2015 Seven Springs Wine Festival

Wine

     The 2015 Seven Springs Wine Festival will be held August 28th through the 30th at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort Champion, Pa. With paid admission you can enjoy complimentary tastings from 31 Pennsylvania wineries with your free souvenir wine glass along with wine-themed seminars, live musical entertainment and other interesting attractions. A 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday night session has been added this year in addition to the regular 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. hours on Saturday and Sunday. More information and the option to buy tickets can be found at the Seven Springs Resort website. www.7springs.com/events/wine-festival/ 

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Narcisi Wine Dinner

Narcici     The wine dinner this month at Narcisi Winery will feature Italy’s often overlooked region of Marche. Centrally located on Italy’s Adriatic coast, Marche draws from rich farmland , rugged mountains and bountiful sea to mold the regions distinctive culture and unique cuisine. Dinner at the winery starts at 6:30 pm Thursday, August 27th 2015 with tickets priced @ $55 + tax. Please call for reservations because seating is limited.

Narcisi Winery  4578 Gibsonia Rd  Gibsonia, Pa 724-444-4744

narcisiwinery.com                                                                                                                      

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The Meadows Racetrack & Casino Presents

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FLX: Epilogue

Vineyards above Keuka Lake.

Vineyards above Keuka Lake.

     My latest trip to the FLX was enjoyable, informative, surprising, relaxing and like always too short. I learned many things from the people I met and the events I observed. Here are a few things that I learned by mingling with the locals. The latest fad in the vineyards is to plant Grüner Veltliner. The east side of Seneca Lake felt cooler in summer than the west because the wind blew across the cold waters of the lake. Marti Macinski, Standing Stone’s owner/winemaker was a lawyer before she followed her dream of becoming a winemaker. Saperavi is in demand and is selling out around the lakes, even at premium prices. Wine tourism is on the rise and wineries are competing more aggressively to attract customers. I just can’t get used to mini marts with craft beer taps and growlers at the cash register.

In the FLX there are some things that never change. Some of the best Riesling in the world can be found at great prices. Scenic views of beautiful glacial lakes surrounded by vineyards that you can’t find anywhere else in this country. Welcoming and hospitable people that are happy to see you and strive to put the region’s best foot forward to visitors.

It’s not Sonoma and it’s not Napa, it’s the Finger Lakes Region of New York, a truly unique place. My suggestion to you would be not to take my word for it but to go see it for yourself.

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Highlight of FLX Visit

Entrance to Standing Stone Vineyard & Winery

Entrance to Standing Stone Vineyards & Winery

     On every trip there is one experience that stamps its indelible mark on your memory. On this trip it was meeting Marti Macinski and the time we spent at her Standing Stone Vineyards & Winery. Upon our arrival she greeted us with a genuinely heart-felt welcome. Marti was accompanied by her personable and outgoing intern Griffin Lehman. She lead my wife and I through a tasting of all of her excellent wines. I was very impressed by how good all the wines were. If I were to use one word to describe all of the Standing Stone wines we tasted that day it would be balanced. Balance is very important to me when I taste wine because it allows me to taste all aspects of the wine without having certain overdone or underdeveloped characteristics create a biased wine. When you drink a wine made by Marti Macinski you can taste every nuance of the wine and the terroir of her vineyards.

     Her Riesling were some of the best that I tasted in the FLX and I tasted the best Riesling that I have ever tasted there on this visit. I really liked her Saperavi and it confirmed my opinion that this grape has great potential in the Eastern U.S.. She convinced us to try her Ice wine even though we were never fans of Ice wine. We are glad we did because we loved all four of her offerings : Chardonnay, Vidal, Grwürztraminer and Riesling. The entire menu of wines offered by Standing Stone Winery are well crafted and certainly worth your attention when you visit. I can highly recommend a visit to this Seneca Lake winery in Hector N.Y. for anyone attending the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference or someone visiting the area looking for superior wine.  Standingstonewines.com  607-582-6051   9934 Rte 414  Hector, N Y 14841

View of Seneca Lake & Vineyards from Standing Stone

View of Seneca Lake & Vineyards from Standing Stone

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Around and Around We Go

Tall bottles of Riesling At Herman J. Wiemer Vineyards

Tall bottles of Riesling At Herman J. Wiemer Vineyards

     Our drive to Finger Lakes Wine Country took us from the rolling hills of Southwestern Pennsylvania through the center of the state pass Penn State University then into the Northern Tier, home to some of the most rugged and sparsely populated mountains in the East. We crossed the New York state line south of Corning and drove north to our first destination Watkins Glen. Watkins Glen is on the southern tip of Seneca Lake, the largest of the eleven Finger Lakes. We drove up the east side of the lake through a torrential downpour on our way to Wagner’s Vineyards and it’s Ginny Lee Café for lunch while the storm passed. They have a large wine menu ranging from currently popular varieties and blends to Niagara, a regional classic. Wagner’s also has a brewery on site, a growing trend around the lakes. I always manage to find a very drinkable Chardonnay and this year was no different with me purchasing the 2012 Reserve Chardonnay. By the time we had finished lunch the rain had stopped and the skies began to brighten. Before we left the east side we stopped at another winery but found their offerings not as good as other years and we left empty-handed.

