Boundary Breaks Vineyard-Outstanding Rieslings, Sunchokes, and a Locavore Celebrates the Arrival of Spring

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Saturday morning was one of my favorite anticipated days living in this area-first nice Saturday to visit Ithaca Farmers Market on the waterfront of Cayuga inlet. It was chilly down by the water, but the sun and blue sky gave enough promise for spring, so we bundled up and headed downtown.

20140421-101932.jpg Our new friend Kees Stapel, vineyard manager for Boundary Breaks Vineyard in Lodi, NY, had his table set up and was all ready to pour their vast array of Rieslings. They focus on and produce only Riesling wines, from drier styles to the sweeter, and even a silky late harvest. Check out their gorgeous website here: Boundary Breaks Vineyard Their web presence is only surpassed by the quality of the wines produced. The crew at BB take an amazing amount of pride in their vines, fruit, and creative process…and the hands on knowledge shows, along with the dedication they pour with. I went back after the tasting and grabbed the Ovid Line 2012 Riesling. It’s a semi-dry made from a blend of different Riesling grape clones, and is the only blended source wine they make. Bright apple, apricot, lychee favors, with a slight acidic complexity and sweetness make this a very food friendly, flexible wine; the acidity is well balanced and the sweetness not at all overpowering. I am an admitted dry wine drinker, but living in the Finger Lakes has helped to open my mind (and palate) to all of the hidden gems sourced from our area. I recommend checking them out, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast sure have!

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Excitingly, spring has sprung and some of our local farmers braved the chilly air to bring the first of their veggies as well. A time ago I read an article about foraging in the wild, and recalled fiddleheads and sunchokes mentioned as springtime delicacies. I’ve had the opportunity to taste (as well as bring back) fiddleheads from Nova Scotia, and we use them from the freezer stock throughout the year. Sunchokes (also called Jerusalem Artichokes) are the tuber root of a type of sunflower, and a cousin to the artichoke most of us are familiar with. WiKi sunchoke info It looks a bit like a potato or ginger root, and the skin can be peeled but is edible. Raw, the consistency was that of a sweet water chestnut. They can be roasted, added to salads raw, or cooked into a multitude of soups. I excitedly grabbed a pound of the sunchokes in various sizes (along with a bag of kale for roasted kale chips), my bottle of wine, and looked forward to a creative night in my kitchen!

Had to open the bottle of wine first, of course, but the actual dinner prep was a breeze. I treated the sunchokes like simple potatoes-washed of dirt and chopped, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and roasted in a 375 degree oven until they were browned (about half an hour, 45 minutes). I added F. Oliver’s white truffle oil to finish the dish–I love that stuff way too much. I also roasted my kale with the same ingredients (minus the truffle oil), for about 15 minutes in the same 375 oven. Keep your eye on kale, chips become cinders quickly if you’re not paying attention!

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The results? A locally sourced, adventurous and delicious meal! Once roasted, the sunchokes had the flavor of a sweet, nutty roasted artichoke minus leaves–maybe think just the stem, with a bit more potato-y density and starch. The flavor is mild and quite delicate. The wine was a lovely accompaniment to the flavor. Now, I was made aware that some people have digestive issues with the sunchoke, and the reaction can be the same as too much dairy or fiber…(the nickname ”fartichoke” came up once I did a bit more….ummm…research). I had no major noticeable issues, but this might not be the dish to impress a first date with :) On that note, get out to your local farmers market, grab a veggie you’ve never tried, and experiment–you’ll be glad you did! Enjoy locavore adventures in your area!

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PICTURES FROM LE MONDIAL DU TATOUAGE 2014 from Eddie ‘LeftyBastard’ Molina

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Lots of pics from the show! Check it out from the convention floor, my hubby Eddie Molina reporting ;) 20140314-164240.jpg

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Le Mondial du Tatouage Paris 2014

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My husband, Eddie ‘Lefty Bastard’ Molina, was lucky enough to be an attending artist at the 2014 Le Mondial du Tatouage Paris Tattoo Convention 2014 ! It was a fantastically put together, busy international show, and I’ll have a full breakdown from his first hand view. Thank you to Tin Tin and his crew for including us in the festivities! Can’t wait until husband flies back to the States-and I can collect my required bottle of Absinthe and assorted goodies from the show….updates soon! (Photo: l/r: Client, Norm, Big Sleeps, Lefty, Tin Tin, and BoogStar, Paris 2014)

Great local wines, explained! ▶ Finger Lakes: Cool Climate Wines – YouTube

Here’s a short video worth a watch! How our cooler climate helps to create the wines we are best known for in the Finger Lakes area. What are some of your favorites? Which ones do you WANT to try? Cheers! :)

 

▶ Finger Lakes: Cool Climate Wines – YouTube.

N&S REPOST: Pierre Chapelan, 20 Years of Tattooing!

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A wonderful write up on a well respected artist, family man, and always gracious host! Pierre is a second generation tattoo artist and owner of Studio Tattoomania in beautiful Montreal, QC. He and his wife Valerie also are the tireless whirlwinds behind Art Tattoo Show Montreal. Congratulations on 20 years of tattooing, Pierre, and it will be a pleasure to journey with you through the next twenty years as well! (the link below will take you to the N&S article, enjoy!)

