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Hangin 'Em Up, Time To Say Good-Bye. Why Wine Blog's Final Post

Date: Wed, Oct 30, 2013 Wine Business

After five years plus, I am deciding it's is time to remove Why Wine Blog from the Web. I can come up with a few phony excuses, but in reality I am just getting bored with trying to find a routine that will allow me to do more activities in my retirement years. I would like to say that I just can't find anything new to say, but I haven't said anything new in the last three years. If I am just going to give my take on a wine I like, there's not a whole lot of new descriptors or pairings (with my limited diet) to come up with.
The blog has lasted much longer than I thought it would. It was very successful for what I was looking to do.

Sometimes decisions that have to be made can be very difficult, for a variety of reasons. The above paragraph was drafted in June, 2013. At that time, I still was just toying with the idea of wrapping up Why Wine Blog. There were a few reasons I thought would be in my best interest to retire the blog.
One, it would give me more time to enjoy my retirement outside the house and off the PC. It seems every time I logged on to write a new post, I would spend more hours on social media sites, games and music (mostly Doo-Wop).
Two, I felt that I had run out of things to say about any wine. Often I would write a draft on a wine I tasted and find what I was saying about the wine was almost word for word with a past post. That really dd not do well for the psyche.
Three, and most important was my health. Since mid August I have had no desire to drink wine or any other alcoholic beverage. I thought at first, that this was a psycological issue that would eventually go away, but now I am aware that it may be more of a medical issue and I just don't want to fool around with it. I still drink wine on occasion. Usually when I am eating out at a restaurant with a decent wine list, but never at home. My wine fridge is almost empty and I have no desire to add to it.. I just hope that this will help me loose the 35 lbs I added since I retired.

I will keep the blog on-line until December when my URL comes up for renewal. By then I will know if I can take the blog in another direction. If I decide to delete the blog, I will delete my Facebook Why Wine Blog Page, Twitter and any other account I used strictly for blog promotion. I could never understand when checking a wine blog and finding it has not been updated in a few years, but still shows up on search engines as an active web-site. I will be keeping my personal Facebook account and would still like to remain in contact and friends with many of the people that I met or got to know because of Why Wine Blog and I will still be following many of their wine blogs. I will still do a few wine tours, if not for wine, but to visit the beautiful country that is 1000 Islands, Finger Lakes and hopefully the Hudson Valley. Only now I will make sure the fishing rods and accessories are in the car for the trip.

So, unless I can come up with a reason, other than wine tasting, to keep Why Wine Blog open, this will be my last post. Thank you to all those that followed and read the blog.

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A September Lull

Date: Mon, Sep 30, 2013 Wine Business

I felt I should post again in September, if just to explain why only one post this month. Without going into any detail, I have been trying to avoid any alcohol while on certain medications. Unfortunately, these anti-biotics along with my other meds have been causing me to be very lethargic. This may continue for a few more weeks. I also must confess that I have not been that good of a patient and did get to open a few wines and maybe overdid it on a few occasions. A few of these wine notes are in draft and will be posted in the next few weeks. Some of these wines were what I call "my go to wines," i.e. inexpensive, versatile with nice aromas and taste. A wine that will pair with many different foods and is just as enjoyable on it's own.

I also took part in two virtual tastings. One was a new grape, or a least one that I cannot remember if I tasted before. The grape was Sagrantino from Umbria, Italy. I was fortunate to receive five samples of this dark, full bodied wine. I will post my thoughts on that tasting in the next couple of weeks. The second was the Finger Lakes 2012 Riesling launch. Of course, as many of my readers already know, Finger Lakes Riesling is my favorite white wine and that post will be completed shortly.

Until then, I will try very hard to listen to my Doctor, and stay on the meds and hopefully, I will be back to full strength and the blog by mid-October. For now, I will still steal a few sips!!!

