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stirring the lees with james molesworth archive

Photo by: David Yellen
James Molesworth

October 2012

Where to Dine in the Finger Lakes
Reviews of some choice eateries for hungry wine country vacationers
Posted: Oct 12, 2012 10:00am ET

In addition to a burgeoning number of quality-oriented wineries, the Finger Lakes is also home to a bustling food scene, much of it of the farm-to-table variety. Prices are often low (compared to what urbanites are used to), the settings are always casual and a few places are attached to or next door to wineries, making weekends of wine tasting and eating ideal. Here are a few options for good eats. You can also refer to my Nov. 2008 blog post for more recommendations on Finger Lakes dining.

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Finger Lakes, Day 2: Silver Lining
The next stop on my Finger Lakes tour was at Silver Thread Vineyard
Posted: Oct 9, 2012 3:00pm ET

After my visit to Ravines and a quick lunch, I headed up to Silver Thread Vineyard, which is under new ownership since being purchased by the husband-and-wife team of Paul and Shannon Brock. Paul, 36, is the former winemaker at Lamoreaux Landing and he also currently teaches viticulture and winemaking at Finger Lakes Community College. He accentuates the professorial background with his tussle of wiry black hair and thin-rimmed glasses. Shannon, 35, was wine educator at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canadaigua, so she also knows what it's like to stand at the head of a class and educate others about wine, and she commands attention with her bright, vivacious personality.

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Finger Lakes, Day 2: A Promising Seneca Newcomer
Morten and Lisa Hallgren have moved Ravines winery to Seneca Lake after purchasing White Springs Farm
Posted: Oct 8, 2012 11:40am ET

After leaving Fred Merwarth at Wiemer to deal with his remaining 70 tons of Riesling fruit, I headed farther up the western side of Seneca Lake to check on the new digs for Ravines Wine Cellars. Owned by Morten and Lisa Hallgren, the winery was started over on Keuka Lake in the 2002 vintage, and it's grown steadily since then, from a few thousand cases to now 14,000 cases annually, with a projected 20,000 cases within the next five years.

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Finger Lakes, Day 2: Seneca's Riesling Benchmark
Tasting Hermann J. Wiemer's soon-to-be-released 2011 Rieslings with Fred Merwarth
Posted: Oct 5, 2012 12:00pm ET

On my second day in the Finger Lakes I made my usual lap around Seneca Lake, the region's most prominent lake and home to the largest collection of wineries.

While I always try to mix in some new faces on each trip, I need to stop in at benchmark estates on a regular basis. Since assuming control in 2007, Fred Merwarth has made sure that the Hermann J. Wiemer estate hasn't skipped a beat. With 75 acres under vine and three-quarters of its 15,000-case annual production represented by Riesling, this is the flagship winery for the region's best grape.

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Finger Lakes, Day 1: A Canadian Son
Sheldrake Point's Bob Madill follows his Riesling's lead
Posted: Oct 3, 2012 5:00pm ET

Sheldrake Point's Bob Madill, a Canadian native, got the wine bug early. While working in tech and software, he was already moonlighting with Ontario wineries such as Lakeview Cellars in the '80s and early '90s.

"I was a cellar rat, a cellar master and then I learned how to sell wine too," said Madill, a spry 65. "The selling part was the hardest."

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Return to the Finger Lakes
Heading to visit with upstate New York's finest
Posted: Oct 2, 2012 5:00pm ET

Well, it's been almost a month since I traveled. That's so long between trips, I think Nancy was starting to get annoyed with me being around the house too much. So, off I go again. This time, back to the Finger Lakes, just a four-and-a-half-hour drive from New York City.

The Finger Lakes is at the tail end of their harvest right now, so it's a fun time for me to check in and see how things are. Here in my office in New York I've been tasting through the bulk of the recently released Rieslings and other wines from the 2011 vintage, a tricky season for the region; so far 2012 looks to be much more even.

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An American Betts on Bordeaux
Sommelier-turned-winemaker Richard Betts' latest project is a Bordeaux collaboration with François Thienpont
Posted: Oct 1, 2012 11:00am ET

I caught up with Richard Betts the other day. Betts, the former sommelier at the Grand Award–winning Montagna at the Little Nell in Aspen, former partner in the Betts & Scholl brand which made Rhône and Aussie wines, current mezcal producer with his own Sombra label, general all-around hipster … And what's he doing now? Making Bordeaux.

Here are my notes on the first two releases of St.-Glinglin, Betts' collaborative effort with François Thienpont.

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