17 August, 2015
Finger Lakes Wine Review — Kayuga
Yesterday, for one of my friend’s 21st birthday celebrations, a group of us went on a wine tour around Cayuga Lake. We ended up going to six wineries (well, five and a cider mill), which was about three more than was probably healthy for me, but we had a great time and tried lots of different wines. We rode in style in a neon-interiored limousine from about 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or so (maybe a bit later).
I purchased three different wines, all rosés (purely by happenstance). My favorite winery though was the second one we stopped at, which was Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant. There, we did a tasting of six wines of our choice.
I personally tried two old world wines — a red and a white — as well as four fruit wines.
**Note: the opinions expressed here are coming from a total n00b when it comes to wine tasting, and I mostly like sweet wines, so take my reviews as you will. Also, this isn’t supposed to be a serious wine review. It’s mostly me writing about things I tasted and managed to remember through the post-wine tour haze. It was a rough night.**
Second was a Pinot Noir. Now, I’m going off my notes from the tasting card here, and I’m seeing that, next to my tick mark, I wrote “NO.” My guess is that, since I was drinking the wines as stand-alones, I was looking for sweet ones over dry ones, and I’ll probably grow into this. Also, maybe I should try a different make. *shrugs*
At this point I moved onto the fruit wines, which were much sweeter. The Jammin’ Strawberry and George’s Peach were good, and definitely reminiscent of their respective fruits. The sweet ones of the bunch were the Loganberry (which I bought) and the Black Cherry. Both of those wines were very sweet, almost like juice. I would have bought the Black Cherry, but it was so sweet, I thought a whole bottle might be overwhelming.
This particular winery also sold spirits, one of which I sipped from a friend’s glass. She had a Limoncello, which was kind of a creamy lemony liqueur. I didn’t realize (for some reason) that it wasn’t a wine when I went to take a drink, so my tiny sip took my by surprise. It was really tasty, and, according to the young lady serving our tasting, it goes well in lemonade. Personally, I like my lemonade to be just lemonade, but I could see how this one would be good in it.
Okay, yeah, blah blah blah, I’m a really crappy wine critic. I honestly don’t know what to say, at this point, other than “this was good; I didn’t like this one; this one really put me off; I’d had too much to drink to really remember this one…” etc. Maybe some other time I’ll take a trip to a winery and do a single tasting and take notes. It’ll likely work out better than this did.
The winery itself was very pretty — the barrel room, pictured at the top of he article, was decorated with little white lights everywhere. Service was nice, and it didn’t feel too rushed, unlike some of the other wineries we visited. The first winery we stopped at, Varick, had some interesting wines, but their real treat was their grand front room of samples. Everything from dips to honeys to hot sauces to fruit spreads and butters, all of it was exceptional. They had a buckwheat honey that tasted like pancakes, a kick-ass salsa, and so many other things to try. I would definitely recommend checking out the country store of that place. They had great products.
The sixth winery we visited, Lakeshore, was a refurbished old barn, complete with old barn charm. There, they had us do a sit-down tasting where we tried a variety of wines, two of them with a food pairing. The pairing that I ultimately ended up purchasing was a sweet blush called Uncle Charlie’s Dirty Old Man, which they paired with something called spaghetti pretzels (imagine sourdough pretzels with spaghetti sauce herbs and spices as seasoning). The other food pairing included a brownie (which I wish they sold the recipe for) and a dry red wine, which was nowhere near as impressive as the brownies was, unfortunately.
So, those were my perceived highlights of our adventure! While I’m now thoroughly wined out for a while, I highly recommend checking out any of these wineries, next time you’re either in the western Cayuga area or if you’re looking for an interesting (and scenic) day trip.