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Keuka Spring Vineyards Riesling 2012

Date: Wed, Sep 4, 2013 Wine Business

Finally talked my daughter into opening one of her Keuka Spring Rieslings, but had to order another half case, from the winery, to allow me to open her last bottle later that evening. It was one of those warm and very humid Saturday's and the girls decided not to slave over a hot stove preparing dinner. Instead, they were willing to allow Dad to slave over the grill. In the morning, they spent some time looking up new recipes that would satisfy all our taste and came up with what may be the biggest hit of the season, a grilled shrimp salad. Skewers of shrimp grilled along side a veggie selection of onion, green pepper and okra and then mixed with red and yellow grape tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette would be the main course. On the side, I served some clams and toasted Italian bread. Of course, the wine was the 2013 winner of the New York Wine & Food Classic Governor's Cup. Or to simplify, The Best In New York.
For over 25 years Keuka Spring 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 include 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.
Keuka Spring Vineyards is located at 243 State Route 54, East Lake Road, just outside of Penn Yan, on the east side of Keuka Lake. Owners Len and Judy Wiltberger have been committed to producing premium wines since they founded the winery in 1985. In 2013 Keuka Spring won their second Governor's Cup. The first was awarded in 1998.

The 2012 Riesling is a perfect example of not only the white wines of Keuka Sping Vineyards, but also of Finger Lakes Riesling. Aromas were, as my daughter says, very peachy with white flower and honeysuckle and a nice hint of pineapple and lemon. Very smooth and delicate mouthfeel with excellent acidity and flavors of peach and citrus. The finish was medium to long, some citrus and a bit of sweetness. The pairing was out of this world with the shrimp salad and clams. You can also enjoy with grilled chicken, salmon or trout, crab and even cheeses like cheddar and gouda. On it's own, the wine stands out. Better have an extra bottle if planning on an evening on the deck just sipping away.
Keuka Spring Riesling 2012 can be purchased at the winery for $17 or on-line shops as well as many local outlets for $14. Very Highly Recommended

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Millbrandt Vineyards Traditions Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Date: Fri, Aug 30, 2013 Wine Business

Made a decision for Cabernet Day this year (Aug.29) to open an East Coast and West Coast value wine for a little battle. Unfortunately, the battle was over after the first sip of my New York Cabernet. Standing alone for the evening was a Washington State Columbia Valley wine from Milbrandt Vineyards. I just picked this wine up, on sale, at a local wine shop. The wine was chosen because the shelf-talker showed it as a 90 pt wine and the price was only $13. ($2 discount). We had just returned from a night out at our favorite seafood restaurant, so only chocolate wafers were paired with the wine.

Color was a dark red with aromas of red cherry licorice, chocolate, black currant with a little smoke, vanilla and hints of burnt coconut. Flavors were the same with some added blackberry, spice and herbs. Finish was lengthy with spice, some herbal and a little wood, more cedar than oak. The wine was probably opened a little too soon. Still young and can use more time on the rack. Will pair nicely with grilled meats. Recommended

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Maryland Hard Shell Crabs And New York Wine

Date: Wed, Aug 28, 2013 Wine Business

At least once each year, we make a trip to Harvre de Grace, Maryland to pick up a bushel of Maryland crabs. For many years our destination took us to Gablers Crab House in Aberdeen until their surprising and shocking closing in 2002 after 62 years in business. Thus began a search for not just a Maryland crab, but a Gabler crab. That search brought us to Price's Seafood Restaurant in Havre de Grace. Since then, a year has not passed that we did not make our annual pilgrimage to Price's for a bushel of their crabs. This year we may make two trips....
For those readers who have never experienced a Maryland crab boiled in red and black pepper with loads of Old Bay seasoning.....I feel sorry, you have no idea how a hard shell crab should taste. For my friends in Maryland, I envy you. You live just too damn close to this delicacy. For many years, the drink of choice has always been a good local bottled beer. The bottle was also used to crack the claw shells (when needed) on the crab. It became a custom as well as a perfect pairing with crab meat. This year, I broke away from that custom and in lieu of beer, I paired with Finger Lakes white wine. I will never go back to beer!!!

