Red Tail Ridge Winery, Finger Lakes, NY

While in the Finger Lakes, another winery visited was Red Tail Ridge.


This one is a decade old and they have about 50 acres of land on which they grow their grapes. They produce smaller amounts of wines so they can focus on quality vs. quantity. Their tasting is $5 for 6 wines (then you tend to get a bit more).

I checked out these guys:

2016 Dry Rose. Tart cherries, cranberries and fresh mint with the minerality of seashells on the nose. Softer notes of apricot and fresh strawberries follow. The palate brings out red raspberries, fennel and mandarin oranges. e heavy mid-palate is cut with a phenolic bitter note and a slightly tacky sensation to finish, $20.95 – I got a sweet chalk on the nose and strawberries when I sipped it.

2016 Sans (without) Oak Chardonnay. The wine opens up with Bosc pears, tart apples, undertones of stoniness and hints of citrus. The palate begins with white cherry, golden delicious apples, and bouncy citrus notes all highlighted with a slight spritz mouthfeel to keep the wine lively. Minerality and lemon oil notes linger, $13.95 – No nose, though after awhile it finally opened up bit. Tasted oaky to me, but maybe it was the Finger Lake grapes?

2015 Dry Riesling. Crisp pears, starfruit and limestone on the nose, followed by lemongrass and soft floral accents. The palate adds peaches, creamy lemon curd, and bright yellow apples. Minerality comes mid-palate with a puckering acidity to cut the fattier mouthfeel and leave fresh notes of lemon and lime zest, $18.95 – Genuinely dry.

2016 Good Karma. Light notes of candied ginger, white peaches and lemon oil on the nose. Stoniness and orange blossom add to the aroma with honeysuckle. On the palate, more peaches with slight spice and pears along with sweet lime. Nice acidity rounding out the mouth to finish with lingering notes of citrus oil. (2.3% rs) *Good Karma is Riesling sourced from Seneca Lake, $13.95 – Sweet and thick on the nose, syrupy. Almost like drinking peach schnapps. The person pouring it was not happy with the comment at all.

2015 Pinot Noir. On the nose: coco dusted cherries, sweet tobacco, forest moss, and chocolate mint leaves. The palate begins bright with rhubarb notes that lead into deeper earthy mushrooms, black cherries and savory fennel. Mid-palate the deeper notes give way to the tingly acidity with fresh raspberries and wild strawberries. The acidity elongates this wine leaving your palate watering for more, $24.95 – Light body, got some chocolate and earth notes.

2015 Dornfelder. Earthy mushrooms fill the glass with a slight meatiness followed by dark fruit: currants and plums. On the palate, more dark earth notes emerge but give way to juicy fruit as the wine opens up in the glass. Boysenberries burst with dried stems of blackberries and soft vanilla. The wine has an umami note mid-palate with brininess and tart cherries to finish, $24.95 – Dark, NICE nose and taste. Definitely got the mushrooms. Had a good body, too.

2014 Blaufränkisch. Piercing blackberry, and black cherry fill the nose, followed by oregano, white pepper, allspice and worn leather. On the palate: ripe wild blackberries, warming vanilla and boysenberry. Rounded mid-palate but chalky, grippy sensations on the edges of the tongue. Darker earth notes with solid acidity and youthful tannins linger in the finish, $22.95 – Very light nose and body. Didn’t get anything from it. Wouldn’t buy it, especially for the price.

Fox Run Vineyards, Finger Lakes, NY

Fox Run Vineyards was the place I started my winery adventure on Day 1 of checking out these fun establishments in the Finger Lakes.


It was raining so a good distractions on a day to be inside. I had just googled places to visit and this one stood out. It was an eye-catching building and because when I went it was before the true start of a holiday weekend, it was pretty quiet.

Their grapes were planted in 1984, but it wasn’t until the ‘90s that they made their wines and opened the tasting room. This year they turned 26. When visiting you could select one of their flights for $5 (I opted for Flight A), with thee wines. You also received a Welcome Wine and then a wine of choice from their menu.

The Welcome Wine was the 2014 Reserve Chardonnay. Cool-climate with subtle oak img_9698influence and medium body. RS 0.2% $15 — subtle nose, not too oaky, which is nice.

The components of Flight A included:

2016 Chardonnay. Crisp and vibrant, fermented in stainless steel. RS 0.4% $18 — nice and crisp for a chard. Not a hint of oak on it. Love finding these type of chards.

2014 Dry Riesling. Riesling is king in the Finger Lakes, earning international recognition and consumer demand around the world. RS 0.7% $18 — nice and dry, metallic nose.

2015 Lemberger. A grape variety that truly thrives in the climate of the Finger Lakes. RS 0% $21 — pepper, blackberry, raspberry all around, very nice.

For my extra tasting I opted for the 2016 Dry Rose. A fruit-forward wine that is crisp and refreshing; there is no match to its food-pairing versatility. RS 0% $18 – dry is the word; awesome.

Since it was pretty quiet they were very kind and offered me some extra pours. I opted for the:

2015 Cabernet Franc. A classic, cool-climate red wine that is giving the Finger Lakes international renown. RS 0% $25 — nothing exciting.

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. A medium-bodied, cool-climate version of this world-renowned grape variety. RS 0% $25 — fruit and jam in the taste.

This was a great way to start off the adventure. Very much enjoyed this place. I ended up purchasing a bottle of the Reserve Chardonnay. And by doing this, you end up getting $2 off your tasting. Cheers!

