Moxie and I were headed north to Ottawa this past weekend to be with our son while he competed at the Canadian National Skating Competition. A slight detour off the main highway and we were in New York wine country. We visited two wineries for a full-on tasting and had lunch and a glass at a third. Mid January is a spectacular time of year to visit- no crowds, cheap hotels and plenty of food options. It can get chilly though if the wind picks up. Interesting anecdote about the region that I learned in my wine studies. The Finger Lakes are located at 42+ degrees North which can get nippy, preventing grapes from fully ripening. However, due to the depth of the lakes (some of which are over 600 feet deep), the warmth of the summer is retained well into the fall, allowing for a longer, less variable growing season. The bodies of water temper the climate and this is evident when looking at the proximity to the lakefront at each winery. Probably 2-3 miles at most, and as we saw, the snow accumulation was far less on the vineyards than it was further away from the lakes. Most of the higher quality grapes are planted on the west side of the lake, facing east for maximum sun exposure, a trick they learned from the Europeans no doubt.
As spectacular as the scenery was, we were there to taste wine. Our first stop had me take a few snaps of Seneca Lake on our way to the Hermann J. Wiemar winery. We tasted 6 wines including two Rieslings, a Gewürtztraminer, Grüner, Blaufrankish and Cab Franc. A separate post will follow with the details.
Lunch took us to the Tabora winery where I enjoyed a Cottage Pie with their Dry Riesling. It was decent, but not on par with the Weimar Rieslings we tasted. A friendly and fun stop on our way to the next big tasting- Dr. Konstantin Frank.
An absolutely gorgeous drive from Seneca lake to nearby Keuka lake had us stop and admire the tribute to the father of Naval Aviation- Glenn Curtiss. Winding roads and clear skies took us to the steeper hillside where the next tasting awaited.
A well designed, airy room with beautiful views of the lake greeted us alongside unique wine glass holders that held 5 wines for each of us to sample. Moxie leaned more on the whites, starting with a bubbly and finishing off with a delicious Blaufränkish (which I bought several bottles of). I enjoyed their Chardonnay immensely before moving to the reds- Pinot noir, Cab Franc and then some interesting varietals. Saperavi and Amur were the closers. Very yummy stuff. The winery offers a rather hefty charcuterie platter, which I recommend if you are there to simply enjoy the ambiance and try the wines. A great time was had as the sun set before we headed north to the town of Geneva.
Our digs for the night- 41 Lakefront Hotel, a Trademark Collection by Wyndham was right on the water and the room had a great view. We had to crack the window as Moxie likes it a little chilly. Apart from that it was fine.
Dinner was at a restaurant that the guys from the Frank winery recommended- Kindred Fare. I opted for the special- braised Pork shank. It was monstrous and delicious. The hunk of meat was cooked to perfection and sat on a bed of pureed squash with Morel mushrooms. The dessert was a bit of a letdown but the server did remove the charge as a courtesy. Great stuff and a nice decor to boot.
Our second day was basically food/coffee and go. The hotel breakfast was delicious- the eggs Benny were cooked perfectly and the potatoes were crispy and light, not oily. The weather had turned so it was a good time to hit the road to see our boy. The next few days were spent holed up in the Ottawa Marriott with Uber Eats as the only option due to the lockdown in force. Luckily we had plenty of wine to tide us over! Salut….
The Rhythm Dance
The Free Dance