Saturday, July 28, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
This Varietal produces good-quality wine with high acidity and good sugar levels. We found it to be very floral and had some spice on the nose . We enjoyed this wine so much we brought two bottles back in our suit case.
Dr Frank's Rieslings are highly rated by Robert Parker and Wine Spectator and have won many awards all over the world and in California. And one other bit of news...they can ship to Nevada !! Thank you Fred for your hospitality and letting us try your great wines !
Wagner Vineyards was one of our first stops along the Seneca Wine Trail. We had the great honor of meeting Bill Wagner who is one of the pioneers of this area.
He opened the vineyard in 1979 . The winery's prime location on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake contributes to the superior quality of the grapes. The unique combination of deep water and sloping hillsides provide a natural temperature moderator, protecting the vines against extreme temperature changes. Over 250 acres of vineyards are currently under cultivation; varieties include Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Johannisberg Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Seyval Blanc, Melody, Vignoles, Vidal, Cayuga White, DeChaunac, Delaware, and Niagara. The winery currently produces over 40,000 cases annually.
Bill Wagner also owns a restaurant and microbrewery on site as well. Just as a winemaker friend told me in California " there is nothing like an ice good beer after a long day of wine tasting"If you are in the area this is a must stop ! We just want to say thank you Bill and Cheers !
We are back !! and what an exciting stop along our wine trail. For those of you who have not been to the Finger Lakes you must pay this area a visit. We met some fabulous people and tasted many great wines.
The Festival was held in Watkins Glen New York and over 70 wineries from the entire region converged for this three day event. We had appointments on the way down to the festival and we were not disappointed . There are several winemakers in this area that have been hard at work for over 25 years ! The festival even had a Toga party to kick off the event Friday evening.
When we arrived at the Watkins Glen Race Track we saw tents, RVs , and cars for as far as you can see. I thought they were there for a race event ! But as I quickly found out they were there for the festival . There were many large tents that held the wineries as well as seminars that went on throughout the day. The topics covered in the wine seminars was everything from "Riesling Heaven" to "Apple, Blueberry, Cranberry" the ABC's of New York wines. The culinary classes ranged from Food and Wine pairing to Wine and Cheese from the Empire State.
Even though the event was held on Seneca Lake , many wineries from nearby Keuka Lake
and Canadaigua Lake were well represented. Each of the lakes have a wine trail that loops the entire lake. Guests who visit the area can see where the wine is made and meet the people who make it.
There were many fruit based wines such as Apple, Blueberry and Cranberry as well as native whites such as Niagara. Hybrids could be found as well such as Cayuga ,Seyval Blanc ,Vidal Blanc and Vignoles. Some of the Red native grapes we tasted were Catawba and Concord.
But of course the Rieslings, Gewurztaminers and Cabernet Francs are what this area is known best for. Our overall opinion of the wines was good. The Ice Wines were excellent as well as the Rieslings and Gewurztaminers. We had some very good Cabernet Franc as well. It was fun tasting the fruit wines and the all American Native varietals as well. There were a few "special " wineries that we will talk about individually. Its great to be back !!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Growers in this area still plant a great deal of native American grapes like Catwaba , Concord and Niagara. However this area has also been producing Cabernet Franc , Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. The Rieslings have been doing pretty well over the years. So off we go to do some tastings and have some great food !!
In the glass it had a medium body and a nice burgundy color. On the nose there was plum and a slight hint of earth and bell pepper with some spice as well. On the palette all of those flavors came through very nicely. The plums came through at the beginning and gave way to tastes of bell pepper. The finish was long with spice at the very end.
There are only 500 cases made each year and 250 make it to the United States from this small family owned vineyard in Marlboro New Zealand. The retail price point I was told should be in the 25-28 dollar range. In my opinion this a a great value and a nice surprise for myself who really enjoys Pinot.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
A few years ago Elaine and I were at a Jazz concert and saw this group of people with matching shirts having a great time. They had two tables of food ( all homemade ) and one table just for the wines ( about 15-20 bottles) We saw that these people really knew how to have fun. Elaine talked me into going up to see who they were. It turns out they were all members of the Amercian Wine Society Las Vegas Chapter. They invited us over and offered us to share in their party.
We joined the group and our eyes were opened to a whole new way of eating and having fun. A few months later there was a Monterrey County wine tasting event at RM Seafood in the Mandalay Bay. We had some great wines and food and also met several wine makers and vineyard owners. One was Luann Meador owner of Ventana Vineyards and the other was Dan Tudor of Radog and Tudor wines. By the end of the evening many of them offered us tours when were were in their area. That one night changed everything for us. No more Sutter Home type wines for us.
We planned a 10 day wine trip in June of that year. We called our new friends and told them we were coming. When I called Dan Tudor he said he would be out of town but gave me the name of a friend of his in Lompoc. I called Peter Work owner of Ampelos wines and explained who we were. Even though he had never met us he invited us to meet him at his home for a tour of his vineyard. So we packed up our car and golden retriever (Daisy ) and headed west. We planned to drive to Lompoc and stay a few nights. The next day we met Peter at his home. he was very hospitable and placed a glass of Ampeloes Viognier in our hands and were headed into the Vineyard. Before we knew it Peter and I were down on our knees looking at grafting sights of his Syrah and Pinot Noir. He gave us a real education in a very short amount of time. We went back to his house and tasted some Ampelos Rose. We started to thank him but he informed us that we were not done yet ! We must follow him to the winery. When we arrived we met Rebecca his wife and toured the winery. We barrel tasted the entire Ameplos line ! We were so amazed all of this was happening and they didn't even know us. We were getting ready to go but then were were told once again the day was not done. We were to follow Peter and Rebecca to Sissy's Uptown Cafe in Lompoc for a late lunch. That was one amazing day and that was only day 1 of the trip. Peter and Rebecca are very special people with an incredible story. They have become our close friends.
We met other amazing people on that trip and drank some great wines. Dan Tudor also asked us to call Doug Margerum who owned the Wine Cask in Santa Barbara. We called Doug and he insisted we drive down for Dinner. One look at the Wine List and I found Tudor Pinot Noir ! I had to order that with my Salmon and the rest was history.
We continued up the coast to Monterrey and Carmel Valley. We were treated well by all the wineries that we had contacted. We started south and headed for Paso Robles. Paso was great and we reluctantly headed back to vegas with a whole new way of viewing the world.
We got home with 23 bottles of our first "real" wines but now we had to change they way we eat so we could enjoy them ! Our old pots and pans were tossed and a "high end" set of professional cookware was now in the house.
With our new found interest in food and wine we started watching Giada on the Food Network and got some great recipes. We shop at Trader Joes and Whole foods as well as growing some of our own vegetables and herbs. We share wine every night and continue to travel, read, and of course taste to increase our knowledge.
So there your have it. That was how we began our trip along the wine trail, somehow we think this trail is along one and hope it will never end