Monday, June 2, 2014

A Taste of Finger Lakes Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Rieslings

The beginning of May I participated in a Finger Lakes Wine Country white wine tasting in celebration of Finger Lakes Wine Month.  It's always a pleasure to be included in these tastings. We tasted 8 wines in all.

To give you a taste of the Finger Lakes wines I'm going to give you a little info on the winery so you have a bit of background and then the tasting notes.  We'll go in the order we tasted, so you can get a feel of how the tasting went.

Swedish Hill Winery In 1969 the Peterson Family planted their first vines.  The began selling grapes to other local wineries and in 1985 began crushing and producing for themselves.  First production was 1,200 cases. Now in their third generation they produce over 60,000 cases of wine annually and own Goose Watch and Penguin Bay as well as Swedish Hill.

  • 2012 Swedish Hill Reserve Chardonnay - Beautiful aromas of lemon curd with pineapple with hints of vanilla and butter.  Palate is smooth and creamy with lemon on the finish
  • SRP $16
Knapp Winery & Vineyards Opened in 1984 and in 2000 the current owners Gene Pierce and Scott Welliver purchased the property.  They were the first winery in the Finger Lakes to plant and vinify Cabernet Franc. Their vineyards consist of 46 acres of which 32 are planted with white grapes.
  • 2012 Knapp Barrel Reserve Chardonnay - A bit of orange rind on the nose. Much lighter on the palate than the Swedish Hill. The palate is filled with pear, a bit of green apple and some lemon and lime.
Lakewood Vineyards Celebrating 25 years this year.  Frank Stamp left his dentistry in Maryland in 1951 to try his hand at farming.  He moved his family to the Lakewood Farm which at the time was a run down peach and apple orchard on the west side of Seneca Lake.  The next spring they planted grapes and the rest is history.  Today they have 75 acres planted.  Their winery opened their doors in 1989. Today three generations of the Stamp family run the business.

  • Lakewood Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay - Aromas of stone and passion fruit coming from the glass.  I get a bit of Morning Glory as well. As the wine warms up there is some serious oak on the nose with butterscotch. The palate shows some serious oak that soft hints of the fruit. You can make out the stone fruit with a coconut finish.
Hector Wine Company Located across the street from the famous Sawmill Creek Vineyards (and I say that because it is one of the best growing sites in the Finger Lakes) on the east side of Seneca Lake.  It began making wine in 2009 and opened their tasting room in 2010. The are committed to making high quality wines from grapes that are hand picked and manually hand sorted.  They produce mostly dry reds and whites with some selection of off dry and semi sweet wines.
  • 2012 Hector Wine Company Gewurztraminer - This is a dry Gewurztraminer.  It saw and extended 48 hour cold soak prior to fermentation to achieve better flavor from extraction. That is where you get the aromatic and flavor profiles such as the lychee and spice
    • Lychee is what I say...strong lychee aromas fill the glass along with some jasmine and a hint of citrus.  Pineapple and some lemon on the palate and nice acidity.  Nice sharp spice on the finish.
Dr Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Founded in 1962 Dr Frank was responsible for the "Vinifera Revolution" and began the planting of Riesling in the Finger Lakes.  Today they grow Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gruner Veltliner and other white varieties on 90 acres on Keuka Lake. 
  • 2012 Dr Frank Gewurztraminer - Soft aromas of orange blossom and citrus.  High acidity with a little residual sugar balances it out. A touch of honey on the palate.
Red Newt Cellars - Located on the east side of Seneca Lake it has the most amazing sunsets from it deck! Started in 1998 by David and the late Debra Whiting.  
  • 2012 Tango Oaks Vineyard Riesling - Sourced fro the Tango Oaks Vineyard owned by Fred Wickham. This vineyard is dominated by gravel and little loam as a result of a major flood in 1934 that deposited a bunch of stone on the site.  The grapes are some of the only Alsatian clone Riesling in the region.
    • A bit of petrol on the nose (due to a warm growing season) with aromas of nectarine, lime and green tea showing through.  Nice balance of acidity and minerality with flavors apricot and apple.
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars Located on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake they have over 100 acres of estate vines.
  • 2012 round Rock Vineyard Riesling (Exclusive Singe Vineyard)  Some petrol on the nose of this Riesling as well, a little wet basement with some notes of lemon. Serious green apple on palate. Sweetness is medium dry but has a nice balance between sweetness and acidity
Boundary Breaks Vineyard Located on a 120 acre farm on the east side of Seneca Lake.  Purchased in 2007 by Bruce Murray and he planted six acres of Riesling clones.  The 2011 is their first vintage.

  • 2011 Boundary Breaks No. 198 - Reserve -  Harvested at 23 brix, shows aromas of white peaches and oranges. Some flavors of peach and honey. Residual sugar clocked in at 5.7% and I felt the wine was a bit unbalanced.  The sweetness overpowered it and took away from the flavor profile. sorry:(
What's a tasting without food. To go with all this wine I tried a new dish - Pineapple Chicken Kebabs.  Confession...I forgot to put the pineapple on the skewers, so I made some with just pineapple and put it all together on my plate.  I tried it with all the wines and thought it went best with the Riesling.

Pineapple Chicken Kebabs

8 ounces can pineapple chunks
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tbs plain lowfat yogurt
1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 lb skinless boneless chicken
1/2 red, yellow and green pepper
1 large onion
cherry tomatoes
1 tbs oil

Drain pineapple juice into bowl.  Reserve the chunks.  In a large bowl mix together the spices, garlic, salt, yogurt, cilantro and mix in reserved pineapple juice.  Cut chicken into bite size cubes and add to the yogurt and spice mixture.  Marinate for 2 hours or in my case overnight.  Arrange chicken on skewers alternating with peppers, onion, tomato and pineapple.  Brush kebabs lightly with oil and grill.





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