Ithaca Blog

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wine Trip, part 4: Thirsty Owl and Cayuga Ridge Wineries

Thirsty Owl Wine Company is one of the trail's newest wineries.

We were at their eatery on its second day of operation. The menu is very limited, but that seemed alright to us. It's not a food court, and you really only need a couple of good things.

We had sandwiches: chicken salad, and turkey panini.

The chicken salad was simple, and good, although the bread was a bit on the ordinary, Strohmeinn's side: too-thick slabs of dry, white bread. Dry and white is okay for wines, but not for $9.50 sandwiches. But we were hungry and it was okay.

The turkey panini was a little more involved, and nicer, with spinach, and slices of tomato.

A smallish side comes with your sandwich. We had potato salad, and cole slaw. I commented on the pleasing crunchiness of the slaw, which drew a comment that crunchiness is pretty much an intrinsic attribute of raw cabbage. Okay, okay, so I am easily pleased.

After lunch, we looked at the wines, but found the overall tasting set-up, and offerings, a little lacking in verve, especially after buzzy Sheldrake Point. So we decided instead to try Cayuga Ridge, which is right next door, and in fact does not even require re-entering your car.

Cayuga Ridge hosts tastings in a barn, with an appealing funkiness. The tasting fee is $1, which is refundable with a purchase.

Despite the informal environment, which extended to a hippie-ish appearance to the youthful bartenders, the tasting was informative, and the workers were chatty and seemed eager to sell. We don't mind a good, strong sales pitch, if it is artful, and we left with a couple of modest purchases. The refund policy, while a modest feature, was not unincentiveful.

We had planned this as our northern-most, turn-around point, but realized that the Knapp Winery is just up the road, and thought it might be interesting, as an older and larger winery. So we soldiered up. We'll continue there in our next installment.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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