Anyone for a rosé brunch and a pig roast?? You can follow along tomorrow with updates here, on my Facebook page, on IG as @missusmolina, or with Twitter @BoozyLife….
Happy National Drink Wine Day! I’m going to Whiskey School tonight 🙂 One of the best things about living in the Finger Lakes, especially in the winter, is the ability to take advantage of incredible local resources while the crowds are in hibernation!
A number of our local wineries, entire wine trails, and distilleries run programs to attract guests during the cold weather lull. Last year, while we were in Paris for work, I saw advertised a series of whiskey classes at Finger Lakes Distilling on Seneca Lake, but obviously couldn’t make it. This year, we’re staying more local for the beginning of the tattoo convention year–so it’s the perfect time to broaden my boozy knowledge before hitting the tattoo convention travel road again!
I have always had a keen interest in the process of distillation and whiskey making, maybe because of my Scotch-Irish roots…and a few spots the Finger Lakes region are making incredible spirits! Finger Lakes Distilling is a pioneer FLX distillery that makes a selection of aged whiskey, spirits, and liqueurs. Locally sourced ingredients are distilled using old school, traditional methods, with an imported 350 gallon copper potstill imported from Germany.
Check out their website above, and follow along tonight live on Twitter @BoozyLife, Instagram as @MissusMolina, and FaceBook on my BoozyLife page 🙂
Last 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.
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.
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.
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).
Tomorrow, 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…..
After a long week of jumping through hoops as a tattoo wife and shop owner, it was a pleasure to attend the Wine Boggers Conference 2015 in the Finger Lakes area of NY, or as I like to call it, ‘home.’
Over two hundred and fifty wine writers and bloggers would be participating in a three-day weekend (plus some pre and post excursions!) of wine tasting, exploration, seminars, and networking. I’m an old pro at the tattoo convention scene— but a wine blogger convention? What was that going to be like? I had a few notions, but seeing that it was to be held in our backyard of viticulture in the Finger Lakes area, I couldn’t miss it! This area is exciting, vibrant, and on the cusp of great things…I wanted to see what the OTHER bloggers thought, as a way to see our area (and my ‘hood) through fresh eyes.
All three days were pretty heavily scheduled with events, some as writing workshops, mentoring, and pro panels, excursions to several different wineries and events, and LOTS of wine tasting.
Keynote presenter Karen MacNeil, wine goddess and author of The Wine Bible, was as inspirational as she was fierce. HERE is a woman to idolize, ladies….strong, professional, and absolutely taking no shit from anyone. Honestly, if that was all the conference had for me…Karen’s words would have been enough. She’ll get a post all of her own, because Karen is an incredible spirit– that the women in the wine industry MUST recognize — as a door opener and trail blazer. She may be in Napa now, but she has the heart and fire of a New Yorker. One of my favorite quotes that she dropped on women in the industry during the weekend was, in relation to sexism in the wine industry: “the barrier has never been sex, it is mediocrity. The door is open, walk through it.” ABSOLUTELY!
Tastings were a huge part of the event, and I counted over seventy-three wine tasting notes over two days that I took–not too shabby! LOTS of spitting, kids….don’t try to be a hero. You will fail and quite possibly make an ass of yourself.
The tastings ranged from the normal table and pour, to a “speed dating” version of a tasting (wine makers came to your table with their bottle, gave some wine notes, and had five minutes with you, then it was off to the next table!), to a mystery bus excursion….get on the bus, go to a secret location, have an AMAZING TIME, return later to hash out where we all ended up!
BoozyLife ended up on the bus headed to Element Winery in Arkport, vision of the incredibly talented and hard-working Master Somm Christopher Bates-whose dinner and wines will get their own post as well, because I saw things happening there that DEFINE what the Finger Lakes can and will be to the wine industry, in the near future and beyond.
In short, the weekend was exactly what I was hoping it would be, and it opened my eyes to magic happening right under my nose! BoozyLife can’t wait to share some of the wine makers and their creations with you all, because the Finger Lakes are where it’s all happening right now in New York State.
Now, just let me sort out all of these tasting notes…
The official videos from Holiday Ink 5 are starting to come out! Have a look at these YouTube links to see where we were, and what we were doing when we travel to distant lands! Cameos from Lefty and myself in both, but you’ve got to watch closely….and the knuckles being tattooed as the first video starts–you all know THAT artist and his fancy letters! Links below, have a watch and see what we do out on the road….see you out there!
Lefty and I are home from another great trip to Europe this year! This time, we were invited to Holiday Ink 5 artist retreat in Pertuis, France — CHECK OUT MY VIDEO ON YOUTUBE –>>> CLICK ON THE LINK –>> HOLIDAY INK 5 VIDEO
Hosted by David De Pertuis and his incredibly dedicated family and crew, the weekend included artist only events (machine tuning and building seminars), tattooing, painting, vendors, evening dinners and entertainment for artists and their families, and an opportunity for relaxation and networking in Southern France. Not a bad way to spend a July weekend, to be sure!
The weather in Pertuis was HOT, but everyone was in great spirits, and clients lined up from early in the day on Saturday to have work done by artists from around the world. We weren’t the only Americans there, but I think we were the only New Yorkers! Despite the language difference, everyone was very receptive to us and my husband’s artwork, and helpers were working overtime to translate and relay ideas.
The vibe in the shop was upbeat, busy, and all around jovial, as artists worked in close quarters while clients and onlookers checked out the tattoo process and artistry on display. The entire town came out for the party, and the support was definitely a welcome change–the tourism board there understands the DRAW of quality tattooing and artists, and local stores also benefitted from the crowds!
From restaurants to boutiques, everyone welcomed the tattoo show, and we reciprocated–whole heartedly. While I sort through even more photo links and wait for the official video, have a look at some of the first video I put together– from the shop of David De Pertuis, to dinner under the stars after a day of creativity! Lots more to come from this trip, stay tuned –fine wines, foods, and experiences not to be missed!