Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Luscious Landing

One of our stops in Seneca Lake was Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars which is named after a 19th century steamboat landing and was easy to spot with it's gorgeous vineyards surrounding the winery.

As you step into their tasting room the first thing you notice is elegance

Mark Wagner

founded Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars and has consistently produced award-winnning wines with his own grapes since the 1990 vintage.

Mark's family has been in the Seneca Lake grape business since the time of his great grandfather, and since the 1940s has produced vitis labrusca and French-American hybrid grapes for sale to big wine producers like Taylor and Widmer.

As the giants began to stumble and estate wineries emerged in the wake of the Farm Winery Act of 1976, Mark took over the family business in 1978 and shifted the emphasis of the family farm to cultivating premium vitis vinifera grapes to supply the budding new wineries.

The original vineyards are planted on lands recognized as far back as the 1800s as ideal for grape cultivation. Superior soil content, gently sloping hills, unusual prevailing wind patterns, ample sunlight, and proximity to the deep waters of Seneca Lake are all important ingredients that contribute to the production of Lamoreaux Landing's premium estate-bottled wines like their Cabernet Franc.

GOLD MEDALIST - This full bodied red has a big, rich nose with aromas of black cherry, chocolate, cranberry and spice. With luscious ripe fruit on the palate, this Cab Franc has an excellent oak structure that will allow it to withstand the test of time. Bring on your heartiest of fare including game meats, beef steaks, roasts, and meatball goulash.

We opened a bottle of this premium Cabernet Franc at our last wine tasting which was much enjoyed by our customers. If you are interested there are still a few bottles on the shelf which retail for $17.60 with 10% off.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You Never Know What Tomorrow Will Bring

Shortly after opening Vonadeau I had a very nice salesmen stop by with some samples of Pinot Noir from a winery called Warm Lake Estates. He talked highly of the man that started the winery and thought they had a great wine and he was trying to help them reach out further to new customers.

Michael von Heckler was an Electrical Engineer of twenty eight years with
Lockheed Martin, during which time he began his venture in winemaking.

In 1996 Michael discovered that just across the Canadian border in Ontario there is a large wine industry located adjacent to an age old limestone plat/outcropping, know as the Niagara Escarpment.

He had noticed that the escarpment continued on the United States side of Niagara River and asked himself, “Why not here?”

Michael's interest and research continued;
The Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario provide a unique maritime climate and soil. In 1998 the first acreage was purchased and prepared for planting, in 1999 the first 2300 Dijon clone Pinot Noir plants were ordered. In 2000 the first plants were put to test on two acres of the land; the plants did well. As the years went by the part-time venture turned into a full time business which now produces "World Class Pinot Noir".

produces exclusively estate grown Pinot Noir using environmentally friendly techniques in the vineyard (manual weeding, no herbicides, organic fertilizers, etc.) and old world techniques in the winery (triage fruit, manual punch down, and French oak barrels).

The Warm Lake Estate 55 acre vineyard

on the Niagara Escarpment AVA is now the largest planting of Pinot Noir east of the Rocky Mountains. Using the most recent agricultural statistics available, Warm Lake Estate has almost 22% of the entire Pinot Noir production capability in the New York State. Volume is scheduled to reach 10,000 cases or 120,000 bottles when the vineyards have fully matured. They will achieve full production in 2011.

2007 Mountain Road Pinot Noir

Fine aromatic wine with bright red fruits, hints of coconuts, vanilla, coffee, chocolate and a silky, supple texture. A great wine and a great value for their World Class Pinot Noir. This wine would pair nicely with roast beef, salmon, roast turkey, and even
Vic's Beef Saute with Cream and Mushroom Sauce.

The Wine Spectator 2007 Ultimate Buying Guide rated Warm Lake Estate higher than any other Pinot Noir in New York and thus confirmed what we always knew to be true - Warm Lake Estate makes the best Pinot Noir in New York State.

Niagara Wine Trail now has 12 wineries and 12 more in development it is the fastest growing wine, agricultural, tourism region in the state.

So if you enjoy Pinot Noir or are just starting to experiment with them; then this is one that you will not want to miss.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Port in a Storm

On one of our visits to the Finger Lakes Region after deciding to open Vonadeau; we visited Glenora Wine Cellars.

