you are biting into a fresh Honeydew melon, and these wines are good to cook with also.

* Hosmer Winery > 2006 Seyval, $10, 1.2% RS, light apple with a long clean finish, great for fish or pork.

* Sheldrake Point > 2006 Riesling, $15.99, 1.8% RS, peach and light lime citrus balanced with Cayuga mineral into a long finish, yes!!!

* Cayuga Ridge Estate > Stainless Chardonnay, hints of crisp apple, crisp and clean, beautiful example of Finger Lakes stainless-aged Chardonnay.

* Lucas Vineyards, very impressed with Lucas reds and whites, on my list for winery of the year. > 2006 Semi-dry Riesling, $12.99, 3.0% RS, soft rounded mouth feel, apple and citrus tones balanced with nice mineral. > Mistletoe Magic (limited release), $8.99, 2.2% RS, Chardonnay/Cayuga White blend, very soft citrus and mango that goes on as long as a political speech, and a good value.

* Americana Vineyards > Apparition, $13.99, Cayuga/Vidal blend, semi-dry, green apple with balanced acidity into a long clean finish, very nice.

* Atwater Vineyards > 2006 Riesling, $17.00, 2.25% RS, layers of apricot, peach, and honey, excellent but pricey.

* Standing Stone Vineyards > 2005 Reserve Chardonnay, the best from 18 different lots, pear, vanilla, and beautiful oak. > 2006 Vidal Ice, layers of candied peach, apricot, and honey.

* Penguin Bay Winery > Golden Spumante Champagne, another excellent Diamond grape sparkler, pineapple citrus balanced with nice sweetness.

* Hazlitt 1852 > 2006 Riesling, $11.99, lots of fruit, perfectly balanced acidity and sweetness.

* Bloomer Creek Vineyard, a front-runner on my list for Winery of the Year > 2006 Riesling, 2% RS, beautifully balanced!!! > 2006 Cayuga White, $9.00, 3% RS, crisp and clean pineapple citrus into a long beautiful finish!

* Long Point Winery, Another contender for Winery of the Year, Long Point manages to craft a lighter style of wine without sacrificing fruit. > 2005 Chardonnay, $12.99, Fermented in French Oak, sweet vanilla and oak on the finish. > 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling, $12.99, 1.65% RS, very aromatic, melon and citrus, light but still lots of fruit. > 2006 Vidal Blanc, $8.99, 1.9% RS, very floral aromatics, layers of apricot and tropical fruits, an amazing value!

* Villa Bellangelo > 2006 Gewurztraminer, $17.99, 1.5% RS, a lighter style Gewurz but with sufficient fruit and excellent balance. > 2006 Riesling, $17.99, 2.0% RS, lots of pear in a lighter style semi-dry Riesling. > 2006 Bella Bianca, $9.99, 1.3% RS, Seyval/Vidal blend, very balanced with good acidity, excellent value.

* Dr. Frank > 2006 Dry Riesling, $17.99, Dr. Frank perfected it and continues to be the standard bearer for Finger Lakes Riesling, Classic! > 2006 Rkatsiteli, $24.99, Riesling-like citrus with a unique herbaceous quality, probably the most talked-about Finger Lakes wine of 2007. > Chateau Frank Celebre, $19.99, Riesling champagne, citrus and mineral with a touch of bubbly sweetness.

* Barrington Cellars > 2006 Semi-dry Riesling, $12.95, 2.5% RS, loads of fruit, well balanced honeyed lemon and mineral. > 2006 Kestral White, $8.95, .9% RS, Traminette, Lemon/Tangerine overtones with smooth spice at the finish. > 2004 Diamond, $7.79, 6.0% RS, grape and tangerine with a long sweet finish, excellent value.

* Seneca Shore Wine Cellars > Reserve Chardonnay, $13.99, lots of butter balanced with smooth oak into a long long finish.

* King Ferry Winery > Treleaven Semi-dry Riesling, $12.99, loads of peach and citrus with a kiss of sweetness

* Hermann J Wiemer Vineyard > Dry Riesling, .7% RS, $19.50, dry and crisp with beautiful mineral tones, Classic Wiemer!!!

