At Anthony Road

John Martini, owner of Anthony Road Wine Company, in the vineyards

John Martini, owner of Anthony Road Wine Company, in the vineyards

The second day of the 2015 Wine Bloggers’ Conference pre-excursion started at Anthony Road Winery. Anthony Road is on the west side of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. The current owners, Ann and John Martini, planted their first grapes at the vineyard in 1973. They initially sold their grapes, but, in 1990, decided to start making their own wine and opened Anthony Road Winery. Now the family-run business grows grapes at two different vineyard sites and produces its own wine.

Me and wine barrels at Anthony Road Wine Company

Me and wine barrels at Anthony Road Wine Company

John Martini took us to the vineyard that is part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension: Finger Lakes Grape Program. The program conducts research and provides the grape and wine industry in the region with information on a variety of different topics, and this vineyard is part of research on the practicality and sustainability of growing Gruner Veltliner in the Finger Lakes.

Bottling at Anthony Road Wine Company

Bottling at Anthony Road Wine Company

We returned from the vineyard to a glass of the 2014 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rose. With glass in hand, we were then off to see the winery operations, getting an up close view of the stainless steel tanks and oak barrels, as well as watching the winery’s bottle process in action. After that, we had a chance to taste some of the other Anthony Road wines and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It was a great way to start the day!

2014 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rosé

2014 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rosé

2014 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rosé ($18)
Beautiful color with a vibrant nose and good fruit flavors–mostly strawberry and cherry. The wine was light-bodied with bright acidity. It was a good summer wine that would pair nicely with cheese.
3.5 Corks

2014 Anthony Road Unoaked Chardonnay

2014 Anthony Road Unoaked Chardonnay

2014 Anthony Road Unoaked Chardonnay ($17)
Very pale lemon yellow. There were some green apples along with a hint of pears, pineapple, and something minerally. The wine was light-to-medium bodied. An easy sipper.
3.5 Corks

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Chardonnay

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Chardonnay

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Chardonnay (price not listed on Internet)
This wine was reminiscent of its unoaked counterpart, but in a way I didn’t enjoy as much. It had a medium lemon yellow color with some green apples and pears on the nose. In the mouth, there were apples and something bitter. The wine had a medium body and acidity.
3 Corks

2014 Anthony Road Dry Riesling

2014 Anthony Road Dry Riesling

2014 Anthony Road Dry Riesling ($18)
Lots of citrus–oranges and grapefruits, along with a hint of lemon and lime–mixed with white flowers. There was also some minerality. The wine had a light-to-medium body and good acidity. This vintage is sold out, but I ended up buy some of the 2013 vintage, which I will review separately.
4 Corks

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Riesling

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Riesling

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Riesling(price not listed on Internet)
For as much as I liked the dry Riesling, I disliked the skin fermented one. In fact, this was my least favorite of the wines, mixing some baking spices with citrus and apple notes.
2.5 Corks

A taste of the 2008 Vignoles Trockenbeeren

A taste of the 2008 Vignoles Trockenbeeren

2008 Vignoles Trockenbeeren ($75)
Pure lusciousness. It was full of tropical fruits–mango and pineapple–along with apple and pear notes. It was full-bodied with nice acidity.
4.5 Corks

Question of the Day:  Do you visit wineries or breweries?  Do you think it changes your opinion of the wine or beer?

An Evening With the Wine Women of the Finger Lakes

Clean duvet postitAfter leaving Villa Bellangelo on the first day of the Wine Bloggers’ Conference pre-conference excursion, we had an hour to settle into our rooms at the Hampton Inn in Geneva, NY. While not overly fancy, the hotel was clean (even leaving a little sticky note on my headboard ensuring me my duvet cover and sheets had been freshly cleaned), the staff was super organized and friendly, and the location was walking distance to Seneca Lake and downtown. It was perfect for our group.

FLXWineWomen

FLX Wine Women–Martha Macinski from Standing Stone Vineyards, Chef Heather Tompkins from OPUS Espresso and Wine Bar, Jenna Lavita from Ventosa Vineyards, Erica Paolicelli from Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, and Liz Leidenfrost from Leidenfrost Vineyards

Once we were cleaned up, we headed to Ventosa Vineyards for a night of food and wine with the FLX Wine Women– Chef Heather Tompkins from OPUS Espresso and Wine Bar, Erica Paolicelli from Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, Jenna Lavita from Ventosa Vineyards, Liz Leidenfrost from Leidenfrost Vineyards, and Martha Macinski from Standing Stone Vineyards. Each of the women gave a presentation, highlighting not only what was unique about each of their vineyards, but also what was unique about them and their experiences being a women in an industry that is often dominated by men.   Then, during dinner, they each spent one course with one of the four tables, giving us the opportunity to talk with them one-on-one.

