FINGER LAKES REPORT -- Our final day of tasting on the Finger Lakes started with a dash to Cayuga Lake. It has 16 wineries, most on the west side. The wineries aren’t grouped as closely together as on Seneca meaning more time between stops on the Cayuga Wine Trail.
There are advantages, however. You have an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Cayuga is the longest and largest of the Finger Lakes and the wineries tend to be less crowded than those on Seneca.
Our first stop was Goose Watch Winery. It was a sunny day, which added to the glorious scenery as we drove up the driveway past a grove of chestnut trees. The elegant tasting room is located in a beautifully restored century-old barn.
This is a fiesta for wine tasters. For the modest $2 tasting fee you can sample up to eight wines with an extra charge for a couple of reserve wines and an ice wine.
Goose Watch has a unique roster of wines including New York State’s only Villard Blanc, Melody and Traminette (two newer grape varieties developed by Cornell University), and two old Finger Lakes varietals Diamond and Rose of Isabella.
We started out with a very enjoyable Pinot Noir Brut Rose champagne and moved on to a 2008 Villard Blanc. This is a dry wine with flavors of citrus and herbs. Nice!
I always enjoy a good Viognier and the 2007 Goose Watch was a treat, laced with delicate tropical fruit and a bit more body than a Riesling. The price is a very reasonable $18. They had a special and so I was able to purchase three for the price of two.
Melody is a newer premium grape that has a fruity flavor with a touch of herbs and a flowery aroma. This was a bit sweet for me, and registers 2.0% residual sugar. The lower the number, the drier the wine. The Viognier, by comparison is 0.5% residual sugar.
Two wine varieties I hope you’ll try are Lemberger and Chambourcin. Lemberger is a German grape and the wine produced is light bodied and intended to be drunk young. The Goose Watch Lemberger had a peppery flavor and taste of berries.
Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid that is well suited to growing in the Finger Lakes. It is also popular in the Loire Valley in France. It has a beautiful deep color and our sample had flavor notes of raspberries. It is aged in oak and goes well with lean red meat and pasta.
Before hitting the road we strode out to the deck to enjoy the view of the lake and the vineyards. It was a sight that brought on smiles and laughter – but there was much more to see, so we were off to our next stop.