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Ravines Wine Cellars Gewürztraminer 2012

Date: Wed, May 15, 2013 Wine Business

Usually, if I am having leftovers for dinner, wine is not an option. Unless, its a left over Italian dish, which seems to be quite easy to pair a wine with. Two days after matching a Finger Lakes Gewürztraminer with a tuna casserole, I was ordered to empty the fridge of any left overs for dinner. Shirley gets in these "I'm not cooking moods" once in a while. So, I chose the left over casserole. But, I wanted a wine. My choice was another Finger Lakes Gewurzt. This time a Ravines Wine Cellars Gewürztraminer 2012.($19). Gewürztraminer has probably become my second favorite Finger Lakes wine. Like Riesling, Gewürztraminer is very food friendly and an excellent summer patio wine. Ravines Gewürztraminer is no exception.

In 2000 Morten and Lisa Hallgren purchased a 17 acre parcel of land on a glacier-carved hillside on the Eastern slopes of Keuka lake. This land is located at the widest part of the lake which allows grapevines to receive maximum benefit from its temperature-moderating effects, it has a good slope which keeps the mineral rich soils well-drained, and is situated between two deep ravines, which drain cold air from the land during the winter. These ravines are the namesake of the winery.
Ravines has won recognition as a quality-driven winery dedicated to producing crafted and elegant food-friendly wines, has won numerous medals in international wine competitions, received great reviews in major wine publications and can be found in many wine shops and fine restaurants throughout New York state.
Lisa has created a seasonal schedule of food & wine pairing events for customers to enjoy during visits to the tasting room.

I wasn't expecting much of a difference in the Ravine's wine from the Keuka Spring Gewürztraminer in my last post, and that is what I got. The wineries are about 20 miles apart, although I am not sure if the grapes used by Ravines were from the northern end of Seneca Lake. The wines were very similar.
Aromas of melon, some apple, hints of peach and floral notes with some citrus were very pleasant. Some honey like thickness in the mouth with a little less citrus and melon. Very nice floral like finish still paired well with the tuna. This wine will also pair very well with spicy asian dishes, pork, ham, chicken and shellfish. Very versatile and food friendly, Ravines Wine Cellars Gewürztraminer is a pleasant summer wine. Highly Recommended

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Keuka Spring Pre-Emption Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2012

Date: Sun, May 12, 2013 Wine Business

First night home after our "Keuka In Bloom" wine tour I got to choose one of my wines for dinner. Shirley cooked up one of my favorites, tuna casserole and I uncorked a Keuka Spring Pre-Emption Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2012 ($22). I chose this wine because of the many amazing wines I tasted at Keuka Spring, this was one that I came away totally infatuated with and just couldn't wait to open.



For over25 years, Keuka Spring Vineyards has been consistently recognized for excellence. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff looks forward to guiding you through a tasting of their award-winning wines. Their wine list includes wines for every taste, handcrafted from vineyard to bottle. They have one of the best selections of red and white wines in the Finger Lakes. Located on the East side of Keuka Lake, they offer one of the most fantastic scenic views of Keuka Lake from the outdoor patio and deck.

Aromas were all melon with honeysuckle and hints of peach and lychee. In the mouth the aromas came alive with a little mineral and grapefruit added. A medium to long finish with bits of honey and melon paired nicely with the more mild flavor of the casserole. This wine will also pair very well with spicy asian dishes, pork, ham, chicken and shellfish. Very versatile, a pleasant summer wine, but a little pricey. Highly Recommended
photo credit: Finger Lakes Times

