Variety is the spice of life. No time is this more evident during the holiday season. Just head to your local grocer to see the onslaught of seasonal coffee creamers: Peppermint, Egg Nog, Pumpkin Spice, Spiced Latte, Ginger bread; who can chose just one?! The dessert selection becomes an array of cookies, fudge, cakes, bread pudding, brittles, pies…oh my! And think of all the holiday gatherings and holiday meals that will be enjoyed. Some dinners may be casual gatherings of smoked briskets, others more formal with beef tenderloin, and there is always the buffet party where everyone brings a dish so you never know what is in store. Where does all this lead? Wine confusion!
I have been challenging you this holiday season to relax a bit more, slow down, take in the joy of the season with great food, wine and friends. You may be saying that all sounds great Michelle but we have to figure out what wines to take to all these gatherings with a wide variety of foods. Furthermore, who wants to bring yet another bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot? I understand, you want to dazzle your friends and family with delicious wines they have never had before. Well, have no fear because The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance has all your wine needs covered!
I recently had the blessing of being invited to participate in the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance virtual tasting featuring six unique and diverse Finger Lakes Wines that are perfect for the holidays. Furthermore, these wines are not only delicious but they are truly conversation starters. Plus your friends and family will be impressed with eclectic wine contribution! When many think of Finger Lakes wines they think Riesling. Although that is a great thought because the Finger Lakes wineries do produce outstanding Rieslings there is much more outstanding and diverse wines coming out of the Finger Lakes region.
From the Finger Lakes Wines Alliance:
Established in October of 1982, the Finger Lakes AVA (American Viticultural Area) is the largest wine-growing region in New York State with approximately 11,000 acres of labrusca (native), French-American and vinifera (European) grapes and just over 100 wineries. The region is often times compared to that of Germany’s Rhine region due to similarities in growing conditions.
Most Finger Lakes wineries are small businesses, family owned and operated. A shared passion for their craft inspires wine producers to collaborate, contributing to the artisanal spirit of finely crafted, delicious and food-friendly wines.
Good wine always begins in the vineyards. Our prime grape growing land lies within a distinct geographic region just south of Lake Ontario in Central New York. The deep Finger Lakes run north-south, provided prime grape growing sites on their eastern and western slopes. Lying at various elevations and distances from the water, our vineyard landscape proves a quilt of distinct site and terroirs, all of which contribute to the range and complexity of our wines.
Here are the wines we tasted with my notes:
Glenora Wine Cellars 2006 Brut: This wine was crafted of 68% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay from grapes cultivated from vineyards on the west and east side of Seneca Lake. It poured a delicate yellow into the glass; soft aroma of orchard fruit, citrus zest touch of marzipan; crisp and clean on the palate with fine perlage and round acidityThis multi-award winning sparkling wine was crafted in the méthode traditionelle with moderate dosage to add creaminess. 12% alcohol. SRP $29.99 Order direct from Glenora Wine Cellars. Serve at the beginning of a dinner party as an aperitif or with an assorted cheese tray, or during dinner with roasted salmon, Cornish hens, or pork tenderloin, or with dessert.
Damiani Bollicini 2013: This Prosecco style sparkling wine was crafted of 47% Cayuga, 35% Damiani Sparkling Wine, 16% Chardonnay and 2% Pinot Meunier from grapes cultivated in vineyards on the east side of Seneca Lake. This wine poured a pink so soft and delicate it is almost translucent; playful aroma of strawberry, tropical fruit, gardenia petals and a touch of citrus zest; lively bubbles on the palate with a delicate touch of sweetness that is quickly replaced by a vivid acidity that coats the mouth in a lingering finish. Order direct from Damiani Wine Cellars. Excellent as an aperitif or serve with a charcuterie or with a creamy citrus tart for dessert.
Fox Run Ruby NV Port: This port was crafted from 44% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Lemberger from grapes cultivated from various blocks of the Fox Run estate vineyards. This wine poured a dazzling ruby with maroon highlights into the glass; dark cherry, black plum and black berries intermingle with black pepper, Asian spice and balsamic vinegar met the nose and wrap the palate in a delicious package of balanced flavor. It has a long, lingering finish that pleases for several minutes. Each varietal was aged in 100% neutral French and American oak for 35 months prior to blending. 19.7% alcohol. SRP $19.99. Order direct from Fox Run Vineyards. This wine is perfect to serve by itself as dessert or with sharp blue cheese topped with balsamic fig preserves, chocolate covered figs, dry cookies or simple cake.
Thirsty Owl Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Ice Wine: This wine was crafted from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine poured a soft ruby with orange highlights; fresh and fruity aromas of strawberry, raspberry, balsamic fig preserves and a touch of orange blossom honey envelop the senses; yet the palate is delicately crafted with soft essences; though sweet it is light on the palate with a clean finish that does not overpower the palate. Very nice. Residual Sugar 16.5%; alcohol 14%. SRP $39.95. Order direct from Thirsty Owl Wine Company. A dessert all on its own. A real show stopper!
Lakewood Vineyards Glaciovinum Delaware 2013 Iced Wine: This wine was crafted of 100% Delaware. It poured a golden yellow into the glass and offered an inviting aroma of pink lemonade, dried apricots, orange zest and nutmeg; it was mouth coating with a unique sweetness that was sweet and tart at the same time; like the perfect movie theatre treat! Rich and round on the palate with a medium finish. Very nice. A perfect accompaniment to dried fig gelato! Residual sugar 19.2%; alcohol 11.9%. SRP $14.00 order direct from Lakewood Vineyards.
Standing Stone Vineyards Riesling Ice 2014: This wine was crafted of 100% Riesling from grapes cultivated from Standing Stone’s Charles Fournier and Guy DeVeaux of God Seal Vineyards. This wine poured a hay yellow into the glass with a soft effervescence; aromas of grapefruit, dried apricots, citrus zest, crème brulee and honey dazzle the nose and coat the palate; balanced sweetness with a clean and pleasing finish;Residual sugar 20%; alcohol 13.5%. SRP $24.99. Order direct from Standing Stone Vineyards. Pair with a delicious assortment of artisanal cheeses, nuts and spread at the end of a delicious meal.
Don’t these Finger Lakes wines sound delicious, unique and wines you definitely want to share with those you love during the holidays! I encourage you to visit each of the wineries web sites to learn more about the individual wineries as well as visit the Finger Lakes Wines Alliance to learn more about the region; then order yourself some great Finger Lakes wines!
My Song Selection: The tasting was fun and upbeat. Finger Lakes Wineries produce wine of style by marching to the beat of their own drum! Furthermore these wine are festive; perfect for a holiday groove!
Get your own bottles of Finger Lakes wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!