Friday, August 1, 2014

Cayuga Wine Trail: Part 1 (top of the lake)

This could be a day of wine tasting or split into two days depending on how much time you have! Keep in mind this day was marathon wine tasting for us - we didn't stop and enjoy a bottle anywhere (besides lunch, but we both drank water). If you want to stop and enjoy a bottle or glass, I would suggest just picking a few.

Wineries in order starting from the top of the lake. 
1. Montezuma Winery (we actually didn't go here, we meant to, but while driving I thought we had reached the top of the lake with Varick...whoops, next visit)
2. Varick Winery
3. Swedish Hill Winery (we didn't go here, but I have heard some good things so definitely stop by if you have time!)
4. Lake Shore Winery
5. Knapp Winery
6. Goosewatch Winery
7. Buttonwood Grove Winery

Varick Winery & Vineyard
Probably one of my favorite wineries on this trip/ever. The second we walked in I immediately spotted on the olive oils, sauces and other delicious treats to try. We lucked out by being one of the only tasters in the winery at that moment and had the full attention of our pourer. Each tasting came with the option of pairing with food, which of course, we were all for. I love it when tastings including food pairings - it makes me much more inclined to buy the wine when I know I can successfully pair it with food. They even paired their Varick Blush with peanut butter. Who would have thought you could pair peanut butter with wine? Crazy and delicious. 
I picked up the 2013 Dry Vignoles (pairs well with fruit salad, salsa, chips & herbs dips - including a Thai curry dip) and the Varick Red (pairs well with spaghetti, ravioli or pizza...uhh yes!) along with an Avocado Tomatillo Salsa and a few Maple Habenero dip mixes. Carrie got an olive tapenade spread and a fig jam. I also really enjoyed the 2012 Cabernet Franc. When in season, you can walk the cherry orchards and pick some cherries! After this winery, I would have been content to go home. That's a sign of a job well done...we were here for almost an hour just tasting and talking. 

Lakeshore Winery
Although I was not a huge fan of their wines, the ambiance and person conducing this tasting make this winery more then worth the stop. Only $2, it's definitely worth your stop on the way down (or up) the lake for the experience alone. Once you get into the tasting room they tell you to take a seat. How awesome is that?

Knapp Winery and Restaurant
This is where you will stop for lunch today (review here). Knapp Winery has a ton of wines and spirits to choose from (around 20-30), the tasting includes 6...and with all the variety, it makes it a little hard to choose which ones to try. We were big fans of the Rose Cabernet Franc (I bought 2 bottles! I think it was my favorite wine of the trip) and the Pasta Red (easy red to drink). 

Goose Watch Winery
Nice winery with great views. The actually tasting experience wasn't as personable but we ended up picking up a bottle to drink on the dock later that day. This winery has great views of the lake and would be a nice place to get a glass/bottle and sit out with some friends.  

Buttonwood Grove Winery
This was the last stop for this day but definitely a very fun one. Another great tasting experience, our wine pourer was friendly, personable and hilarious. If there is one think I love, its the combo of alcohol and slushees and Buttonwood Grove just happens to have a Blackberry Wine Slushee which we got togo. Don't worry, there was no drinking and driving, my lakehouse was a short drive from here so I didn't have to worry about it melting. 

This wraps up Part 1 (Day 1 for Carrie and I). It is definitely doable in a couple of hours, leaving you some dock or other outdoor activity time. My favorites from this day were Varick and Buttonwood Grove - for the experience (which is really important to me) and the wine. Knapp had one of my favorite wines of the trip so I would recommend them too...but let's be real - can you really go wrong wine tasting? 

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