Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finger Lakes PALATE Event Wrapup

I have just returned from the Finger Lakes PALATE Event and boy are my tastebuds tired!!!
This weeklong event included over 20 wine events including seminars, tastings, and winemaker dinners. I'd like a to give a Special Thanks to Morgen McLaughlin & Finger Lakes Wine Country for their hospitality and hard work that went into this event. Here are my News & Notes from some of the events:

- I presented a seminar on Hybrid Grape Wines of the Finger Lakes which was attended by about 20 wine enthusiasts. My presentation included the history and characteristics of these hybrid grapes along with a tasting of 7 Finger Lakes wines made with hybrids - Rooster Hill Silver Pencil, Lucas Blues, Fulkerson Traminette, Standing Stone Smokehouse Vidal, Red Newt White, Imagine Moore Change and Lakewood Vignoles - and I believe that a majority of the attendees were impressed with the quality and value of these wines. I will be posting more on these wines at Finger Lakes Wine Country shortly. If anyone is interested in a copy of my Powerpoint presentation, just email me at the email address in the header above.

- Mrs. Wino & I braved the cold to walk the Gaffer District in Corning on Friday night to taste wines from over 20 Finger Lakes wineries in the shops along Market Street. There were several hundred other winos out with us and we had a lot of fun and we had a sensational dinner at Tony R's. If you want to take someone special out for a special meal, I highly recommend Tony R's, fabulous service and exceptional cuisine.

- I co-hosted a special wine tasting with Steve Shaw at Shaw Vineyard on Saturday (He is closed until probably May 1st, unless us Shaw fans can convince him otherwise. So it was a rare winter opportunity to sample his current and upcoming wines). Shaw is perhaps the hottest up and coming producer in the Finger Lakes and tasting barrel samples of what he has in the works only confirms this. The highlight for me was a barrel tasting of his 2007 Pinot Noir - when this wine is released, (probably not until 2010 because Steve believes that wines should not be released until they are ready), this wine is going to change many peoples opinion of Finger Lakes Pinot Noir- Yes, it's that Good already!!!

- And finally, Mrs. Wino & I attended a winemaker dinner hosted by Fred Frank (one of the nicest people you'll ever meet), featuring Chateau Frank & Dr. Frank Wines paired deliciously and elegantly by the Corning Radisson's Grill 1-2-5 staff. Fred made several announcements during the dinner including:
- He is lowering the prices on all Dr. Frank wines because of the economic crisis
- Dr. Frank Rkatsitelli is being placed on the wine lists of some top restaurants including Gramercy Tavern in NYC
- And perhaps the most exciting announcement is that Dr. Frank will be producing a Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling (Botrytised grapes are allowed to shrivel until dried almost to raisins, yielding a very decadent highly prized dessert wine) from the '08 vintage. 400 cases will be produced and it is scheduled for release in the Fall of this year. Looking forward to that!!!

In all, it was an amazing event and a great way to start 2009 off!!!
Also, My Finger Lakes Wine Preview article will be out in the March issue of Mountain Home magazine. Look for it to drop March 1st in wineries and retail locations in the Finger Lakes and Northern PA.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Finger Lakes Weekend Wino Articles & Upcoming Events

Just a quick update. The February issue of Mountain Home magazine is out and, in tribute to Valentines Day, my column in this issue is about Darlynne Overbaugh and her Life’s So Sweet Chocolates in Trumansburg NY.

I have also started writing a wine column for the Finger Lakes Wine Country website called "Wine Notes from the Weekend Wino" and my first one is about Lamoreaux Landing Chardonnay.

Upcoming events with the Weekend Wino:

Friday, February 20th, 3pm, Raddison Hotel Corning - I will be presenting a seminar and wine tasting as part of the weeklong PALATE wine event in Corning NY. The seminar is titled "New Wines of The Finger Lakes - Welcome to the Wonderful World of Hybrids" and will feature award-winning Finger Lakes hybrids such as Traminette, Vidal Blanc and others. This event is Free for PALATE ticket holders.

Saturday, February 20th, 11am, Shaw Vineyard - I will be co-hosting this event with owner Steve Shaw. Shaw Vineyard earned my 2008 Finger Lakes Winery of The Year. Stop by and taste some truly exceptional wines and get a sneek peak of the exciting unreleased wines that Steve has in the barrels. This event is Free for PALATE ticket holders.

Morgen McLaughlin and Finger Lakes Wine Country have come up with an excellent array of events for the PALATE wine event with multiple wine tastings, seminars, and winemaker dinners each day of the weeklong event, February 16-22. You could literally attend 15 to 20 great wine events during the week for only $50 for a PALATE weeklong ticket!!! Visit the PALATE website for more information.

Saturday, March 14th, Dr. Frank Wine Cellars - Myself and Mr. Tom, The Finger Lakes Weekend Winos start out our 2009 performance season at Dr. Frank's for the Spring Break event. Come on out as we perform Classic blues, rock, and jazz as well as songs from my CD "Songs From The Finger Lakes".

Well it's already starting out to be a busy year and it's only February. Gotta love that!!!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Finger Lakes News & Notes - February 1, 2009

- 3 Finger Lakes Rieslings were awarded Gold medals last week at the prestigious Riesling du Monde competition in France out of over 500 Riesling entries from around the world:
Shaw Vineyard's 2006 Dry Riesling, King Ferry's 2006 Late Harvest Riesling, and Fox Run's 2007 Dry Riesling. Congratulations to those 3 wineries!!! See the complete results here

- For those of you wanting to visit Shaw Vineyard, my 2008 Winery of The Year, you will have to wait until Spring. I visited with Steve Shaw for a barrel tasting of some of his impressive but not yet released '05 and '07 reds and he informed me that he will be closed probably until March or April.

