This past weekend (just after Nov. 10, our 27th anniversary), Patti and I visited the Finger Lakes region of New York for a three day romantic getaway.
We drove up on Friday, stopping in Williamsport at the incredible Bullfrog Brewery for a wonderful lunch.
Then, we drove past our hotel (in Painted Post, NY) and directly to Ravines Winery to pick up some bottles of their Most Excellent Meritage (rhymes with "heritage") wine. Picked up some other wines, too.
Left there and headed to our hotel to check in, then to downtown Corning, NY (a really nice, quaint little town) for dinner.
The best part? I stopped in a cigar shop while walking to the restaurant and picked up a Fuente Opus X cigar ($20 and worth every penny)! Woo-hoo!!
Nice dinner, then back to the hotel to crash. We were beat.
Next morning ... Saturday ... after breakfast, we headed up to the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. We were electric with excitement (and basking in "afterglow", ifyouknowwhatImean wink wink).
First stop was Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars. Their red wines were ... uh ... "odd" tasting, but their sickening-sweet white and blush wines (including -- get this -- Dandelion and Cranberry) were, surprisingly, really good. Got about four bottles, including cranberry to enjoy at Thanksgiving. I knew, then, that this was going to be a great day.
Left there and drove through Hammondsport (note to self: Next time, stay at Hammondsport), a very nice little hamlet by the lake. Really nice, almost a "college town" feel to it.
(An aside: GO PENN STATE! "WE ARE..."!!!!!!!)
Went from there to Bully Hill Vineyards, which was more commercial/large-scale/tourist-y. They had a schitck they went through during tasting where the kind of put down wine snobs, which I found offending. I'm not a wine snob, but I am somewhat educated about wine and do appreciate the finer nuances of wine. I mean, why not learn and appreciate a craft where people work hard and pick grapes in the rain (all grapes are hand-picked, mind you) rather than just visit wineries to get drunk. Wine is like love ... to be appreciated rather than just experienced.
Nevertheless, we did enjoy Bully Hill and picked up some more wine (but of course). Patti had enough foresight to have us stop at Wegmans in Corning on Friday night and get some olives, bread, cheese ("Dubliner", our favorite), apples and roasted red peppers, and we snacked before leaving Bully Hill and heading to the jewel of the Finger Lakes, Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars.
Visit the web site, but long story short: Dr. Frank was the genius who figured out how to grow European grapes in the Finger Lakes region.
Let me back up: During the weekend we visited the Finger Lakes, they were having an "event", the Holiday something-or-other, where -- for $45 per person or $50 per couple -- you got a glass and then could taste wines, get some food, etc etc.
But the thing is, "those" people where everywhere. Made for some crowds.
(In fact, after Bully Hill, we went to Heron Hill Winery, but it was so crowded that we left without any tastings. It's a popular spot just because it's gorgeous, not because of the wine.)
(A lot like me: women like be because of my dashingly handsome looks and often miss my intelligence, wit, Olympic-like build and cat-like reflexes)
(The heron (it's a bird, dummy) has a very special meaning to me. I'm absolutely amazed at the bird, and when I was going through a "tough time" in my life in about 1994, in a way I can't explain here, the Blue Heron really touched my heart. Then, in 2003, after the tragic passing of my nephew -- Harry -- at only age 16, a Blue Heron flew over me in a moment that cannot be explained outside of "a sign from God". I can't explain it here, but trust me -- the Blue Heron is very special to me.)
Where was I? Oh yeah ... Dr. Frank.
Well, at Dr. Frank's, they put the masses into a separate building, and let those of us who actually know something about wine into a room for tasting. This room was roped off, and only a limited number of people were allowed to enter at a time.
Great, GREAT experience! Fantastic wine (France, watch your back!). The guy explained the history of Dr. Frank's winery, let us taste ... it was the highlight of the day, to be sure. I impressed the guy with my tasting description of Cabernet Sauvignon versus Baco Noir ... yes, I'm that good. *AHEM*
Now, picture this: I'm driving, so I'm tasting the wine. As in maybe a teaspoon per taste. Meanwhile, Patti is drinking anywhere from 5/8- to one ounce per tasting. Five tastings per winery. So after three wineries, she's already had up to 15 ounces of wine.
See where I'm going with this????
We left Dr. Frank's and headed to Hunt Country vineyards (be careful! Do NOT get your "Mords Wixed" when pronouncing "Hunt Country").
Great time there. "Dave", the guy that was our host, was great. We kind of shuffled off to the side and had our own private tasting. He appreciated our knowledge and appreciation for his craft, and he rewarded us with an incredible, in-depth experience. Thanks, Dave, for a great time.
After that ... I can't remember the wineries. I was being careful to not overdo it, but Patti was ... well ... let's just say "the wine was talking" for the rest of the evening!
Yates Cellars ... Barrington Cellars ... Keuka Spring ... Rooster Hill ("Hal", our host, was fantastic) ... McGregor Winery ...
It's all a bit of a blur. The day wore on, the sun set, and we had a great time.
We ended up with 29 bottles of wine. Yeah!!!
Dinner that night was at London Underground, a nice upscale restaurant in Corning. I enjoyed the fillet with two glasses of 18-year old McCallan Single Malt scotch.
Sunday we drove home. Stopped in Lewisburg, PA, for a great lunch at a tiny, out-of-the-way restaurant at an antique shop (and I hate hate HATE antiques).
When we arrived at the hotel on Friday night, this Halliburton truck was parked next to us. To find the owner, I just looked for a very weathly-looking person!:
Bully Hill Vineyards:
All The Best,