Autumn from Eve’s Cidery on NY Cork Report

imageNY hard Apple ciders are finally getting the recognition they so deserve, and once again the Finger Lakes area is a leader the trend towards producing dry, heirloom sparkling (and still or no bubble) hard ciders. Autumn Stoscheck, of Eve’s Cidery here in the Finger Lakes, was recently featured as a NY Tastemaker for her incredible, hand made adult ciders! Check out her question and answer with Lenn Thompson of New York Cork Report here: http://newyorkcorkreport.com/blog/2016/02/02/new-york-tastemaker-autumn-stoscheck-eves-cidery/

Last year, I was lucky enough to attend a tasting with Autumn and partake in some of her incredible ciders! You can read up on my visit to the Finger Lakes Cider House and tasting with Autumn here: http://boozylife.com/2015/0809/cider-makers-afternoon-with-autumn-of-eves-cidery-finger-lakes-cider-house/

 

 

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imageIn an effort to be even MORE connected, you can now shoot me an email—–> boozylife@gmail.com!

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Grüner and Blaufränkisch– Austria Abroad in the Finger Lakes

imageLast Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend a very special tasting at Dano’s Heuriger overlooking Seneca Lake. The restaurant is a lovely space, despite the  easily missed exterior of the seemingly smaller building-naturally modern, with a warm feel and unassumingly elegant decor. The breathtaking lake views are the main attraction, aside from the traditional Viennese cuisine. Don’t miss Dano’s if you visit the area–it’s a local gem, owned by Dano Hutnik and his wife Karen. Both are accomplished chefs (she in pastry), and Dano’s experience living as a ballet dancer in Vienna adds to the authenticity of the locally sourced menu.

The concept behind this tasting event was a very exciting one–a tasting of two wines, one white (Grüner Veltliner), one red (Blaufränkisch aka Lemberger). Several different wineries from the Finger Lakes, along with producers from Germany, Spain, and even Washington State US were represented. Both grape varietals are native to Austria, and both grow exceedingly well in our cooler, Finger Lakes climate. Grüner wines are white, and tend to have a light, floral, citrus or peachy flavor, highlighted often by a peppery or even white pepper notes. Blaufränkisch (Lemberger) wines are red, and have a red, ripe, jammy character–think red currants and dark, ripe cherries. Oak aging can help tame acidity and tannins, but many retain their bright flavors.

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Dano’s

All the while, Dano’s had a beautiful array of appetizers and light bites to go with the Austrian themed wine pairings. The menu  included artichoke tarts with a delicate pastry, asparagus wraps, smoked fish spread, hard salami, sausage and schnitzel bites over homemade sour kraut, and smoked fish

So, let the tasting notes begin! I really enjoyed having the opportunity to taste several Grüners in a row, something I have never had the chance to do, let alone with several Finger Lakes wineries in the mix. My limited palate knowledge on this grape is that it’s white, fruity, and light, often peppery, and is usually made in a dry style very complimentary to delicate foods. I had no idea how different the wines produced in the Finger Lakes would be, especially from each other.

The 2013 Grüner from Hazlitt was soft, had a light acidity, peachy and a bit of time on the lees. Very different, the 2014 Grüner from Anthony Road was tart, dry, and had a balanced structure with lemons and tropical fruits. Dr. Konstantin Frank Grüner 2014 came with the 2015 Jefferson Cup that they had recently been awarded–with good reason. This beautiful Grüner has a peachy nose, beautiful, bright acidity, and a dry but lasting finish of subtle honey and light spice.

Lamoreaux Landing 2013 Grüner is very light and dry white, food friendly, with hints of white pepper. Bloomer Creek 2013 Auten Vineyard was a HUGE surprise after the others, with a yellow gold color, crazy and long lasting finish of honey, right from the comb. The honey finish had me grabbing my tasting friends, and forcing them return to it by holding my glass under their nose….sometimes, I get excited over a sampling, and decorum goes out the window. No apologies!

Over to red! A few of my favorite FLX wineries brought their Lembergers, which was exciting since I am such a red wine lover.  I definitely had more knowledge on this side of the room on what to expect going in. Herman J. Wiemer 2013 Lemberger – cherry nose, dark red fruit, currant, bright acidity, light and rounded tannins. Lip smacking, tart finish. Fox Run Vineyards 2013 Lemberger had a bit of heat on the nose, red fruit, clove spice, nicely balanced, and very quaffable indeed. Red Tail Ridge 2013 Blaufränkisch was a bit more oaky tannin focused, with higher acidity, and leaner structure.

 

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Stephanie & Damiani

Damiani Wine Cellars 2014 was also lean, with baland dark fruit, oak, and a still crunchy acidity. To round out the tasting, I also tried Glatzer Blaufränkisch 2014 from Austria–chewy, tannic red, much lower acidity and jammy ripe red fruits. Not crazy about Schatz 2006 Acinopo Lemberger Ronda, Spain–a bit higher RS, licorice, smokey oak and finish. Very different than others, and not my favorite by a long shot.

