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

Turkey Day Boozy Beverage Options

Groceries are grabbed, baking is (mostly) finished, and our free range turkey from Autumn’s Harvest Farm is dry brining away. Now it’s time to focus on the booze–what to drink with a meal that includes a LOT of different flavors? So many booze choices, none of them wrong…..

Thanksgiving is a perfect occasion to serve a bunch of different beverages. They are so many foods and textures, there is no single right or wrong wine style to pair. Sparkling wines like Champagne or Prosecco are great for serving during appetizers and lighter nibbles, such as cold shrimp or cheese plates.  Bubbles are also fabulous with dessert.

Wild Brute Cabernet Franc

Wild Brute Cabernet Franc

I am a big wine drinker, and I love my dry, bold reds, so I will have a selection of bottles Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir to serve during the main event.  One of my favorites is from Wild Brute Winery, who readers will hear more about VERY soon. But wait,  isn’t turkey a bird, so you need to drink a white wine with it? Nope! Rules are made to be broken in this case. The richness will hold up against bolder flavors-go ahead and try that NY State, cool climate Pinot Noir with your turkey. Delicious! As for white wines, local Finger Lakes Rieslings are world-famous–and heavily publicized at the moment. Fox Run just made the Wine Enthusiast 100 for 2015 for their Fox Run 2011 Reserve Riesling–but at number 47, Herman J. Wiemer shows up on the SAME LIST for their 2012 Magdalena Vineyard Cabernet Franc (at 94 points, TELL ME AGAIN HOW NY STATE CAN’T MAKE QUALITY, INCREDIBLE RED WINES). Sorry, back from the rant–not all Riesling is sweet, which is a common misconception….but if you’re looking to try something different, go for a Gewurtztraminer. This German grape has a floral, almost hoppy fragrance, and the taste is spicy, fruity, and different than any other. It pairs well with lots of different flavors, without overpowering lighter foods. Give your guests a chance to try something they might not be brave enough to sip on their own!

Eve's Cidery flight

Eve’s Cidery flight

Lastly, Hard Cider is one of my favorite drinks to have with large, family style meals….especially during the fall, and harvest season. Hard apple and even pear ciders are currently enjoying a popularity swing, and several local New York State producers are making high-end artisanal, traditional styles of sparkling and still ciders (with or without bubbles). Some of my favorite local cider products are from Eve’s Cider, Bellwether Hard Cider, Redbyrd Orchard Cider, and Naked Flock Cider out of the Hudson Valley.

I’ll be posting cooking and pairing updates throughout the day tomorrow–post YOUR FAVORITE BOOZE pairings in my comments, on BoozyLife FB, or follow along live on Twitter @boozylife 🙂

Local Turkeys Hang Out at The Piggery

Well, it’s that time again. Time for obligatory Thanksgiving blog posts! What to cook, what wine to serve, and how to survive the holidays abound. Me and the tattooer are staying local this year, and that means we’ll be putting on the traditional dinner at Casa Molina for family and friends that want to swing in. We try to keep it simple, local, and delicious….but this year we are going really LOCAL.

Turkeys roaming at Autumn's Harvest Farm in Romulus, NY

Turkeys roaming at Autumn’s Harvest Farm in Romulus, NY

First up, the turkey. In the past, my dad has had the fresh turkey hook-up from having owned a restaurant for twenty years. This year, I’m super excited to bring the bird! Today, we grabbed a little thirteen pound turkey from our friend Heather Sandford, who with husband Brad Marshall own and operate local pig farm and butcher shop The Piggery (follow the link for their beautiful blog and website). Incredibly, my husband and I were lucky enough to score a REAL PERNIL from them last Christmas, which was rated as ‘absolutely divine’– that came from Puerto Ricans that KNOW their pork, and it is VERY serious business.

The Piggery, Ithaca NY

The Piggery, Ithaca NY

The Piggery has a retail space in Ithaca (423 Franklin St, down by Red Feet Wine Store) that has a fantastic selection of their far raised pork-plus goodies from all over the Finger Lakes, from cheeses, breads, spreads and oils, plus beef and poultry sourced from Autumn’s Harvest Farms in Romulus, NY. Our little Thanksgiving turkey guy lived a happy, pasture life, wherein he roamed free and ate certified organic grains, bugs, and all the good stuff turkeys eat in real life. No factory farming here, kids. This is how our great-grandparents did it….no antibiotics or chemicals, just quality meats from well lived and cared for animals on local farms. Here is a pic of the star of the show…

The star of turkey day 2015

The star of turkey day 2015

Next up, what booze I’ll be bringing to the table…local wine, hard cider, brews, and cocktails to enjoy with your holiday spread and beyond!

Harvest in the Finger Lakes 2015

Fall in the FLX

Fall in the FLX

I’ve been off the grid! Gentle readers, sometimes business takes it all out of you for a bit, and quite frankly being business owners was rough for a patch. I’m happy to report things are currently fantastic at our tattoo shop, and I’ve been able to once again turn my attentions towards the fields and this year’s harvest bounty.

It’s finally October first, which means lots of the grapes have already been harvested and pressed around the Finger Lakes, and one of the busiest times of year is here! Tasting rooms will be extremely lively on beautiful fall weekends, so if you’re visiting, be civil and expect crowds of other tasters. The good news is, the views are heading towards incredible – enjoy, and don’t be in a rush. The Finger Lakes are all about taking a breath and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Pick some apples, peep the fall leaves, hike a waterfall, taste some locally made wines, ciders, beers, spirits…chocolates….cheese…

Beauties in the sunlight

Beauties in the sunlight

Harvest 2015 is in full swing, with lots of grape picking, pressing, and cellar happenings currently in the works, area wide. My Instagram feed is currently full of grapes being pressed, yeasts going in and fermentation starting, and lots of rain gear the last twenty four hours! It’s been dry and warm the last two weeks, so many growers got their grapes in before rains started in earnest. Our local weather called for over three inches of rain into today, with more over the weekend. Hopefully it dries out so that everyone gets their remaining crops in!

