Ticonderoga, New York - Who Knew!
By Christina Bowe, Wholesale Sales Manager
Last Spring, I had the pleasure of going to the Northeast area of New York. The village is charming and the town is full of history, which all residents are very proud to boast about. My trip introduced me to a newly built Best Western on the outskirts of town on Burgoyne Road. This beautifully maintained hotel is a jewel. The Burgoyne Grill within the hotel adds something special that you don’t usually find within a hotel.
I met one of the owners, Denise Ward along with her staff. The restaurant guests had been asking for NY wines, our Unoaked Chardonnay, Semi-Dry Riesling and Cabernet Franc are on their list as the featured NY wines. At that time, we talked about the possibility of doing a wine dinner. I was excited when I got the call in the Fall. At that time, I met with Chef Bob Jennings and staff. They had never tackled a wine dinner, but we all put our heads together and had an amazing event.
The Friday night sold out, the Chef and his staff recreated the magic for Saturday evening as well. Chef went to work to put together a 4-course meal paired with four Heron Hill wines. The first course was an amazing squash soup paired with 2007 Heron Hill Semi-Dry Riesling. The next course was a scallop salad with caramelized onions, this was served with the 2008 Heron Hill Unoaked Chardonnay. These perfectly paired dishes were received very well by the guests. The third course was a piece of art and unfortunately, there is not a picture to do it justice. It was a twice-baked potato, fresh carrots with a delicate sweetness and a perfectly grilled filet dressed with homemade herbal butter with parmesan chips perched atop the butter. The pairing of 2006 Heron Hill Cabernet Franc, complimented the main course. The homemade apple pie with melted Vermont cheddar cheese with a chocolate truffle was served with 2007 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc.
Chef Jennings pulled out all the stops, and if you are ever in the area it is a must visit stop. Specials are offered every night and I had the most delicious hamburger I have ever had. I want to thank particularly Kourtney Kraft for her attention to detail, which made the night run smoothly. I travel and attend many wine dinners, and I have to say this dinner was in the Top 5. Thanks to all at the Best Western and the Burgoyne Grill in Ticonderoga!
The Montcalm Liquor Store in town was the site for a Saturday tasting. The Manager, Nancy, brought in some amazing snacks and I tasted the wines from the dinner the previous night. Several of the guests from the previous night’s dinner were there too. This is a great store, friendly customers and a true interest in New York Wines.
At the tasting, most of the locals where giving me information about their famous Fort Ticonderoga. I was intrigued at what they told me, so I thought I would do some research and add it to my blog. Fort Ticonderoga, originally Fort Carillon, was built by the French military between 1755 and 1759. The Fort is at a point where Lake Champlain narrows and the shore of Vermont is a cannon shot away. At this point, the water from Lake George enters Lake Champlain through the La Chute River. In 1776, a fleet of small warships and gondolas were rigged and fitted out at Mount Independence. This fleet under the command of Benedict Arnold fought the battle of Valcour Island. In 1977, British General Burgoyne managed to place a cannon on Mount Defiance and forced the Fort’s garrison to evacuate. The British finally abandoned the Fort in early November following the surrender of the British army in Saratoga. In 1820, William Ferris Pell purchased the ruins to preserve it for posterity. In 1840 he converted his summer home into a hotel to serve the tourist traveling the Lake by steamer to visit the Fort ruins. In 1908, the next generation opened the Fort to the public with President Taft in attendance. Unfortunately, the Fort was closed for the season, but I thought it was noteworthy to talk about. You can find out more information at www.fort-ticonderoga.org. The grounds are beautiful with weddings and business events, as well as war reenactments happening in the open season. On March 10, 2010, there is going to be a story on the Sci-Fi channel on the Ghost Hunters documentary. Apparently, there are some ghostly occurrences happening at the Fort. Ticonderoga also has a ferry that you can take across Lake Champlain to Vermont! It is, of course, closed for the season right now.
Ticonderoga is another amazing town in our State that proves to be yet another great place to visit in New York State. I can’t wait until my travels bring me close to the town, hopefully in the Summer when all the attractions are open.