Background on the wineries and the restaurant

Seneca Lake and a glass of NY Cider at Ventosa Vineyards

Seneca Lake and a glass of NY Cider at Ventosa Vineyards

OPUS is located in Geneva and specializes in freshly roasted espresso, homemade, Paninis, fresh baked pastries…and wine, of course. While I didn’t get a chance to visit OPUS during the trip, Chef Heather prepared a decadent dinner made from local ingredients that highlighted the wonderful things each of the local winemakers are doing with their wines. Should I find myself in Geneva again, I will definitely be visiting OPUS in person.

Three Brothers Wineries & Estates actually is made of three wineries–Stony Lonesome Wine Cellars, Passion Feet Wine Barn, and Bagg Dare Wine Company–and a microbrewery called War Horse Brewing Co. that makes both hard ciders and beer. They actually have two locations if you’re looking to taste–the location in Geneva, as well as a storefront in Eastview Mall.

Liz Leidenfrost from Leidenfrost Vineyards

Liz Leidenfrost from Leidenfrost Vineyards

Ventosa Vineyards consists of 23 acres overlooking Seneca Lake. They’re known for producing dry red wines like Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Sangiovese. The night WBC15 was at Ventosa, they were awarded the 2015 Governor’s Cup for Best Red Wine–the 2011 Ventosa Vineyards Lemberger.

Standing Stone Vineyards is 41 acres and was originally planted in the early 1970’s as Gold Seal Vineyards. Owners Tom & Marti Macinski bought the farm in 1991 and have grown it from a vineyard that produced 800 cases of wine in 1993 to one that now produces about 8000 cases.

Leidenfrost Vineyards has been owned and run by the Leidenfrost family since 1947. It’s located on the east side of Seneca Lake in Hector, NY and produces about 3000 cases of wine annually.

The FLX Wine Women Dinner Menu

The FLX Wine Women Dinner Menu

Dinner and the wines

Candy Beet Melon-Arugula Salad with Red Jacket Cheribundi-Curry Vinaigrette, Stony Brook Pumpkin Oil and Seeds, and First Light Goat Cheese paired with a 2014 Three Brothers Winery & Estates Pinot Noir Rosé and Leidenfrost Vineyards Blanc de Blancs

Candy Beet Melon-Arugula Salad with Red Jacket Cheribundi-Curry Vinaigrette, Stony Brook Pumpkin Oil and Seeds, and First Light Goat Cheese paired with a 2014 Three Brothers Winery & Estates Pinot Noir Rosé and Leidenfrost Vineyards Blanc de Blancs

2014 Three Brothers Winery and Estates Pinot Noir Rosé
Sadly, I couldn’t find any information about this wine on Three Brothers’ website, but it was a very pleasant rosé and I recommend trying it if you see it. The wine offered some lighter red fruit notes and had good acidity, which helped it hold up to the oil and cheese in the salad. It would be a great sipper on a hot summer day.
4 Corks

Leidenfrost Vineyards Blanc de Blancs ($25)
The is a traditional Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine made from Chardonnay grapes. It was very subtle, with some honeysuckle, cream, and a hint of toast. It was a favorite at my table, and the bottle was empty before I had a chance for seconds. I particularly liked it with the pumpkin seeds in the salad.
4 Corks

Sweet Corn-Muranda Cheese, Cheddar Studded Risotto Cake with Summer Tomato and Fennel Coulis and Jalapeño-Orange Mascarpone paired with a 2012 Ventosa Vineyards Pinot Noir and a 2013 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer

Sweet Corn-Muranda Cheese, Cheddar Studded Risotto Cake with Summer Tomato and Fennel Coulis and Jalapeño-Orange Mascarpone paired with a 2012 Ventosa Vineyards Pinot Noir and a 2013 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer

