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

Villa Bellangelo Riesling (and one Outstanding Rosé)

Wine and Tweeting at Villa Bellangelo during WBC15

Wine and Tweeting at Villa Bellangelo during WBC15

I started my Wine Bloggers’ Conference (WBC15) experience on the pre-conference excursion to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail (SLWT). Seneca Lake is the largest of the Finger Lakes and the deepest lake in New York State. The SLWT is home to 35 wineries. While Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir are the dominate grapes, wineries are experimenting with grapes like Blaufränkisch/Lemberger and Grüner Veltliner, as well as some of the native and hybrid grapes.

Villa Bellangelo Riesling lineup

Villa Bellangelo Riesling lineup

The first winery stop was to Villa Bellangelo (@BellangeloWine), which is on a hill overlook central Seneca Lake.  We were greeted with a rosé, and then had the opportunity to taste their wines at our own pace.

2013 Villa Bellangelo Rosé

2013 Villa Bellangelo Rosé

2013 Dry Rosé ($13)
40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 30% Cabernet Franc
Production: 200 cases
One of my favorite wines of the weekend, both because of the quality and the price, and my first Finger Lakes Rosé. This wine had some strawberries, some red delicious apples, and good acidity without it being over powering. It was fantastic with the goat cheese and the prosciutto.
4.5 Corks

2012 Villa Bellangelo Dry Riesling

2012 Villa Bellangelo Dry Riesling

2012 Dry Riesling ($19, the winery limits purchases of past vintages to 3 bottles)
100% Riesling
Production: 303 cases
Wow…that nose! This wine was everything I expect from a Riesling in one beautiful glass. There was some minerality, Granny Smith apples, grapefruits, and a hint of gooseberry. The winery says this is dry, but there is definitely a touch of sweetness, but the bright acidity and keeps the wine tasting fresh.
4 Corks

2013 Villa Bellangelo Dry Riesling

2013 Villa Bellangelo Dry Riesling

2013 Dry Riesling ($18)
100% Riesling
Production: 475 cases
This wine didn’t have quite the complexity of the 2012, but there were still some good Granny Smith apple and citrus notes. It was food friendly wine that I would happily buy if I saw it on a restaurant wine list or in my local wine store.
3.5 Corks

2014 Villa Bellangelo Dry Riesling

2014 Villa Bellangelo Dry Riesling

2014 Dry Riesling
This wine is still unreleased, and I don’t have the price in my notes, but keep your eye out for this one. It was interesting, and while it wasn’t my favorite, I think it would make a nice summer picnic wine at the right price point.  Definitely the most fruit forward, although I wonder if that will calm down a little with some aging.
3.5 Corks

Question of the Day: Now that Labor Day has come and gone, are you going to start migrating away from white wines like Riesling?

Hanging Out With Happy Bitch

The Happy Bitch Hangout SceneOver the years, I’ve mentioned the two groups of girlfriends that I met online while Hubby and I were planning our wedding.  These women come from all over North America, we all come from different background, and we all have very different career and life goals.  The frequency of our group emails ebbs and flows depending on how busy life gets and, with the arrival of babies, our yearly group get-togethers have morphed into seeing each other in smaller groups and more sporadically.  However, I never stop being amazed that almost 7 years later, I count these women among some of my closest friends.  One group even maintains a ritual of having an online holiday gift exchange.

The unopened Happy Bitch fortune

The unopened Happy Bitch fortune

As I prepared to write this post about the group’s 2012 holiday gift exchange, which actually takes place in January after the holiday craziness has died down, I was struck by how technology has changed since we started this tradition.  When we first started doing the live, online get-togethers for the holidays and baby showers, it was impossible to do a group video chat for free.  So, we would find a time where all 8 of us could sign onto Google’s GChat.  We would type out details on the presents as we opened them, and when our turn was over, we would take and attach a picture of ourselves with our loot and upload it to the group chat.  It was clearly not an ideal way for us to spend time together, but it was the best we could do.  Thinking about it now makes me laugh.

The Happy Bitch Fortune, which is a quote about happiness from Keryl Pesce's book

The Happy Bitch Fortune, which is a quote about happiness from Keryl Pesce’s book

Then Google+ came along, and with it the introduction of Google Hangout.  Admittedly, I don’t use Google+ for much else besides Hangout, but it forever changed how I get-together with my girlfriends.  This year, on January 9th, after a full day of jury duty, I signed online to see the 7 faces of my fabulous friends, hear them laugh, and watch them open up their holiday gifts.  Those of us who weren’t pregnant  indulged in an adult beverage to help keep things festive, and I couldn’t resist opening my last bottle of Happy Bitch Rosé.