- Finger Lakes writer struggles with wine and food pairings

- Nice interview with Johannes Reinhardt, winemaker at Anthony Road Winery, from James Molesworth at

- The Wine Guy Jeff Richards reviews Pompous Ass Winery

- Have your own Wine Tasting event at home

- Everything you need to know about Riesling is now at

- Finger Lakes vines survive 18th coldest winter

- Senator Aubertine states support for NY Wine & Grape Foundation

- A big 93 rating for Hazlitt 1852 2007 Finger Lakes Homestead Riesling Reserve and Sheldrake Point 2007 Finger Lakes Riesling Ice Wine from Wine and Spirits magazine.
I wrote about the Hazlitt '07 Homestead Riesling in my April 8, 2008 post: "In my travelings, I tasted Hazlitt's 2007 Homestead Reserve Riesling, which needed to bring a lot to the table to live up to the multi-award-winning '06 version. And it does keep up, but in a very different way. This '07 is a mineral powerhouse. If you love that 'banana belt' mineral like I do, then this wine is for you. It's actually a bit overwhelming at first. I drank it over 2 days and the 2nd day, I finally got the hang of this powerhouse. Wave after wave of mouthwatering clean slate mineral with a touch of spice and solid acidity on the finish. Very clean but bold mineral, excellent."

- The Peterson trio of wineries continue their award-winning ways in 2009. See the complete awards list for the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition here

- Check out some nice work from Finger Lakes painter Holly Knott

- Carlo DeVito comments on new Finger Lakes wine scores

- Peggy Haine comments on Finger Lakes chefs at the James Beard House

- Cookin in The 'Cuse posts on her top ten food and farm experiences of 2008

- Knapp Winery has released several wines Valentines Day labels

Lots of Finger Lakes wine events coming up in February including yours truly, The Weekend Wino, hosting a seminar and wine tasting on "New Wines of the Finger Lakes" at 3pm on Friday, Feb. 20th at the Radisson - Corning during the weeklong PALATE event in Corning NY from 2/16 to 2/21. Visit the PALATE website for more information on this great event.

>>> Chocolate and Wine Weekend
Date: 2/6/2009-2/8/2009
Seneca Lake Wine Trail 877.536.2717
With no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, this consistently popular event combines wine and chocolate-themed dishes.
Friday 1:00 PM–5:00 PM, Saturday & Sunday 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM

>>> Truffles and Tastes
Date: 2/14/2009-2/15/2009
Keuka Lake Wine Trail 800.440.4898
On Valentine's Day weekend, enjoy the warmth of Keuka's wineries and the romance of the region's finest wines, paired with a range of delicious foods, from savory to sweet. Receive a different chocolate truffle at each winery and display them all (if you can resist sampling along the way!) in a gift box that you'll receive at your starting winery. A great get-away and treat for wine lovers and Valentines of all ages. Tickets $25 per person in advance; $30 per person at the door

>>> PALATE, A Wine, Food, and Art Showcase
Date: 2/16/2009-2/22/2009
Various venues in Corning & Finger Lakes Wine CountryCorning, NY 800.813.2958
This weeklong showcase will take place in Corning’s Gaffer District February 16-22, 2009, and feature special tastings and educational seminars by local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Many of the region’s top wineries will host winemaker dinners at the district’s leading restaurants and local celebrity chefs will host cooking demonstrations and wine-pairing seminars. PALATE will provide visitors to the region a myriad of wine, culinary, and art experience. The event will feature gallery receptions, music performances, and movie screenings throughout this cultural and entertainment district. Visit the PALATE website for details.

>>> 7th Annual Mardi Gras
Date: 2/21/2009-2/22/2009
Cayuga Wine Trail 800.684.5217
February 21 & 22 2009 is Mardi Gras on the Cayuga Wine Trail where you’ll receive a string of Mardi Gras beads, a wine glass, exciting prizes, plus a wine and food pairing at each of the wineries. Each participant is eligible to win one of our Three Grand Prizes from the A Wicher Garden Bed & Breakfast , Aurora Inn and a wine refrigerator stocked with a sampler case of wine. Costumed guests who visit the wineries on Mardi Gras weekend will be eligible to be chosen as King and Queen of Mardi Gras. The new royal couple will be “crowned at a reception in early spring, receive free tickets to our other Cayuga Wine Trail events, tickets to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival in Watkins Glen, NY plus an overnight stay in a King Suite at the Latourelle Resort and August Moon Spa. Advance tickets: $20.00 per person plus handling fee and sales tax. Designated Driver tickets: $15.00 per person plus handling fee and sales tax. At the door: $25.00 plus sales tax. Advance tickets: $ 20.00 per person. Tickets at the door: $ 25.00 per person. Designated Driver: $ 15.00 per person.

>>> 1st Annual New York Ice Wine Festival
Date: 2/8/2009-2/27/2009
Casa Larga Vineyards 585.223.4210
The 1st annual New York Ice Wine Festival will be held throughout February at Casa Larga in Fairport. This festival is the first of its kind in the country, and will bring together New York’s top Ice Wine producers. Events throughout the month of February are expected to draw in wine enthusiasts from across the region. Tickets for each event can be purchased at
February 8th, Noon-5pm - Fire & Ice Festival at Casa Larga Vineyards
February 12th, 6:30pm - An Evening with the New York Ice Wine Makers
February 16th, 7pm – “It’s an Ice Wine World” Seminar
February 27th, 6:30pm - Fiori Gala Dinner