* McGregor Vineyard > 2004 Sparkling Riesling, $24.99, 3.0% RS, a touch of sweetness balances the smooth acidity of this bubbly treat. > 2005 Late Harvest Vignoles, $19.99, fermented in French oak, light citrus blossoms on the nose, complex mango, pineapple, and honey on the tongue.

* Keuka Lake Vineyards > 2005 Delaware, $13.00, 1.0% RS, a unique dry and elegant Delaware, sweet banana and petrol on the nose, tropical characteristics into a crisp clean finish, a winner from this new Keuka Lake winery.

* Thirsty Owl Wine Co. > 2006 Riesling, $13.95, 2.25% RS, beautifully balanced lemon/lime overtones with soft mineral and sufficient sugars. > 2006 Diamond, $8.95, 5.5% RS, sweet pineapple and grape, delicious and an excellent value.

* Imagine Moore Winery > 2006 Peace- Pinot Gris, $16.99, .4% RS, 2 weeks in French oak and finished in stainless, very soft green apple with a touch of vanilla. > 2006 Love - Riesling, $14.99, 3.0% RS, Fresh floral aromas, very soft mouthfeel, peach and honeyed citrus. Great efforts right out of the gate from this new winery.

* White Springs Winery > Riesling Red Label, 4.5% RS, $12.99, Excellent sweeter style Riesling, Grapefruit, Apricot, and Pineapple with a nice bitey mineral finish to balance the sweetness.

* Anthony Road Wine Co. > 2006 Dry Riesling, $13.99, .6% RS, beautiful floral/citrus aroma, layers of flavor into a long delicious finish, great structure and body. > 2006 Semi-dry Riesling, $13.99, 1.9% RS, light grapefruit, pineapple, and lime with balanced acidity.

* Wagner Vineyards > Niagara, $6.99, 6% RS, If you like this native grape, THIS IS IT!, sweet and grapey, but very smooth.

* Prejean Winery > 2006 Gewurztraminer, $16.99, very floral aroma, firm and delicious with smooth spice on the finish, worth every penny.

* Chateau Lafayette Reneau > 2006 Chardonnay Reserve, $19.99, loads of fruit on the palate, smooth and balanced

* Damiani Wine Cellars > 2006 Chardonnay, $16.00, aged in French oak and stainless, lots of fruit with the perfect amount of oak for me and a hint of crisp citrus. > 2006 Riesling, $15.00, 1.75%RS, very fruit-forward, layers of citrus, peach, and apricot

* Silver Springs Winery > 2004 Cayuga White, very complex for a Cayuga White, layers of flavors into a long finish.

* Hickory Hollow > 2005 Cuvee Blanc, $13.49, .75%RS, 100% Chardonnay in Stainless, clean apple and citrus. > 2006 Gewurztraminer, $16.99, 1.5%RS, very complex citrus and bold but smooth spice.

* Fulkerson Winery > 2005 Chardonnay, $11.00, 0%RS, smooth oak with hints of vanilla and almond. > 2005 Diamond, $7.00, 4.3% RS, layered flavors of pineapple, tangerine, honey, and apple, an excellent value. > Centennial, $14.00, 9.8% RS, a unique dessert wine with tastes of sweet cherry and a hint of mint.

* Glenora Wine Cellars > Riesling, $13.99, 3.2% RS, citrus and honey, extremely well-balanced
> Peach Spumante, $11.99, 4.5% RS, sweet and bubbly with refreshing peach flavor.

* Lakewood Vineyards > 1006 Pinot Gris, $16.99, 1.8% RS, complex layers of apple, peach, and light citrus, this is Lakewood's first Pinot Gris and it is an amazing Pinot Gris! > 2005 Chardonnay, $12.99, vanilla, butter, and toasted oak into a long memorable finish. > Borealis, $13.99, 13% RS, a unique Concord ice wine, lots of candied strawberry.

It's soon time to start tasting again for 2008! I'm ready! My next post will reveal my Finger Lakes 2007 Winery of The Year. And Coming Soon will be my 2008 Finger Lakes Wine Preview. Stay Tuned.