Upon our visit at Glenora; which was a Saturday and the winery was extremely busy with the staff giving tours and pouring their magnificent wines. We spoke with one of the young ladies that worked there and told her that we were interested in speaking with someone in management about their wines because I was opening a shop in upstate New York and wanted to help promote New York's wines. We were introduced to Bridgette who explained that she was having to take a scheduled group on a tour in a couple of minutes. Bridgette set us up with one of her experienced staff for pouring samples and briefing us on their wines. Bridgette met us back at the tasting booth after her tour and had us try a couple of other wines that we hadn't had the opportunity to sample as of yet. Bridgette then took us on a tour of the winery, we came back to the tasting room and she decide we needed to try a few more wines by themselves and then try them again with some sharp cheese to see the difference. With no doubt the cheese brought out so many more flavors in the red wines and port that we tried.

Glenora was the first winery on Seneca Lake when opening in 1977, producing 5000 cases.
Glenora is now producing over 45,000 cases and more than 35 different wines from sweet to dry in reds and whites, from champagne, sparkling wines, fruit wines to iced wine and port.

Out of all of the wines that I thought of the most this week I thought mostly about port. With the snow storm last week a nice glass of port would have been quite enjoyable on a couple of those evenings, especially if you were out shoveling or plowing.

Glenora's Port is produced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Baco Noir, Syrah and Merlot grapes, then aged in French oak barrels, our Port is full of rich raspberry flavor with nuances of vanilla. It is a classic complement to strong cheeses such as Blue, Sharp Cheddar, aged Gouda or numerous others made right here from New York Cheese Makers that will go wonderfully with this port.

Glenora's Port would also go nicely with a verity of nuts from the Superior Nut Store

or with Godiva's dark chocolate.

If you are ever in the New York State Finger Lakes wine region; make sure you plan to stop and visit Glenora Wine Cellars, located on the western shores of picturesque Seneca Lake.

Or you can make reservations to stay at their Inn

and eat in Veraisons Resturant

which is also owned by Glenora; not that I have taken the pleasure to visit either establishment but have been told by quite a few couples that it's a must!

While you are in the area there are numerous wineries along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail that are definitely worth visiting and of course indulging in a few samples!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Three Times A Charm

I receive a weekly newsletter from Uncork New York called The Wine Press via Email. A couple of weeks ago they had a write up on Goose Watch Winery

how their Golden Spumante had won awards in a couple of California Competitions; which impressed me. It happened to be the week before Valentine's Day so I thought it would be a nice addition to the store for that occasion.

Golden Spumante:
Have fun with this effervescent and fruity Spumante that is sure to spice up any moment that it is served! Semi-sweet with fresh grape aromas.
Residual Sugar: 4.5%
Awards:Double Gold Winemaker's Challenge, CA 1/10Gold Medal San Francisco Chronicle, CA 1/10

Goose Watch is family-owned and operated by Dick and Cindy Peterson which opened in 1997 on Cayuga Lake.

Goose Watch specializes in truly unique premium wines, with a selection unlike any you will find anywhere in the world. Some of the other wines they produced are Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Lemberger, Merlot, and even a Pinot Noir Brut Rosé Champagne.

I failed to mention that Goose Watch wasn't the first winery that was owned and operated by Cindy and Dick it was Swedish Hill Winery also on Cayuga Lake.

Swedish Hill is one of the largest wineries in the region. After 20 years of growing and selling grapes to area wineries, the Peterson's crushed their first grapes in 1985 and opened Swedish Hill Winery in 1986. Just 1,300 cases were produced that year; now they produced over 60,000 cases of award-winning wines and champagnes. Swedish Hill is recognized as one of the top award-winning wineries in New York State, having won state, national and international acclaim. Swedish Hill has many annual festivals including their Scandinavia Festival in June.

Last summer I had a customer request one of their wines; Doobie Blues

Their pet miniature donkey named Doobie provided the inspiration for this wine. They say he can often be heard bellowing his own version of the "blues". The wine can be described as fun, fruity and slightly sweet (kind of like they describe Doobie!), similar to a sweeter style Riesling.
Residual Sugar: 5%

The third winery The Peterson's own is Penguin Bay Winery & Champagne House, nestled along a hillside overlooking some of the region's premier vineyards, where you will enjoy one of the best views of Seneca Lake while sampling premium wines and champagnes.

