Post-Holiday Winery Visits

In Featured, Reviews, Wineries by smilingvinesLeave a Comment


Today we were on our way to run a few after-Christmas errands (returning, researching, buying). Approaching the turn into Walmart, TR said, “This, or wine tasting?”. Duh!! It didn’t take me long to decide where my day was heading at that point! The only decision was whether to turn left to Seneca Lake, or right to Bristol and Naples areas. We decided to head toward Geneva, as Seneca Lake has many, many wineries to choose from.

It’s been a while since we’ve visited any of our Finger Lakes wineries (shocker, I know), so we checked the map and decided on three wineries on Seneca Lake. The first stop on our map was Ravines Wine Cellars in Geneva. We’ve been here before, but it’s been a while, and never in the winter. Their Seneca Lake tasting room (their original tasting room is on Keuka Lake) is housed in an historic slate barn at White Springs Farm on Barracks Road. Their website says to access Barracks Road via Pre-Emption Road, but like the trusting idiots that we are, we went with the GPS instructions to access Barracks Road via White Springs Road. Needless to say, it’s a private road and you can’t reach the tasting room from that end. So reverse path, back we go to Pre-Emption Road to access Barracks Road.

This place is well worth the trip! The tasting room is absolutely beautiful, although the large, open part where events are held is closed off during the winter months, due to cold weather and heating issues. Nonetheless, the tasting room is warm and welcoming. Our tasting room host, Judy, was so knowledgeable and informative! She gave us very detailed descriptions of the wines we tasted, and answered any questions that we had. They do promote their wine club as part of the conversation, but are not pushy about it. Also, it’s something to think about, as all of the wines we tasted here were very good, and the club includes some special events that sound like fun. If you decide to visit, definitely pay attention to the details of the club … it may be something you’d like to consider. My favorites at this tasting were the White Springs Vineyard 2015 Dry Riesling (fruity but dry: 0.4% residual sugar), the Gerwurztraminer (off-dry, but bursting with flowers, fruit & spice), and finally, the Maximilien 2014, a red blend that was absolutely delicious (but out of my price range at $24.95). Maybe one of my peeps will surprise me with a special birthday gift this year!

Next on our route was Serenity Vineyards. This is one of my favorite wineries. The tasting room is situated among their many wine barrels, and the tasting bar is covered with the names of those who have enjoyed this winery over the past several years, written in black & colored marker directly on the bar top! Our tasting host (the only one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting), is named Bernard and speaks with a thick French accent. Surprisingly (or maybe not after listening to him), he is also the winemaker. His passion for his craft is immediately evident to anyone who might ask a question about the wine they’re tasting. He describes their vineyards, grape varieties, and winemaking process with tremendous love for his calling. I was so enthralled with listening to him that we had to skip our next planned visit! This time I tasted the ’13 Chardonnay (I don’t usually like oaked Chardonnays, but this one is scrumptious with a distinct flavor of butterscotch), the ’16 Seyval Blanc (I bought this one on special: 2 bottles for $20, usually $13.99 each), and the ’15 Dry Riesling on the white side. Bernard also added a taste of their ’14 Dry Riesling, so I could compare the two. Both delicious, but completely different. On the red side, I tasted the ’12 Pinot Noir, which I loved but could not afford ($26.99), since TR was keeping a close eye on me (and his wallet) at this point! I also tasted the ’14 Merlot, and Bernard again added another one for comparison sake: the ’13 Mirth Red Blend, which is 50% Cab Franc and 50% Merlot. Both were awesome … actually, there is nothing at this winery that I don’t love!! Their tasting fee is $5 for 5 samples, with no charge for the additional samples that Bernard wants you to try. They will refund $2 of the tasting fee with a wine purchase. They also offer a local cheese & wine pairing tasting for $12.

Our last stop was Prejean Winery, but we got there about 15 minutes before closing, so although I did get to have a tasting, it was fairly rushed (note: they did not rush me … I felt guilty keeping them there past closing). We will have to visit there again when we have more time to relax, enjoy and ask questions. I did purchase a bottle of their unoaked Chardonnay before leaving, so all is not lost!

That’s it for this weekend. Hoping for another sunny, not-too-cold & snowy winter day soon to head back and try a few more. Talk soon …. Keep smiling ‘til then!

Learn more about:

Ravines Wine Cellars

Serenity Vineyards

Prejean Winery

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