FLX: Finger Lakes Extravaganza – Part II

23 05 2016

In case you missed the previous chapters of this tale, check out the Intro & Conclusions from my Finger Lakes trip here and Part I of the tasting journey here.

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August Deimel, Keuka Spring Vineyards

After leaving the western shores of Keuka Lake and the bar-setting wines of Dr. Konstantin Frank, we did a loop around the lake and landed at our only other Keuka stop, the aptly named Keuka Spring Vineyards.  If Dr. Frank was a reverential nod to the Finger Lakes’ past, Keuka Spring was a thrilling glimpse at its future, primarily thanks to its young, supremely talented and boundary-pushing winemaker August Deimel.  We were fortunate enough to have him lead us through a tasting of both current releases in the front of the house and experimental tank samples in the back, throughout which the only sound other than August’s compelling narrative was that of paradigms shifting. Read the rest of this entry »

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FLX: Finger Lakes Extravaganza – Part I

22 05 2016

If you’re a fan of stage-setting or want a little more background info about what the Finger Lakes are all about, start here with this intro post.  Otherwise read on for the first breakdown of what went down over our four days of visiting and tasting in FLX, NY.

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We ironically spent our first actual tasting in the Finger Lakes trying New York State wines from anywhere but.  We disembarked at the beautiful New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, on the northern shores of the lake of the same name, which featured a built-in tasting classroom, professional learning kitchen, bistro and wine shop. There we tasted and were educated about a variety of wines from two other major New York AVAs, the Hudson River region due north of NYC and the Long Island AVA on the eastern half of Long Island.  Two winery representatives made a long early-morning trek to guide us through their wares. Read the rest of this entry »





FLX: Finger Lakes Extravaganza – Intro & Conclusions

21 05 2016

I am freshly returned from a five-day trek out to the Finger Lakes wine region in central New York State, so named for the 11 long, thin, appendage-like bodies of water stretching north to south between Rochester on the left and Syracuse on the right.  I travelled with two importers, two retailers, three sommeliers, a restauranteur and a widely published local print journalist.  We ventured up and down both shores of three different lakes, visited 13 wineries, tasted over 150 different local wines (of which I hastily scribbled written notes for about 120) and dined or drank with half a dozen different winemakers.  And we all returned with newfound understanding, appreciation and excitement for a region that is set to explode into the world’s quality wine consciousness, if it hasn’t already.

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I didn’t first read about the Finger Lakes until about five years ago; I don’t remember seeing a bottle of FLX wine on a Calgary wine shelf until a couple years after that, and there was certainly no such thing as Finger Lakes selection in Alberta retail until last year.  Chances are that if you haven’t stumbled onto those few rare bottles in the market, the region is still largely a black box to you.  So even though my head is bursting with thoughts, impressions and memories aching to be shared, stories dying to be told, I’m going to pump the brakes a bit and start from the start.  Then, partly because I’m impatient and partly because it will set the stage for the more detail-oriented recaps to come, I’m going to jump ahead to the end and offer up a few conclusions about where the Finger Lakes are right now and where they might be headed. Read the rest of this entry »