Finds from The Finger Lakes
By Christopher J. Davies
Wine Country International® magazine
New York’s largest wine region, The Finger Lakes Wine AVA lies
just 6 hours Northwest from Long Island. The wine growing conditions
are in most cases more difficult, where vintners face a colder and
If Long Island can be best compared to Bordeaux, The Finger Lakes
should be compared to Rheingau region of Germany. And just as the
Rheingau has been respected for producing noble Rieslings, The Finger
Lakes has cut its teeth making Riesling its signature grape.
I am a big fan of Finger Lake Rieslings. They are the eharmony.com
of wines… they come in a kaleidoscope of sugar levels from sweet
to bone dry. I love their compatibility with just about any food on
the planet. With my home now based outside New York, I have found
it difficult to find any New York wines for sale in the State of Colorado.
So when I received an invitation from the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance
to participate in their Vintner’s Roundtable, I quickly responded
yes! A week after receiving the telephone call, UPS arrived with a
box containing six different wines. After opening the carton, I was
surprised that it contained 6 different RED wines from the Finger
Lakes. Could this be a mistake? Obviously not!
The Finger Lakes Vintner’s Roundtable was an imaginative way
to guide wine reviewers across the country to taste wines with the
winemakers and proprietors almost virtually. The tasting was conducted
from a remote location in upstate New York, while wine writers including
myself called into a toll free number and were patched in live to
The instructions that came with my wines were simple: Have a corkscrew
and glasses available.
Not a problem for me!
One by one we tasted 6 different red wines over the telephone with
Finger Lakes producers. The tastings, questions and answers took
approximately 90 minutes. I am glad that they took the time to expose
us to these delicious wines! Hats off for the most imaginative form
of Guerilla Marketing ™ that I have seen in the wine business
Surprise Finds! Finger Lakes Red Wines
Billsboro 2006 Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes, 13%, $18
A light red that spent 5 1⁄2 months in light oak (neutral &
barrels). This is the winemaker’s first vintage of Cabernet
harvested in a difficult year. The result is a light and refreshing
finesse. Pair with Portobello mushrooms or mild fish dishes.
Fox Run 2005 Reserve Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes, 12%, $24
A rich and wonderfully flavored wine made from 100% estate grown grapes.
This wine is reminiscent of an elegant Bordeaux. Blend of 77% Cab
Franc, 15% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Open one hour in advance
of your tasting for maximum enjoyment. Try with Lamb chops or red
Hunt Country Vineyards, 2005 Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes,
100% Cabernet Franc harvested during a very dry season. The wine is
medium bodied, with a beautiful ruby color and hints of pepper and
smoky flavors. If you are a fan of Syrah this will be a pleasant alternative.
Pair with fine cuts of lamb or beef, eggplant and soft, creamy cheeses.
Sheldrake Point, 2005 Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes, 12.5%,
A very interesting, one time blend of grapes from the Finger Lakes
with grapes from California: 87% Cabernet Franc, 4.5% Cabernet Sauvignon
& 8.5% California Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in a combination of
old & new oak. Excellent color, tannins and long finish. This
wine is versatile with foods. Try it with steak, Italian red sauces
and hearty meats.
Ravines, 2005 Meritage, Finger Lakes, 12.5%, $25
A classic Bordeaux barrel blended wine made from Finger Lakes grapes.
45% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot. European
born Morten Hallgren has seamlessly transferred his winemaking style
from Provence to the Finger Lakes. The result is a bold and big red
that is fruit forward with great balance. This wine has great potential
for cellaring. Pair with Prime Rib, Lamb or Pork Loin.
Standing Stone Vineyards, Pinnacle, Finger Lakes, 12.5%, $21
Estate harvested and appropriately named for achieving greatness by
growing Cabernet Sauvignon in the Finger Lakes! Mae West bodied, consisting
of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot. The result
is a bright tasting, colorful wine with European elegance. Pair with
venison, cheese or even the proprietors’ favorite Asian cuisine!
