We always like new discoveries during our visits and we got one close to home last time. Seneca Springs bed and breakfast on the east side of Seneca Lake in Hector is usually the base camp for our wine adventures. It’s right in the middle of everything and during a morning walk we discovered a winery we hadn’t visited before: J.R. Dill Winery.
The winery has been open for three years and everything has a new feel to it. The tasting room is spacious with plenty of light and ideal for groups. The center of attraction is the bar, which certainly is the only one like it in the world – it features a collection of Seneca Lake glass. The colored chips, worn smooth by years of friction under the waves, are illuminated under a glass topped bar. It is quite mesmerizing – especially after a few glasses of vino.
The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly and the wines are very reasonably priced, with most $9 to $15. We opened with the 2011 Gerwurztraminer. This is made with 100% Seneca Lake grapes. We enjoyed it, but it still ranks below other Finger Lakes Gerwurz. The 2011 Dry Riesling exhibited a touch of lemon and floral aromas.
The 2010 DeChaunac was my favorite of the visit. This is a French-American hybrid developed in the 19th century to be disease resistant. It makes juicy wine that is dry and low in tannins. This was well balanced and would be a perfect pairing with some roast beef and horseradish.
The 2009 Cab Franc has bright and smooth raspberry flavors with a hint of pepper. This wine is aged in French Oak for 18 months. Cab Franc is the flagship red for the Finger Lakes and this is a nice offering at a very reasonable $15 price.
As we were wrapping up, we met the very friendly owner and founder, Jeff “J.R.” Dill. The winery, which has an attractive tasting room with a beautiful location, is a great addition to the Seneca wine scene. The prices are low, the wine tasty and the staff very friendly.
For a fun wine experience in a casual setting, J.R. Dill should be on your radar.