Monday, March 26, 2012

Paso A Paso Verdejo 2010

Over the past two years I became very fond of a white wine for the Rias Baixas region of Spain made from the Albarino grape. On one of my reviews a comment suggested that I also try another Spanish white wine, Verdejo.  So, happily to take any suggestions, I picked up a bottle of Paso A Paso Verdejo 2010 ($9) early last winter.   For some reason, it became hidden in the rear of my wine fridge, until one night this week when I went through all my white wines looking for one that I thought would pair well with BBQ chicken and baked yam.
One of Spain's higher quality white grape varieties which languished in obscurity for several hundred years before being rediscovered 15 years ago. It is a native grape of Rueda in North-west Spain and is now its principal white grape variety. It is most successfully cultivated in high altitude vineyards where the soils are calcareous and well drained.
Typically Verdejo dominated wines are crisp with soft, creamy, nutty overtones, and sometimes accompanied by notes of honey. Arguably Spain's finest white grape variety.
Although temperatures reached almost 80°F today, the grill was still put away for the winter and the chicken was done in the oven along with the baked yam.  While baking, I opened the Verdejo and sipped some before dinner.  Knew then the pairing would be, at least, OK.
Aromas were at first all apple.  Some green apple and apple blossom and then came some pear and melon.  This is one of those wines that just smells great so you just keep swirling and sniffing for a few minutes before tasting.  In the mouth the wine was nice and smooth with flavors of melon, peach, a little pair, some pineapple and lemon.  Very crisp and dry finish with  some melon and citrus.  A perfect wine for chicken BBQ.
Looks like this will be a long spring and summer here in Central New York and I'll be pouring lots of my summer favorite white wines on the patio.  Verdejo will definitely be one of them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Skaneateles Lake Wine Tour

Entrance sign off W. Lake Rd.
OK, the title here can be a bit misleading, but last week Shirley and I took a wine tour along one of the most beautiful of the Finger Lakes, Skaneateles Lake. And there happens to be only one winery on that lake.  So, it was a very short tour, but a very enjoyable day and I got to taste some very nice wines from one of the youngest wineries in the Finger Lakes. I also got to meet one of the owners, Patricia Nocek, whom I did not know was the owner until I researched the winery a few days after the visit.  I did chat with her for a while and it should have been evident that this was her baby.  That was made clear by how she talked about Anyela's and what had been accomplished since their opening in 2008.
Tasting Room
First, you can see by just driving through the vineyards to the tasting room the beauty and the work that was put into developing this estate as a showcase for what can be accomplished on this eastern end of the Finger Lakes.  Secondly, by the wines and that is what is most surprising.  I had already tasted and reviewed their 2007 Cabernet Franc and found that to be one of the best Finger Lakes '07 Cab Francs from what was a very good FLX vintage.
On this day, I tasted only a few whites.  The NV Cuvee Blanc was a bit disappointing, but I found the 2010 Riesling to be very nice.  Then again, 2010 was a very good year for the FLX Rieslings and Finger Lakes white wines, but today I was interested in the red wines offered by Anyela's especially their 2008 Cab Franc.  Along with the Cab Franc, I tasted a couple of blends that I thought were remarkable.  The 2007 Sync and an outstanding 2008 blend of Cab Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon called Overlay Verse 4.  The Overlay showed characteristics from all of these wines on the nose and on the palate.  A few were brought home for a future tasting and review.
View of Skaneatelas Lake from Anyela's
This was the first really great Sunday afternoon as far as weather.  The very unseasonably warm and sunny day brought out many wine tasters as was evident by the full parking lot and tasting room.  More remarkable was how well, Gail, the only server on duty while I was there, was able to keep all the glasses in wine while offering her knowledge of each and every wine being tasted.  Very professional!
Shirley did have one complaint.  No gift shop.  I would just like to thank them for that, it saved me a bit.
After our visit to the winery, Shirley and I headed into the village of Skaneatelas.  We visited a few shops, walked along the lake and dined at the famous Sherwood Inn.  At the Inn, I ordered Anyela's Avail Verse 4 to pair with a dinner of baked Cod. The wine was a beautiful blend of  50% Riesling, 20% Pinot Gris, 30% Cayuga White that paired very well with the fish dinner. A great way to end the day.
Anyela's planted their vineyard in 2001, and opened in 2008 when releasing their 2005 vintage.  Since then they have received multiple awards for their Riesling, Cab Franc, Cayuga White, the Avail verse 3 and Noiret (nwahr-ay) which is grown in many vineyards to be used as a blending grape.  Anyela's is a young winery producing some remarkable wines.
We have always loved visiting the village of Skaneatelas.  Now we have a reason to visit more often.  When visiting the Finger Lakes, I highly recommend a stop over in the Village of Skaneatelas and a visit to Anyela's Vineyards.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Omaka Springs Estates Pinot Gris 2010

A few weeks ago, while I was taking a little time off with the wine, I received some New Zealand wines from TGIC Importers.  Both were produced at the Omaka Springs Estates in the Marlborough region.   One, a Sauvignon Blanc and the other was a Pinot Gris.  I have over the past few years mentioned or at least insinuated that my favorite Savignon Blancs came from that region, but I had never tasted a New Zealand Pinot Gris. When it comes to that grape I stick with the Italian Pinot Grigio.
Over the past three weeks, I have had a few wines when dining out, but had to keep away from opening any wine just to enjoy with a few snacks after work.  That is one of the times I love to just sip a nice wine and relax.  So, tonight I felt very healthy and ready to resume one of my favorite hobbies, drinking wine.  My choice was the Omaka Springs 2010 Pinot Gris ($12).
What I found was something much, much different than my Pinot Grigios and French Pinot Gris.   What I was use to were the tropical aromas, some citrus and often some melon with very crisp finishes.  What I found in the Omaka Springs was more intense aromas of pear, with some peach and floral aromas like those in a forest of locust trees when in full bloom. Very nice and delicate on the palate with a little honey like thickness.  The finish was medium long with a thick honey sweetness that balanced the wine nicely.
I poured a second glass and diced up a little Yancy's Fancy Champagne Cheddar as a snack.  Something I also learned in just the past few years, is that white wine pairs very well with many cheeses and this was one of those fine pairings. 
Different than what I am use to, but very, very nice.   Highly Recommended.