Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Lemberger to Celebrate

Having successfully shared a little - and literal - taste of the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference with Boo the other night, I figured "let's just carry on and give it another go." As such, I trotted out another surviving bottle of the bumpy ride home encountered while returning from the Finger Lakes.

1982.  2011 Ventosa Vineyards Lemberger (Seneca Lake AVA - Finger Lakes - New York State)

Now, there might the odd person that would question the urgency or necessity of hustling for a bottle of Lemberger. Indeed, there are likely more folks that would think you're serving stinky cheese rather than wine if you told them that Lemberger was on the menu. But, I'm going to chalk this bottle up to being in the right place at the right time.

As mentioned a couple of posts back, I'd been lucky enough to join up with the WBC15 Pre-Conference Excursion and we were treated to dinner at Ventosa Vineyards by the Seneca Lake Winery Association. The folks at Ventosa were in a particularly celebratory mood that day because they had learned - just that day - that the winery's 2011 Lemberger had won the 2015 Governor's Cup for the Best Overall Wine at the annual New York Wine & Food Classic competition. They referred to it as the Oscars of New York wine and the place was clearly abuzz.

Our little Canadian contingent had taken an immediate liking to Ventosa's free-spirited winemaker, Jenna LaVita, and we joined up with an after-dinner party at Jenna and her partner's side venture, a pub and craft brewery - Lake Drum Brewing. Although her award-winning wine wasn't even for sale at the winery yet, she had a couple of bottles at the pub and she let me twist her arm into selling me a bottle to take home. With only 256 cases of the wine and a major award to shout to the heavens, I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't have ever come across a bottle otherwise.

See what I mean when I say, "right place, right time."

Given the accolade showered upon it as New York State's top bottle, however, the wine wasn't as full or as flavourful as I might have hoped. To be fair, maybe the bottle was suffering some bottle shock from the flight home - after all, it had only been a couple of days - but we didn't catch the "powerful" spice or notes of juniper or eucalyptus on the nose that the winery speaks of. I can see the "under-ripe blackberries" reference but I'm not sure that'd be the hallmark of an award-winning wine for me.

All the same, it was a welcome find and I was thrilled to have a chance to meet with Jenna, to celebrate her big win and to add this bottle to The List. May she experience many more such awards in the vintages to come.

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