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Albariño Day Selections

Date: Thu, May 9, 2013 Wine Business

Today is #AlbariñoDay throughout the world and I am having my own little world sipping on this delightful white Spanish wine. I have already reviewed Albariño wines from Don Olegario and Condes De Albarei leading up to today. I took today off from doing yard work and a few other "honey dew" chores to sit back, relax, listen to good music and taste a few glasses of Albariño. The sun is shining, Ella is singing and the wine is now completing the day.
Today, I am opening a Martin Codax 2011($13) for my afternoon lazy time and tonight, with a dinner of Cioppino (shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels simmered in marinara sauce and served over angel hair pasta) I will open a La Cana 2011($14).
Martin Codax Albarino takes its name from a 13th century Galician minstrel whose poems evoke the gallant love and passion for the sea. The canticles by "Martin Codax" are the oldest of all the Galician-Portuguese poems to preserve their original music. The manuscript where they are recorded, known as the "Vindel Parchment", is preserved in the Morgan Library in New York.
The Martin Codax has a very light yellow color with aromas of green apple, floral notes, some peach and lemon. Nice acidity and minerality with taste of green apple and lemon zest leading to a very crisp, dry refreshing finish. I wish every afternoon can be this enjoyable, but chores must be done sometime.
With dinner just a few hours away, I opened my bottle of La Cana Albariño for a little taste in order to allow me to finish this post.
This wine is part of the JorgeOrdoñez Selection. Ordoñez is one of the best ambassadors of Spanish wines in the world. He has developed his project of producing his own wines from different Spanish denominations of origin. They are wines of extraordinary quality and personality, particularly, Albariños from La Cana.
Again the color was light straw like and had aromas very reminiscent of some of my favorite Rieslings. Aromas were full of peach, melon and lemon with floral hints of honeysuckle and sweet alyssum and even a little pineapple. Lots of melon and lemon in the the mouth with a very nice crisp and cinnamon apple like finish.
This is going to be so good with dinner tonight.
Both wines are excellent examples of this delicious and food friendly wine from the Rias Baixas region of Spain. Fantastic summer wine that will pair very nicely with all types of seafood, light cheeses, summer salads and herb crusted or BBQ chicken. Both are Very Highly Recommended.
Now back to the patio

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Condes De Albarei Albariño 2011

Date: Tue, May 7, 2013 Wine Business

With Albariño Day now upon us it's time to open another bottle of this delightful Spanish white wine from the Rias Baixas region. This one, Condes De Albarei Albariño 2011 ($10), I purchased at a local wine shop just for the occasion.

Adegas Condes de Albarei, located in the Val do Salnés sub-zone, is a cooperative of 400 members. Three styles of wine are produced (all 100% Albariño), including one aged in Galician oak. Wines are marketed under the Condes de Albarei and Salneval brands.

The Albariño was served with a dinner of ocean perch steamed in a little water and lots of bok choy and onion. This very light and tasty white fish was a very nice match for the wine.

Aromas were filled with sweet apple, peach, lime and some floral notes. A tasty palate was filled with peach, apple, some tropical fruit and a little grapefruit with some honeydew melon. I also got a little stone or slate in the mouth. The finish was nice with some citrus and melon. Good acidity with soft refreshing flavors, makes for a very versatile wine that will pair well with shellfish, white fish and summer salads.

Later in the evening, I finished the bottle of wine on the patio. Albariño is a perfect summer wine for just sipping and watching the sun go down. The Condes de Albarei is very inexpensive and Very Highly Recommended.

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Day In The Finger Lakes 7 - Keuka In Bloom

Date: Sun, May 5, 2013 Wine Business

First weekend in May, the weather is beautiful, I don't want to mow the lawn, fix the steps, plant the flower garden, paint the shed, till the veggie garden or clean my room. Since I have nothing to do, what a wonderful chance to take off to Keuka Lake and pick up a few potted plants. Oh, by the way Shirley, a few of the wineries on Keuka Lake are giving away free potted flowers and potted herbs. I promise to only go for the plants, but can you be my designated driver?
That was so easy!!!

view of Keuka Lake courtesy Dr. Franks
Saturday, Shirley and I spent one glorious day visiting some of my favorite wineries on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail, picking up some of my favorite Finger Lakes wines (and a few surprises) and receiving some gorgeous plants for Shirley's herb garden and even better plants for the flower garden which is my responsibility. This is an annual event where we can treat ourselves to the best of magnificent Keuka Lake at the height of springtime. At each winery, not only did we sample wonderful wines and juice (Shirley was DD) and enjoy herb-inspired foods, but we also received one flower and one herb, each in a 4” pot and ready to plant (courtesy of Moon Valley Plant Co.), tour all seven wineries and return home with fabulous wines, great recipes and 14 herb and flower plants just in time for Spring gardening!

