Thursday, May 9, 2013

Heron Hill Winery: Finger Lakes Winery Visit

One in a series of reports on Finger Lakes wineries from our recent TWAV tasting trip.
What is the most beautiful winery in the Finger Lakes? In our opinion it is Heron Hill, the first stop on our recent wine trip to the Finger Lakes. This is an architectural standout on Lake Keuka with a spectacular structure and a tasting room that exudes class.

Since its opening in 1977, Heron Hill has grown from a 5,000 case winery to one that produces 20,000 cases a year and has 50,000 visitors annually. John Ingle is the owner and grape grower.

After visiting the Corning Museum of Glass, we took off like an arrow for “the Crooked Lake” to visit some of the acclaimed wineries. We were pleased to see that on a Thursday the tasting room was uncrowded and Kara was soon serving up some tastings. Our band of four included Glorious T and the Cabinator plus Green Dragon and myself.

I started with the 2009 Reserve Riesling which is light and flinty with nice citrus and minerality. This was one of my two highest rated wines. The 2011 Reserve Pinot Blanc is more understated with subtle hints of pear and apple.

Green Dragon preferred the 2011 Ingle Vineyard Riesling which had some lemon bursts and was very refreshing. There is 1.5% residual sugar which gives it a full flavor spectrum.

We enjoyed the 2010 Ingle Vineyard Cab Franc as well as the 2010 Cab Franc, but the star of the reds for me was the 2010 Reserve Blaufrankisch. This is Lemberger with a cooler name and flavors of spice and complexity. It is a lighter red that has a smooth finish. Only 84 cases were produced and it retails for $39.99 and is a deal at that price. (We purchased the Blaufrankisch and Ingle Reserve Riesling.)

Lemberger was a real surprise during our more recent trip. There were several great Lemberger, Blaufrankisch and blends. But perhaps no one does it better than Heron Hill.

Our only regret at Heron Hill is that there café was closed. That didn’t dampen our enthusiasm as we sorted through the two dozen selections on their tasting menu while enjoying the great vineyard views. Heron Hill now has tasting rooms on Seneca and Canandaigua lakes, but don’t miss the spectacular home base on Lake Keuka.

Heron Hill is world class in every way and a must stop on your next Finger Lakes visit.

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