2012 Ventosa Vineyards Pinot Noir ($25)
100% Pinot Noir grapes
Produced: 210 cases
The Pinot Noir was a light ruby color with bright cherry notes, low tannins, and a bit of acidity. The acidy and lighter body helped cut through the fat in the cheese and risotto cake, keeping both the flavors of both the food and wine fresh in my mouth.
3.5 Corks

2013 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer ($15)
Produced: 1218 cases
This wine caught my attention because it was very different from the others. It had a light body and good acidity, like many of the other wines, but the rose petals and passion fruit notes combined with its food-friendliness made it very memorable. Plus, the price point makes it a nice every day option.
4 Corks

Grilled Petit Finger Lakes Farms Filet Mignon and Scallop with Wilted Baby Kale, Piggery Bacon Vinaigrette, Cayuga Blue, and Pickled Red Onion paired with Three Brothers Winery and Estates 0 Degree of Riesling and a 2011 Ventosa Vineyards Cabernet Franc

Grilled Petit Finger Lakes Farms Filet Mignon and Scallop with Wilted Baby Kale, Piggery Bacon Vinaigrette, Cayuga Blue, and Pickled Red Onion paired with Three Brothers Winery and Estates 0 Degree of Riesling and a 2011 Ventosa Vineyards Cabernet Franc

Three Brothers Winery & Estates 0 Degree of Riesling ($14)
This Riesling was clear, crisp, and stunning…especially at this price point. There were some nice apple and pear notes, mixed with a refreshing minerality and a bright acidity. I was nervous about pairing it with the filet portion of dinner, but it held up surprisingly well. That said, I couldn’t get enough of it with the scallop.
4.5 Corks

2011 Ventosa Vineyards Cabernet Franc ($27)
100% Cabernet Franc grapes
Produced: 285 cases
Nice medium ruby color with black cherry and earthy notes. I could have used a touch more body on the wine to match the nose, but it was still delicious. In fact, while it’s a little pricey, it was my favorite of the Ventosa wines and paired beautifully with the filet and scallop.
4 Corks

Red Jacket Peaches and Ginger Galette with Seneca Salted Caramel and Shaved Seneca Salt Bark Dark Chocolate paired with Leidenfrost Vineyards Cabaret Port and a 2014 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer Ice

Red Jacket Peaches and Ginger Galette with Seneca Salted Caramel and Shaved Seneca Salt Bark Dark Chocolate paired with Leidenfrost Vineyards Cabaret Port and a 2014 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer Ice

Leidenfrost Vineyards Cabaret Port ($25)
Holy cow…this port was absolutely luscious. There were ripe raspberries mixed with vanilla and a hint of baking spice. It was like drinking liquid velvet. Pairing it with the salted caramel and dark chocolate was just decadent.
4.5 Corks

2014 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer Ice ($25)
While I always enjoy a good sweet wine, I usually only enjoy them while dining out. This wine left me wondering if I should keep a bottle on hand at home. It’s a full body, sweet wine with good acidity. There are golden raisin and honey notes, and the wine just lingers in your mouth.
4.5 Corks

Question of the Day: One of the FLX Wine Women wondering during her presentation about the benefits of focusing solely on women in the wine industry.  Statistically, there are more men winemakers than women.  Is gender something that makes a difference to you when deciding what wine to buy?  Is this something that you think people should be talking about?

Sunset over Seneca Lake at Ventosa Vineyards

Sunset over Seneca Lake at Ventosa Vineyards

Cab Franc: Flirtation or Love Affair?

One of the things that surprised me during my month of drinking only Virginia wines is the constant enjoyment from the various bottles of Cabernet Franc.  When I read about Virginia wines, I rarely see mention of the grape, and very few of the Virginia wine bloggers focus on how the grape thrives in the Commonwealth.  However, Cabernet Francs or Cabernet Franc dominated blends are consistently the Virginia red wine that I love.  I’m beginning to think that Cabernet Franc might be the Virginia grape, in the same way that Pinot Noir is associated with Oregon or Zinfandel is  associated with California. It will take some more tasting to finalize my solidify my affair with Virginia Cabernet Franc, but I’m quite possibly falling in love

2008 Jefferson Vineyards Cabernet Franc

The 2008 Jefferson Vineyards Cabernet Franc (winery) was a medium-to-dark ruby.  On the nose, there were raspberries, cherries, cinnamon, cedar, and a touch of tobacco.  In the mouth, there were raspberries, cherries, and a hint of cinnamon, chocolate dust, and tobacco.  The win had a medium body, light-to-medium tannins, and good acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $20, this wine requires a little bit of patience, but if you’re willing to wait for it, the wine will not disappoint.  It could have used a little more body, but once it had a chance to breathe, this Cabernet Franc was exactly what I was looking for.  I paired it with stuffed baked potatoes for dinner, which made for a nice, hearty combination, and then continued to enjoy the wine on its own once dinner was over.