We started our trek at Hunt Country Vineyards in Branchport NY, then worked our way south on the west side of Keuka Lake. Before crossing over to the east side, we visited Dr. Konstatin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars and Heron Hill Winery. Each winery presented a sample dish and paired it with one of their wines before we entered the tasting room for sampling a nice choice from their respective list of all available wines. Best of the east side wine pairing was a very tasteful jumbo shrimp served with a garlic/chive pesto at Heron Hill. The shrimp was paired with Heron Hill's 2011 Eclipse White, an aromatic, fruit-driven wine, lightly oaked to create a perfect balance and inviting match to a wide variety of foods. Eclipse White is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grape varietals.

Four of the seven participating wineries were located on the East side of Keuka Lake which gave us an opportunity to drive thru Hammondsport, recently voted America's coolest small town. East side wineries included, Ravines Wine Cellars, McGregor Vineyard, Barrington Cellars and Keuka Springs Vineyards. This was the first time for us visiting both Barrington and our last stop at Keuka Spings. Ending our day at Keuka Springs was the highlight of our day. The pairing of their Spring Tortellini Salad with Ham and Parsley served with fresh veggies and their Harvest Blush wine was fantastic. Top that off with a magnificent view of the lake and a compliment of excellent wines in the tasting room, made for a fabulous day's end.

Usually Shirley has me take her to dinner after serving a day as designated driver, but this time as we passed Belhurst Castle, she turned my dinner offer down. It seems, the food was that good and we both been enjoying the winery selections, that neither one of us was really that hungry at the time. It also could have been that Shirley was feeling kinda bad about all the money she spent at the winery shops during the day, although I'm the one whipping out the charge card. She did do a good job at filling an awful lot of her Christmas shopping list.

Shirley brought home the potted plants and gifts, but I filled my empty wine fridge with a couple of cases of Keuka Lake wine. A few 2012 Rieslings, one of which I'm sipping on right now, some Gewurztraminer and surprisingly four Chardonnays and three rosé wines. I also have a few reds, including a 2008 Black Russian Red from McGregor. I recently finished a 2006 I had been keeping and could not pass up on the '08, which I will keep for hopefully one to two years.

That was my Saturday. It's going to be hot on Sunday and I have lots of yard work to do, but just thinking about which wine I'll open when I'm done, will help me through the day. Then again, I just may quit early.

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Don Olegario Albariño 2011

Date: Tue, Apr 30, 2013 Wine Business

Can't believe it's already May and another International wine day is coming up soon. On May 9th we will be celebrating Albariño Day. It does pose a question as to "do we have too many wine days?" So far this year, we had a Cab Franc day and a few weeks ago we celebrated Malbec Day. Also coming up on May 23rd is National Chardonnay day. My own opinion is that we do not have enough of these type of events. For a blogger who likes to participate in these events, it gives me a chance to explore different wines for a few days leading up to the event. I would suggest that we should celebrate the different wine regions around the world with a day or a week to explore their wines, but for now let's just open up a few of Rias Baixas finest and most noted grape, the Albariño.
Tonight it was a Don Olegario Albariño 2011 (SRP $18)

Disclaimer: This wine was submitted for review

The fruit for Don Olegario Albariño comes from a single 12.4-acre vineyard in the Rías Baixas subzone of Val do Salnés. The valley’s proximity to the ocean and bordering mountain ranges, and the vineyards’ exposure and elevation, have built its reputation as the region’s finest winegrowing area. Of the five subzones in Rías Baixas, Val do Salnés was the first to focus on pure varietal Albariño wines produced in a fresh, modern style.

Color was a very bright and very light yellow with a little greenish hue. At first sniff the aromas were all bartlett pear with some green apple and orange blossom. As the wine opened up there was some added citrus notes and a little bit of anise like herb. Taste was more apple and grapefruit with some lemon which led to a nice refreshing citrusy finish.