     We usually stay on Seneca Lake but this trip we stayed at the northern end of Keuka Lake in the small town of Penn Yan. You are constantly skirting the lakes because there are no bridges to mar their natural beauty so good planning is a must to save time and miles. On the way to our hotel we traveled back through Watkins Glen and drove up the west side of Seneca Lake to the world-famous Riesling producer Herman J. Wiemer Vineyards.

    I find that many wine makers are limiting or eliminating taste descriptors from their tasting notes. I agree that their overuse has lead to people not forming an opinion of their own and I will be using less of them in my posts beginning now.

      The Riesling I tasted in the H.J. Wiemer tasting room was as stylishly produced as my surroundings, sophisticated and well-made with depth and balance. These Riesling could be easily matched to a myriad of food or enjoyed by themselves glass after glass. Riesling is what H.J.W. is known for and rightfully so , but the other wines they produce can be easily overlooked because the Riesling is so good. But ignoring the Sparkling, Noble Select Dessert and Reserve wines could cause you to miss out on something very special. Note: The Sparkling wines are aged on lees for up to 72 months, hand-riddled and hand-disgorged. After loading our trunk with our newly found treasures of Riesling and a Rosé Cuvée we were on to Keuka Lake.

Herman J. Wiemer Vineyards

Herman J. Wiemer Winery

 

Herman J. Wiemer Winery

Herman J. Wiemer Winery

Clearing skies over Wagner's Vineyards

Clearing skies over Wagner’s Vineyards

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New York State of Mind

sign     The Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York (FLX) is only a 5 hour drive from my home in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Having a World-Class wine-producing region so close provides my wife and me the luxury of making a trip to the area when the mood strikes us. During our trip last week we visited old favorites Herman J. Herman Winery and Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery while adding a new favorite Standing Stone Winery. All three of these wineries produce excellent Riesling along with other notable wines. Cool-climate white wines have always been this region’s claim to fame but on this visit I was curious to see first-hand how the development of the Saperavi grape was progressing. In the following series of posts I will give you my personal take on the wine, grapevines, trends and scenic views I encountered around these glacial lakes. Come along with me and see what’s new in the FLX.

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Greg Norman 2012 Malbec Mendoza Argentina

malbec-sm     You may remember me mentioning this wine in a post last month. My wife and I dined at Greg Norman’s Australian Grille in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and I had this wine with my dinner. I enjoyed this wine because it is very representative of Malbec from Argentina’s Mendoza Region. It is crimson-red and inky purple in the glass. The body is medium with understated oak that come from being cool fermented and spending 12 months in French and American oak barrels. The flavors are classic Malbec blackberry and cherry with a balance of full tannins and a long “grapey” Malbec finish. Greg Norman 2012 Malbec Mendoza Argentina can be found in P.L.C.B. stores as a Chairman’s Selection at the discounted price of $9.99 (Product Code 33631). A Malbec of this quality is seldom found at this price making it a must try if you are a fan of Mendoza Malbec. I should know because I paid 9 bucks for a glass at his restaurant.  

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Hollywood Stars Blind Wine Tasting

blank bottle     I recently heard an interview with Billy Gardell, the star of the hit TV comedy Mike & Molly and Pittsburgh native, telling about a blind wine tasting party that he attended. Every year Louis Mustillo, who plays Vince on the show, throws a party for the cast at his home. Billy brings jazz records from his collection and Lou provides a blind tasting of wines ranging from $15 to $100. Billy said as the evening progressed everyone would sample a wine then he would play a song and they would discuss the wine. At the end of the evening they voted for their favorite wine and every year the $15 bottle has won. Then he did a great “Vince” impression saying “See, I told you the $100 bottle never wins.” I enjoyed hearing this story because it confirmed the foundation on which this blog is built. I have always said “Drink what you like because it doesn’t matter how much a wine costs if you don’t like it then it’s not a good wine for you.” I often have people say to me “I don’t know anything about wine” to which I respond “If it tastes good to you that’s all you need to know.” Billy is hoping that his wife will let him paint the Steeler end zone in his backyard and to that I say “Good Luck Billy.” 

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Food & Wine Classic in Aspen UPDATE!

    

Photo Courtesy: Wine and Food 2014 Aspen Classic

Photo Courtesy: Wine and Food 2014 Classic Aspen

The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen will be celebrated June 19-21, 2015 in Aspen, Colorado.  Tickets are on sale now at www.foodandwine.com/classic or by phone at 877-900-wine.  You can find answers to many of your questions by accessing the F.A.Q. tab on the above website.  Some of the useful information that can be found there includes what a guest should wear when visiting the mountains at high altitude or whether pets or smoking will be allowed at any Food & Wine Classic Aspen events? The answer to both of those questions would be NO.  These events provide a unique opportunity to meet and learn from some of the best chefs in the world. Update! All passes to this event are sold out.

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