Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Destination: Finger Lakes Wine Country

We’re getting ready to launch on a fall trip to the Finger Lakes wineries. You’ll be able to “tag along” through our posts. For those who have never visited this area,2004_0401Fingerlakes0071  what are you waiting for? This is the largest concentration of wineries this side of Napa Valley. The region is about six-and-a-half hours from Toledo and is noted for its natural beauty with countless streams, rivers, gorges and waterfalls. There are more than 100 wineries and plentiful quaint towns, accommodating bed and breakfasts and charming restaurants. Activities include swimming, fishing, boating, camping, biking and even dinner cruises on the lakes.

The Finger Lakes are a series of glacier-carved lakes that to the original settlers, resembled the shape of a hand. Native Americans believed that as God was creating the earth, he rested his hand, creating the Finger Lakes and leaving His imprint for all to see. In 1860 a Frenchman named Charlie Champlin founded the Pleasant Valley Wine Company to make wine with the local grapes. However, the true “father” of Finger Lakes wines is Dr. Konstantin Frank, a Ukrainian-born professor of plant science who first cultivated the European vinifera style wine (despite naysayers).

The terroir of the Finger Lakes is unique with the character of the lakes and soil blending to express itself beautifully through the wines. The region is truly heaven for lovers of Riesling. The Riesling here takes on a crisp, minerally flavor. The dry Rieslings is perhaps the perfect expression of Finger Lakes winemaking, although there is a nice kaleidoscope of wine type's available. The Cabernet Franc is especially noteworthy.

The main lakes for wine lovers are Seneca, Keuka, Cayuga and Canandaigua. The lakes themselves are worth the trip – even without the world-class wine. Seneca Lake is 35 miles long and 630 feet deep in places!

The Finger Lakes are funky, fun and a great place to unwind with a glass of great wine. The setting is especially glorious during the fall foliage season. There’s much more than can be said – and you’ll hear it as we hit the road. Time to finish packing…

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