Finger Lakes wine

Cabernet Franc and Lemberger: Red Wines of the Finger Lakes

Riesling is the undisputed signature white wine grape of the Finger Lakes. But as for the signature red wine grape of this region in upstate New York, should it be Cabernet Franc or Lemberger? The answer isn’t as clear.

The question was posed to a panel of winemakers and winery representatives during a virtual tasting of Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc and Lemberger, organized by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.

I joined other wine writers and bloggers in tasting, talking and tweeting about the red wines.

First up was the Cabernet Franc.

Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc

The wines tasted were:

Heron Hill Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc
Vineyards located on the west side of Seneca and Cayuga Lakes.
Aged for 20 months in French, Eastern European and American oak barrels. Aromas of clove and toasted wood with flavors of jammy cherry and plum with a subtle hint of eucalyptus.
heronhill.com

McGregor Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Vineyards located on the east side of Cayuga Lake.
Aged for 13 months in oak barrels. Berry aromas and flavors, with notes of sweet oak and black tea and smooth tannins.
mcgregorwinery.com

Damiani Wine Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc
Vineyards located on the west side of Cayuga Lake and east side of Seneca Lake.
Aged for 8 months in French and American oak barrels (16% new American oak). Aromas of stewed berries and wood spice, with flavors of dark plum, blackberry, cocoa and cigarbox.
damianiwinecellars.com

So why should Cabernet Franc be considered for the signature red wine grape of the Finger Lakes?

As the panel explained, Cabernet Franc is well suited to the Finger Lakes climate. Wines produced there have good acidity and are very food friendly. They are more fruit driven, with crisp, clear flavors. In the Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc is also excellent as a rosé.

The panel recommended pairing Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc with grilled steak, anything with mushrooms, or a dish that is earthy and charred. One winemaker suggested enjoying a glass with a beet and goat cheese salad.

Next it was time to taste Lemberger. Also known as Blaufrankisch, this grape is grown across Central Europe. Most wineries in the Finger Lakes have chosen to use Lemberger, not Blaufrankisch, on their labels.

Finger Lakes Lemberger

The wines tasted were:

Lakewood Vineyards 2012 Lemberger
Vineyards located on the west side of Seneca Lake.
Aged for 10 months in 50% New York oak, 40% other American oak and 10% French oak barrels. Aromas of raspberry and blueberry with black pepper, cocoa, toast and a touch of spice.
lakewoodvineyards.com

Fulkerson Winery 2012 Lemberger
Vineyards located on the west side of Seneca Lake.
Aged for one year in French oak barrels. Sweet cherry, plum and smoky oak aromas with flavors of ripe berries and a silky finish.
fulkersonwinery.com

Fox Run Vineyards 2012 Lemberger
Vineyards located on the west side of Seneca Lake.
Aged for 18 months in French and American oak barrels. Aromas of blackberry, raspberry and freshly ground black pepper with flavors of black cherry, plum, sweet vanilla and spice.
foxrunvineyards.com

So why should Lemberger be considered for the signature red wine grape of the Finger Lakes? The first and most obvious reason is that there aren’t a lot of other wine regions in the United States that are focusing on growing Lemberger. In addition to doing well in the Finger Lakes climate, it is an easier grape to grow. It consistently ripens, and neither the deer nor the turkeys like it (apparently turkeys love Pinot Noir).

Wine produced from Lemberger grapes has a rustic and wild character to it, and really benefits from oak. Without oak, the wine lacks a persistence of flavor and length. In the Finger Lakes Lemberger blends the fruit-forward New World style with the food-friendly nature of an Old World wine. The wines are lower in alcohol and have good acidity.

The panel suggested pairing Finger Lakes Lemberger with beef and hearty pasta dishes like lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs.

At the end of the tasting the vote on which should be the signature red wine grape of the Finger Lakes was still split.

The verdict that anyone could agree upon – pick up a bottle of Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc or Lemberger and taste them for yourself!

For more information visit fingerlakeswinealliance.com.

Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week

Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week 2015

Mark your calendars for the 13th annual Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week, a chance to check out signature dishes from some of the city’s top dining spots at exclusive prices.

From Saturday, July 18th through Sunday, July 26th, more than 35 restaurants will be offering three course prix fixe lunch, brunch or dinner menus for $15, $25 or $35 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

This year’s participating restaurants include Alma Cocina, Asante, Atlanta Grill, BLT Steak, Braves All Star Grill, Café 458, Cuts Steakhouse, Der Biergarten, Fandangles, Fire of Brazil, Game-X, Glenn’s Kitchen, Hard Rock Café Atlanta, Hudson Grille, Jalapeno Charlie’s, Legal Sea Foods, Max Lager’s Wood Fired Grill and Brewery, Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, McCormick & Schmidt’s, Meehan’s Public House, Morton’s the Steakhouse, No Mas! Cantina, Pittypat’s Porch Restaurant, Polaris, Poor Calvin’s, Prime Meridian, Ray’s in the City, ROOM at Twelve, STATS, Sway, Terrace Bistro, The Commerce Club, Thrive, Trader Vic’s, Truva, Twenty-Two Storys, Twin Smokers BBQ and White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails.

Click here for a full list of participating restaurants and their menus

Reservations are strongly recommended and may be made online at Open Table or by calling the restaurants directly.

While downtown, take a ride on the Atlanta Streetcar or check out the National Center for Civil and Human Rights or the College Football Hall of Fame.

Atlanta Downtown Restaurant Week is presented by Central Atlanta Progress, a Downtown business association with the mission to build a vibrant community with strong leadership and sustainable infrastructure.

Want to chat with fellow diners or see the latest restaurant week news? Join the conversation by using #DARW2015.

Atlanta Downtown Restaurant Week, July 18 through 26, 2015.
atlantadowntown.com/fun/restaurant-week

>> Connect:
Facebook: AtlantaDowntown
Twitter: @downtownatlanta
Instagram: @downtownatlanta

 

WSPD

Summer at Westside Provisions District

With new restaurants and events, the Westside Provisions District is the place to be this summer.

Here’s what’s new via The Reynolds Group:

Little Bacch Now Open

The latest concept from chefs Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison features an à la carte menu with fresh-grown produce and seasonal favorites. Diners will enjoy oysters, caviar service, cheese soufflé, Summerland Farm greens, dry-aged beef and more. To complement the food, hand-crafted classic cocktails are poured tableside.

Little Bacch is open Tuesday through Saturday beginning at 5:30 pm. For more information or to make reservations visit www.starprovisions.com/little-bacch.

Westside Provisions District Farmers Market

The WSPD Farmers Market is open every Sunday from now until September 27th. Hosted in partnership with Community Farmers Markets, the outdoor market runs from 10 am to 2 pm and features fresh produce, baked goods, flowers and more from local farmers and artisans as well as District tenants. For more information click here.

Free Wi-Fi

Sharing what you’re up to on the Westside is even easier with free Wi-Fi now available on property 24/7. Follow @WSPD on Twitter and like WestsidePD on Facebook.

Little Trouble Pop-up

New bar and social club Little Trouble will be opening soon in the District, but before then Atlantans can get a taste of the menu with a pop-up at its sister restaurant Paper Plane in Decatur. Sample menu items include ramen, meats on sticks, steam buns and dumplings. The pop-up will be taking place Monday through Saturday from 5 to 11 pm in June. For more information visit the Paper Plane’s Facebook page.

Terrarium Class at Le Jardin Français

Le Jardin Français will be hosting an interactive terrarium class on Saturday, June 20th. From 2 to 4 pm attendees will have an opportunity to create a succulent or tropical terrarium. They will also explore the fundamentals of how a terrarium emulates the weather cycles of Earth. The class is $225 per person and includes all supplies needed. Click here for more information.

