Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finger Lakes: Thirsty Owl Wine Company

FINGER LAKES REPORT -- Our next visit was the Thirsty Owl Wine Company. Glorious T, one of our tasting crew, loves animals and 2009 10 04 025 so thought the combination of Goose Watch and Thirsty Owl would be an opportunity for picking up wines with great animal labels. I typically avoid llamas, pandas, penguins and any other contrivance designed to sell less than quality wine. But, if you have superior wine AND an attractive bottle it certainly is a win-win situation.

Thirsty Owl is a great stop on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail and has  a prime location overlooking the lake. They have a nice bistro and a shady patio overlooking their 2,000 feet of lakefront frontage. The tasting room is spacious and airy.

The origin of the name is an interesting one: “Years ago a gentleman was stumbling home after a fine night of faster horses, younger women and older wine when he came across a 4 foot, six inch owl in his path. The owl stated: ‘I have a deal for you. I won’t interfere2009_1004fingerlks20041 with your faster horses or younger women if you share your older wine with me. In return I will keep the birds and critters out of your vineyard.’ Thus the deal was made. The owl guards the vineyard and the gentleman shares with his thirsty friend the finest wines in New York.” You’ll find the owl on the patio keeping watch.

We began with the 2008 Pinot Gris which had green apple flavors but we rated as nothing special. Next up was the 2008 Dry Riesling, a gold medal winner with a nice balanced flavor of citrus and grapefruit.

Moving to reds, we sampled the 2007 Pinot Noir. This was a smooth wine with a strong pomegranate flavor. The tannins were refined resulting in a wine not overly oaked.

Thirsty Owl has some very nice reds and I was anx2009 10 04 023ious to try their Chancellor. This French-American hybrid grape is common in the Finger Lakes, but scarce elsewhere. There are rows of Chancellor grapes in the vineyard right outside the front door to the Thirsty Owl.
This wine had a beautiful, dark purple color with a subtle berry flavor and soft tannins. Very smooth and satisfying.

Perhaps the best sample of the visit was the Thirsty Owl Meritage. This is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It it nicely balanced and rich with velvet softness and lively fruit. Out companions Glorious T and Spiderman grabbed a bottle of this.

My final tasting was of the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah-Malbec blend which they term as a “trilogy” of prestigious estate grown grapes. Who could not like a blend of these three great grapes? It was bold, smooth and just maybe a bit too tart. It retails for $17.95.

It was a great tasting experience. Last year my wife and I enjoyed a delicious lunch in the bistro. This was a gorgeous fall day and lunch on the terrace would have been grand. This was out last day for tasting on our trip so we reluctantly fired up the car and headed for our next winery.

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