Price: $20
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Overall: 3.5 corks

Mountfair’s Fabulous Cab Franc

2009 Mountfair Vineyards Cabernet Franc

As Virginia Wine Month progressed, I found myself looking for Virginia wines in every local wine shop that I walked into. I always glanced before, but it never felt like there was much of a selection. Lately, though, that seems to have changed, and it was exciting to see such variety throughout the DC Metr0 area.  The more I looked, the more it wasn’t just the recognizable Virginia vineyards being sold.  One of the smaller wineries that I was excited to find in two of my local wine shops was Mountfair Vineyards.  Mountfair is located outside of Charlottesville, and my first encounter with their wines was at the September Virginia Wine Festival.  While at the festival, I bought two bottles of their wine, and since then, I’ve purchased several more.

The 2009 Mountfair Cabernet Franc (winery) was a blend of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot grapes and was a dark purplish ruby.  On the nose, there were big ripe berries, tobacco, and a hint of violets.  In the mouth, there berries, tobacco, and a touch of violets, smoke, and green peppers.  The wine had medium body, acidity, and tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $20, this wine is one that you can sink into for an entire evening.  It has enough personality to be enjoyable on its own, but also can be a food friendly wine when paired with nice, flavorful dinner.

Price: $20
Purchased at: Virginia Wine Festival
Overall: 4 corks

Kicking-Off Virginia Wine Month with a VA Wine Overview (Part 4)

Admittedly, after visiting 10 winery tables and tasting more than 55 wines, my palate was a little overwhelmed and many of the wines were starting to taste the same.   At this point, I mostly stopped making detailed notes because I felt like all of my notes sounded the same.

With that caveat, the wine from Cooper Vineyards made a particularly strong impression.  They had 10 wines available, 3 of which really stood out.  I only ended up buying one bottle at the festival (the 2008 Petit Verdot), but I ended up ordering several glasses of the 2008 Reserve Norton while at Harry’s Tap Room in Pentagon City for happy hour.  Cooper Vineyards is located in Central Virginia,  midway between Richmond and Charlottesville.

2008 Cooper Vineyards Petit Verdot ($21)—a little different; very enjoyable.
4 Corks

2009 Cooper Vineyards Chardonnay ($16)
3.5 Corks

2008 Cooper Vineyards Reserve Norton ($23)—young and fruity; medium, smooth body.
3.5 Corks

Noche ($18)—Chocolate wine, which Cooper is well-known for; different and worth tasting, but not a wine a could drink much of.
3 Corks

2008 Coopertage ($24)—43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 17% Petit Verdot grapes; dark berries, vanilla, spices, and a hint of meat.
2.5 Corks

2009 Cooper Vineyards Viognier ($24)
2.5 Corks

Rhapsody ($12)—sweet white wine; pineapple and honeysuckle.
2 Corks

Vida ($21)—Virginia “ice wine;” very sweet; stone fruits.
2 Corks

Sweet Louisa ($12) —sweet red wine; tasted like grape Kool-Aid.
2 Corks

Sangria (3 for $33)—overly sweet and not very good.
1.5 Corks

After visiting the Cooper Vineyards table, some members of the group started to head home.  So, we said our good-byes before heading over to the Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery table.  I had hoped to buy a bottle of the 2009 Rosé, which was made from Cabernet Franc grapes, and of the 2008 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc, but by the time our group made it to the Cardinal Point table, they were sold out of both.  One of the women I was with did buy a bottle of the 2009 Rockfish Red, though.