First night of crabs I was looking for something a little bit on the sweet side, so I opened up a Glenora Wine Cellars Riesling 2012.($13) Not sweet enough!! Can you believe that I am saying "not sweet enough?" Well this was more of a semi-sweet wine, but after a few sips with the crabs, I was thinking that a very sweet (like late harvest Riesling) would have paired better. After a few exchanges of crab and wine I changed my opinion. Yes, a nice sweet and maybe Sparkling wine may have paired better, but the Glenora Riesling was falling right in place with the spicy crab. Now, would a drier white wine also fair well with these spicy crabs?

Second evening I opened a Heron Hill Eclipse White 2011($14), a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grape varietals. A little drier, but still a very nice pairing. This blend is very versatile in terms of food pairing, from shellfish, grilled fish, poultry and spicy Maryland crabs. The wine is also a perfect patio wine for just sipping on it's own.
We are heading back to South Carolina in October and planning to stop at Price's on our way home to New York. Another bushel of crabs and a few more Finger Lakes wines.

P.S. Finished crabs on third night with a Hazlitt Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay 2012. Just keeps getting better.

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Donna Laura Ali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2012

Date: Fri, Aug 23, 2013 Wine Business

Whenever I travel into the city of Syracuse, NY, I make a point to stop by one of my favorite small wine shops. Vinomania is a small shop with what I consider having the best selection of wines in the county. 75% of all wines cannot be found too easily at other area shops, if found at all.
This past weekend, Shirley and I paid a visit with intentions of only stopping in, find a bottle or two and say Hi to shop owner Gary Decker. Unfortunately, Gary was out of town, but that did not stop us from a little shopping. I choose a few and Shirley picked a few wines she thought looked interesting. One of her picks was a Tuscan Sangiovese produced in Siena by Donna Laura srl.

Shirley is not a big wine drinker, so I have no idea how she can walk into a wine shop and choose inexpensive wines that never let you down. Always red and usually always Italian. I refuse to believe that it is her Italian heritage that has bestowed that gift on her, but she does this all the time. On this night I was stuck with leftover pasta and Shirley's Italian meatless red tomato sauce, so I opened up her cheap Italian wine. A Donna Laura Ali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2012 ($11) Did I say Cheap? I can find this wine on-line as low as $8. I'll have to talk to Gary about that. Low in price, but oh so high on quality.

Color is ruby red, clear and bright. Aromas were full of raspberry, strawberry and red cherries with red plums and a touch of smoke. Very smooth mouthfeel with some tannin and some acidity. Very nice balance. Finish was medium length with nice fruit and very smooth. Excellent pairing with the pasta. Should also do well with veal, cheese pizza and veggie lasagna and my favorite, Chicken Parmesan. Also, very nice on it's own and with small bites of sharp cheddar cheese. I do love my Tuscan wines and this 100% Sangiovese wine is why. Donna Laura Ali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2012 is widely available and Very Highly Recommended.

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Keuka Spring Vineyards Vignoles 2012

Date: Wed, Aug 21, 2013 Wine Business

Before I begin this post, I would like to congratulate Keuka Spring Vinyards and their 2012 Riesling on their recent Governors Cup trophy. The Governor's Cup, recognizes the "Best of Show" or top prize of all 875 entries in the wine classic, known as "The Oscars" of New York wine. Alas, I have two of these wines in my wine fridge, but both belong to my daughter Pam and under penalty of great bodily harm, I can not open without her permission. So, I did the next best thing by opening another of the fantastic white wines produced by Keuka Spring.

My introduction to Keuka Spring Vineyards was during the Keuka in Bloom tour in May. As I mentioned in that post, Keuka Spring was the highlight of the day. I brought home quite a few of their white wines and two of their Rosé's. The wines did not last long during the June heat wave, so I had to re-stock at the annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival in Watkins Glen. One of the wines purchased was the Keuka Spring Vineyards Vignoles 2012. ($13)

This wine was opened on what may have been the most gorgeous evening of the summer. On the grill (perfectly done, I must say) were chicken ka-bobs, grilled chicken breast and corn on the cob. I was very much in the mood for something a little sweet and the Keuka Spring Vignoles did the job.
Color was a very bright light straw that shined in the evening sun. Aromas were loaded with tropical fruits, light floral with sugar plums and hints of tangerine. Just the right amount of sweetness, with hints of melon and citrus on a long semi-dry finish.

