Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wineries galore!

After a hearty breakfast of pancakes topped with fresh picked raspberries, Terry and I bid adieu to the three cats and headed up to Seneca Lake in our new Jeep Compass.

Despite Terry's working on the Clean Lakes program of the USEPA, she hadn't been to either Watkins Glen or Geneva since she was a little girl on a family vacation. We had our Wine Trail Guide Map for Seneca Lake in hand and I pointed out all the vineyards and wineries as we drove north along Rt 14 while she read the descriptions out loud. Once in Geneva, we drove around the streets a bit to admire the old buildings and then ducked over to the northeast corner of Seneca Lake to make our first stop at The Three Brothers' Wineries.

The Three Brothers' wineries off 96A on the northeast side of Seneca Lake includes three distinctive wineries (one for each brother) and a microbrewery that produces some excellent beers--including a yummy root beer. The wineries operate on three different levels, each purported to be indicative of the brother who owns/runs it.

There's the rather ritzy, and straight laced Stony Lonesome up on the hilltop with its merlots, rieslings, cabernets, etc.

Down the hill and on the other side of the parking lot is the somewhat more risque Passion Feet where the wine list includes Seduce Me, 90 Seconds of Heaven, Earn Your Beads, Scandelicious, Hold Your Own, Take Me Home, Barefoot Lovers, Heart Pounding Crush, and Backseat Bounce. (BTW The interior looks nothing like the one at the link. They got rid of the peppermint stripe pink and made things more of a Moulin Rouge. More in style with a place one might go for a clandestine rendezvous.)

Follow the gravel path north out of the parking lot and into the woods, pass the rusted out old truck (or two), skirt the pond and you'll come upon a large wooden shack. You've reached Rogue's Hollow. The wines here included Well Hung, 69 Ways To Have Fun, Stoned and Lonesome, Lonely Seaman, Ride'er All Night, Dog's Head Red. Gaitor Bait, Two Banger, and Skirt Lifter.

(Heh, brother #1 at stony Lonesome must have some issues.)

Then there's the War Horse Brewery: Reisling Ale, American Black Lager, East Coast Amber Ale, Raspberry (!) Wheat Ale, and the Iron Fireman Rootbeer.

For $8 per person you can get a "passport" at the Three Brother's complex that allows you to sample six wines/beers at each of the four stops. We got two passports and we each got to order up half the wine list in each winery--then we shared sips. As a result, we each tasted just about every wine on the lists. Then we bought four different bottles from each. They were that good. Besides, there's a 20% discount for a case of 12 and you can mix and match from the three wineries' selections.

As for the War Horse brewery...Terry doesn't care for beer. Her grandma owned a workman's tavern on the border of Linden and Elizabeth, NJ back when she was gorwing up and she used to go over and help clean on Sunday mornings. The smell of stale beer and more still makes her turn green. I, on the other hand, found all the samples excellent. We came home with a growler (roughly 1/2 gallon) of the East Coast Amber Ale and one of the Iron Fireman Rootbeer.

When we finally got back to the Compass, it was time for some vittles. Man can not live on wine, beer, crackers and peanuts alone! So it was back to the west side of Seneca Lake to the Fox Run Vineyards on Rt 14 in Penn Yan. There we learned we had just missed the Garlic Dinner held earlier this week but that the Garlic Festival (August 1 & 2) was around the corner!

We sampled their gourmet sandwiches and salads (excellent if somewhat higher priced than they need be) and then tried a couple of the wines from the complimentary side of their list. Of the six or so we tasted, We settled for bringing three bottles home.

We made one more stop on our way south on Rt 14 at the Earle Estates Meadery. I picked out three bottles that sounded good. (I stopped sampling by then having had more than enough.) A Traditional Honey Mead that was a prize winner, a Gold Medal Blueberry Bounty wine, and a Pear Mead made their way into the Compass and back to the Aerie.

Technically we stopped at four wineries, a brewery and a meadery. There are dozens more along the shores of Seneca Lake. Then there's Cayuga and Keuka Lakes.... I can see the trick of this wine tasting shtick is to 1) swallow very little and 2) don't buy (or at least don't buy more than one or two bottles at a time).

It's a good thing we have company coming up from South Carolina next week. And that Lorraine like to have a glass or two of wine before bed time.

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