Our idea (see previously posted Intro) was to have a relaxed wine country experience, but to reach a good variety (pardon) of establishments, and use our time well.
We picked our end point first. We figured we would go as far as the Thirsty Owl Wine Company, where they have just opened an eatery, where we'd have lunch.
But we yo-yoed it up there. We'd picked 6 places to go, but decided to see half going north, then go to our end point for lunch, and see the others on the way back, fortified by lunch.
Route 89 is the wine route, and it is a beautiful road, alongside the lake, with no commercial traffic (at least I have never seen any) - in fact, little traffic of any kind.
There are a couple of notable attractions on your way out of town: the Glenwood Pines roadhouse restaurant, and Taughannock State Park. Another day for those.
The first winery on the way north is Frontenac Point. You won't find it on most wine trail publicity. My understanding is that they just aren't association-joining types.
They probably don't have to be. They have the very strong tactical advantage of being first in line on the trail route out of Ithaca.
Frontenac is a small enterprise, and maybe the lack of publicity keeps it quiet, but it is nice like that. We were one of three couples in the small tasting room, which is pleasantly cool and dark.
Frontenac makes 13 wines. Ten are available for tasting.
One of our fundamentals is that the more a wine costs, the harder it is to get us to like it - at least, enough to buy it. And this wine philosophy was borne out by the dessert wines we tried at Frontenac. They have two: an ice wine, and a port. The ice wine is $26, and the port $15. Guess which is better? Enough to buy?
We tried the riesling, as we would at each stop, as the Finger Lakes are increasingly known for riesling. We enjoyed it, but not half again as much as the house white, while it costs half again as much. If you realize that we bought a bottle of the house white, at $8, you are paying attention.
The tasting fee, by the way, is $1 for four samples. The wineries have similar policies, though with some interesting twists, which we shall note.
Our next installment will be a very up-and-coming winery: Sheldrake Point.
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