I can't answer for Keuka Spring red wines, as I am too much into all of the white wines I have tasted so far. The Gewürztraminer, Seyval Chardonnay, two Rieslings and their Riesling-Vidal Blanc blend Celebrate along with the 2012 Vignoles are all world class and Very Highly Recommended.

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Coyote Moon Winery La Crescent NV

Date: Mon, Aug 19, 2013 Wine Business

In my last post I mentioned that one of the benefits I received from wine blogging is learning about many new grape varieties that I otherwise would have never knew. This one was a complete surprise. When I tasted this wine at the recent Finger Lakes Wine Festival, I had no idea that the name of the wine was actually a variety of grape.(La Crescent). It was only researching what exactly was the blend used to produce this wine that I learned of this grape. The grape is very new, developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced in 2002. Since then, La Crescent propagation has increased rapidly in many of the Northern States. La Crescent is a very cold hearty grape with very high levels of natural sugars and acidity, and therefore lends itself to be finished as an off-dry or semi-sweet wine. Very reminiscent of Riesling.

As mentioned, my first taste of this wine was in July, when I stopped by the Coyote Moon Vineyards booth at the Wine Festival. The Coyote Moon Vineyards is located in Northern New York near the St. Lawrence River and is a member of the Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail.
*A special source of pride, pleasure and distinction comes from the cold hardy or Northern Climate grapevines. Marquette, Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, La Crescent and Brianna are Northern Climate grapes created by the University of Minnesota to grow in the colder climates. Coyote Moon’s Northern Climate wines have been very well-received and garnered accolades across the country. These wines are on the cutting edge of the wine world and opening taste buds, and wine drinkers, all over the world to a whole new type of wine. The grapes themselves can survive -40 degrees Fahrenheit and harsh conditions making them perfectly suited for thriving in the Thousand Islands. Northern Climate grapes combined with Coyote Moon’s terroir produce wines that cannot be tasted elsewhere. *Coyote Moon web site

I opened the Coyote Moon La Crescent NV ($15) for a light dinner of Italian subs. (heros, hoagies, po boys, grinders, torpedoes, depending on where you live). Color was a very light yellow with aromas of peach, apricot and magnolia. Found a little honey in the mouth with lemon, peach, pear and some violet like floral. Medium length semi-sweet finish with some citrus and hints of peach and apricot.. Wine held up nicely with the subs, but I think I would have rather had a beer. After the sandwiches, I relaxed watching the movie "42" and sipped on the La Crescent with a few light cheddar cheese bites. Very enjoyable and a wine that will pair very well with salmon, chicken or oriental. Unfortunately, you may be only able to find this wine at select shops in New York, between Albany and Rochester or on-line at the winery. It will be worth the search. Highly Recommended.

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Arnaldo-Caprai Grecante 2011

Date: Tue, Aug 13, 2013 Wine Business

Many times I wonder why I keep doing this blog. It's been over five years now. That's about four more years than I thought I would keep Why Wine Blog. But, there then comes along a grape I never heard of or a wine from some remote region that I would have never known if it had not been for this blog. Such is the case of this Umbrian grape, Grechetto and this 100% Grechetto: Arnaldo-Caprai Grecante 2011 (SRP $20)

*During the Renaissance tradition, there were many wines defined as "Greci, Grecanti, Grechetti". The Grecante of Montefalco was among the celebrated wines of this variety and was historically given as a precious gift by farmers to princes and cardinals of the community. Arnaldo Caprai's Grecante keeps up this traditional story. This wine is characterized by an intense straw colour. It is intensely fruity yet delicate with floral notes. It is soft and well-balanced. Grecante is an impressive aperitif wine, great with fish and white meat.*Winemaker's notes

