Q&A with Tambi
By Tambi Schweizer, Tasting Hall Manager
Over the years I have been asked numerous questions, so I have kept a journal of them. Hopefully my answers will entertain and educate….
On a typical night, what wine is in your glass?
I tend to be a dry red wine drinker, but it has been such a hot summer that I have been drinking my two favorite white wines that we carry here at Heron Hill, the Reserve Pinot Blanc and the Ingle Vineyard Chardonnay. As the weather has cooled down over the past few weeks (which puts an end to camping…oh so sad!), I have switched to one of my favorite red grapes, Cabernet Franc.
Is there a quality you like most in wine?
Alcohol….Oh wait…. I meant to say how well it pairs with food! Just this past weekend we served a roasted corn, red pepper and cheddar chowder and for dessert a maple pumpkin cheesecake drizzled with a pecan maple glaze. This matched SO amazingly well with the Semi-Dry Riesling that I paired with it for the Keuka Lake Wine Trail Harvest Tour of Food and Wine. I heard lots of great comments about how well the spiciness of the soup complimented the sweetness of the Riesling and how the acidity balanced the sweetness of the cheesecake.
Do you have a favorite piece of advice for when I am out wine tasting?
I tend to choose a color, white or red and often times I stick to a certain varietal, like Cabernet Franc, of which there are hundreds of different bottles here in the Finger Lakes region. The other advice that I usually give is to make sure you have eaten and drink LOTS of water.
Do you have a favorite hangover cure?
First, I drink close to a gallon of a water to flush out the system then take a few liquid Advil (love them…!) and finish with a few sips of one of our dessert wine, like the Late Harvest Ingle Vineyard Riesling Reserve. I think the 17.2% R.S. really helps to coat my stomach.
What is your favorite wine that you have ever drunk…Heron Hill or elsewhere?
My absolute favorite red wine that ever came out of Heron Hill was the 2002 Baco Noir Reserve. It was just an amazing full bodied syrah-style wine with plum and blackberry fruits along with tar and smoked meat notes. Unfortunately we only made 198 cases, but I am lucky enough to have put away almost a case of it! I hope to keep opening one per year on my birthday for quite a few years, as long as no bottles secretly disappear to hunting camp…..
What surprises people most about your job?
I think the fact that my staff and I are required to taste every bottle that we open; to check for corkage issues is the biggest shock. The wine tasters are usually astonished that we can “drink on the job”! I always tell everyone that is one of the “tortures” of the job!
What is the best time of the year to come wine taste?
I always am encouraging everyone to come in the off season, preferably not on the weekends, that way we can have a real conversation and really be able to spend time and be able to answer any and all question that you may have.
What else do you do around here for fun?
My favorite pastime is definitely going snowmobiling! I dream about snow ALL year round and pray for lots of it! When it’s not snowing; you can usually find me camping, especially near the fire concentrating on roasting the perfect s’more while drink out of my special light up wine glass (only $4.99 at the winery).
The other thing that I tend to do on my day off is get a friend or two and head to wine country and check out the other wineries. Just last week I went and have a great lobster bisque at my southern neighbor, Bully Hill, then continued on to a beer tasting at Keuka Brewing. I really loved the new beer called "After Burner”, it was made with Jalapeno Peppers…what a great concept; it started sweet at first and got spicier as it continued down and then finished with a calming effect. So cool! We then headed over to McGregor’s on the east side of Keuka and tried a few wines there with my former co-worker Dan. It was great to be able to catching up and share stories about all the craziness that happens!