Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day in the Finger Lakes 5 - Cayuga Lake

Almost seemed that I may never get back on a Finger Lakes Wine Trail after the past year. Had to cancel two trips last summer, then again in April of this year, cancelled another.  But, today, well let me tell you about today.

I've been wanting to get back on the Cayuga Wine Trail for over a year now and definitely wanted to visit some wineries again and some that I have not yet been to.  As planned (my job), we came in on the North end-West side at noon. That's the time most of the wineries open the tasting rooms. I had a list of wineries I wanted to visit and filled in with a few between locations.  A difficult part of the tour though, is passing wineries and just hoping you may have time on way back home to stop, but that never happens.
Our first stop was at Goose Watch Winery.  Last time here I was tasting only red wines, but today I planned on a white wine only day.  I think I did learn over the past few years, is that if your visiting the Finger Lakes and tasting only white wine, you are not going to be disappointed at all and Goose Watch affirmed that.  I tasted four white wines, purchased a few and back tracked to Swedish Hill Winery.  We had missed the turn on the way down Rt. 89. I was not driving.
All driving today was done by my daughter, Pam.  Shirley sat quietly in the back seat knowing that she gets to spend a bunch of my money by just being on call to handle all the driving after a few winery visits.  Fortunately, today Pam only tasted a few and decided to do all the driving.  That was fortunate for Shirley, not me.  She still spent a bunch of my money!! T-shirts, hand creme, lib balm, herb plants, grape juice, jams and jellies, it all adds up. My only plea was to leave enough room in the trunk for wine.
This was my first visit to Swedish Hill.  You hear so much about Swedish Hill and their wines and you see their label in every local wine shop, I can't find an excuse for having never been here before.  Again I tasted only whites.  Purchased a bunch along with the Sparkling Riesling Cuvee that won last years Governor's Cup.  I will pop the cork on that one in three weeks when Shirley and I celebrate our 40th.
Both girls were now getting a little hungry, but I was satisfied with crackers and wine.  I convinced Pam to stop at Lakeshore Winery before lunch.  This was another first time visit.  In the tasting room, we got to sit in rocking chairs while being served our wines by Francis and listening to some great tales about the winery and the wines while also learning about the grapes and the wine making process. This is also where I gave in and tasted a few of the red wines offered by Lakeshore.  The Baco Noir was intriguing, but the '05 Pinot Noir was fabulous, especially with the chocolate fudge brownie served with the wine. Along with some white wines, I could not leave without the Pinot Noir.
The last time I was on Cayuga Lake, Shirley and I had lunch at the restaurant at Knapp Winery.  Today, Pam wanted to stop there and by all means, we accommodated our DD and again the food was outstanding. We enjoyed a Mediterranean Melt made of Fresh Mozzarella slices, beefsteak tomato, grilled eggplant, shaved proscuitto and baby arugula, the Knapp Famous Crab Cake, a very large garden salad and a bowl of large mussels expertly done in a buttery wine sauce with a nice glass of Knapp dry Riesling. Pam also had a very nice Iced Tea with Knapp's own Limoncello.  She couldn't wait to get over to the tasting room to pick up her own bottle of the Limoncello.
We decided to stop at three more wineries, before heading down Rt. 89 to Ithaca and making a brief stop at the State Park to view the Taughannock waterfall.
The next stop was Buttonwood Grove.  My first Finger Lakes wine review was a '06 Buttonwood Grove Riesling which I picked up on my last visit. That was the day I became a fan of Finger Lakes Rieslings.  I could not go by without picking up their new releases and a new T-shirt. Shirley also bought a $1 basil plant which just filled the car with a basil aroma for the rest of the day. 
A return visit to Hosmer Winery was next. Their current Riesling releases were extraordinary. Other whites were also excellent along with a dry Rosé and another red,  a Cab/Franc. Kinda early to make any predictions, but watch out for Hosmer Rieslings in the NY Wine & Food Classic judging. The Riesling was excellent, the dry Riesling was amazing.
One more stop before calling it a day and one I have really been looking forward to. New York State's top winery, two years running, Sheldrake Point Winery. As we drove in, Pam's first remark was "Wow, this is nice." A tasting room and bistro in one building and a smaller tasting room in the rear building with another tasting area outside.  The winery was a bit crowded for not having any buses or limos in the parking lot. I would have to say that attest to the wineries popularity and for the quality of their wines. Delicious white wines, a great dry Rosé and very nice reds. 
Thankfully, this was our last stop of the day, no more room in the trunk. The girls, bought a lot of stuff from the shops and I brought home a lot of wine. A couple of Cab/Francs, a few dry Rosé, some Pinot Gris, Seyval, Vidal Blanc and a ton of Riesling.  I am now ready for the summer. All I need now is to shine up the grill and sharpen the corkscrews and put away the snow-blower!


Anton said...

Heading that way next month. Thanks for the tips.

Anonymous said...

Any recommendations on accomodations in this area? Something cool, not too country, but with charm nonetheless?

joeshico said...

If looking for accommodations, Check out these sites.

I live nearby, so have not personally stayed in the region, but if I were to plan a weekend, I would definitely look into the inn at Glenora Wine Cellars.

Anonymous said...

This is so helpful. We haven't visited wineries before, so we will follow your "trail" and at least have a plan of where to go and what to eat.... and where to stay as well. Thank you.