Disclaimer: Sample submitted for review

Color was golden yellow with aromas of yellow apple, pineapple and peach with some floral notes. In the mouth the wine came alive with zesty citrus, peach, pineapple and a little apricot and mineral. Finish was lengthy and dry with hints of grapefruit and lime. If serving as an aperitif, I would chill this wine below 50°F, but warm up a little if serving with food. Pair this wine with white meats, fish or scallops. We enjoyed with grilled ham steaks marinated in a mixture of cherry preserves, dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. The Arnaldo-Caprai Grecante can be found on-line and select outlets for under $15. Highly Recommended

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Castell De Raimat Albariño 2012

Date: Fri, Aug 9, 2013 Wine Business

Serving up a little white fish this week. Fresh ocean perch from the frying pan, covered with a little onion, parsley and loads of baby Bok-Choy.
My job, as always, is the wine and with this light white fish I opened a Castell De Raimat Albariño 2012 (SRP $15).

Recognized as Spain’s preeminent wine estate, Raimat champions innovation, sustainability and precision agriculture in its wines from the new and exciting Costers del Segre region.
Raimat is 100% Albariño produced in Costers del Segre, just south of the Pyrenees in north east Spain. The variety is becoming popular due to its balance between fresh, crunchy Riesling-like acid and mouth-filling texture akin to Viognier. As well as those characters this example has fresh and fruity, citrus aromas.

Disclaimer: Sample submitted for review

Color is a very pale yellow with very light green hues. In the glass the wine has powerful aromas of peach or nectarine, floral and lemon. Very crisp and dry with lemon, peach, a trace of apricot and honeysuckle in the mouth. Also some mineral with nice acidity. The finish was very zesty, long and refreshing. I've mentioned in past reviews how Albariño is so similar to Riesling. This also showed a little like Sauvignon Blanc. Paired very nicely with the fish. Would also pair well with white meats, oriental and rice dishes.
Raimat Albariño SRP is $15, but can easily be found well under that cost at most wine outlets and under $10 at many on-line merchants. Nice wine, nice price and Very Highly Recommended.

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Save Me, San Francisco Soul Sister Pinot Noir 2011

Date: Thu, Jul 25, 2013 Wine Business

Hot weather finally went back to hell where it belongs, but I wasn't counting on temperatures this low. Still nice, to get back to the grill for some chicken sandwiches and a nice glass or red wine. Tonight, I opened another wine that is connected to another fabulous Rock group, "Train."

"Wine and music tell stories and connect those who share it. Just as a song's message strikes a chord with so many people, our wines will transport you back to that moment."
*Jimmy Stafford, Train Guitarist and lead Wine Explorer

Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company is a collaboraion between esteem winemaker James Foster and the San Fran based, Grammy Award-winning rock band Train. Train guitarist Jimmy Stafford has been a wine aficionado for many years and would often receive wine from fans as he performed across the world. He found wine to be a great way to connect with these fans and this led to the formation of the Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company which currently offers five California wines. Oh yeah, Jimmy does sip on a few glasses of red wine before every performance.

Disclaimer: Sample submitted for review

Tonight, along with some Train music was a Soul Sister Pinot Noir 2011 ($10).
At first, I picked up some mineral or earth type aromas with some olive. A little time in the glass and some red fruit started to appear. Strawberry, red plums and some cherry with just a hint of chocolate and spice. For you spice loving Pinot lovers, this may not be for you, but for me, it was fantastic. Smooth on the palate, not too much tannins with a medium to long dry, earthy finish. If you're serving a dinner of chicken, salmon or even a light Italian sauce, the Soul Sister Pinot Noir is very inexpensive and Highly Recommended.

