brief Finger Lakes trip redux

Spent a short couple of days over the Thanksgiving weekend around Seneca Lake and one brief excursion over to Cayuga. I would say the wines are a work in progress with noteworthy riesling the go-to varietal. Others are not yet inspiring except as noted below. We visited the following:

  1. Red Tail Ridge
  2. Hermann Weimer
  3. Kemmeter - Johannes Reinhart has great passion with a plan. We thoroughly enjoyed a thoughtful conversation in his tiny tasting facility next to his house. He makes only riesling, which he sources from other properties while waiting for his own site to produce. He stepped down at Anthony Road a few months ago except some minor consulting involvement.
  4. Sheldrake Point (west side of Cayuga) - They were the only producer where we saw pinot gris, which was quite nice and we bought a few bottles.
  5. Wagner - They won a big award recently for their dry riesling, but we thought it was unremarkable.
  6. Silver Thread - A little off the beaten path, but worth it. Paul and Shannon Brock are producing some lovely wines in a lovely setting. Enjoyed a nice chat with Paul.
  7. Bloomer Creek - Really enjoyed meeting and talking with Kim Engle. I think he’s doing very important and very high quality work. His rieslings are excellent and his gewurz was the only example we bought. What most impressed me was a red blend he calls White Horse, which is two-thirds cab franc and one-third merlot. It was the only red we tasted on the trip that we thought had distinctive varietal character, really excellent in a right bank Bordeaux style, except with more angularity. From what I can tell, just talking to a few people, Kim is maybe a little ahead of the curve on certain techniques - crop thinning, avoiding some spraying applications although I didn’t hear him say organic, native yeast fermentation, single vineyard designate labeling.

On the food side, we highly recommend Dano’s Heuriger in Lodi, which I would describe as Austrian-Hungarian, interesting and delicious with a nice selection of mostly local wines. Stone Cat is nearby but closed for the season.

Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg is stunningly delicious and creative with a nice wine list.

For breakfast, give Berta’s Café in Burdett a try. It’s an eclectic and delicious menu with a variety of furnishings that apparently came from various second-hand sources. The fireplace provides a nice ambience. The coffee is great, Berta and the staff are friendly, and as someone here on the board said, the breakfast tacos are amazing. She’s open only on weekends through the winter.

We had a lovely visit. On the whole, it’s definitely worth a visit and we’ll most likely return. I expect the wines will continue to improve as they continue their emergence onto the world wine stage.

Glad you enjoyed it and I see you found some of the right places to eat. You just missed the Stonecat by about a week I guess.
And yes, Kim Engle and his better-half Debra produce some really distinctive wines. I have quite a few in my basement!