Heron HillBlog

Meet our bloggers and find out what's going on at Heron Hill Winery and our other two tasting rooms on Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes! Staff members are writing about the vineyards, what's happening in the cellar, fun events, wine pairings, new releases and more.

John Ingle
September 30, 2009 | John Ingle

Ingle Vineyard Harvest Update

By John Ingle, Winery Owner

Fall is my favorite season. I love the peace of winter, the promise of spring, the activity of summer, but the bounty of the harvest is what makes Autumn so rewarding. When you throw in the beautiful colors, the crisp air and all the food from the garden and it’s a soul-satisfying time of year. Right now we’re eating sweet, fragrant melons, plum cabbages, nutty winter squash, apples and seedless grapes.

All the planning last winter, the planting last spring, the hoeing and mulching this summer pays off in fruits and vegetables to freeze, store and eat fresh. Going into October we’re focused on the harvest in the vineyard as well. Slowly, day-by-day, the brix (sugar level) increases and we taste the berries for signs of maturation. It’s a waiting game, greatly influenced by Mother Nature, requiring patience and a positive attitude.

Right now it appears that Pinot Noir will be picked first – they look clean and ripe but need another week. The bees like Pinot Noir and cause more damage than one would imagine. Next will be Chardonnay, already turning gold and plump – a tougher grape that can take some rain or cold if need be. Later in the season, the Cabernet Franc which is very slow to turn blue and ripen this year will be picked and finally our beloved Riesling. It will probably be November before the Riesling is ready to go. We also have plans to make Icewine so this will be a long, busy, patient fall.

Tambi Schweizer
September 23, 2009 | Tambi Schweizer

Events at the winery and Reserve notes

By Tambi Schweizer, Tasting Hall Manager

Well, it has been great summer, full of lots of free live music on the Blue Heron Café terrace. This past weekend we had Brett Beardslee, a local musician from Hector, NY (East side of Seneca Lake), he was fantastic, singing some of his own tunes while also playing a few of the standard classics! Brett was the talk of the day on Saturday with his amazing 1958 Volkswagen van with the most astonishing paint job!

While Brett was here he had a glass of our newly released Pinot Noir Reserve. (Can you see wine in the photo?) The 2007 Pinot Noir Reserve is a medium to fuller bodied cold weather Pinot Noir. Our Reserve Pinot Noir is gracefully silky with a bright raspberry with a touch of tobacco mid-palette earthiness, finishing with rich raspberry fullness. The crimson color emphasizes aromas of cherry and raspberry, which combines well with the soft touches of oak. This Pinot Noir Reserve tends to be fuller in alcohol, fairly soft in feel and has a light smoke from the barrel. The soft tannins of this Pinot Noir Reserve make this wine a very sleek smooth easy drinking wine that goes well with meats with some degree of fattiness, especially with a twist of pepper accompanied by slightly bitter vegetables on the side. Smoke wood roasted braised beef, lamb and pork are excellent main courses. Another main dish that works excellent is a roasted turkey topped with a cherry salsa.

Another new release that is coming out soon is the much anticipated Pinot Blanc Reserve. This Unoaked Pinot Blanc is energetic and lively with an intense pear aroma, finishing with slight green apple fruitiness. This 2008 vintage release has a great mouthwatering lemongrass and grapefruit tartness that gives it a long refreshing finish. The Pinot Blanc is excellent as an aperitif served with something small to eat, such as creamy dips, crackers & vintage cheeses served with various kinds of finger foods. The vibrant mineral flavors of the Pinot Blanc are enhanced when paired with turkey and chicken dinners.

With these Reserve wines, we only release a very limited amount of cases, anywhere from 100 to 450 cases per release. The Reserve wines are wines that have come from a specific lot of grapes that are of a higher quality than usual, usually only made in a year that had an incredible growing season. Traditionally winemakers would "reserve" some of their best wine rather than sell it immediately, coining the term. Reserve is meant to indicate that the wine is special and has a different unique flavor and a longer aging potential.

We are finally relaxing after the Keuka Lake Wine Trail event that happened this past weekend (Sept 19th & 20th). The Harvest Tour of Food and Wine was an experience of incomparable beauty of the fall season with locally grown foods bursting with the flavors of harvest time in the heart of the Finger Lakes. Almost a 1000 people tasted the exquisite wines of Keuka Lake and sampled dishes prepared from the finest locally produced foods. It was a great celebration of New York's agricultural heartland, an experience that certainly delighted the tastes, pleased the eyes and warmed the soul. Here at Heron Hill, we featured our Classic Heron Hill Pinot Noir with a Garden Harvest Frittata with an Apple and Pear Chutney. The Classic Pinot Noir is lively and exciting, with rich ripe red cherry and raspberries on the nose. This crisp, textured Pinot is accented by an earthy flavor that runs through the pallet. Soft and supple tannins finish this bright, fruit-driven wine. If you missed the Keuka Lake Harvest Tour of Food & Wine, please check out the Keuka Wine Trail website for our last event of the season, the Keuka Holidays Wine Tour. You can ring in the holiday season in vintage form at one of our Keuka Holidays weekends...every year a sell-out! Each winery offers delicious hardy winter foods along with their finest wines. Ticket holders receive a handmade grapevine wreath at their starting winery and collect a Christmas ornament at every winery. The wineries will have holiday decorations and the gift shops will be stocked with unique and local items perfect for almost anyone on your shopping list. Join the fun! Tickets are $35 per person or $55 per couple and they are available as Advance sale only!

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