Delightful wines from the Finger Lakes

This month’s #WinePW blogging group went to the Finger Lakes. Thanks to Linda Whipple who hosts this month’s chat, many of us received a host of wonderful samples to try. Click here to read Linda’s preview post on the region.

I was lucky enough to visit the Finger Lakes in 2018 when I attended the Society of Wine Educators annual conference. We explored some of the wineries in the Seneca Lake Ava and it whet my thirst to know more about the region. I also attended a number of  great seminars about this beautiful region and it’s history

The Finger Lakes Alliance has a very informative website with loads of information.  I was intrigued by this explanation as to why this cool climate region can ripen its grapes to full phenolic mature. Lake effects are of great interest to me.

“Hundreds of thousands of years in the making, the Finger Lakes were carved out by successive waves of glaciers. These large and deep fresh water lakes and the soil deposits surrounding them are the glaciers’ gifts to modern winemakers. The massive bodies of water, visible from our vineyards, have a profound effect on the grapes. During the winter, cold air drains naturally from the sloping vineyards to the lakes. In spring, cool air bathes the vines, delaying the start of the growing season so that the tender shoots are not injured by late frosts. In the fall, the sun-warmed lakes prevent early frosts and extend the growing season.”

I received wines from three wineries, Billsboro Winery, Keuka Spring, Buttonwood and Lakewood Vineyards. All of this manna was paired with dishes throughout the week and was a great way to feel the beauty from the Finger Lakes area without having to travel which I have not yet returned to doing.

The first two wines I tried were these great rosés from Billsboro. I paired them with a simple grilled salmon steak and it was a beautiful match. The salmon just has a little dill seed and olive oil and the Pinot Noir Based Rosé was great with it. As today is National Rosé day. I am going to write about these wines for today and post more this week about the other wineries that I was lucky enough to receive wines from, largely Rieslings. Billsboro is on Seneca Lake. It’s owned by Vinny Aliperti and his wife Kim. They have 60 acres and the tasting room is apparently an old barn. From their information it looks like the source their grapes from a couple of grower partners, Sawmill Creek Vineyards, Leidenfrost Vineyards and Atwater Estate vineyards. These vineyards are on the southeast shores of the lake in an area that is said to have the most growing degree days.

Tasting Note: Rosé of Pinot Noir

Beautiful salmon color wine with hints of raspberries and strawberries on the nose. On the palate it displayed lovely floral notes as well as a hint of earthy bramble and mushroom. Nice acidity completed the picture and made it a perfect match for the Salmon Steak.

Tasting Note: Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon- Syrah

Deep onion skin in color with notes of fresh berries and violet, this wine had a beautiful bouquet and on the palate was refreshing with a hint of oak. We celebrated an important family occasion and this wine helped grace the table.

I paired this wine with another dish I made from Octopus and potatoes. While the dish left something to be desired this time around, the wine was great. The only problem I found with these two wines is that we drank them very quickly. One glass called for another!

It’s highly likely that my first winery trip post this period will be in New York or New Jersey and it looks like this area may be first up. After having read about their tasting procedures during this time, I am encouraged and intrigued to dip my toe back into the world of wineries that I love so much. Before I get to do that, many of them are holding virtual tastings which can be a great way to explore the area. This new aspect of our world is one of the positive experiences of the lockdown that wineries are letting you meet the owners and show you their practices in such an open way.

Please join our Saturday June 13 11am ET  twitter chat by following the hashtag #WinePW.

Here are some wonderful articles from my fellow bloggers from the Weekend Wine Pairing Group:

  • Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm is “Exploring the Wines of New York’s Finger Lakes Region.”
  • Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla is pairing “Bibimbap with Garden Banchan + Forge Cellars Classique Riesling 2017.”
  • Lori at Dracaena Wines is “Delving Into the History of the Finger Lakes with John
  • David at Cooking Chat is exploring “Finger Lakes Wine Paired with Everyday Favorites.”
  • Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “An Impressive New York Treasure: the Finger Lakes Wine Region.”
  • Teri at Our Good Life pairs “Zero Degree Riesling with Pan Seared Scallops over Cheesy Grits.”
  • Jeff at Food Wine Click! suggests “New York Finger Lakes – I Hope You Like Riesling!”
  • Jill at L’OCCASION offers “New York Finger Lakes: Wine For Summer Pairings.”
  • Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings shares “New York Finger Lakes Wines – Lonesome Stony Rose and Fox Run Rieslings Paired with Quick-Prepped Seafood.”
  • Jane at Always Ravenous offers “Picnic Fare Paired with Finger Lake Wines.”
  • Rupal at Syrah Queen discusses “The Charm Of New York Finger Lakes Rieslings.”
  • Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles is pairing “Finger Lake Riesling and Alsatian Salmon.”
  • Gwendolyn at Wine Predator offers two posts: “Two Riesling from the Finger Lakes Paired with a Potluck” and “#RoseAllDay for #RoseDay: 3 from New York’s Finger Lakes.”
  • Susannah at Avvinare shares “Delightful wines from the Finger Lakes.”
  • Jennifer at Vino Travels takes a look at “Wines from Around Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes Wine Region.”
  • Finally, Linda at My Full Wine Glass is sharing
    two posts: “Three Takes on Finger Lakes NY Cabernet Franc Rosé” and “Two Pairs of NY Finger Lakes Riesling – a Winning Hand.”


  1. I was sad to miss the conference that year in the Finger Lakes. This region looks beautiful. the ancient history of the glaciers forming the region is really fascinating.

  2. These sound like delightful rosés! I have to say, I’m always impressed by the QPR of the wines of the Finger Lakes.

  3. I loved learning about the history of the region. Incredible what Mother Nature can do! I also received samples from Billsboro, but it arrived after my post was already written. I’m looking forward to tasting it soon!

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