Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Straight Outta Corning Part II--Highlights of #WBC15

Part II -- Highlights of #WBC15

FRIDAY DAYTIME
WBC Keynote with Karen MacNeil
Karen was a hit. I’m not surprised her talk was rated one of the highest in WBC history. Her story of how she got her start writing and forged her career in wine was compelling and inspiring. I’m looking forward to the release of her revised and updated 2nd Edition of The Wine Bible in October.


Speed Tasting White Wines -- 
All the wines poured at speed tasting were from the Finger Lakes region and I was impressed with the majority of what was presented. My top three were the 2014 Keuka Springs Dynamite Vineyard Gew├╝rztraminer; Dr. Konstantin Frank, 2014 Gruner Veltliner; and the hipster orange wine of the day--a skin fermented, unfiltered Chardonnay from Atwater Vineyards on Seneca Lake.



FRIDAY EVENING


I was on Bus 4 to Keuka Lake with stops at Chateau Frank and Pleasant Valley Wine. We sampled a few of the Chateau Frank sparkling wines and admired the view of the lake and also tasted wines from Ravines and Heron Hill. Fred Frank of Dr. Frank Wines showed us around the cellar and we met Meaghan Frank, the fourth generation family member to carry on the Dr. Frank legacy, who lives in the home. We could have stayed here all evening as far as I was concerned, I was very happy with the wines and the view. But off we went to the next location.



After a short drive, we arrived at the first US bonded winery, Pleasant Valley Wine Company also known as Great Western Winery, where we had dinner in the vaulted cellar room and enjoyed more wines from Dr. Frank, Ravines, Heron Hill and Pleasant Valley Winery.


We had a 2013 Chardonnay and 2012 Pinot Noir from Ravines which I really liked. The Ravines Pinot had a light rose petal nose with flavors of tobacco, spice and dark berries with nice medium tannins. It seemed to be a hit all around the table.


The best part about the excursions is you get a chance to hang out with the winemakers and winery owners and hear first hand about the wine and their operations. I learned that Heron Hill has a very innovative approach to keeping labor costs down. For harvest they “raffle” off the chance for people to work the vines and pick grapes. They also have an interesting program for local homeschool kids to help keep the winery clean and shining. And don’t even ask about how the labels get attached to the bottles--but rumor has it they are hand applied by girl scouts working on their winemaking merit badge! The folks at Heron Hill are staffing geniuses. (I joke here of course, well sorta, kinda.) But no matter how the labels were attached--I really loved the Heron Hill Reserve Cab Franc, it was a standout of the evening for me.


Rockwell Museum Wine Reception 



I was knocked out by the collection in the Rockwell Museum, I’m a huge fan of Western American art and the sight of so many great works by American artists in one place was quite a sensory overload. Add to that the chance to sample a selection of NY State wines and I was practically overcome with Stendhal Syndrome, the condition of being overwhelmed by art.



FRIDAY LATE NIGHT
Hand + Foot again for cocktails before the after-after parties. Word was out and the place was now the ALT WBC hangout.

LINKS and RESOURCES
Chateau Frank 
Dr. Konstantin Frank
Heron Hill Winery
Ravines Wine
Pleasant Valley Wine Company / Great Western Winery
Rockwell Museum

Related Link: Part I Straight Outta Corning -- Highlights of #WBC15

Next: Part III --Straight Outta Corning -- Highlights of #WBC15

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