I have now become a true believer in the potential and possibilities
Finger Lakes reds. I only wish that they produced a greater quantity.
guess I now have found a new excuse to visit Finger Lakes Wine Country
If you reside in New York State you can order these wines directly
from the producers. They may also be found at select wine stores &
restaurants. The biggest seller of New York wines is Vintage New York,
which has two retail locations in Manhattan (SoHo & Uptown). Visit
them online: www.vintagenewyork.com
Meets the Rocky Mountains” at the Omni Interlocken Resort,
By Christopher Davies
I am a big fan of Food Network's "Iron Chef". So when
I received an invitation to be a Judge at the Omni Interlocken Resort's
“Sonoma Meets the Rocky Mountains” competition, I accepted
Imagine 4 Sonoma
wine makers, 4 Colorado chefs, 1 secret ingredient. 1 hour for chefs
to pair food with wine and prepare dish for guests. Winning Categories:
Best Dish, Best Wine, and Best Pairing. Approximately 150 guests
were in attendance inside the Omni's recently constructed pavilion.
It was a windy evening so the outdoor pavilion was filed with portable
heaters to take off the chill. After sampling several Sonoma wines
the building felt even more comfortable.The excitement of live competitions
is the element of surprise.
The secret ingredient
of the evening was a mixture of wild Colorado grown mushrooms. This
threw our competing chefs a culinary curveball.
The Omni's talented
Executive Chef Kristen Harkness, the only female chef working for
Omni chain, prepared a scrumptious array of appetizers & desserts
for the event.
served during Reception: Northern California Crab Cakes, Seared
to order, with Meyer Lemon Relish and
Tarragon Aioli. Cocoa Seared Pork Tenderloin. Heirloom Tomato and
California Artichoke Manicotti, Opal Basil Pesto.
Best Dish: Jake Linzinmeier, The Bluepoint Grill & Noir Bar,
Telluride Wild Mushroom Cappuccino with Goat Cheese Biscotti Paired
with 2004 Wattle Creek Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Best Food &
Wine Pairing: Tim McCaw, Zach's Cabin, Beaver Creek Zach's Cabin
Coquille St. Jacques (puff potato topped with scallop and brandied
curry cream) 2005
Clos du Bois Reserve Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Wine: Tie between 2005 Buena Vista EVS Pinot Noir
2006 Geyser Peak Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Wines Served during Reception:
2006 Geyser Peak Blanc Sauvignon Blanc
2004 Clos du Bois Reserve Merlot Alexander Valley
2005 Buena Vista Carneros Chardonnay
2005 Wattle Creek Viognier
Mission Fig Clafoutis, Orange Scented Whipped Cream
Raspberry Bavarian and Cabernet Chocolate Mousse Cups
Aaron Taylor, Keystone Ranch Restaurant
Venison Strip loin with Mushroom Duxelle, Foie Gras with Wild Ramp
(potato) Risotto and Huckleberry Compote and Mushroom Glace Paired
with 2004 Geyser Peak Reserve Alexandra Valley Meritage Bob Burden,
Beaver Run Restaurant, Breckenridge Bing Cherry and Pomegranate
Demi Glace under forest mushroom bulgar risotto, topped with sautéed
herb-rubbed Lamb loin and topped with micro greens and enoki mushroom
salad tossed in pinot noir dressing
Paired with 2005 Buena Vista EVS Pinot NoirThis event was well orchestrated
and simply delicious. We got to meet some
interesting Chefs and winemakers. The Omni's newly appointed Food
and Beverage Director, Chad Oakes promises that we will see some
interesting new events in the coming months. We can't wait!
Opus One Winemaker Michael Silacci with
Chef Bertrand Bouquin of the Broadmoor's Summit restaurant
"Salute to Escoffier" Weekend
guests with delicious food & wines Colorado Springs, Colorado,
the fabulous Broadmoor has continued to raise the
culinary bar in Colorado, if not the US, with it's 5th annual
Escoffier event held from January 25 to 28, 2007.
weekend celebration is dedicated to legendary French Chef Gustav
Escoffier and helps raise funds for The Broadmoor's Culinary Education
Fund as well as The Colorado Restaurant Association's Pro Start
Program. The Broadmoor's Food & Beverage Director, Craig Reed,
told guests "This is all about the future of Culinary excellence".