Canning 101 at Preserving Place

On Saturday, June 27th from 2 to 6 pm learn all about canning with Preserving Place. Geared toward the beginning canner, Canning 101 provides students with an in-depth approach to home hot water bath canning, including the equipment needed, a discussion on the scientific principles behind the process and a hands-on experience in the kitchen. Attendees will take home two jars of what they made in class. Canning 101 is $95 per person. For more information and to register, click here.

For more on the Westside Provisions District visit westsidepd.com.

image via Westside Provisions District

AG Pick: Barrymore Pinot Grigio 2013

Imagine if the bright, upbeat and fun personality of Drew Barrymore could be bottled in a white wine. What you’d get is the 2013 Barrymore Pinot Grigio.

Barrymore Pinot GrigioThe wine is a partnership between Barrymore Wines, founded by the actress and wine enthusiast, and Carmel Road Winery. The grapes are grown in Monterey, California, a cool, coastal region influenced by the Pacific Ocean.

Ideal growing conditions and stainless steel fermentation helped produce a wine that expresses the Pinot Grigio grape in its pure form. Citrus aromas introduce flavors of Meyer lemon, ripe white grapefruit, Asian pear and honeydew. The finish is crisp and refreshing, with lingering wet stone minerality.

The Barrymore Pinot Grigio pairs with a variety of food, from salads and sandwiches to light pasta and fish dishes. Drew recommends sharing it with friends and family as you make memories around the table.

The 2013 Pinot Grigio is the first Barrymore by Carmel Road wine. Additional varietals will be coming out this year.

For more information visit www.BarrymoreWines.com or www.CarmelRoad.com.

$14.99, 13.5% alcohol

Davio's Atlanta

New Summer Menu at Davio’s Atlanta

This summer check out new seasonal offerings at Davio’s in Atlanta. The northern Italian steakhouse located at Phipps Plaza offers a variety of handmade pastas, steaks and seafood.

I recently had the chance to taste some of the new dishes as well as perennial favorites at a dinner with owner Steve DiFillippo.

Potato Gnocchi Bolognese, with braised veal, beef and pork in tomato sauce
Potato Gnocchi Bolognese, with braised veal, beef and pork in tomato sauce

The Hand-Rolled Potato Gnocchi is light and just the right texture, here served in a bolognese sauce. Pictured in the featured image at the top of the article is the standout Ricotta-Truffle Caramelle, candy-shaped pasta served with crackling mushrooms and fennel pollen in a butter sauce.

Tuna Tartare with crispy shrimp, avocado cream and fish roe
Tuna Tartare with crispy shrimp, avocado cream and fish roe

Over the course of the evening, Steve shared a history of the Italian restaurant which is now celebrating its 30th year.

Crispy Chicken Livers with port balsamic glaze, glass spinach and toasted pine nuts
Crispy Chicken Livers with port balsamic glaze, glass spinach and toasted pine nuts

In May 1985 Steve purchased a locally-owned restaurant on Newbury Street in Boston. He revamped the interior, menu and wine list, but kept the name — Davio’s.

Seared East Halibut with white asparagus and lobster risotto
Seared East Halibut with white asparagus and lobster risotto

Since then the original location has moved, and Davio’s has expanded — with three additional locations in Massachusetts, and one in Philadelphia, Manhattan and Atlanta. Look for Davio’s to head west next, with a restaurant being planned for Los Angeles.

Colorado Rack of Lamb with sunchokes, summer pea purée and white balsamic gastrique
Colorado Rack of Lamb with sunchokes, summer pea purée and white balsamic gastrique

Steve has also published a book, It’s All About the Guest. In it he shares engaging stories of how he became successful in the restaurant industry, along with 12 signature Davio’s recipes. Click here to purchase a signed copy.

Panna Cotta with Prosecco macerated strawberries and peanut brittle
Panna Cotta with Prosecco macerated strawberries and peanut brittle

Davio’s is open daily for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

Davio’s Atlanta, Phipps Plaza, 3500 Peachtree Road, Atlanta 30326. 404.844.4810, davios.com/atl