A food-friendly wine that pairs well with all sorts of foods, Albariño will stand up to spicy Thai or Indian dishes, grilled fish, Mexican and even Chinese take-out. For those that like a white wine with their cheese pizza, the Albariño is an excellent match.
Don Olegario Albariño 2011 - Very Highly Recommended

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Ben Marco Mendoza Malbec 2011

Date: Thu, Apr 18, 2013 Wine Business

World Malbec Day has come and gone for another year, but that does not mean I will quit enjoying this varietal until 2014. During the week, I tasted four Argentine and one Chile Malbec. Two of the wines tasted were very simple Malbecs. Nothing to fall in love over, but they were quite good and as most South American Malbecs they were very inexpensive. Three of the wines were simply outstanding. The first two were already reviewed; Trivento Malbec Reserve 2011 and a Trivento Amado Sur 2011. On the 17th of April (World Malbec Day) I opened a Malbec I purchased last week, a Ben Marco Malbec 2011 ($15)

After an afternoon trout fishing with Shirley, she cooked up a fast dinner of fried chicken with roasted potato and steamed spinach. Yes, it was supposed to be trout, but we left them in the lake for another day. This wasn't the best pairing for what was a very full bodied Malbec, but it did get a passing grade with dinner. Later that evening, the wine went very nicely with some chocolate wafers and especially with an Old Quebec Vintage Cheddar Cheese from a local cheese maker, Buttercup Cheese.

Aromas were like "in your face" tantalizing. Heavy blackberry and raspberry, currant and plum with some spice, anise and a little bit of menthol. I also got a hint of black olive with the first glass, but that aroma and the menthol disappeared after that. There was a lot of spice in the mouth, with black fruit and some leather and licorice. Very dry and very long finish with more black fruit. A very nice wine and a very nice way to end my toasting of World Malbec Day. Very Highly Recommended


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Trivento Malbec Reserve 2011

Date: Mon, Apr 15, 2013 Wine Business

Dinner tonight roasted pork done with Rosemary and Garlic served with mashed garlic potatoes and steamed asparagus. Usually served with a white wine or a Pinot Noir, but tonight it was Malbec. Another nice wine from Mendoza; a Trivento Malbec Reserve 2011 ($11).

Again like the Amado Sur, the color was a deep dark red. The aromas were more red fruit and berries on the nose with only a hint of vanilla and/or spice. Not as much fruit flavors as the Amado Sur, but plenty enough to make the wine very enjoyable. The finish was medium to long, some spice and pepper with a little raspberry and cherry. The pairing with the pork roast was excellent. Enjoy with roasted meats, barbeque, and full flavored foods.

This was my second Malbec this week and there is more to come by World Malbec Day on April 17. Suggested price for the Trivento Malbec Reserve is $11, but found in most locations under $10. More than reasonable for this quality of Argentina Malbec. Very Highly Recommended.

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Trivento Amado Sur Malbec 2011

Date: Sun, Apr 14, 2013 Wine Business

In the 1860's, Malbec was brought from France to Argentina where it found its ideal terroir and climate in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Malbec requires constant sun and heat to achieve optimal ripeness and therefore thrives in the hot, dry weather and high elevations of Mendoza, Argentina. Malbec wines From Mendoza are typically ripe and lush, with smooth tannins - a style that has proven internationally popular, with Malbec dubbed the indisputable Iconic Grape of Argentina.

On April 17 the world will raise its collective glass and toast this beloved varietal and I am going to join in with a few of my favorites and a few new labels I recently purchased or received as samples. The first is a sample submitted for review - Trivento Amado Sur Malbec 2011, a blend of 78% Malbec, 12% Bonarda (watch for more of this grape) and 10% Syrah. The wine was served with chicken done in Shirley's herbes de Provence and roasted potatoes sprinkled with rosemary.

The wine was dark red in color with aromas of plum, cherries, a little raspberry and hints of strawberries and spicy vanilla and licorice. Nice smooth tannins with lots of red raspberry and cherry and a touch of pepper in the mouth led to a very long smooth, dry and delicious finish.

The wine is a classic pairing with a juicy steak, lamb and cheeses. It wasn't bad with the chicken either. Suggested price is $15, but can be found for $10 to $12 in many wine shops and on-line. Very Highly Recommended.

