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 Gew├╝rztraminer 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!"
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

>>> 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.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

>>> 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