Thursday, November 12, 2020

Corning & Southern Finger Lakes Offer A Bounty Of Incredible Wine

Finger Lakes Wine From LeSeurre, Weis & Dr. FrankSeeking world-class white wine? Look no further than New York’s Keuka Lake.

A Wine Playground

We’ve trotted the globe in search of adventure and exemplary wine. While Italy’s Alps and the old vine Shiraz of Australia are impressive, the Finger Lakes region is perhaps our favorite place for wine adventures.

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The Native American legend says that the Great Spirit loved the central New York State region so much that he placed his hands on the land. The imprint filled with crystal water and became the Finger Lakes (although there are 11 of them!).

During a recent International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association webinar with Corning & The Southern Finger Lakes we had a chance to revisit our favorite wine playground. The webinar included a tasting of three superb white wines.

Glass sculpture at Corning Museum of GlassThe sensational wine is just part of the story. Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes is a 4½-hour drive from New York City and about four hours from Philadelphia. It is a world away, though, with small town Americana charm plus world class attractions.

Corning has been voted the Most Fun Small Town and Hammondsport has been named one of the country’s best small lake towns. We’ve enjoyed visits to both over the years. In addition to great dining and shops, Corning also has the Corning Museum of Glass, which has the world’s largest collection of glass art. Its collection spans 3,500 years.

Keuka Lake is known as the crooked Finger Lake, being shaped like a “Y.” While we have enjoyed wine tastings on Seneca, Cayuga, and Canandaigua, we have special affection for Keuka.

Nearby Hammondsport is a wonderful small town with a perfect town square surrounded by restaurants and shops. It’s a short distance from the three wineries highlighted during our webinar.

Towering Trio

In addition to representatives of the Steuben (stew-BEN) County convention and visitors bureau, three wineries were featured: Domaine LeSeurre, Weis Vineyards, and Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery. It is a great snapshot representing the quality wines of the region.

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Domaine LeSeurre 2017 Chardonnay Unoaked Cuvée Classique – Sébastien LeSeurre and wife Céline craft wines using their taste and feelings. “If you make wine with numbers, your wine will taste like numbers,” he said during the webinar. Both Céline and  Sébastien are from France with deep family roots in winemaking. They are the winemaking team for Domaine LeSeurre and with the Chardonnay Cuvée they have crafted a wonderful food wine.

The wine is fermented 100% in stainless steel and undergoes battonage for 10 months. Grapes are sourced from two Finger Lakes vineyards, one predominantly shalestone and the other clay. The wine has tropical fruit and honey notes. There is a flowing minerality and great balance.

Weis Vineyards 2019 Dry Riesling – Hans Peter Weis was born in the Mosel region of Germany and spent his youth in the vineyards and wine cellar of his family’s winery. He decided to pursue his winemaking passion in the US and tried one vintage in Sonoma before stumbling upon the Finger Lakes. Here he found the soils and climate similar to home and the perfect location to handcraft German-style wines.

Weis Riesling and a vegan mealWe paired the Weis Riesling with a vegan meal of crispy tofu with orange sauce and stir-fried vegetables. Our daughter is a vegan chef and outdid herself with this delicious meal. While we had visited the other two featured wineries, this was our first taste of Weis (pronounced VICE) and it did not disappoint.

The wine has refreshing minerality with lime notes and a crackling acidity. There are flavor notes of wet stones and apple. This is an amazing wine and for those who aren’t familiar with the dry style of Riesling, this bottle will be a game-changer. Superb!

Dr. Konstantin Frank 2019 Rkatsitelli – Meaghan Frank is the great-granddaughter of Konstantin Frank, the Ukrainian immigrant whose determination and skill changed the course of wine history in the Finger Lakes. It was previously thought that New York was only suitable for table wines made with native grapes and that vitis vinifera, or noble grapes, would never grow there. He dashed that idea and today the region produces world-class wine and the winery that bears his name is acknowledged as one of the top 100 wineries in the world.

Meaghan has brought innovative ideas to the winery, but shared something very old. Rkatsitelli is one of the oldest grape varieties in the world, dating back to 3000 BC.

Dr. Frank’s has a wide-ranging lineup of wines, but the Rkat is special indeed. It has medium body weight and texture and a core of grapefruit flavor. Notes of citrus and flower blossoms intermingle with mineral undertones. What an amazing wine! It will pair perfectly with sushi, seafood, poultry and even barbeque.

We have only scratched the surface of this enticing locale. Each time we travel there we return with beautiful memories (and plenty of wine). For more information on the destination, check out the Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes website.

1 comment:

Stacey Wittig said...

I truly enjoyed Finger Lakes wines. I'm glad that you did too, Stacey Wittig