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Ferrari Sparkling Rosé Wine NV

Date: Wed, Apr 3, 2013 Wine Business

This past Easter Sunday did not go as planned. Because of a persistent head cold, we stayed home, but did enjoy our traditional dinner of baked ham, baked yam and veggies. What we did differently, though, was open a Sparkling Rosé wine with the meal. I do bubblies on New Year's Eve, occasionally, and sometimes at wedding receptions. I do have a few in my wine fridge and they have been in that fridge longer than any other wine has ever lasted in there. But, I received some samples for review earlier in the week and both Shirley and I agreed to give them a try.
I received three samples of Ferrari Metodo Classico wines. The Ferrari Brut NV is 100% Chardonnay, (SRP $25), Ferrari Rosé NV is 60% Pinot Nero and 40% Chardonnay (SRP $37) and the Ferrari Perlé 2004 also 100% Chardonnay with SRP of $35.
Ferrari Metodo Classico wines are produced at the foothills of the Alps in Trento D.O.C., not far from Lago di Garda in the Trentino region. Trento D.O.C is an official D.O.C appellation in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy.The region is very mountainous, and Ferrari wines benefit from higher elevation to produce crisp, sparkling wines that are also attractively priced.
Metodo Classico, indicates they have been made using the classic technique of Champagne, which involves a second fermentation in the bottle and extended aging on the so-called "lees," or dead yeast cells.
The top Metodo Classico bubblies of Italy are produced in the north, in Franciacorta and Trento. These wines, along with a handful of California bubblies, are the only sparkling wines in the world that come close to Champagne in terms of quality and prestige.
Founder Guilio Ferrari introduced the Champagne technique to Italy around 1900, after studying the process in Epernay, France.
For dinner, we both chose the Rosé Brut and promptly cleaned our seldom used Champagne flutes. It was easy to see that we don't do the sparkling wines that often, after over pouring the first glass. A little too fast on the pour gave us a little chuckle and a little bit of bubbly on the the table cloth.
Color was a very nice light coral or cherry blossom pink. Lots of strawberry and floral aromas with a very little hint of bread on the nose. The bubbles give it a little tingle in the mouth with red berry flavors and some citrus with a very long, dry and tasty finish.
It becomes difficult to compare when one does not frequently taste comparable wines, but I have tasted a few Champagnes and Sparkling Wines over the years and cannot think of one that was more delightful than the Ferrari Sparkling Rosé, including the Champagne that we have toasted the New Year with for the past 12 years at more than twice the price. Looks like that tradition will change. The Ferrari Sparkling Rosé NV, Very Highly Recommended

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Garcia Carrion Antaño Rioja Reserva 2007

Date: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 Wine Business

Sometimes when I am shopping for wine, I bring Shirley along to choose a wine or two that she may like. That usually or always means a Chianti or sometimes another Tuscan wine. There have been times that she surprises me by picking out a non-Italian bottle and that is usually because she likes the label. What amazes me is that she never picks a bad wine. Last week, we stopped into one of the many small Wine & Spirits stores while mall walking and Shirley added a Spanish Rioja from Garcia Carrion to our small cart of wines. It was their Antaño Rioja Reserva 2007($12).
I opened the blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Garnacha for dinner that evening. Shirley made a quick meal of pasta with her red sauce. I never use to add cheese to my pasta until lately. Now I like to add some Pecorino Romano. Nothing fancy, except for maybe this inexpensive Rioja.
The color was a very nice dark red with aromas of dark fruit, black cherry, plum, currant and blackberry with some leather and a hint of toasty oak. The mouthfeel was nice and rich with flavors of blackberry, cherries with just a little spice leading to a long finish filled with plum and currants and some vanilla. After dinner I enjoyed the remaining wine while nibbling on dark chocolate wafers.
The Antaño Rioja Reserva would pair nicely with lamb chops or pork tenderloin and as I discovered, an excellent match for Italian red sauce.
An excellent value and Very Highly Recommended.