Ravines Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes, NY

While in the Finger Lakes awhile back, I decided to visit some wineries. It had been awhile since I’d checked out said establishments in that area and I was impressed with what has come about in the past decade. It’s still not the same as what the west coast provides, and definitely not the price, but it’s sure fun to visit!

One of wineries visited was Ravines Wine Cellars, which opened in 2003.


It is a nice barn-like building with an open area that has large tables and then a more closed area for tastings. A tasting comes with 5 wines for $10, of which you pick whatever you’d like from their ‘menu’. So my friend and I decided to each pick 5 different wines and sample each other’s so we could taste the entire menu.

Dry Riesling 2015
Ravines Dry Riesling is a unique and elegant expression of the Finger Lakes terroir. The bouquet of the wine is delicate with intricate aromas of white flowers mingled with pear, apple and citrus notes followed by a lingering mineral finish and a vibrant acidity. Not much nose, very dry.

Dry Riesling 2015, White Springs Vineyard
The White Springs Vineyard is a unique site with protected slopes of limestone soil. This Riesling is an elegant, dry style with delicate aromatics, distinct minerality and vibrant acidity.  Better than the first one!

Beautiful aromas of rose petal, citrus, and lychee fruit with a bright acidity and spicy finish. Super sweet and heavy.

Keuka Village White 2016
A refreshing blend of Cayuga and Vignoles with delightful tree fruit flavors of bosc pear, green apple, and honeydew melon. Very light green apple taste, nothing overly exciting about the wine.

Chardonnay 2013
Refined and elegant, this wine has great balance between fresh fruit, minerality, crisp acidity, and lightly toasted French oak. Nice minerality to it, not too oaky, which is what I prefer.

A classic Provençal Style Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir. Fruit on the nose. Perfect picnic wine.


Pinot Noir 2013

A winemaker’s passion for perfections produced this complex, French-style Pinot Noir. This true representation of Ravines is engaging with ripe cherry, plum and sultry spices, and earthy aromas. Super light — see through. Berry on the nose. Cherry notes.

A fruity blend of Noiret (hybrid) and Cabernet Franc. Ripe red fruit and a distinct peppery finish create a fresh, un-oaked and casual wine. White pepper nose, peppery and smooth on palate.

Ravines Cabernet Franc is deliciously fruit-forward and spicy with perfect balance, soft tannins and a round mouthfeel. Medium body, definitely my favorite.

Maximilien 2013
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Cabernet Franc (18%), and Merlot (17%) boasts a beautiful deep ruby color with aromas of plum, cherry, cedar, and cloves. Soft tannins are created by extended barrel and cellar aging, while also increasing complexity. ‘Dirty’ but enjoyable.

Ayre 2016
A Prosecco style semi sparkling wine made from Valvin Muscat. They were very nice and gave us this extra sample. Forced carbonation in tank, not in bottle. Not as sweet as expected. Had fruit notes.

Nice start to visiting Finger Lake wineries.

NY Wine

We have wineries across across the country and New York is ranked #3 in the country size-wise in grape production per Wikipedia (where is Oregon?? — CA and WA are 1 & 2).  Commercial production started in the state the 19th century. Also, some fun tidbits from Wikipedia — New York is home to the first bonded winery in the US, Pleasant Valley Wine Company. It is also home to America’s oldest continuously operating winery, Brotherhood Winery in the Hudson Valley, which has been making wine for almost 175 years.

I visit the Finger Lakes area annually and last year, after not having gone for a decade (at least), stopped by the New York Wine & Culinary Institute in Canandaigua. In addition to the cooking school and restaurant, they have a tasting room.


There were 3 of us there so we opted to each get different flights so we could get a good feel for the current stance of NY wines. Out of the 15 wines we tasted, I would say maybe 4-5 were decent/good. And the downside is they aren’t wallet-friendly ones for what they offer — $20+. New York wines are still generally very sweet, both reds and whites. Two of us were more red people and one was an oaky chard lover so there was a bit of a difference in tastes, but overall, same thought on NY wines.

We did, however, try some of the their of sparkling wines, and left with 2 bottles. That was quite good and was enjoyed later in the evening.

Overall for the day, very fun location to visit and worth the time.




Noble Shepherd Craft Brewery

Awhile back I visited another great craft brewery, this one in the Finger Lakes.  It’s Noble Shepherd Craft Brewery.  It was started by a couple a few years back as they just wanted to move onto new things.


Opted for a sampler while visiting and the brews tasted included:

-Mosaic Foundation Pale Ale – 6.4% ABV
-Watermelon Wheat – 5.5% ABV
-20A IPA – 6.3% ABV
-Belgian With IPA with Spruce Tips – 6.6% ABV


The Mosaic was definitely my favorite.  I would give you a great description of it but I didn’t write it down and they don’t have it on tap anymore so I can’t copy/paste it from their site.  So all I can say is that it was really good.  We left with a growler.  How does that sound as additional endorsement?

The other cool thing is they have the machine that put the tops on the large cans if you want to leave with one of those.  So much fun to watch it in action.



Check this place out if you’re up in the Finger Lakes area. Definitely worth the visit!


Was at a happy hour the other day and found a new (to me) brew on tap, so that of course meant I had to try it.  Ommegang was the wonderful producer, out of Cooperstown, NY (also the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame).  The beer proper was their Rare Vos Amber Ale.


Very nice.  Matches the name by color, light hops, some herbs & fruit and nice & smooth.  ABV is 6.5%.  Totally worth checking it out if you’re an amber beer fan, or just a beer fan, in general!  Cheers.