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Atwater Estate Vineyards Riesling Bubble NV

Date: Tue, Jul 23, 2013 Wine Business

I just returned home from a AAA minor league baseball game between our local Washington Nationals affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs and the Louisville Bats. I ate dinner at the game.(burp!). Some pizza, a hot dog and a few beers.(double burp!). When I returned home, I desperately needed a refreshing wine. I decided to open a bubbly that I just picked up at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, an Atwater Riesling Bubble($16). I chose this because I knew I would probably not have to take any notes and that I would not have to take any time to post a review on this blog. Three hours later, the wine is all gone. Not the best Sparkling Wine I ever had, but another inexpensive bubbly that is just right for a very warm, humid evening.
First of all, the wine had a crown cap like you find on soda and beer bottles. Not a twist off, so I had to use my old fashioned church key bottle opener. Pssssss, yep I just opened a Riesling soda pop. This was not looking very good. But, looks can sometimes be deceiving.
No yeast like Champagne aroma. That was cool. Aromas were very light and like any other Riesling, a little peach, some floral, hints of citrus and pineapple. On the palate, I found pineapple and some lemon. The finish was longer than expected with some mineral and much drier than what I expected. The bottle label suggested a medium or semi-sweet wine.
For a CO2 carbonated wine, the Atwater Riesling Bubble turned out to be quite nice. Repeating my last line of my last post, If you enjoy Sparkling wines, especially on the warm nights, the Atwater Estate Vineyards Riesling Bubble is Highly Recommended.

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Anna de Codorniu Brut Rosé NV

Date: Sun, Jul 21, 2013 Wine Business

This heat has got to go. It's been a few days now that I just don't have any desire to drink any type of alcohol, even a nicely chilled Riesling. Today has been one of the warmest, I mean hottest, days in a few years. No outside work, so I mopped about indoors doing absolutely nothing. One of the benefits of retirement (doing absolutely nothing). Late afternoon, I finally had the thirst for a sip of something off the vine. Deciding what, took a little time, but by process of elimination, I decided on something a bit dry, some nice red fruit and maybe just a smidgeon of bubbles. Nah, how about lot's of bubbles and I just received the cure. A sparkling dry Rosé Cava just may do the job of quenching this hot summertime thirst, so I popped the cork on a Anna de Codorniu Brut Rosé that I received earlier in the week.

Disclaimer: Sample submitted for review

Photo by Shirley
If you been following this blog, you know I do not do sparkling wines that often. New Year's Eve, Weddings and an occasional celebration of some kind. Lately though, I found that there is a place for us still wine drinkers to enjoy a bit of bubbly. Today was one of those times. This wine was uncorked for sipping only. No food, no cheeses or chocolates, no Hors d'oeuvres, just a thirst quenching glass of Anna de Codorniu Brut Rosé ($15 SRP).
Anna de CodorníuRosé is the 'blushing sister' of Codorníu’s most iconic sparkling wine andis a classicblend of Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. Elegance and subtlety are its main characteristics, largely due to being composed of around 70% Pinot Noir.
Color was a lot like watermelon candies. I was a bit surprised at first with aromas of green apple. I was expecting more red fruits, but soon found lots of strawberry with some red cherry. On the palate, there was a hint of sweetness with some red berry, but also a little acidity that balanced out the wine very nicely and the finish was so refreshing. Very inexpensive at $15 and for all you readers who love Sparking Wines, Highly Recommended!

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My Day At The Wine Fest

Date: Tue, Jul 16, 2013 Wine Business

I'm going to start by saying that spending one day at the annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival is not enough. I still have not had an opportunity to spend the entire three days at the Glen, but on the other hand, I may just not have the space for all the wine I would be bringing home. If that opportunity ever does arrive, I would have to visit all the local wine outlets before the Fest to collect an inventory of all the wines I can purchase locally and concentrate on the wines that are sold only at the wineries and festival.

