Friday, July 12, 2013

Serenity Vineyards: Finger Lakes Winery Visit

Another in our continuing series of Finger Lake winery reviews.

One of the joys of a Finger Lakes wine excursion is checking out the hidden gems – a new winery, or one off the beaten path you’ve never visited before. That’s how we came to visit perhaps the most “unscenic” of the Finger Lakes wineries.

Don’t get me wrong, when I say the winery isn’t pretty, that’s not a judgment on their products. Far from it. The curb appeal of this winery is strictly from the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, a collection of wineries based in industrial garages in the Santa Barbara area of California. They produce wonderful wines – but if you are looking for manicured lawns and stained glass windows, forget about it.

The winery tasting room located on the west shore of Seneca Lake and has been open for two years. Although the winery has been open a short time, the Smith family vineyard has been supplying area wineries for many years.

The facility is basically a large metal warehouse building and the setting inside is simple and casual. Winemaker and sales manager Darren Bowker was doing the pouring behind a table the top of which was a wooden board covered with colorful graffiti from past wine tasters. Barrels and cases of wine filled most of the other area.

Darren is not only a master of wine, but of music as well. He tuned in some String Cheese Incident while we enjoyed the tasting.

First up was the 2007 Chardonnay. This is unusual because most whites are trending down after three years and are an uncertain proposition after five. This Chardonnay had a great flavor profile with a rich body and tastes of coconut and butterscotch.

We enjoyed the 2008 Riesling, which was finished semi-dry, but it wasn’t a standout with so many premier Rieslings in the Finger Lakes.  Moving to the reds, we tried the 2007 Pinot Noir. this was a richer wine with strawberry highlights and one of the best during our visit.

The 2011 Cab Franc was another standout. It is finished dry with flavor notes of tobacco leaf and spice. We finished with the 2011 Merlot, which is their priciest bottle at $24.99. Although pleasant, the 2011 Cab Franc or the Pinot (each at $16.99) are better buys.

True to its name, Serenity Vineyard is a peaceful tasting experience – far from the bustling crowds. There’s plenty of good wine to enjoy and we look forward seeing their growth in the years ahead.

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