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!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Greek White Wine: Assyrtiko

For a few days, I did not think I would be writing any post on Greek white wines from the isle of Santorini.  My wife bought (with my credit card) me one in New York City last month and I had been sent three from the Brand Action Team and Constance Chamberlain in NYC.  I first opened the one I bought and followed with one that was sent.  The first one was definitely not what I expect in any wine, as was the second.  What I do think is that both spent too much time in the hot sun.  No floral and very little fruit aromas, lots of mineral and ginger. In the mouth I got lots of chalk, ginger and maybe some pineapple. Definitely wines meant for the kitchen sink drain.
Today I decided to uncork the remaining two. I was right, the other two were spoiled. Surprise, Surprise.
And what a Surprise.  Two fantastic wines!!
The first was a Thalassitis White Dry Wine 2008 from the Gaia Estate. The color was a bright grassy yellow. Lots of floral aromas like honeysuckle and even azalea with citrus, peach, melon and some mineral.  Very pleasant mouth feel with a nice citrusy feel on the sides.  The finish was long, very dry with citrus and peach. I opened in early afternoon as a wine break while doing yard work and left some for a dinner of Trout, broiled with a little butter and fennel sprinkled on top, served with Salt Potatoes and a cucumber/tomato salad. Went very well with the trout and also with the Salt Potatoes, which I like in oil and vinegar.
Later, I opened a Boutari Kallisti(Καλλίστη) 2009.  This was another wine made from the Assyrtiko grape. Assyrtiko is one of Greece’s finest multi-purpose white grape varieties. It was first cultivated on the island of Santorini, where it has developed a unique character producing excellent AOC wines. Assyrtiko has the ability to maintain its acidity as it ripens. It yields a bone-dry wine that has citrus aromas mixed with an earthy, mineral aftertaste due to the volcanic soil of Santorini.
Again, the color was a bright yellow with a little green hue.  A little different then the Thalassitis in the aromas and taste.  Lots of apple with some peach and a hint of floral essence.  Some mineral, but expected from this volcanic island.  In the mouth, some herbal or spice along with citrus, melon and pear. A bone dry long finish for this very delightful wine.
The Thalassitis is priced at approx, $25  and the Boutari can be found at approx. $16 - $18.
Both well worth the price.
Now onto some Greek red wines. Can they compete with with the Santorini whites. Well soon fine out, Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tweeting Finger Lakes Riesling

Because of my work schedule I very seldom, if ever, have the opportunity to take part in tweet ups.  I work nights and weekends.  Tonight, because I took this week off, I was able to join in on the Finger Lakes Riesling Hour on Twitter.  Only problem was choosing a Finger Lake Riesling, along with breaking away from my Doctors orders to stay away from alcholol while on a few anti-biotics.  I did have to weigh the issue, but did feel that a good night of Finger Lakes Riesling trumps anything my doctor orders. Besides, I am only one day away from freedom and planned for a big week-end of wine anyway.  The other problem was choosing a wine to open.  I chose a wine from Eagle Crest Vineyards on Conesus Lake. I did this because it is a little known winery and assumed that out of the hundreds of thousand participants, this one is not going to show up.  OK, there were a little less participating than that, but still I did present the only Riesling from Eagle Crest.
A little different from what I am use to in Finger Lakes Riesling.  Lots of citrus and mineral with lots of  green apple. Some bite on the finish with citrus and a hint of melon.  Did well with some buttery brie cheese and will go very well with some spicy oriental foods, but not one I would drink on its own, which is how I like my Rieslings.
I did follow that with a 2009 semi-dry Riesling from Damiani Wine Cellars.  This is why the Finger Lakes has a world wide reputation for producing great Riesling. Some apple blossom and honeysuckle with green apple, pear and melon aromas.  All these aromas come alive in the mouth and the finish is long and smooth with just a hint of sweetness. A perfect wine for summer salads, white fish or scallops and for just sipping on it's own.
Don't know if I can handle another night like this.  Will need to start early and have lots of Finger Lake Riesling on hand.  I'm Ready!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Kingdom for a Glass of Wine...PLEASE

Another week gone by with out the taste of wine.  Seven more days of anti-biotics and a party is about to break out.  I have found out a few things about my blog while on this state of being dry.
First, don't even try to post an article with out a glass of wine on hand.  Each time I try, I just sit here looking at an empty screen with a mind that is completely blank.  I did read a book. "The Far Side of Eden" by James Conaway, so I could do a book review on New Money, Old Land and the Battle for Napa Valley.  Are you kidding me, I still owe Sister Anna Jean all four book reports from senior year.  I still owe Sister Rose Aloysius one or two from 8th grade. That was 1961, so I'm not going to try, other to say it was interesting to learn about Napa Valley before the wine explosion and the politics behind the revolution.  But, I am not into or want to get into the wine business or industry going-ons. I just wanna be a wino who likes to fool around in the blogosphere.
Speaking of the blogosphere, I was also following a few articles about "Should Wine Writers Be Certified?" Now let me ask, was that question posed by a 1.Wine Blogger, 2. A Sommelier, 3. A Wine Connoisseur, 4. A Master Wine Educator or 5.A WINE SNOB?  You choose!  I know what my answer is and I am not being biased because I am not a wine writer, but I do believe that one of the articles on that subject may have been aimed at bloggers like me and some of the many bloggers I follow and have come to respect for their knowledge of wine and the wine industry. Then again, maybe I overlooked the real meaning of the question.  So here's my answer to the Wine Snob, I mean whoever came up with the original article.
YES, Any wine writer who is writing wine articles for their peers and writing only for those as educated in wine as they are should be certified.
NO certification needed for all those wine writers and bloggers who are writing and posting articles for the masses, the consumers, the winos, the everyday working stiff wine lovers and the moms out there that just like to relax with a glass of wine and would like to know if a wine is good or bad and worth the price or enjoy reading about one's travels and wine tours and getting to know a little bit about the author, other than the initials after their name. Or, for just bloggers like me who are having fun and doing something on the computer other than playing solitaire.
Off on another rant. Just hope there's a glass of wine in front of me next week.  Until then I'll just open another ginger-ale, pour it into my favorite wine glass and turn on a ball game.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

No Wine?? No Way!!!

I mentioned in my last post that I have been dealing with an ulcer issue. It's something I've had for about 20 years and seems to come and go whenever.  This time it has been hanging around for a little longer than usual, so tomorrow I get scoped to see what's going on. 
In the meantime, I have given up coffee and wine.  Well not entirely, I do cheat a little.  It seems red wine affects me more than white wine, so I have been laying off the reds, but have had a few nice white wines when out to eat.  Friday I enjoyed a few glasses of Paco & Lola Albarino and Sunday a very nice Pinot Gris from MacMurray Ranch.  That's been about it for the last week.
Coffee, though is another story.  Think I miss my morning coffee much more than my evening wine.
I did brew a pot twice during the week, just to cure the urge to kick the dogs. 
I also forgot that May is Riesling month in the Finger Lakes and I do have a few in the cooler that I was saving.  Shirley and I also have a planned tour of Cayuga Lake wineries later this month.  Just hope now that I won't have to spit what I'm tasting.  Hate to waste good wine.
Until then, I'll still cheat a bit, but I do hear the Cabernet Sauvignon calling or is that an old vine Zin.