This year, I went with the intent of stocking up on just Finger Lakes white and rosé wines, but did end up with a few reds after giving them a quick taste. As always, there were a few big surprises. Most of them are only because of my own ignorance of what is happening in the New York wine industry, not only in the Finger Lakes, but with other AVA's within the State. Some of them were because I have failed to visit some of these wineries when I had the chance or have never took the time to taste their wines. That is one of the reasons I like to attend these larger festivals. Along with just stopping by my favorite wineries just to say Hi, I get to visit new wineries and taste their wines. I also wanted to take a ride around the Watkins Glen Race Track again. Last time, I rode in one of the trucks. This time I wanted to ride in one of the pace cars, but the line was already pretty long when we got there. So, I delayed the ride until later in the afternoon. By then, I tasted too much wine to even think about taking curves at 100+ mph. I passed the ride until next year. For Shirley and Pam, the festival means lots of shopping for gifts and gourmet foods. This year they were kind to our banking account. When asked why so little, they remarked that they were a little disappointed in what was offered. Many vendors, but not much made or grown in New York. I do agree with their reasoning. Local festival should showcase more local foods and more local arts and crafts. As for me and my buddy Mark, we came for the wine.

First bit of business to take care of was visiting Carlo DeVito, owner of the Hudson Chatham Winery in Ghent NY and to taste his Port style wines. I tasted one of them a few weeks earlier at the Owego Strawberry Festival and he promised to have all his Ports at the Glen. Indeed he did. I don't know anyone that gets more excited behind the tasting table, pouring and talking about their wines than Carlo, and he has every reason to do so. I just recently became a fan of Port wines and was not expecting much from a NY winery, but three of his five wines were brought home and will be opened at the next opportunity. More on these wines in a later post. I also had the privilege of being talked into sampling a red wine, although I had already explained to Tambi at Heron Hill Winery, that I was holding off the reds this trip. But, she is so persistent. "Taste this one. It will be released in about three weeks and may be one of our best Eclipse Reds yet." I did review the Eclipse 2004 about four years ago and feel an update or review on the new vintage will be coming soon. A stop at Keuka Springs Winery, which is producing some of my favorite Finger Lakes whites also led to another red wine tasting that was simply to good to pass up buying. Their Cabernet Franc will not be in the rack for long.

Surprises were like, Surprising. How else can you say that? These, what I call surprises, may not be that astonishing to the few that know these wines and wineries, but for me!!!
The first was a banner we noticed behind a winery from Clayton NY. Clayton is way up North on the St. Lawrence River where there is too much snow and way too cold for Eskimos in the winter. At least, that is how I see Clayton. The banner read " 2013 Finger Lakes Winery of the Year." The award was won at the New York International Wine Competition in May of 2013. Over 3500 wines from 20 different countries and all 50 States were entered. Very Impressive honor, but what about their wines. Are they really that tasty? Mark and I just had to find out for ourselves. The short answer is, YES! Look for future postings on wines from Coyote Moon Vineyards. Also was a bit surprised at a few of the wines we tasted from Eagle Crest Vineyards, one of New York State's oldest wineries, located on Hemlock Lake in Conesus, NY. This winery supplies almost all the altar wine used by churches all along the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic for over 140 years. Their white wines are pretty descent, especially the blends. We also stopped by the large tent displaying New York State's best selling wine, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Red Cat, the ultimate party wine at frat and sorority houses in many States. Way too sweet for me, but I was tempted to pick one up for my tax man and favorite Clam Bar bartender, who lives on Red Cat wine. Please, don't make the mistake I have always made by assuming that was the only style of wine produced at Hazlett. Their flight of white wines displayed and poured in a smaller booth may have been the best wines we tasted all day. The Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Rieslings were all outstanding. And then there was Emma and Alexandra. Emma is the tasting room manager and Alexandra is the Assistant Wine Maker and Marketing Mgr. at Hector Wine Company, located on Seneca Lake in Hector NY. Both these young ladies were extremely knowledgeable of their wines, vineyards and history and were very pleasant, courteous and very excited talking about the Company and the wines. This winery opened their doors in 2010 and are already producing great tasting, high quality wines. Hazlitt, may have had the best flight of white wines at the Festival, but a yet to be released project, available for tasting, was the best wine I tasted all day. Hopefully, when I visit in September that wine will be ready and waiting.
Until my next trip to the Finger Lakes, I will be enjoying the car load of wine now in the fridge, on the rack or on the floor waiting for space to open up in the cooler. Many will be reviewed, I'm sure. Just where do I begin???

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