What’s New in the Finger Lakes

By / Wine + Drinks / December 30th, 2011 / Like

It’s finally New Year’s Eve. No doubt you will become acquainted with a good bubbly tonight. There are lots of great ones to try. But, why not expand your horizons a bit? Tidings would like to recommend some tasty treats from the Finger Lakes, New York.

The New World is growing older — and somewhat wiser. Many wineries in the Finger Lakes area now print on their labels a scale indicating exactly where that Riesling is in terms of dryness, using residual sugar and other factors. The buyer just has to know what sweetness level they like and then look at the scale to know if it would be to his or her taste. With the confusions over some Old World Rieslings, this really helps wine lovers make a choice.

I recently visited Keuka and Seneca lakes, and can say that sipping and eating your way around the many wineries of these central lakes might be the way to enjoy a visit. When at Keuka Lake try to visit older wineries like Heron Hill for a tasting, and then Dr. Frank’s greatly expanded Vinifera Wine Cellars, now operated by third generation Fred Frank, showcasing many vines planted by his grandfather.

While the space allotted to this article does not allow me to do justice to all wineries, another Keuka go-to stop would include tiny Ravines Wine Cellars, if only for their Riesling and Pinot Noir, which were excellent.

92 Ravines Wine Cellar Riesling 2008 ($16.95)
Dry Riesling, a hint of lime, and the start of Riesling’s signature petrol added to a floral character. A keeper, but great now.

94 Hermann J Wiemer Bunch Select Late Harvest 2008 ($95/375 ml)
A honeyed nose and racy, mineral taste that seemed to go on forever. For cellaring.

88 Anthony Road & Friends Dry Riesling 2008 ($30)
Lovely spicy nose with a pronounced mineral aftertaste. Made with a blending from three wineries, Anthony Road, Red Newt and Fox Run. Can last, but drinks very nicely now.

88 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rosé ($12.99)
A lovely colour followed by a light herbal hint of Franc, finishing very crisp. A fine dry example of a Rosé, and a bargain.

86 Lamoreaux Landing Blanc de Blanc 2006 ($25)
Citrus and toast mix for a very refreshing, charming sparkler.

92 Lamoreaux Landing 2009 Round Rock Vineyard ($20)
A great Riesling, super minerality, good fruit and a long, rich finish. Great value.

88 Red Newt Cellars Pinot Gris 2008 ($24)
Excellent work from a cooler year. Apple and melon notes, nice complex finish.

88 Glenora Wine Cellars Meritage 2009 ($31)
Traditional Bordeaux blend shows excellent dark fruit on the nose, rich full body and lovely smooth finish.

86 Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars Pinot Noir 2008 ($20)
Made from 30-year-old vines, this deeply coloured wine exhibits sour cherry and plum, with a smooth tannin finish.

92 Sheldrake Point Late Harvest Riesling 2008 ($40)
A wonderful sweet taste of apricot and citrus that lingers forever. For the cellar, served with foie gras, or just to savour by itself.


places to stay

Black Sheep Inn: For B&B lovers, this spacious historic inn is located just outside Hammondsport. stayblacksheepinn.com

Ramada Inn Geneva: For bargain and convenience lovers, this waterfront hotel features good sized rooms, and is convenient to downtown restaurants or the Seneca wineries with rates from $110.

dining around

Halseys Bistro: Downtown Geneva, excellent food and service, nice wine list, can be noisy, reservations almost essential. halseysgeneva.com

Red Newt Bistro: At the winery in Hector. Featuring very good American style food, and interesting flights of wine to match. Open most days for lunch and dinner.

Village Tavern: In downtown Hammondsport, this casual spot features seafood, pub fare and steaks, as well as an extensive award-winning list of American and European wines with many older vintages available. villagetaverninn.com

Check out the recently-opened New York Wine and Culinary Centre for maps, tastings and other great information. nywcc.com

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Looking at the small things that make life great and the people who create them.

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