Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day In The Finger Lakes 7 - Keuka In Bloom

First weekend in May, the weather is beautiful, I don't want to mow the lawn, fix the steps, plant the flower garden, paint the shed, till the veggie garden or clean my room.  Since I have nothing to do, what a wonderful chance to take off to Keuka Lake and pick up a few potted plants.  Oh, by the way Shirley, a few of the wineries on Keuka Lake are giving away free potted flowers and potted herbs.  I promise to only go for the plants, but can you be my designated driver?
That was so easy!!!
view of Keuka Lake courtesy Dr. Franks
 Saturday, Shirley and I spent one glorious day visiting some of my favorite wineries on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail, picking up some of my favorite Finger Lakes wines (and a few surprises) and receiving some gorgeous plants for Shirley's herb garden and even better plants for the flower garden which is my responsibility.  This is an annual event where we can treat ourselves to the best of magnificent Keuka Lake at the height of springtime. At each winery, not only did we sample wonderful wines and juice (Shirley was DD) and enjoy herb-inspired foods, but we also received one flower and one herb, each in a 4” pot and ready to plant (courtesy of Moon Valley Plant Co.), tour all seven wineries and return home with fabulous wines, great recipes and 14 herb and flower plants just in time for Spring gardening!

We started our trek at Hunt Country Vineyards in Branchport NY, then worked our way south on the west side of Keuka Lake.  Before crossing over to the east side, we visited Dr. Konstatin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars and Heron Hill Winery.  Each winery presented a sample dish and paired it with one of their wines before we entered the tasting room for sampling a nice choice from their respective list of all available wines. Best of the east side wine pairing was a very tasteful jumbo shrimp served with a garlic/chive pesto at Heron Hill. The shrimp was paired with Heron Hill's 2011 Eclipse White, an aromatic, fruit-driven wine, lightly oaked to create a perfect balance and inviting match to a wide variety of foods. Eclipse White is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grape varietals.

Four of the seven participating wineries were located on the East side of Keuka Lake which gave us an opportunity to drive thru Hammondsport, recently voted America's coolest small town. East side wineries included, Ravines Wine Cellars, McGregor Vineyard, Barrington Cellars and Keuka Springs Vineyards. This was the first time for us visiting both Barrington and our last stop at Keuka Spings.  Ending our day at Keuka Springs was the highlight of our day.  The pairing of their Spring Tortellini Salad with Ham and Parsley served with fresh veggies and their Harvest Blush wine was fantastic.  Top that off with a magnificent view of the lake and a compliment of excellent wines in the tasting room, made for a fabulous day's end.

Usually Shirley has me take her to dinner after serving a day as designated driver, but this time as we passed Belhurst Castle, she turned my dinner offer down.   It seems, the food was that good and we both been enjoying the winery selections, that neither one of us was really that hungry at the time.  It also could have been that Shirley was feeling kinda bad about all the money she spent at the winery shops during the day, although I'm the one whipping out the charge card.  She did do a good job at filling an awful lot of her Christmas shopping list.

Shirley brought home the potted plants and gifts, but I filled my empty wine fridge with a couple of cases of Keuka Lake wine.  A few 2012 Rieslings, one of which I'm sipping on right now, some Gewurztraminer and surprisingly four Chardonnays and three rosé wines. I also have a few reds, including a 2008 Black Russian Red from McGregor.  I recently finished a 2006 I had been keeping and could not pass up on the '08, which I will keep for hopefully one to two years.

That was my Saturday.  It's going to be hot on Sunday and I have lots of yard work to do, but just thinking about which wine I'll open when I'm done, will help me through the day.  Then again, I just may quit early.

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