Finger Lakes Wine: Much More Than Riesling

Orlando has been buzzing about New York’s Finger Lakes wine country lately.

Central Florida Women for Winesense sent a hefty delegation there in July for the national organization’s “Grand Event”; fellow Central Florida blogger Melissa Radley-McConnell of Time to Unwine-d visited the area this summer too.

So when I ended up there last week, I felt a little late to the party. But it was definitely better late than never – especially since I was there during harvest!

Frank harvest
Sorting newly-harvested grapes at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery

Whirlwind Tour

I had just one day to hit the highlights of this beautiful and prolific wine region, so I chose four wineries to visit: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Ravines, Hermann J. Wiemer, and Standing Stone.

My itinerary spanned two lakes, with stunning vistas and early fall colors around every turn, and a wide array of grape varietals and winemaking styles.

The Finger Lakes have won national and international acclaim for rieslings, and the varietal remains the regional specialty. But the area has diversified into many other varietals too; and while I’m a huge riesling fan – I even hosted a riesling tasting at my house recently – I was even more captivated by some of those other grapes.

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Orlando’s Quantum Leap Winery: Worth a new look

Weekends are when I usually tell you about the plethora of wine events in the coming week … but next week is looking a little slow, what with the holiday and all.

So what better time to discover a new favorite wine place?

If you haven’t checked out the Wine Venues Guide in awhile, you’ll notice a few new spots on the list, including a couple I hadn’t visited in several years, simply because they’d fallen out of my usual rotation.

One of those is Quantum Leap Winery in the Mills-50 district, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. On a recent visit, I found a friendly space and passionate people who are taking risks, breaking rules, and making some pretty cool wines.

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Wine Geeks Rejoice! Rosé blind tasting contest, Jura & “Wild Wine” events this week!

If you’re a wine geek like I am and you’re in Central Florida this week, trust me, you’re going to wish you could clone yourself.

First off, Swirlery is hosting what might be (complete conjecture but I bet it’s true) Orlando’s first rosé blind tasting contest on Tuesday.

Of course, most rosés are not geeky at all. They’re what you drink when you want to kick back on your porch or by the pool. A rosé blind tasting, on the other hand, is pretty darned geeky. Make it a contest, and you’re into the realm of the super-geeky.

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Top Five Experiences on an Italian Journey: The Exciting Conclusion!

In two previous posts, I started counting down the top five wine experiences from my recent trip to Italy. The trip was not focused on wine – I only visited one winery – but it did include a number of unexpected and delightful wine-related encounters that might not have happened on a highly-researched wine-centric itinerary.

The top two experiences on my list sit firmly in that category.

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Top Five Wine Experiences on an Italian Journey: Part 2 – Montenidoli

In my last post, I started counting down my top five wine experiences from my recent trip to Italy. The trip was not wine-centered, but in Italy, wine has a way of reaching out and grabbing you, sometimes even when you don’t go looking for it.

I did go looking for Number Three on my list, though. It was an experience that began in Orlando and ended on a remote patch of land in Tuscany.

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Massaya rosé: Perfect porch sipper and versatile food wine

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but here in Orlando, it’s well into rosé season.

Of course, I don’t really believe in rosé season. I’m a huge rosé fan – some might even say an evangelist – and I’m happy drinking the sunset-colored liquid any time of year. But there’s no denying that it pairs particularly well with a porch, deck, or pool on a warm Florida spring day like today.

I’m partial to Provencal rosés – like a lot of rosé lovers, I consider them the gold standard – but I was intrigued a few weeks ago when Tim’s Wine Market Orlando featured the 2014 Massaya rosé from Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. It’s made mostly from Rhone varietals – 40% cinsault, 30% syrah – plus 30% cabernet sauvignon.

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