One of their popular wines is Penguin Bay Pinot Grigio

Dry, clean and crisp in the mouth, their Pinot Grigio has delicate fruit aromas and has more flavor and body than most Italian versions.
Residual Sugar: 0.8%
Awards:Gold Medal Long Beach Grand Cru, 7/09
If you like white wine I'm sure you will find one or all three of these pleasing to your palate since they are all different, depending on what you like or are in the mood for; sweet, semi-dry, or dry. So stop by Vonadeau and pick up one to try! Let me know that you saw it on my blog and receive 10% off.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Relaxing Weekend Get-Away

During a couple of visits to the Finger Lakes Region in New York, we stayed at a lovely B&B called Finton's Landing on Keuka Lake in Penn Yan.

Landing is owned and operated by a wonderful couple, Arianne and Doug Tepper. From the moment you walk through the door of their beautiful home,

you feel like you have known them for years. The Tepper's are always happy to recommend wineries and restaurants. Believe me, they have been there long enough that they know all the right places, and you will be more than happy with their selections.

They know great food because Arianne is a fabulous cook.

In the early morning while you are tucked warm and cozy in your bed, Arianne is busy prepping and cooking a wonderful breakfast from fresh fruits, homemade sweet breads, jams, jellies, syrups, pancakes, french toast, or whatever she decides to make for that morning. You definitely won't go away hungry, and in case you do get hungry, she always has a little care package you can take with you when you leave on your daily adventure. I can't give Arianne all the credit. She wouldn't be able to do it without Doug who, with his charming personality, takes care of serving you and cleaning up after you finally tear yourself away from the table.

Richard and I get immense pleasure from relaxing in their gazebo

to watch the sunset over the lake while enjoying a bottle of Meritage from Ravines Wine Cellars, which is right down the road from Finton's Landing and part of the Keuka Wine Trail.

Meritage is made from the traditional Bordeaux grape varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. These varietals are then blended into a fuller, more complexed and interesting wine. Aged in toasty French oak barrels, this robust wine shows great fruit intensity and is well suited to cellar aging. The soft ripe tannins make Meritage easy to enjoy with many different types of food.

Ravines is an exciting and young boutique winery leading the new talent in world class Finger Lakes winemaking.

Winemaker/owner Morten Hallgren, was educated on his family's Centuries-old vineyard in the South of France and degreed at Europe's premier winemaking school. He marries Old World winemaking techniques with American innovation to craft small batches of dry, elegant and balanced wines from 100% Finger Lakes grapes.

"Fine winemaking is attention to detail in the vineyard and in the Cellar." He and his wife, Lisa, have created a unique and charming tasting room where they offer regional specialty foods, artisanal cheeses, and a selection of handmade & imported chocolates.

So next time you're looking for a relaxing weekend get-away, book a stay at Finton's Landing and enjoy a nice bottle or two of Ravine's wine. I guarantee before you leave you will be planning another weekend there.

If you are interested in trying Ravine's wines, I have five varietals in stock with 10% off through the month of February.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Go Green

While planning our trip to the Hudson Valley Region Dominique DeVito told us we should definitely stop to visit Stoutridge Vineyards in Marlboro, NY which we did and met Stephen Osborn, Proprietor. Stephen spent quite some time showing us around and also sharing his wines. The vineyards were a sight to see.

What impressed me the most about their wines was when Stephen told us they were a "gravity winery" meaning they never use pumps or filters in their wine making. In addition they do minimal chemical processing to their wines. They don't "fine" their wines with gelatin's, tannins, or clays. No water or sugar is added nor do they chemically adjust the acidity of their wines. Stoutridge uses minimal sulfites in their wines and do not add sulfites or sorbates to their wine after it is made. Stoutridge wines are very nearly unprocessed and in a very natural state.

Stoutridge owner Stephen believes in "Green" they produce most of their own power and believe in the near future that they will produce more power then they will need.

Stoutridge wines are wines that I would suggest to pair with a meal, since they don't add anything to their wines they tend to be a little on the dryer side. Their whites go great with seafood and the reds are best after being decanted for a few hours.

Stephen sells his wines exclusively at the winery but did let me purchase a couple of mixed cases for the store.

If you are ever in the area stop by and visit Stephen at the winery

or if you would like to try his wines I still have a few bottles at the store.
Maybe enjoy a nice bottle of Stoutridge wine with your sweetheart on Valentine's Day!