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.

Mark Patterson
September 30, 2014 | Mark Patterson

All The Small Things

More low-lying clouds this morning, with the heaviest bit seeming to be sitting right at the entrance to the Winery on County Rte 76, making visibility limited.  The headlights of an oncoming SUV only appeared through the fog about 20 feet, making the left turn up the drive a bit more exciting than necessary.  By the time I reached the lower parking lot, I was above the clouds, and the Winery sat majestically in front of me.

Heron Hill press pad Keuka LakeLots of stuff to do today.  It began with the return of some barrels we had stored off-site for awhile in order to complete the Cooling Project in the Cold Room.  Most of the barrels were 2012 reds that will come out of barrels shortly, soon to be refilled with some of this year's bounty.  A slow moving project what with the press pad being somewhat cluttered with the various pieces of equipment needed to process the grapes coming in.

First load in: 7.3 ton of Pinot Blanc from Jeff Morris over on the west side of Seneca Lake. Nice and clean and 21 degrees Brix. Luvly Jubbly! A bit more than originally estimated earlier in the week, so a nice surprise and may lead to a nicer surprise sometime next Summer.  Wink! Wink! Prior to the first press load being finished a nice little light show started, coming from the SSW.  Not much rain with it, just enough to be annoying, and a few bolts in the vicinity.  The show lasted on and off right through the 2nd press load, with a few lightning strikes a little too close for comfort when you're standing around all that steel.Pinot Noir grape clusters

During late afternoon we saw the arrival of the first grapes from John and Jo's Ingle Vineyard on the west side of Canandaigua Lake. Pinot Noir showing very nicely at this stage. Clean fruit. Just wish we had a bit more of it. The brutal Winter we experienced last year had a devastating effect on many varieties throughout the Finger Lakes, with Pinot and Merlot being particularly impacted.  The exceptional weather we have experienced the last few weeks has helped out nicely in the development of ripening in all varieties after a late start to the Season.  When it was still in the 40s in May the outlook wasn't as cheery.
Well, almost time for a pizza and a beer, then bed!
Mas tarde!

Time Posted: Sep 30, 2014 at 7:30 PM
Mark Patterson
September 26, 2014 | Mark Patterson

And So It Begins

Mark Patterson joined the Heron Hill winemaking team in May 2014. Mark will provide updates throughout Harvest 2014.

Our Harvest 2014 began on Friday, September 26, after the first day was pre-empted due to our Glycol Cooling System not being available.  First in: 3.42 ton of Seyval Blanc destined for Game Bird in a few months.  A soft start, really, but one that helps get a few "gremlins" out of the way.
A bit of an inauspicious beginning Friday morning, with some fog cover as I drove up the hill from Hammondsport on County Route 76.  Starting just before Keuka Lake Vineyards the fog grew heavy. Visibility was limited to only a few feet.  A real Pea Souper. Just as I approached the beginning of the estate vineyards at Heron Hill, there was a break in the miasma -- glorious sunshine broke through all around.

Mark at harvest(A first day of Harvest ritual -- here's Mark wearing his utility kilt)
After some last minute set-up, the load arrived from one of our contract growers near Penn Yan and the first grapes of the Season found their way into the hopper for processing, through the crusher-destemmer, and onwards into the Press.  The Press was started and the first juices began to drip into the Press pan at 21 degrees Brix! The juice was pumped into a jacketed tank for cold-settling of the bits of skin, pulp, and other detritus that we don't want in our clarified juice during fermentation and the first day of Crush was coming to a close.
As the other lads began breaking down the crusher-destemmer, hopper and lines for clean-up, it was time to tackle some Marechal Foch that had been 'hot-pressed' for us at another facility. Hot-pressing is widely used to process French-American Hybrids like Foch, DeChaunac and Baco Noir in order to tone down some of the more, let's call them, 'interesting' flavours and aromas found pre- and post-fermentation in these cultivars.  About 1500 gL put to bed to settle for a few days under cooling, and it was time for this lad to toast the arrival of a new Crush with several pints of IPA and a Fish Fry!

Time Posted: Sep 26, 2014 at 6:00 PM
Aimee Coates
September 8, 2014 | Aimee Coates

A Recipe to Enjoy with Early Fall Evenings and Eclipse Red

So can someone tell me what happened to summer? It seems like we waited and waited and now it’s almost gone.

Steve & Pam hDog in Tasting roomad a fantastic summer visit with kids and grandkids, enjoying Seneca Lake in all its splendor.
I took a couple of trips back to Connecticut to visit my "kin" -- we shared a few bottles of delicious Heron Hill wine, along with some amazing food and lots of great laughs. At the Tasting Room on Seneca Lake, we enjoyed seeing many familiar faces and making many new friends. Since our tasting room is “Dog Friendly” we have lots of great friends that happen to have 4 feet. Here is Ryder lounging in the tasting room while "mom & dad” sample the new wine vintages and talk with Nancy.

Eclipse Red 2011 Magnums

The 2011 vintage of Eclipse Red is quickly becoming a favorite. Heron Hill's signature Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon was first bottled in 1991. The 2011 Eclipse Red was aged 24 months in French, Eastern European, and American oak barrels. For the first time in over ten years, this vintage of Eclipse Red was also bottled in 1.5L magnums. Magnums are only available to purchase in our tasting rooms at this time and are a perfect size for a dinner party! This wine pairs so well with red meat and hearty lasagna for dinner but what about Chicken with a Red Wine Cream Sauce?



Chicken with a Red Wine Cream Sauce

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and 2 lbs. of chicken breasts.

Cook about 10-12 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.

Remove chicken to platter and add to skillet:

2 teaspoons smoked Paprika

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried Thyme

¾ cup of Eclipse Red Wine

Heat and stir until all ingredients are well blended. Put chicken back into heat through 8 to 10 minutes, spooning sauce over the chicken breasts from time to time.

Remove chicken to clean serving platter and add to skillet:

2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Wisk until smooth and thick. Pour sauce over chicken breasts and serve with fluffy rice and roasted seasonal vegetables.


Time Posted: Sep 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM
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