The clock struck Noon on Friday and we walked in to Heron Hill Winery, located on beautiful Keuka Lake. TasteCamp was here and under way.
About 40 Bloggers, Writers and Enthusiasts headed for TasteCamp and this was the kick off…a grand tasting of Keuka Lake Wineries and a lunch sponsored by Heron Hill Winery and Finger Lakes Wine Country.
There was alot of wineries there, so many that I could not make it to every singe one. I did my best and tasted alot of interesting wines and a few varietals and blends I have never had or heard of before.
I could list every singe wine I tasted, but that would be too much. I could talk about every single vineyard that was there, again that would be too much. So what I am going to talk to you about are different wines that stuck out and really impressed me most. Wines that I would love to revisit and wineries that I and if I were you, would consider visiting the next time you are up in the finger lakes.
There were a few vineyards or wineries that really made my day memorable. The first being McGregor Vineyards. Located on the eastern shore of Keuka Lake in the town of Dundee. John McGregor was there to pour some wonderful and interesting wines that McGregor Vineyards produces.
The vineyard was established in 1980 by the McGregor family, but the grapes vines go back to 1971 when some of them were planted. They have quite an array of Vinifera and Hybrids grapes planted including: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Muscat Ottonel, Cayuga White, and Vignoles, Sereksiya Charni, Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, and Sereksiya Rose.
First up was their 2008 Dry Riesling Reserve. Mineral and citrus notes come out first followed by some white peach. Zinging acidity and zesty lime and grapefruit were very strong on the palate. Really solid clean finish. It has 1% Residual sugar and 11.5% alcohol.
Next up was their 2008 Dry Gewurztraminer Reserve. Tropical notes were present in the glass along with some apricot. When I tasted this, my mouth was electrified. I was not expecting this wine to be so dry. But at .25% residual sugar and 13% alcohol, it really opened up my eyes. I was tasting some very good spice and stone fruit, like peach and apricot and a little mango. There was ginger and a nice floral finish. This might have been my wine of the day.
I was then poured their 2008 Rkatsiteli-Sereksiya. Huh? How do you say that. Well to see and listen the John McGregor say it was a work of art. It is pronounced like this, ur cots eh telle sir res se uh. Two grapes I have never had before, but would love to have again. Aroma of tropical fruit with a hint of fresh herbs. On the palate I was picking up some melon and kiwi. Very refreshing.
Then I also had a very popular wine of theirs, maybe their signature blend. It is 2007 Black Russian Red. A blend of Saperavi and Sereksiya grapes, here is the information about the process for this wine:
On October 26, 2007 a total of 4.5 tons of estate grown Saperavi and Sereksiya grapes were harvested by
hand. At harvest the grapes had 23 brix natural sugar, 0.885 TA and 3.22 pH. The grapes were de-stemmed,
inoculated with yeast and fermented for six days at 69-82 degrees. The wine underwent a 100% malo-lactic
fermentation and was aged in Minnesota American oak barrels for 19 months. An additional 4.3 tons of estate
grown Saperavi and Sereksiya grapes were harvested by hand. This batch of Black Russian grapes had 22 brix
natural sugar, 1.01 TA and 3.34 pH. These grapes were de-stemmed, inoculated with yeast and fermented for
seven days at 70-84 degrees. After 100% malo-lactic fermentation, the wine was aged in Minnesota American
oak barrels for 18 months. On June 19, 2009 the two wines were blended together. Approximately half of the
blend was put back in oak barrels for further aging and the other half was used for this bottling. It was egg white
fined and cold stabilized. It was then filtered and bottled on August 20, 2009.
This wine packed a punch. Loads of dark berries and grilled stone fruit. Coca powder and woodsy, earthy notes were present on the nose. There was also hints of licorice and leather too. The taste was not for the faint of hearts. Ultra strong tannins that gripped your palate with tones of spicy dark fruit. There was some notes of eucalyptus and mint too. The finish was a nice long black pepper spice. Despite all of stuff that was happening with this wine, it was well balanced and smooth. The tannins were big and griping but there was also a bit of acidity too. The wine had alot of old world qualities. A stand out for me on day one.
I wish I had to time to go and visit McGregor Vineyards. They had alot more to offer in their tasting room and from the looks of it their website as well.
This post has run a bit longer than I though, so there will be another post about the Grand Tastings tomorrow featuring Imagine Moore and Heron Hill.
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I have known and appreciated McGregor Wines for many years. I tell everyone about the wines and also about the generous hospitality of John and Stacy at the winery. Their passion for producing the best wine their grapes can yield is infectious. John spent what I would consider an inordinate amount of time educating my palette and that meant repeated tastings across our many visits.
What is disheartening is this blog. Had I not known this winery and only had these words to go by, I would wonder just what this winery was about as well as I wonder just what this blogger is about. I couldn’t get through some of the incomplete sentences and strange turns of phrase. The blog wouldn’t have been overly long if the blogger had taken 2 minutes and read what he had written. My “huh’s” would have been his and McGregor winery would have been much more clearly represented.
All you travelers to the Finger Lakes wineries, make it a point to visit Keuka Lake wineries and start with McGregor so that the taste of wine is in your soul and the view is in your mind’s eye.
Thanks for commenting and I guess, thanks for trying to read.
I apologize for the VERY bad grammar and spelling. I have been using Microsoft Live Writer lately and it has been working well. It is fast and easy to post to a blog. While I did correct my mistakes, Live Writer found a few others. I did correct them and I set it to be published at a certain time. Apparently, my corrections were not saved and what you see is a rough draft of a finished blog post. I apologize to you and everyone that has read this post to date. I am going back to repair those errors.
We all make mistakes, that’s why there are erasers on pencils and for chalk boards. Sure, I have dyslexia and I could have blamed that. Or I could have ignored your comment all together. I could have even deleted it too. But your comment will help me get things right and improve my blogging.
However, I do want to point out Tastecamp. The idea behind TasteCamp is to bring 40 writers, bloggers and enthusiasts to a region to discover the wines of the region. This was done brilliantly. There were about 10 wineries pouring that day. It was impossible for me and the bloggers to visit all the wineries in a 2 hour span. John did devote as much time with everyone, but it was a challenge to really get the whole McGregor experience.
Not visiting McGregor vineyards and writing about them would be a wrong, in my opinion. I decided to write about the wine that I tasted that day and the wine that made an impression on me. McGregor made such an impression on me that I decided to give them a whole post instead of just a snippet or two. I was so impressed with their Black Russian that I clipped from their web page the processes behind the making. McGregor could only bring a sampling of their wines and John brought some very fine wines. They were all very good; these are the one’s that stand out.
As I said at the end, I had wished that I had time to visit them and the next time I go to the Finger Lakes I plan on making them a destination. I was so impressed with their wines that I immediately requested to be on their mailing list.
Stephen, I hope you understand what I am trying to say. I also hope that you will read my blog in the future. If not, I am sorry.