I'm sitting in our hotel, in the Finger Lakes region. We visited a couple of wineries, tasted about 30 wines. Not that many, but enough to get an impression of the region. And I'm not impressed. With the exception of Shalestone Vineyards, the wineries here make flabby wine, for learning disabled drinkers.
Very happy with what I tasted at Shalestone. Not only was Rob friendly and genuine, he was honest. That's the most important thing you can ask for from an owner/winemaker. Honesty. And on top of that, he makes magnificent red wines. The cabernet franc was so impressive. Dense, focussed, tight and hard. Just delicious. As were all his wines, from his Bordeaux blends to his merlot. I had hoped to taste his pinot noir, but it wasn't available. Also, I would have wanted to try his syrah, if he made a 100% varietal. Just for comparison with the Lailey Syrah that we tasted last month.
Americans have a very different idea about wine than Canadians and Niagara winemakers. I don't want to call it flawed, but they just value different things - I think it's not the proper approach, but who am I to pass judgement? And another thing that really pisses me off... They insist on having you pay for tastings! It's so foreign to me, because Niagara wineries never ASK for payment. Even if I don't buy any wines, I feel like there's no obligation. I try to engage the people at the winery in dialogue about their wines, about their philosophy, and I never feel forced to buy wine. You feel that pressure in the Finger Lakes. It's a horrible feeling - especially when this rabid bitch chases you at the door to pay $4 for a tasting of wines, that were genuinely quite f*cking horrible.
I will post some pictures tomorrow. Really surprised by Shalestone, really grew attached to all their wines. Compelling, well-made, honest wines. And I have to post some pictures of the restaurant we had dinner at.
Anyways - at this point - I want to get out of here. This place jsut doesn't hold up to Niagara at all, in any way. No way. Any one of Thirty Bench's wines will knock these so called "top riesling estates" out. You're kidding me right? Feeding me this bullshit about how Finger Lakes makes world quality riesling? Give me a f*cking break.