All in all, a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the Finger Lakes. I took away quite a bit of information about two grapes that I was relatively unfamiliar with, and tasted several different styles of wines made with them. For me, the best part was meeting the winemakers and having them answer questions about their wines, process, and craft — along with the commeraderie of the afternoon! Get out of your comfort zone, say yes to trying new wines, and you’ll be genuinely surprised at what you find you might love.

 

 

 

2016 Refocus: My BoozyLife in the Finger Lakes

Happy New Year, dear wine and tattoo aficionados! 2016 is starting off with a MUCH MORE local (for me) focus. My husband and I live and have a business in Ithaca, NY, home to Cornell University, Ithaca College, and centrally located in the heart of the Fingerlakes wine region. We did a LOT of international travel last year, and I ran into quite a bit of excitement and interest about our little nook of Upstate NY.

We live in the land of Finger Lakes bounty; this January I’ve decided to refocus and explore more wineries, vineyards, winemakers, distillers, and cider producers in the Finger Lakes area. Winter is a fantastic time to hit the trails and do some tasting, as long as the weather is cooperative– lots of one on one time at tasting bars, minimal crowds, and a beautiful change in the summer landscape. Wine trail events are plentiful, as winemakers get out of the cellars and enjoy time with their fans (yes, fans…winemakers are like rock stars to some of us).

image.jpegTomorrow, we’re headed up to Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca for a first of its kind in the FLX tasting! Austrian grape varietals grow quite well in our area, and some of our best winemakers are producing wines from them. Two of these grapes will be highlighted–Grüner Veltliner (white grape), and Blaufränkisch (red grape, also called Lemberger…which seems a less terrifying spelling, due to the lack of umlauts…). Check out the event breakdown flier–I’ll be live tweeting and spamming social media along the way, before the full wrap up post here! You can follow along on Twitter at @boozylife, on my FB BoozyLife page, or on Instagram as @missusmolina…..

BoozyLife in Puerto Rico

 

After years of hearing the stories, I finally got to see for myself– Puerto Rico is a beautiful, rich, lush, tropical paradise that lives life and loves to take it easy. This post has a little bit to do with wine–but there was more rum, adventure, and seafood to be had than grape growing! Not to mention that our first morning, husband found a Taste NY spot right down the street from the tattoo shop!

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A TASTE NY SPOT IN PR?!? Who knew?!

They’re waiting on their alcohol license, and after that, I hope to bring some of the Finger Lakes to Old San Juan! Get in contact with me if you’re interested in more info….

We stayed in Old San Juan for a week, while Lefty did a guest spot at Senzala Tattoo — the only tattoo shop in Old San Juan, and a solid spot for old school tattoo work, as well as a long list of fantastic rotating visiting artists. Eddie (or The Molina as I heard him called on several occasions) was booked pretty solid, but if you missed the chance to get tattoo work from him, he’ll be back soon.

I had a set amount of time to myself in Old San Juan for shopping, walking, and touristing (awesome little boutiques, local flavors, tourist traps, forts, museums) on foot- all very walkable, wear the good sandals or comfy flats.

It’s also relatively hot and humid, so billowy sundresses were the preferred threads. I showed a lot of tattooed skin, and passed out a LOT of business cards–good for me, good for everyone!

A few days into the trip, we escaped for a day of nature. Rainforest bound, we had to make a stop at Bebo’s BBQ. It’s an open air, pork bbq spot, right across from the airport. Bourdain knows about the porky goodness-I had to find out….it did NOT disappoint…

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Porky goodness at Bebo’s BBQ

Venturing out of Old San Juan, we rented a car (CHEAP) –and the driving is nuts (no blinkers, zippy passing on the right shoulder kind of stuff), but I was with a semi-local, so….we had a day in El Yunque National Rainforest.

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Hidden beauty

I wasn’t completely geared up, but just from the roads and a few light hiking paths I saw some of the most gorgeous natural rock formations, waterfalls, and wild . Next time we go back, I’ll have my Ithaca style hiking gear, for sure! The paths aren’t all maintained, but the views are spectacular, and the swimming holes are local treasures.

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El Yunque colors

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Palm size snail

Later that evening, we drove about half an hour to Fajardo and the bioluminescent bay–an experience I will never forget! We kayaked with a group through mangrove groves in pitch darkness, only to come out into a sparkling bay–the winds were light, the glow was definitely there although low, and I got to hold a glowing, bioluminescent jellyfish. Next trip we will explore others as well! You can find more info here: Bioluminescent Bays in Puerto Rico.

Way too much for only one post, lots more we ate, saw, and tried to do– but what a first visit for me! I’ll always remember rum, pirate friends, parrots, serious pork, Demian and the Sick Of It All evening of hardcore bone breakage, bioluminescence, beauty, and loving the entire experience with my Puerto Rican husband.

 

BoozyLife is in Puerto Rico

SENZALA TATTOO in Old San Juan, PR

SENZALA TATTOO in Old San Juan, PR

A TASTE NY SPOT IN PR?!? Who knew?!

A TASTE NY SPOT IN PR?!? Who knew?!