Pierre Chapelan: 20 Years of Tattooing

Surviving the Polar Vortex: Ice Wine and Good Point Tattoos with Cory Ferguson & Eddie Molina

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to visit our tattoo family at Good Point Tattoos in Oakville, Canada for more work! The shop is owned by our good friend and tattooer Cory Ferguson, who specializes in dotwork, blackwork, and a continual assault of puns. I was there as a client this time, for the continuation of my sleeve, and for collaboration background of my phoenix backpiece. Cory’s geometric work on my left arm now extends across my shoulders, and will eventually scatter my chest as well. My husband Eddie Molina is collaborating with him, and added the smoke tendrils that swirl through the geometric pattern in this last session. I had two incredible artists work on me for several hours this weekend, and I’m so excited to show off their progress! Everything is really starting to tie together, and I dare say I look like a heavily tattooed woman…at least, from the back!

After all of that tattooing, I needed a DRINK! The weather screamed for an Ice Wine tour, so after two days of needle poking sessions, I grabbed my purse (NOT over my shoulder….OUCH) and we hit a few wineries on the way home to the States.

First stop, Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery. The beautiful tasting room has high ceilings and an elegant feel, and I’m struck by the views. I really love grape fields, and they are no less stunning in winter. The tasting bar crew was friendly and helpful, even during a slow Monday afternoon. I tasted their Vidal Icewine 2006, as well as the Cabernet Franc Icewine 2011. The Vidal was an Ontario Wine Awards Bronze winner, silky apricot and pineapple, sweet with a bright acidity. It was fresh and crisp, with a finish of honey. The Cabernet Franc 2011 was a very different ice wine. Aged in Stainless and French Oak, the red was much less sweet, and had a lot of smokey character. Oak balances with strawberry,  honey, and even a touch of currant and citrus on the end. Paired beautifully with a sample of 70% dark chocolate.

Next, we hit Fielding Estate Winery and their Wine Lodge tasting room, complete with fireplace and furry blankets in the loungers. Recognized as one of Canada’s Top 10 Wineries in 2013 according to their press, owner Curtis Fielding was named 2012 Grape Grower of the Year by the Grape Growers of Ontario Association. The view of their fields includes wind turbines, used to help warm the vines with moving air. The bar was pouring tastings of their 2012 Riesling Ice Wine. Aged in stainless steel and neutral French Oak, the color was a lovely medium gold. A sweet intensity was followed by a much softer light mouthfeel, the lingering finish was quite delicate.

Our last Canadian stop was Rosewood Estates Winery – Home. This is essentially where I dropped the ball and the Ice Wine tour became the Merlot stop. What can I say? I LOVE REDS. I tried to stick with the plan. I did. But then, I saw the 2010 Merlot Reserve on the tasting menu. I asked for a pour. “We’re sold out, but I still have a bottle to taste. Would you still like to…?”

“YES PLEASE,” was my answer. Ohhhh, yes.

Winemakers Notes 2010 Merlot RESERVE:  Picked by hand from low yielding vines, sorted first in the vineyard and then at the winery selecting only the very best clusters. The clusters were gently destemmed then separated into small fermentaiton totes. The intact berries were cold macerated for 5 days then were warmed up to allow the natural yeasts to start fermentation, which lasted 3 1⁄2 weeks. Manual punch-downs were perfromed twice daily. Select French oak barrels were chosen for this Merlot, spending 15 months in both new and seasoned barrels, each barrel taking on unique characteristics. Final filtration was completed the day of bottling.

I LOVED it. I was sad there was no more, and it had sold out. I have told countless tasters from behind the bar-”get it while we have it, once it’s gone it’s gone.” Then, something amazing happened. Our taster started pulling tasting boxes apart in the back room, looking for ONE bottle for yours truly. SHE FOUND ONE! I took it home happily, and I ended up with a bottle of Merlot on the Ice Wine tour. Great customer service, on top of a beautifully made wine. We made a break for the US border, it was getting late and I was feeling fine.

We made it into the States and off of the Thruway, and I decided to drive down Route 89 along Cayuga Lake for our last stretch of the journey. It was almost closing time, but I made one last stop-Sheldrake Point – Sheldrake Point Vineyards. I love their winery, I love the tasting staff, their wines are delicious…it’s a local jewel. I had also heard fantastic things about their 2013 Late Harvest Ice Wine, and had to make that the grand finale of our trek. I’m SO glad that we DID–that was our favorite Ice Wine of the day! The best description is ‘winter sunshine in a glass’. Fruity, acidic, sweet, balanced…but MORE. Bright. Gorgeous mouthfeel, silky and lasting intensity. It won BEST AMERICAN RIESLING at Canberra International Riesling Challenge 2013, and was awarded Double Gold from the New York Food & Wine Classic 2013…just in case you don’t trust this palate of mine. Nice to know it’s less than 45 minutes from beautiful Ithaca, NY…or as we call it, HOME. It’s so easy to drink Local here…Ithaca really is Gorges. :)