2009 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc ($20)—big, flavorful wine.
4 Corks

2008 Cardinal Point Cabernet Franc & Viognier blend ($18)—very nice; great acidity, good body.
3.5 Corks

2009 Cardinal Point Rosé ($14)
3.5 Corks

2009 Rockfish Red ($15)
3 Corks

2009 Cardinal Point Viognier ($18)
3 Corks

2008 A6 ($19)
2.5 Corks

2008 Cardinal Point Barrel Select Chardonnay ($16)
2.5 Corks

2009 Quattro ($17)—intriguing blend of grapes, but just ok.
2.5 Corks

As we left Cardinal Point’s table, we lost a few more members of our group, so it was only the three of us who took the Washington Wine Academy’s shuttle from Vienna metro station left.  There was one winery that I wanted to taste before leave, simply because I receive regular emails from them, but have never tasted their wines—Paradise Springs Winery.  Paradise Springs is one of the closest wineries to DC, and, to be honest, the guy who was pouring for them knew very little about the wine and was more interested in talking with his friend than in telling us about the wines.  All in all, they were all ok wines, but none of them really stood out and I left the table slightly disappointed.

Paradise Springs Chardonnay ($20)
3 Corks

Paradise Springs Cabernet Franc ($23)
3 Corks

Paradise Springs Merlot ($23)
3 Corks

Paradise Springs Vidal Blanc ($20)
2.5 Corks

Once the three of us tasted the four Paradise Springs wines, we decided it was time for another small break and some snacks before trying our last winery.  For our last tasting, we ended up at Château Morrisette because, admittedly, the dogs on the labels were calling our names.  Normally, I’m not swayed by critter wines, and our experience with the Château Morrisette wines hasn’t changed my approach.

When we arrived at the table, the woman pouring the wines was very brisk with us, making it clear that she only was pouring the white and sweet wines.  My friends and I looked at each other for a moment and, without hesitation, we all agreed that those selections were fine.  I proceeded to ask our pourer for a tasting sheet so I could take notes, and she nastily handed me a wine-stained, note-filled sheet that someone else clearly used before me.  When I asked for a clean sheet, with a bit of attitude, she told me she didn’t have any.  Clearly, we were not off to a good start.

At this point, I was tempted to walk away from the table without even trying the wines, but since I was there with other people and wasn’t sure if it was just some end-of-the-day crankiness on my part, I let it slide and started tasting.

Well, things continued to go down hill, particularly after I saw a pile of clean, unused tasting sheets that I grabbed and started to make notes on.  The woman was not interested in answering my questions about the wines, not willing to deviate from her script, and was all-around unpleasant and unhelpful.  When we left the table, my friends confirmed that she was being very unpleasant and agreed that we probably should have left right away.  Oh, well.

The wines themselves were a disappointing way to end the day.  For the most part, they lacked personality, and the sweet wines were overly sweet and devoid of typical wine flavors.

As a final surprise, in researching the winery for this blog post, I discovered Château Morrisette actually charged more money for wine purchased at the festival than for wine purchased online.  Most of the wineries offered a significant discount on the wines they sold at the festival, although some simply sold the wines at their suggested retail price.  Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that buying at the festival would have been more expensive.  The prices beloware the prices that were listed at the festival.

Château Morrisette Chardonnay ($17)
2.5 Corks

Château Morrisette Viognier ($20)
2.5 Corks

Angel Chardonnay, semi-dry ($10.50)
2.5 Corks

Château Morrisette Vidal Blanc, semi-dry ($10.50)
2 Corks

Our Blue Dog, semi-sweet ($10.50)
1.5 Corks

Blushing Dog, semi-sweet ($10.50)
1.5 Corks

After finishing up at our last tasting table, the three of us shuttle-riders headed to the designated shuttle meeting spot.  We were given a bottle of water for the ride and made it back to the Vienna metro station with no hassles.

All in all, it was a wonderful day of tasting Virginia wines with a great group of friends.  Dezel, Leighann, Jacquie, Chris, & Tim–thanks for joining me.  It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  For those of you who missed the festival, put it on your calendar for next year!  There is a nice representation of wines from all over Virginia, it’s easy to get to, and it’s a lot of fun.

Leighann, Dezel, Jacquie, & Chris at the Cooper Vineyards Tasting Table

*See Part 1 for reviews of Rosemont Vineyards and Winery, Delfosse Vineyards and Winery, and Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard.
*See Part 2 for reviews of Tarara Winery, Davis Valley Winery, Wintergreen Winery, and Mountfair Vineyards.
*See Part 3 for reviews of Veritas Vineyard and Winery, Villa Appalaccia Winery, and Unicorn Winery.