Seneca Lake Wine Tour

This past Saturday a group of friends and I took a bus tour of a few wineries around Seneca Lake, NY.  We left from RIT and went to Anthony Road Wine Company, Fox Run Vineyards, and Three Brothers Wineries & Estates.    I think my favorite stop was our first stop:  Anthony Road Wine Company.  The tasting attendants were not only very nice, but very helpful.  They gave us extra pours and spent extra time answering questions, even though it was a group of 20 people, the majority of which were just looking to get drunk with their friends.  But there were a handful of us interested in learning more about the wineries.  But anyways, Anthony Road was very nice and very friendly and I really enjoyed that.

The most interesting stop was Three Brothers Wineries & Etates.  It is actually three different wineries and a microbrewery on one property.  The three wineries include:  Stony Lonesome, Passion Feet and Rogue’s Hollow and the microbrew is Barley Yards.  The brewery was actually fairly decent.  They have a beer called Riesling Ale.  It’s actually Riesling juice and an American wheat beer.  It tasted like Riesling wine mixed with a wheat beer, but good.  It still had a lot of carbonation, and wasn’t overly sweet.  It was very interesting.

Passion Feet Vineyard I did not like.  It was all very fruity, very ‘girly’ wine.  Nothing bold, nothing complex, but all very very fruity and sweet.  It was interesting – the wines and the theme of the place fit together perfectly.  It was all very erotic and feminine.  But they did have a fruit-wine slushy at the end that was fairly decent.  Nothing amazing, and I didn’t finish it but it was alright.

Rogue’s Hollow was another winery on the estate that had a very interesting theme.  It was very cowboy hick on a swamp kind of a place.  It was in a barn, in the middle of the woods, on a swamp, with a broken down pickup truck out front.  Inside they offered peanuts and you could throw the shells on the ground.  It was slightly Coyote Ugly with female bartenders and offering “wine shots” that you were supposed to drink with no hands.  The wines were okay.  Mostly fun, fruity, girly wines like Passion Feet.

Stony Lonesome actually didn’t fit in with these two other wineries at all.  They had a fairly classy, but average, tasting room, no “theme” like the other two.  They had a few wines on their tasting list that were pretty interesting.  First off, they had two pinot noirs — a 2005 and a 2007.  The 2005 was significantly brown, whereas the 2007 looked more like an average pinot.  It didn’t really make sense why two years would have such a drastic change in the two pinots, but we asked and correct me if I’m wrong, 2005 was a very cold, dry year for their pinot’s and that’s what makes the wine so brown in color.  The 2005 Pinot I didn’t taste, but I had the 2007 Pinot Noir and really enjoyed it.  It was heavy for a pinot and was very vanilla-oaky.  Very good, I liked it a lot.

The other interesting wine from Stony Lonesome was their 2008 Estate Reserve White Merlot.  Yes, white merlot. I had never had a white merlot before, so I was very curious.  Basically they remove the skins from the grapes by hand before fermentation to as to keep the white color.  The wine itself smelled very much like cold, sweet car tires, but tasted absolutely nothing like it smelled,  it tasted like less sweet maraschino cherries.  It was served slightly chilled but I think it would be better at a warmer temperature.

All in all, the trip was very fun, and very informative.  Especially because I found out a mutual friend on the trip is growing his own grapes at his house in Syracuse.  I’m going to email him and ask him more about it.  We talked a bit on the trip about it all, but I’m very curious to know more.

2 thoughts on “Seneca Lake Wine Tour

  1. glad to hear your trip along seneca lake went well. anthony road definitely does a great job, as does fox run. i actually met one of anthony road’s former winemakers in the fall; he’s working over at cornell’s geneva experiment station testing the viability of new hybrids as wine grapes. i can’t say i’ve heard anything good about 3 brothers though. i’ve been told by a very reliable source that their winemaking practices are a bit of a joke and that their sulfite levels are way too high. did you see any of this while you were there? last i heard, they also weren’t making their own beer, custom brewcrafters was brewing it under contract with them, but this was over the summer so that could have changed by now. i think the thing that really frustrates me about them is that they pay more attention to the theme park environment of the place than the quality of the product that makes it to market. i think the overall sacrifice of attention to product details in favor of catchy labels and gimmicks is really stifling the wine market and producing consumers that are very easily led to drink only what they’re told is worth drinking…but that’s just my two cents. anyways, i’m glad you had a good experience in the wine region that i’m so terribly fond of.

  2. oh and for the record, 2005 produced really light pinots, but that wouldn’t account for browning in such a short time period. browning in a wine of that age is most often the product of oxidized phenolic compounds and could indicate that there was a bit too much contact between the wine/juice and air during the production process. this wine may have benefited from early oak contact (for color fixing) and a fining with viniclar (or any other formulation of PVPP) and/or casei plus. the above fining agents strip oxidized phenolic compounds from the wine. more specifically, PVPP binds and settles catechins, which are the compounds that are most often associated with browning.

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