Cemetery crypts with one hell of a view

Cemetery crypts with one hell of a view

Old San Juan

Old San Juan


Lefty and I are in PR for about a week, while he does an artist guest spot at Senzala Tattoo in Old San Juan! Many talented tattoo artists travel extensively, working out of shops around the world.

Ocean views

Ocean views

Lefty has international clients, and when we met years ago, he was spending a lot of time on the island of Puerto Rico–enough to have a client base and following here. Still does!

My pirate Lefty

My pirate Lefty

It’s been roughly seven years since he’s been here (owning a shop will unintentionally tie you down for a bit), but I definitely foresee trips becoming more frequent. I love seeing the pirate Lefty in his native environment! This is my first time, so I’m getting the full tour from the entire gang of characters here–gracious group of artists, every one.

Molina working on Demian at Senzala Tattoo

Molina working on Demian at Senzala Tattoo

I have a few boozy excursions planned, not to mention incredible foods,  rainforests, and a bioluminescent bay to visit…stay tuned…

Avacado stuffed with shrimp & tostones

Avacado stuffed with shrimp & tostones

Follow along on my BoozyLife FaceBook page, on Twitter as @boozylife or on Instagram @missusmolina :)

 

Wild Brute Winery in Arkport-Going Rogue off the Trails

Wild Brute Winery

Wild Brute Winery

This summer, I was a part of the Wine Blogger Conference –this year located in the Finger Lakes region, or my back yard. I felt like I needed to go because it was so close to home…however, I unexpectedly ran into some incredible local winemakers that were doing things their own way. I made a point of it to explore this back yard of mine in earnest! Arkport, NY just kept coming up, over and over. There are incredibly interesting things happening off the lakes, about an hour away from Corning, NY.  I took the ride, and it was totally worth it.

The Lineup at Wild Brute

The Lineup at Wild Brute

The French were the first to use the term ‘Gagariste’ in terms of winemaking–these were the mavericks, making wines off the grid and outside of a very regulated system. Although they were not in the system, the French had to agree that the small batch, artisanal products coming from these tiny producers were interesting, and sometimes ground breaking. Justin Recktenwald and his startup, Wild Brute Winery in Arkport, NY, fit the definition of garagiste winemaking perfectly–right here in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY. Justin has the pedigree -Graduated Cornell Viticulture program, worked and learned under Dr. Constantine Frank sparkling masters, and has travelled extensively to learn, and apply the knowledge at home.

Justin, me, Kyleigh, Wendy, and Mark--the Wild Brute Crew

Justin, me, Kyleigh, Wendy, and Mark–the Wild Brute Crew

Wild Brute Winery (follow the link for their website) is a family affair. Justin Recktenwald is the owner and winemaker, along with a crew of many-fiancé Kyleigh, mom Wendy, dad Mark, and brother Cody all have a hand in the production process. This family knows farming, and Arkport, and Justin’s knowledge and winemaking skill has turned family farm property into a wine bar and production facility. Currently, aside from publicized weekend events and music shows, the Arkport tasting room is by appointment (although during the nicer weather there is an outside open tasting bar.)

Wine pairing with chocolates

Wine pairing with chocolates

I was invited up to do a tasting, and I really can’t say enough about the feeling I left with. I brought my husband, and we were met by Justin, his family, and a beautiful spread of artisanal chocolate bonbons from Angelica’s Sweet Shop-about fifteen minutes away! I was already a fan of Wild Brute’s 2013 Unfiltered Cabernet Franc…but this time, we got to sample the entire lot…and it was quite a showing of what’s happening beyond the wine trails on the lake shores!

 

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*Wild Brute 2014 Chardonnay–Bright acidity and a balanced oak finish, vanilla, caramel, green apple, smooth mouthfeel. Grab it if you see it!

*Wild Brute 2013 Unfiltered Cabernet Franc–Dark plum color, red fruit, figs, warm oak, light warm acidity. One of my favorite Cabs in the FLX…seriously. It’s special because it’s so different from anything else.

*Wild Brute 2013 Unfiltered Single Barrel Reserve–Super Limited, dark jammy red fruit, a bit younger bite of acidity. Gorgeous dark plum color, lasting finish. Oak adds a warm rounded depth without overpowering the fruit.

*Wild Brute 2013 Off-Dry Riesling–Bright nose, floral, pear, peach, honey, green apple. Light acidity is balanced with hint of sweetness and a lasting honey finish

*Barrel tastings of WB Hard Apple Cider (YUM), wild ferment, heirloom apples.

If you see a bottle of Wild Brute, grab it. If you’re headed through Horse Heads/Corning and want a bottle, they have a limited stock in the general area. This coming spring, I forsee LOTS of events starting up through the he summer at the Wild Brute wine bar–here’s their FaceBook Wild Brute Business Page–Wild Brute Winery on FaceBook–go give them a Like, and know what events are coming up…music, wine, and local flavor, Finger Lakes style…off the lakes! Make an afternoon drive that you won’t regret! #goingrogue

Wild Brute Wines

Wild Brute Wines