It’s also fun to see the apple farmers harvesting for their upcoming vintages of hard ciders. The movement is growing nationwide,  and the Finger Lakes area is at the center of high quality, heirloom farmed fruits, classically made, dry to off-dry, sometimes fermented in bottle, hard apple and pear ciders. This coming weekend (October 3rd and 4th) is the Apple Festival in Ithaca, with FLX Cider Week also kicking off. I’ll be attending some local happenings on that front, so stay tuned! October is going to be fun, and fall is the best time of year to be in this area, in my humble BoozyWife opinion…that’s why we tend to stay local until the snow flies again….

A BoozyLife Night in Paris at Chez Casimir *100th POST*

BoozyLife in action! Paris 2015

BoozyLife in action! Paris 2015

Big Paris Bus

Big Paris Bus

Side note–this is my 100th post on the BoozyLife! Thank you for reading and following the journey!

The first leg of our trip this month had us flying on a multiple city ticket–last minute flight purchases–and ended up with an overnight layover, to ourselves, in Paris. Terrible, right? What to do…we wanted to stay near the Gare du Nord train station in order to stay close to the morning train commute to the airport…cheap night in an Ibis hotel nearby…research! My husband found a spot called Chez Casimir about 100 meters from us–it’s the sister restaurant to the famous Chez Michel bistro, and actually SHARES A KITCHEN with them. DONE! We walked over and took an outdoor table overlooking the evening Paris streets. Google them if you want to see more articles, they’ve been written up in CNN travel amongst many others….

Paris streets

Paris streets

There is either an ala carte menu or the standard four course pairing (appetizer, entrée, world-famous cheese tray, desert), so we went traditional and ordered off the prix fix menu. At less than forty euros each, the price was more than a casual dinner, but presented to be a more upscale bistro fare. I chose a portion of beef with mushrooms and a pepper sauce as my entré…and then, I got to pick our wine! Best part!

French Beaujolais from Bordeaux Region Séléné

French Beaujolais from Bordeaux Region Séléné

I ordered a French Beaujolais wine (young and fruity red, easy drinking and good with a bistro meal like this) from the menu, and was invited to go grab MY bottle!! The wines were stored in the Cava de Vino (wine cave…in this case, a climate controlled side room/closet area) and you were asked to grab the bottle you want yourself, and a server will open your selection(s) and add them to the bill at the end of the meal. OK. YES. Several of the bottles were small batch, organic, or from harder to find producers! HOW TO CHOOSE? After a good amount of standing still with my mouth open in a happy place, I grabbed a bottle of GAEC de La Tallebarde – Séléné Beaujolais Gamay, a very young red wine, lightly aged and traditionally made in the Burgundy region of France. It also happily had an artsy label, plastered with a painting of Frida Kahlo-which was a nice marketing surprise for me and appropriate as well I suppose!

Lobster salad

Lobster salad

The young red wine -once popped -was fruity, funky, and complex, without being heavy–a fun pairing for casual outdoor dining. The acidity cut through all of the rich flavor of the meal, from my beef and mushrooms, all the way to the incredible treat of the Chez Michel style local cheese platter course.

FRENCH CHEESE TRAY!!

FRENCH CHEESE TRAY!!

Beef with mushrooms prepared perfectly

Beef with mushrooms prepared perfectly

Really, no words–the cheese tray comes after entirely too much food, so plan accordingly! Desert was an incredible raspberry chocolate concoction that melted in my mouth with silky perfection…lovely sweet ending to a delightful night in Paris. Check out Chez Casimir next time you are in town–BoozyLife approved and recommended! See you on the road….

Chocolate and raspberry goodness

Chocolate and raspberry goodness

BoozyLife VIDEO from Holiday Ink 5 — A Weekend for Artists in Pertuis, France

holiday ink bannerHoliday Ink 5

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

Pertuis with friends!

Pertuis with friends!

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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!

Lefty setting up for Holiday Ink 5

Holiday Ink 5

Holiday Ink 5

 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.

Holiday Ink 5

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!

Chilling rosé in AIX Provence

Chilling rosé in AIX Provence

                                                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!

FEARLESS knuckles by Lefty in Pertuis

FEARLESS knuckles by Lefty in Pertuis

FEARLESS knuckle tattoos by Lefty

FEARLESS knuckle tattoos by Lefty Molina from NY

The head of our dinner!

BoozyLife on the Road in France!#twithaca #Pertuis #AIXProvence #Corsica #HolidayInk5

I love this view...and this man.

I love this view…and this man.

Holiday Ink 5

Holiday Ink 5

BoozyLife is on the road in Southern France! I have amazing pictures and video of the weekend we were invited to from Holiday Ink 5 as well as from some of our travels through Pertuis, AIX Provence, and now Corsica on the Mediterranean! Thank you to David de Pertuis, his wife Stéphanie, and his beautiful and gracious family for hosting us in such comfort and hospitality. Truly, we feel so blessed and can’t wait to see you all in NYC this fall!

Pertuis with friends!

Pertuis with friends!

My wifi availability is spotty at the moment, and the adventure has provided way more than I could squish into one post anyway….so there will be a few on this journey once we return to the States. Currently, we’re visiting friends at the studio Generation Tattoo in Ajaccio, Corsica–incredible local farmers markets, and a view of the port that will never leave me. Enjoy a few GoPro shots and keep your eyes open for more posts in the coming week! See you soon, Ithaca—

The goods

The goods