Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Shopping On Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

Last weekend Shirley, Pam and I spent the day traveling the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, in the New York Finger Lakes region, while participating in their annual Holiday Shopping Spree, taking  home a souvenir wineglass, a grapevine wreath, a collectible Cayuga Wine Trail ornament from each winery, plus holiday recipes. The tour also allowed us to complete much of our Christmas gift shopping in the wineries' gift shops.  This season we made an effort to shop almost entirely at small local businesses like the winery shops and the many local shops in the village of Skaneateles, a week earlier, while attending their annual Dickens' Christmas.

We started the shopping spree early Saturday morning at the Montezuma Winery, which is located at the West side and northern end of the Lake along Rte's 5 & 20, traveled down the west side of the lake and finished at 6pm at the Long Point Winery on the east side completing the day by visiting all 16 participating wineries.  Shirley was our designated driver and designated shopper, although Pam and I did help with the shopping.  Well at least Pam helped.  I did promise that I would not be buying much wine on this trip, so Shirley brought only two of my six bottle wine bags, which meant I took home most of the wine in boxes.  Had a hard time convincing her that three cases of wine is not really that much. 

All of my day was spent tasting wine and some fantastic recipes at each winery.  Among them were some pleasant surprises.
Surprise pairings included the Cranberry Orange Bread with Montezuma's Cranberry Bog wine.  If you are like me and not really into fruit wines like Cranberry, then maybe you are just not matching it with the right food.  This was a great start to our day along with a taste of a hot Bloody Mary from Montezuma's Hidden Marsh Distillery.
A second favorite pairing of the day was the Pasta and Bean soup with the Ithaca White blend from Six Mile Creek Vineyard.  We were thinking about skipping this winery, because it was located south of Ithaca and a bit out of the way, but very happy we decided not to.

As always, when touring the Finger Lakes Wine Trails, I do tend to bring home a few cases of wine.  Most of the wines were 2011 Rieslings, but I did find some nice reds and other whites to fill the rack.  Among them was a Viognier from Goose Watch Winery.  This is a wine I fell in love with on my last trip to Virginia and I found that there are only two or three Finger Lakes wineries producing this wine.  Another very nice wine and new to my palate was Cobblestone Farm Winery & Vineyard's 2011 Vignoles Reserve. Although very sweet, I paired it with a cheese dip being served and had to bring a few home. Other white wines now in my rack are a Diamond from Thirsty Owl Wine Company and a Gewurztraminer from Americana Vineyards.   Found these and lots of Rieslings, most notably at King Ferry Winery, Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery, Buttonwood Grove Winery and Knapp Winery along with a Limoncello from Knapp. Added to these were two surprising red wines from Long Point Winery, a Sangiovese and a Zinfandel and a pleasant Cabernet Franc from Sheldrake Point Vineyards.

The day wasn't all about wine, though.  I did introduce myself to hard cider at Bellwether Hard Cider.  Think I found a nice accompaniment for Shirley's chili and many of her pork dishes.  This nice light fermented beverage is low in alcohol and will make a nice summer thirst quencher. And, I can never leave Cayuga Lake with out some Swedish Hill Winery Concord grape juice and Glendale Farms organic grape juice that I picked up at Hosmer Winery. 

There were a few mild disappointments. Although all the recipes and food tastings were great, there seemed to be too many dessert type samples.  The three of us agreed that there should be a few more entrée samples.  Finally, Shirley and Pam were expecting a lot more local artisans or locally made gift items and crafts in the shops.  Sounds like a suggestion for next year!!  Anyway, we will be back on Cayuga Lake in the summer and looking forward to the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail Home Shopping Spree 2013.

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