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Clos LaChance Monterey County Chardonnay 2011

Date: Wed, Mar 20, 2013 Wine Business


I was reminded early last week that I may not be the only wine blogger that has some problems with Chardonnay. Over the last few years, I did come to terms with the fact that I do not like a heavily oaked Chards, but found a likeness for some of the nice lightly oaked labels. That creamy, buttery, butterscotch and toast that seems to be the accepted aroma and taste of Chardonnay is not my choice when drinking any white wine, but when I find just hints of these flavors in a Chard, I seem to accept the wine more easily. Actually, I have come to look forward to that little bit of the oak. To me, the heavy oak masks the fruit aromas and flavors. So now, it's time I discover 'unoaked' Chardonnay. Yep, after all these years with a passion for wine, I never tasted an unoaked Chardonnay, at least since I started this blog and became more aware and accepting of any white wines.
This is a sample wine submitted for review, a Clos LaChance Monterey County Chardonnay 2011. Suggested retail is $11.
Suggested pairing is with salads and spicy Indian food. I opened with a teriyaki chicken stir fry and found a perfect match.
Aromas were filled with pineapple, a little lemon zest, some tropical fruits and a hint of grapefruit. In the mouth I got more grapefruit with mango and pineapple and some apple. On it's own the wine was very nice, but I found that I missed that little bit of vanilla and toast I get in the lightly oaked Chardonnay. Still, this is a very nice white wine and a great value at $11. Highly Recommended.

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Concannon Conservancy Crimson and Clover 2010

Date: Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Wine Business

There have been many times I received tasting samples and put them aside for a few weeks or even a few months before opening. That is not the case when I receive wines from Concannon Vineyard. Concannon's entire portfolio of wines have never disappointed. This goes especially with the Glen Ellen and Conservancy group. This week I received a bottle of Concannon Conservancy Crimson and Clover 2010, a blend consisting of 50% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, and 10% Zinfandel. This wine is a tribute to the "Father of America's First Petite Sirah," Jim Concannon, from his son John. The name Crimson & Clover reflects pride in their Irish heritage; the clover is the traditional Irish symbol for prosperity and crimson pays homage to the strong, bright, deep red color of the blend.

When first opened, I seriously had doubts about this blend. Aroma's were minty with lots of menthol. Also a little like cheap plastic or lighter fluid. Thankfully, that did not last long until aroma's of red cherries, plum and blackberry started coming through with some spice and a hint of leather. As I waited for Shirley's stuffed peppers to be ready for dinner, the fruit aroma's became more pronounced. A few tastes before dinner were full of blackberry with some vanilla, strawberry and plum and lots of spice. After about 90 minutes, dinner was served and the wine took on a little smokey taste, which was very nice. Both Shirley and I were totally surprised by the excellent pairing with the stuffed peppers. Very silky but a little short on the finish with dinner. A glass later that evening was a little more spicey than I like, but softened out nicely with a few bites of cheddar cheese and with a few chocolate wafers.

The suggested retail price on the Crimson and Clover is $15, but can be easily found for a few dollars less. If looking for a picnic or patio wine with juicy burgers or a nicely grilled steak, or serving up some stuffed bell peppers, you cannot go wrong with Concannon Coservancy Crimson and Clover. Very Highly Recommended

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Long Point Winery Dry Riesling 2011

Date: Mon, Mar 4, 2013 Wine Business

I found out this past month that the worst part of having the flu is the loss of the sense of smell and taste. The first night that I felt like the flu had passed I opened what I thought was a very aromatic wine only to find that it had no aromas at all and that, of course, affected the taste. A few days later, though, everything was back to normal. That evening for dinner we had a light meal of chicken salad, (i.e. a salad with diced chicken added, not the sandwich spread). Most of the time, I'll have a creamy dressing with this, but on this night I used oil and vinegar. For a wine, I chose a Long Point Winery dry Riesling 2011($11). I think I would have picked a white wine no matter what the meal. I don't think I was ready for something red, yet.

Now, I don't think it was my 10 day abstinence from wine, but this was one of the best 2011 dry Rieslings I've tasted to date. Lots of peach and nectarine aromas with some melon and pineapple and a hint of lemon zest were just what I needed. Fantastic mouthfeel with taste of apricots, green apple and citrus completed my healing process. Nice dry finish that, as expected, paired very well with the salad. I believe that no matter how you like your white wines, dry or sweet, that Rieslings are the most versatile of them all and the Long Point Winery dry Riesling is one of the best. Very Highly Recommended.

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