The Happy Bitch Rosé (website, amazon) is made in the Hudson Valley of New York with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.  On the nose, there were limes and very ripe strawberries with a hint raspberries and rhubarb.  On the mouth, there were limes, candied strawberries, and raspberries mixed with a hint of orange blossom.  The wine had a touch of sweetness, was lightly effervescent, and a bright acidity.

Happy Bitch Rosé

Happy Bitch Rosé

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $11, Happy Bitch Rosé has an amazing quality-price ratio.  And, while this isn’t the first time that I’ve reviewed the Happy Bitch Rosé, I came away with the same impression as I did the last time I had it.  The wine is not complex and it’s not unusual, but it is enjoyable and very drinkable.  In fact, it is perfect for what it claims to be…a wine that “pairs will with girlfriends and great memories.”  And, I enjoyed it while doing exactly that.  Before I knew it, on that cold January evening, my girlfriends and I had spent a couple of hours talking and laughing online, oohing and ahhing over each other’s presents, and drinking and discussing our respective wines.  The only thing that would have made me a “Happier Bitch” was if my girlfriends and I had been able to do this in person.

Question of the Day (ok, I have two today):
1)  Do you have a particular drink that you enjoy during girl’s/guy’s night?
2) Do you have friends that you met online that have turned into “real life” friends?  I’d love to hear your story!

Price: $11
Purchased at Arlington Wine and Liquor
Overall: 4 Corks

Great Rosé + Local Pride = Happy Bitch

*** I received this wine as a sample. ***

Friday was both wonderful and difficult all at the same time.  The first Friday of every month is one of my busiest, but it was particularly hard to focus last week because of the Fourth of July holiday in the middle.  It was a tease having a mid-week day off, only to have to come back to busy workdays.  By early afternoon, though, the rush was over and my coworkers started escaping the building early.  While I wasn’t that lucky, by the time 5pm rolled around, I was ready to shut down for the weekend.

Even though DC was experiencing a record-breaking heat wave, I decided to go to the metro station that required a slightly longer walk outside just so I could walk past the Capitol building.  Few things make me happier than that view on a Friday afternoon.  By the time I walked in the condo door, though, I was hot and ready to collapse on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Happy Bitch Rosé

Happy Bitch Rosé

The Happy Bitch (website) is made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.  On the nose, there were limes and strawberries, mixed with a hint of raspberries.  On the mouth, there were limes, candied strawberries, and raspberries.  The wine was off-dry with good acidity and bit of bubbles.

One of the interesting things about Happy Bitch wines is they’re the result of a partnership between Debbie Gioquindo, who wine bloggers may know as Hudson Valley Wine Goddess (blog) and author Keryl Pesce (website).  These two wine-loving women set out to create a wine to make people happy, and they certainly did that.

My happiness while drinking this wine, however, goes beyond the usual excitement of finding a Rosé that I actually enjoy and beyond the fact that I opened it on a Friday night with a relaxing weekend ahead of me.  My happiness with this wine occurred the moment I took the bottle out of it’s shipping package.  As I was looking at the label, I realized it was made at Sisterhood Winery in Washingtonville, NY, which is a couple of towns away from where I grew up.  Washingtonville High School was my high school’s main football rival.  While I haven’t lived in that area of the country for almost 15 years, it’s where I spent my childhood and teenage life.  So, unexpectedly trying this wine became a different type of personal experience, and tasting a delicious wine that hails from the same little area of the world as I do…well, the local success story makes me one Happy Bitch.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $14 (and definitely at the sale price of $11), this is a Rosé you should add to your summer wine repertoire.  And guys, don’t let the name scare you away, as it’s a Rosé that even the most masculine of you will enjoy.  That said, it will be a great addition to one of my Wine Ladies get togethers, so I see myself purchasing a bottle in the not-to-distant future.  All in all, it’s the perfect wine for grabbing before going on a picnic or heading up to the roof deck because it’s light, simple, and refreshing during this summer heat.  The wine is food-friendly, but will also is very enjoyable on it’s own…the type of wine that really is meant for sipping, sitting, and chatting the evening away.

Question of the Day:  Do you feel pride when you see successes coming from the area you grew up, even if you don’t live there anymore?

P.S. As you can tell by my lack of pictures, my evening with this wine didn’t go as planned.  I was so excited to open it up and try it that I didn’t realize my memory card was not in the camera while I was taking pictures.  So, while I was sure that got a few great shots from the ones I peaked at as they flashed on the screen, it wasn’t until after I finished the bottle (yes, I drank the whole bottle in one night) and had cleaned up for the evening (which included throwing it away) that I realized none of pictures had been saved. I will add one of my photographs, along with the thoughts of the Wine Ladies, after our next gathering.  Until then, the stock photo will have to do.

Suggested Retail Price: $14
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks