Sparkling waters, vibrant blue skies, lush vineyards and kickin’ wines – the Finger Lakes region of New York has it all. It’s no secret that this is our favorite wine region. We’ve just returned from the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC15) which was hosted by the wineries of the Finger Lakes with a base camp in Corning, NY. Let us tell you the tale of our wine-soaked adventure, beginning with our pre-conference excursion hosted by the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Here’s our first installment.
Milking The Villa Bellangelo Experience For All It’s Worth
We were parched after driving six-and-a-half hours from Toledo. When we boarded the excursion bus in Corning, we were pleased to discover that dehydration wouldn’t be a problem. Winemakers from Seneca Shore Wine Cellar and Rock Stream Vineyards provided some chilled whites and rosé.
Cabernet Sauvignon In The Finger Lakes – It Can Be Done
Standout wines for Green Dragon and I were the Bellangelo 2012 “1866 Reserve” Riesling and the Bellangelo 2012 “1866 Reserve” Meritage. King’s Garden Cabernet also scored high with us – with the 2008 Reserve being particularly tasty. Growing Cabernet in the cool climate of the Finger Lakes is a challenge, but Mike Oleksyn shows it can be done with the proper care and attention. His Cabs quickly sell out each year.
The experience at Bellangelo was outstanding and this will become a regular stop on our future visits to Seneca Lake.
Never Miss A Toledo Wines and Vines Post – Click To Subscribe
Why Seneca Lakes Wine Trail Is One Of The Best In The Nation
The elements blended together at our next stop, Ventosa Vineyards. This is at the top of the lake and on the northeast corner – much farther away on the trail than we usually go. The extra journey is well worth it.
Ventosa has an exceptional perch overlooking vineyards rolling down to the sparkling Seneca waters. The focus of the evening was on the women of Finger Lakes wine. It was accentuated with superb cuisine, perfectly paired wine and a made-to-order sunset.
Finger Lakes Women Making Their Mark On The Regional Scene
At our location, not very far from Seneca Falls which is considered to be the birthplace of women’s rights, she laid out her journey which exemplified the changing of women’s roles in the wine industry. Trading the “traditional” role of tasting room management for the cultivation and winemaking side, she has become an icon in Finger Lakes winemaking.
Ventosa has benefited from the talents of Jenna LaVita who is winemaker and vineyard manager. She earned extra cash by selling bottle cap earrings until she seized the opportunity to move into the winemaking role at the age of 23.
Liz Leidenfrost is a third generation owner/winemaker and the self-proclaimed diva at Leidenfrost Vineyards. Since the 1940s the Leidenfrost family has grown grapes on its estate on southeast Seneca Lake. Today Liz is a vital part of the award-winning winery’s success.
A Superb Farm-To-Table Finale By Chef Heather Tompkins
The opening candy beet-melon-arugula salad was paired with Three Brothers 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé and Leidenfrost Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. The wines paired sumptuously with the pumpkin seeds and goat cheese in the salad.
The meal wound down with Red Jacket Peaches-Ginger Galette with chocolate. This was paired with Standing Stone Gerwurztraminer Ice and Leidenfrost Cabaret Port-style wine. The Green Dragon has become a Port fan and she reveled in this wine. We had the bonus of enjoying it with Liz Leidenfrost.
This is how everyday should be: incredible food, panoramic scenery and artfully made wine. It’s all beckoning in the Finger Lakes and on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.
Our excursion was only half over as we enjoyed some special bottles in the tasting room and then spent the night in Geneva but that’s a tale for another blog post.