Medium lemon color. On the nose I get pineapple, pink grapefruit, Meyer lemon zest, nutmeg and honey. The palate is off-dry with high acidity, medium body and fresh fruit flavors of pineapple, lemon and grapefruit with some zingy minerality, finishing with some honeysuckle. The finish is medium (+) long with a fresh cut from juicy acidity. The fruit flavors linger nicely. It’s is a delicious wine that has some residual sugar but is not cloying. A 12% ABV is indicative of its sweetness level. This refreshing wine will go well poolside or served up with a chilled salad topped with steamed prawns or grilled octopus. Drink till 2028. 92 points for this $20 beauty makes it a 5 star summer wine to drink till 2027. Salut….
Moxie and I visited the Wiemer vineyard this past winter and we sampled this Cab Franc whilst there. I promised to do a more thorough tasting- so here it is. The wine is medium ruby in the glass with thin legs denoting the modest (thank goodness) 13% ABV. The nose has pronounced aromas of blackberry, dark currants, pepper, smoke, tobacco, violets and a touch of vegetal notes. The palate is delicious- medium (+) tannins caress the gums whilst medium acidity balances. The flavors are pronounced. I get dark fruit, cracked pepper, tobacco, smoke, iron and a touch of flint. It is far from the vegetal wine I drank previously- this one is delicious. The body is medium and the finish is long. The mouthfeel is great on this $39 wine. It gets 91 points on this re-taste, a far cry from the 89 I previously gave it. The vegetal, green notes are not obtrusive in this bottle. 4 stars with a drink by 2027 date. I am pairing with grilled Tri-Tip of Beef and salad with blue cheese. Salut….
This Finger Lakes Chardonnay is a very pale shade of lemon in the glass. The nose is an explosion of aromas- lemon, grapefruit, tangerine spritz, candle wax, honeysuckle and orange blossom. It is very clean and precise. The palate is dry with bracing acidity and tons of citrus and floral notes. The focus is on lemon and tangerine but I also get a hint of green apple and quince. The cutting acidity is very refreshing so is the lack of any Malolactic fermentation. This Chardonnay is made in a much leaner style than some of the flabby, buttery ones from out West. Medium to full bodied, it has great structure and balance that leads to a medium length finish. I drank it at the winery and reviewed it very casually- giving it 91 points which is the same figure here. $35 makes it a 4 star wine that I will be pairing Salmon with. Drink over the next few years with seafood or white meat. You can read my write-up at https://caspernick.com/2022/01/15/dr-konstantin-frank-winery-tasting/ Salut….
Another Finger Lakes wine to try from our recent trip- this one is a Dry Gewürztraminer which I am pairing with Beer-Can Chicken…. but I am a little concerned. The cork was funky, looked very wet and there was some schmutz inside the neck. I ran the first glass through a filter and here goes nothing:
Medium lemon color in the glass. The nose is somewhat muted, surprising for the varietal but not for this particular bottle. I do get some citrus, hazelnuts, bread and a hint of the telltale lychee. The palate is better. Medium intensity flavors of tangerine, lemon, lychee, rose, geranium and no sign of the bread or nuts. Light to medium bodied it has gentle acidity and a medium length finish. I love the varietal, but this bottle might be suffering. Luckily I have another one nearby. I’ll give it a try in the near future. For now this $25 wine gets 86 points and 2 stars. Hopefully it will improve on the next go. Salut….
I wrote to the the winery to let them know I had an issue and they promptly refunded me the cost of the bottle. Tonight- I taste the second bottle.
It has evidence of being frozen, with crystalized deposits in the neck. The appearance is fine otherwise. The nose shows much better than the previous bottle. Medium intensity aromas of geranium, lemon, tangerine, rose and lychee that are crisp. The palate is dry from a residual sugar standpoint but the varietal always has a certain sweetness to it that I love. Medium (+) intensity flavors of the aforementioned citrus and floral notes, with less emphasis on the lychee. Shame, as I look forward to that component in Gewürztraminer. Medium bodied it has great mouthfeel for a wine of low acidity. The finish is decent in length and concentrates on the flowery flavors versus the citrus. It is drinking far better than the flawed bottle and gets a respectable 89 points from me making it a 4 star effort. Bravo for pulling it together! Salut….
Next up in my series on Finger Lakes wines is another aromatic varietal- Muscat Ottonel. This one is a deep lemon color in the glass and rings in at 11.5% ABV. The nose has pretty florals, lychee, sea salt and lemon/lime spritz. On the palate it is off-dry with a hint of sweetness and plenty of body. The tropical fruit coats my mouth and the aromatics are powerful. This wine is weighty with medium (-) acidity and a long finish. It is delicious and unique. I decided to pair it with English Bangers and Mash with onion gravy. I do believe it will work well- as would a Cobb salad, perhaps Lobster Thermidor or even roasted Cornish Hens. It reminds me of last night’s Gewürztraminer but with less acidity, less minerality but more body and fruit. 89 points for this $20 wine makes it a 4 star effort. Drink now. Salut….
On our recent trip to the Finger Lakes I picked up some bottles to bring home for a more in-depth tasting and evaluation. We kick off that series with this aromatic white made from the Gewürztraminer grape. It’s a medium shade of gold in the glass. The nose is full of aromatics- lychee, rose water, lemon verbena and finely sliced ginger. There is a sharp focus in this wine and some minerality to boot. Th palate tastes off-dry but I doubt there is any residual sugar- the 13% ABV points to a full fermentation. Beautiful flavors of lychee, lemon verbena, ginger, honeysuckle and apricot would make me think I am drinking nectar. Medium acidity makes for a great mouthfeel- this wine coats the palate with it’s full bodied weight and finishes long. I am a big fan of this grape and look for it when shopping- this 91 point effort is well worth ordering if you like an interesting wine that veers away from the usual. At $17 it gets 5 stars from me. I would pair this with spicy dishes, Asian fare, even Jamaican Curry. Drink chilled sooner rather than later to preserve the freshness. Salut….
