Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wine-Themed Cookout Stokes Finger Lakes Wines

The Finger Lakes wine region is one of our favorites. To celebrate their very special slice of wine-making heaven, they promoted Finger Lakes Wine Hour – a four-hour event in which people were encouraged to taste and tweet some of their wines.
The TWAV team was quick to answer the call. It also coincided with the most perfect spring weekend yet this year. We swept off the patio, fired up the grill and “chillaxed” while enjoying a nice sampling of Finger Lakes wines.
Our wine tasting menu went like this:
  • Glenora Wine Cellars 2013 Riesling
  • Heron Hill 2010 Ingle Vineyard Riesling
  • Boundary Breaks 2011 #198 Reserve Riesling
  • Ravines 2011 Pinot Noir
  • Chateau Lafayette Reneau Cabernet Franc
  • Hunt Country 2011 Meritage
  • Kenwood 1994 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma
The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance supplied the Glenora, Boundary Breaks and Chateau Lafayette Reneau bottles.
To accompany our meal, we enjoyed some tomato bacon squares and barbeque pizza appetizers, then rolled into a quinoa salad. For the main course we had chicken satay and also mici. Mici is Romanian street food – tiny garlicky skinless sausages. I made them, much to the confusion of the Green Dragon. They are equal parts lamb, pork and beef with liberal doses of coriander, marjoram, cumin and garlic. Served on ciabatta rolls with thick brown mustard, they were divine.
Anyhoo, back to the wine. We were joined by Sax Man and Wine Chick and Dr. J and Casey (with little Hadleigh). We opened with the Glenora Riesling. At 3.52% residual sugar, it has a pop of sweetness. It feels German in style and, in short, is summer in a glass with a nose of apple and pear with apricot flavors.
In a bit of a wine gaffe, I then served the Heron Hill Ingle Vineyard Dry Riesling. There is never a wrong time to serve this wine, but it is decidedly dry and should have led off the hit parade. It was actually on standby, but the crowd had breezed through the Glenora quickly, so I had to pop the cork. This is a beautiful wine picked up during our last visit. It has crisp acidity with slate minerality. There is less fruit, but it is a thing of beauty.
We then moved to the Chateau Lafayette Reneau Cabernet Franc. This wine captured the imagination of the group, pairing beautifully with our mici and displaying swirling pepper notes with rich berries. The body is light and just right for the spring evening.
The Boundary Breaks #198 Reserve Riesling then made it’s anticipated debut. This is a new winery that has made quite a splash. This is a sweet (5.7% RS) wine but that is moderated by acidity and complex flavors. Honey, flowers and citrus combine in a lush palate. This is full bodied with a lingering finish. Bravo!
We sampled briefly the Hunt Country 2011 Meritage before uncorking the Ravines 2011 Pinot Noir. Wine Chick and Sax Man belong to the Ravinous Club (Ravines wine club) and have been enjoying great wines like this for a while. This is a smooth and refined Pinot with a dollop of cherry.
Toasting the great wines of Finger Lakes could have gone on all night, after all there are more than 115 wineries in the region and 9,200 acres of grapes. We love it because of the world-class wines produced, the friendly people, great values and beautiful scenery.
We did wrap up the evening with a non-Finger Lakes Wine, but that is a story all its own and will be covered in a separate article. This was a evening to celebrate the Finger Lakes – and we did it in style!
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