Monday, March 31, 2008

Hunt Country Vineyards and the elusive Gus spotting

Sunday was such a beautiful day , a great day to take advantage of by hopping in the car to check out the Keuka Lake wineries. This weekend was Keuka Lake's World Tour of Food and Wine. (Don't panic if you missed it, they will have another one on April 19-20th!) . We stopped in Hunt Country Vineyards just a mile west of Branchport upon the recommendation of fellow "pack" members, Lorri and Dave. We were not disappointed. This 6th generation of winemakers produce award winning (and very delicious) wines. But before I get to the wines, I want to tell you about Gus. As we pulled into the parking lot, we could see an amusing cut out caricature of grape stompers. If you look closely you can see that in the barrel with the man and woman are 2 Bernese Mountain dogs! Thus the winery's mascot - 8 year old Gus the Bernese Mountain Dog. We didn't see Gus when we arrived so asked where he was. We were told that Gus had just had his bath and couldn't be allowed back out in the mud. He was hanging out on the porch of the homestead. However, as we were leaving, we were lucky enough to have a "Gus spotting." Gus saw us looking at him and quietly, stealthily slipped off the porch and started inching his way toward us. But, knowing he was on the brink of getting in trouble, he hesitated. At that moment, with the zoom camera, we snapped that elusive Gus photo! So there you have it - a rare Gus spotting!

Now about the wines at Hunt Country. I am sipping a glass of Alchemy as I write this. It is a delicious red wine combination: 45% Cab Franc, 40% Cab Sauv and 15% Noiret. Noiret is a peppery grape that Cornell is test-growing. It adds a really nice little zing to this wine. The other wines we tried were as follows:
Dry Riesling 2006 ($13.99) Very delicious, crisp and dry.
Pinot Gris 2007 ($15.99) Nice and light - this one will only get better with age.
Champagne Chardonnay ($13.99). What a delightful, light champagne at a really great price! You could drink this everyday!
Valvin Muscat 2007 ($14.99) A new white, apricot-y and smooth.
Semi-Dry Riesling 2007 ($13.99) - good, but personally, I like the Dry Riesling better. This one has 2% residual sugar,
Cabernet Franc 2005 ($21.99) Very dry - great aroma. A delicious Cab Franc only sold at the winery, but worth the trip. The Finger Lakes are doing Cab Franc's better and better.
Alchemy ($13.99) As stated above, really nice. This one tastes better after breathing a bit!
The "before and after dinner wines" were a real treat:
Late Harvest Vignoles 2007 ($19.99) I really liked this sweet wine. It would go great with blue-veined or cranberry cheeses. Excellent.
Ruby Port ($14.99) This was a real surprise treat, especially when paired with dark chocolate.
Vidal Blanc Ice Wine 2006 ($39.99) Very good and very sweet!
We really enjoyed chatting with Pat, our server and with Joyce Hunt, the owner. This is a trip worth taking.
(And as you can see, this winery helped me out with my problem mentioned in the previous post!)

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