Our final stop on the Finger Lakes wine adventure was this picturesque hillside winery on the shore s of Keuka Lake. We planned our arrival for 4 pm which gave us enough time for the drive from PA, which included a pit stop for a COVID test, a three hour drive to make our 1 pm Wiemar winery tasting, some lunch and then the 45 minute hop to the this lake. We finished just after 5 pm and ended up in the town of Geneva for the night. Everything worked out as planned! Salut….
Hilda Chardonnay 2020-
Pale lemon in the glasss. Crisp citrusy notes. Lemon zest, green apple, clean, waxy, round mouthfeel, medium to full bodied. Medium (+) acidity, linear and focused, not flabby. Long finish. 91 points and at $35 it gets 4 stars.
Old Vines Pinot Noir 2019-
Pale garnet as expected from this varietal. Pronounced aromas of stewed strawberry, cherry compote, vanilla bean, straw, baking spice, Orange peel. Palate is light and breezy with cooked red fruit, spices, super lithe tannins, gentle acidity, light body and medium finish. 89 points and for $25 it is worthy of 3 stars.
Cabernet Franc 2019-
Medium opacity ruby. Spicy nose of white pepper, violets, black currants, capsicum, perfumed flower blossoms. A blunt opening that has a tannic grip and medium acidity. The spice and dark fruit finally show up with some bell pepper greeness. Quite vegetal. 87 points. Drink soon. $25, 2 stars.
Deep purple color. Smoke, coffee, blueberry pie, blackberry coulis. Dry palate with smoky coffee goodness. Medium (-) tannins, medium acidity, mid weight body and a decent length finish. The tannins are more present on the back end but are still very smooth. 88 points, till 2024. $30 makes this a 2 star effort.
No idea what it’s supposed to taste like.
Deep ruby, port like nose with spice box and clove notes. A hint of greeness with asparagus and iron. Unique flavors- very spicy, somewhat green with rhubarb, charred wood and kirsch alongside gentle tannins, juicy acidity, medium body, decent finish. 89 points for this $30 wine makes it 3 stars.
Margrit Dry Riesling 2019-
Pale lemon with aromas and flavors of lemon cordial, honeysuckle, blossom, toast. Crisp palate with juicy acidity, citrus fruit, florals and 90 points for this $35 wine makes it a 3 star effort.
Our adventures in the Finger Lakes included this lunch stop with a glass of their dry Riesling. Moxie opted for the Roast Beef sandwich whilst I picked a delicious Cottage pie. The winery was a separate building from the deli and they were kind enough to bring our meal over so we could get started with the tasting. Salut….
Tabora Dry Riesling 2020-
Medium golden color. Lemon verbena, floral blossoms, spritz, minerality- pretty bold. The palate is dry and not as concentrated as I had hoped for. Medium (-) acidity, medium (+) body, juicy finish that is mid length. 87 points and at $24 it gets 2 stars from me.
You may have read my previous post about our travels through the Finger Lakes, tasting our way to Canada, eh. Our first stop after leaving home was to get a COVID test so we could cross the border, they insist on that kind of thing in Ontario. Halfway down the road we came to the stark realization that one of us could test positive, egads. As it turns out we were fine and made it to our 1 pm reservation at this rustic winery where we sampled some delicious whites and reds. Abbreviated noters follow as I really was there to enjoy the moment and not think too hard with all the distractions. Needless to say we bought some wine to bring home. Salut….
Grüner Veltliner 2020-
Greenish lemon color. Lemon, lime, grapefruit, tart, vanilla, good acidity, light and fruity. 87 points and at $27, 3 stars.
Riesling HJW 2019-
Greenish gold with tropical fruit notes of pineapple, papaya, pear, lemon curd, melon, medium (+) acidity, medium body, medium (+) finish, very balanced. 93 points. Delicious stuff and at $39 it gets 5 stars.
Riesling Reserve Dry 2019-
Pale lemon with Brioche, lemon, tangerine, pineapple, medium to full bodied, medium (+) acidity, medium (+) finish. A subtle yet classy Riesling that gets 92 points and 5 stars for its great QPR at $29.
Gewürtztraminer Dry 2020-
Pale lemon in the glass. Lychee, melon, rose petals, honeysuckle, sweet mouthfeel with great fruit flavors. Medium (-) body, low acidity, medium (+) finish. 89 points and a very nice representation of this aromatic varietal. For $25 it gets 4 stars from me and a few bottles made their way south.
Pale ruby, see through in fact. Black cherry, grape jelly, white pepper, black currants, crisp, tart, medium acidity, low tannins, medium (-) body, medium finish. Lightweight and easy drinking, refreshing. 87 points and 3 stars for this $32 charmer.
Cabernet Franc Magdalena 2020-
Medium purple color. Spicy with green pepper, white pepper, red plum, black plum, asparagus, blackberry, very spicy palate. Quite dry but not astringent with medium (-) acidity. The finish is medium (-) with good fruit. 89 points, 3 stars and $39. Drink this till 2025. Pretty vegetal looking back. I will re-taste soon.
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