Chillin’ with red wine at the lake

We recently had the chance to sample two of Montezuma Winery’s reds. I’m not usually a sweet wine kind of guy, but these were perfect to have chilled on a warm day at the lake.

The Fat Frog Red was the sweeter of the two, and Heather quite liked it. In fact, when I asked her what she thought it would pair with, she said that sweet wine goes with anything!

Even though the Frog was a hit, we both actually preferred the Cranberry Bog. This wine was sweet yet tart, almost like a cranberry vodka cocktail. We thought it would be a great addition to Thanksgiving dinner. It would also make a great autumnal sangria, and I believe we will give that a try soon!

Both wines were nice to enjoy on the cottage porch while taking in the sunset over Keuka Lake. Cheers!

Keuka Lake at sunset.

The sparkling Finger Lakes!

Hi, it’s Heather! As Rich mentioned in the last post, over the holiday season, we had the opportunity to try a few of the sparkling wines that are produced here in the Finger Lakes region. Here’s a quick synopsis of our taste test:

First we sampled Hunt Country’s Chardonnay Champagne. This wine was deep, rich and delicious, with pear and apple flavors, a surprising hint of buttered popcorn, and a caramelized-buttery finish. It reminded us of crème brulée, and we agreed that it would pair nicely with that dessert. We just may have to pick up another bottle soon!

Next up was the award-winning 2006 Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs. We already knew that we liked Chateau Frank Célèbre, as well as Célèbre Rosé. We were eager to try the 2006 Blanc de Blancs, which won gold at both the Tasters Guild International and the Los Angeles International Wine Competitions. It also was given a 90 point rating by Wine and Spirits Magazine. This sparkling wine is made from 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Blanc. It was light, refreshing, and extremely well-balanced. The slightly floral aroma led into a sweet start with citrus and pear flavors. The finish was dry and crisp. We agreed that it was the most “Champagne-like” of the sparkling wines that we tasted, and well-deserving of its many honors.

Finally, we indulged in Swedish Hill’s Riesling Cuvée. This is another award-winning wine, having garnered the Governor’s Cup at the 2010 New York Wine and Food Classic, the highest honor for a New York State wine. It was pleasantly light and crisp, with a fruity aroma and hints of peach on the palate. This slightly sweet sparkling wine was quite amazing!

What’s your favorite Finger Lakes sparkling wine? Leave us a comment so we can try your recommendations!

A little more watermelon avocado salsa, please.

Summer calls for lighter meals and this was an excellent example! Most fish falls in the category of lighter fare for me. The corvina (from the Pacific coast of South America) was no exception;  meaty, but extremely light in flavor, flaking off in large chunks. It looks and tastes like a cross between mahi and red snapper.

The watermelon avocado salsa was a last minute addition (luckily remembering the watermelon and avocado were sitting on the counter). Our meal was postponed for a half hour to let it chill, but it was worth the wait! A serving for 2 included half an avocado (chunked), the juice of 2 limes, 2 diced slices of watermelon (mini seedless variety), some very thinly sliced white onion, mint and cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, and a touch of extra virgin olive oil. Serve on top of the fish, in many heaping spoonfuls, for a nice contrast to the silkiness of the corvina.

Pink wine! I have to say (due to previous experience some years ago), I had a preconceived notion that pink wine is sweet and not very good.  However, I’ve been hearing excellent things about rosés (especially from the Finger Lakes), and wanted to give one a try. The Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Rosé is actually quite full bodied, and dry, as per the name. It had very slight hints of floral notes, as well as apricot and raspberry. The acidity paired well with the fish and the lime in the salsa. I love finding a Finger Lakes wine I will purchase again!

As it hit 100˚F in Rochester yesterday…….happy hot summer to everyone! Hope you get a chance to enjoy this meal soon!

Corvina topped with watermelon avocado salsa!

Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Rosé. Pink wine is good!

Mid-summer watermelon is wonderfully refreshing.

Fresh basil from the garden! Sliced super fine.

Just a few paper thin slices of onion.

An avocado just looks like summer.

A fun red and a fungi makes a great meal.

It was suggested to us to try the 2006 Atwater Cabernet Franc with grilled portobello mushrooms. So…we did!

I find  portobellos to be a light, healthy, yet extremely flavorful, substitute for beef. They only take a few  minutes for each side on the grill….coated lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill a few small peppers at the same time. Slice them on a platter when done and throw on some blue cheese, letting it melt. Plate over a bed of arugula blend and thinly sliced red onion. Top with balsamic vinaigrette and you have a satisfying, healthy meal.

New York State doesn’t get a whole lot of credit for its red wines. The Atwater Cabernet Franc is one of the best ones I have had, so I think we’ll have to explore a few more. We thought the wine would pair well with almost anything grilled (including our mushrooms), not to mention the strong, earthy cheese. Its light tannins, blend of red fruit flavors, and slight earthiness made it very drinkable and a food-friendly wine.

It was a fabulous treat all around, and a great selection for a nice warm spring evening.

2006 Atwater Cabernet Franc.

Grilled portobello mushrooms over arugula blend. (click for bigger fungi)