Approximately 200 food & wine lovers gathered for the week celebrations
that included a delectable Opus One Vintner's Dinner, Welcome Reception
a Tasting of International Cuisines paired with their Regional Wines
Culinary Cooking Demonstrations, Wine Luncheon paired with American
wines, “Art of the Cocktail” Seminar/Tasting, “Salute to Escoffier” Grand Buffet
a six hour,free-flowing dining and entertainment extravaganza, finalized
by The Broadmoor’s Traditional Sunday Brunch. Thank god we
managed to fit in the Broadmoor's spa and fitness center during
Delicious Breakfast! Enchiladas Rojas
Mushrooms, Poached Egg, Hollandaise Sauce
Bonito Pacific, Holistic Resort Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Luxury relaxation,
style & finesse
By Christopher Davies
had the pleasure of making a visit to Pueblo Bonito's Pacifica
Holistic Resort this January. Timing was great, as Denver
had just received another wicked cold snap from Mother Nature. It
was -2 degrees Fahrenheit when I departed DIA.
have been to Mexico many times, but this was my first trip to Cabo
San Lucas. The flight from Denver was quick, under 2 hours. When
I walked off the plane unto the tarmac I received a blast of pleasant
75 degree air!
Pueblo Bonito Pacifica is a new 140-room, 14-suite beachside retreat,
which is located at the very tip of the Baja on the Pacific side.
It is the first resort in Cabo that is dedicated to health and fitness.
beautiful and pristine beach has day beds with canopy's that can
be rented for the day. They allow you to to savor the warm ocean
breeze on a comfy shaded bed. The beaches are classified as "un-swimable"
which was a
new term for me, having grown-up on Long Island. But that's ok,
because as a Pueblo Bonito guest you can take the complimentary
shuttle to their nearby Sunset Resort for a dip
in the ocean. The shoreline along the Pacific has a quick and steep
drop into the ocean, which combined with Herculean tides, makes
swimming extremely hazardous to your well-being. Because the ocean
is so deep, very close to the shore, you will see whales playing
in the sparkling blue of the Pacific.
theme of The Pacifica is relaxation. Accommodations
are Zen-inspired, minimally dressed with the finest natural materials,
all ocean-view, airy, and light. The SPA is sophisticated
and utilizes the latest day treatments &
aroma's. I had my first facial during this visit. The process took
about an hour with facial massages, fresh steam, herbal ointments
and soothing music and subdued lighting. My skin and complexion
has not looked this clear in a
of the Armonia Spa's many services include:
- Deep Tissue
- Dead Sea
Pacifica has a fine dining restaurant Siempre,
("always") featuring market fresh ingredients highlighted
in both the wellness-oriented spa menu and a more indulgent 'splurge'
menu. The restaurant is surrounded by an infinity pool that overlooks
the beach and the Pacific. We enjoyed a wonderful Chef's wine pairing
dinner showcasing Roasted Baby Vegetables, paired with Covey Run
Riesling, Seared Scallops with Lemon Confit and Caper Sauce paired
with Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca Chile(my favorite region),
Escolar Fish Confit, Black Corn Puree, Sautéed Scallops with
Shallot in Lemon and Cinnamon Sauce, paired with Mexican Barbera.
If you have room for dessert try their fresh fruit and Ice cream
paired with a Tawny Port.
The Pacifica's Wine Bar is a eclectic and chic wine
bar. Their list is International, but you can find a delightful
selections of Mexican wines that are produced in the expanding BAJA
wine country. We tried Baja Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera
and Syrah. All were quaffable!
If you live to eat like me, a visit to LaFrida restaurant at the
nearby Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort is a must! Ultra-Talented
Chef Antonio de Livier is at the helm, he and his Sommelier Juan
Carlos Flores Mazón are the dynamic duo of great cuisine
and wine pairing. Their highly inventive Chefs Wine Pairing table
includes a first course of Mole Poblando paired with Negra Modelo
San Lucas has evolved into a jet-setters paradise. Don't be surprised
if you bump into Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson or the Red Rocker Sammy
Hagger, who by the way owns the Cabo Wabo Cantina downtown. Pueblo
Bonito has recognized that the market for quality resorts will attract
International appeal. With seven resorts in operation and several
others under development they are elevating quality standards in
Mexico to new heights!
details visit: www.pueblobonito.com