A few weeks ago, I had my first weekend away since becoming a mom four years ago.  When the possibility of a weekend jaunt arose, it was clear where I wanted, no needed, to go-home.  Well, not quite home, but close.  Although I have been in Austin for nearly half of my life, Upstate New York will always be home. So a trip to the Finger Lakes, to visit one of my dearest friends, was just what I needed.

I had visited Ithaca in the mid-90s and had stopped at a winery, but was just learning about wine at the time, so I thought I would have my hosts pick a few possibilities.  I was intrigued by the wine offerings at Lamoreaux Landing, but knew that was going to be our destination after corresponding with one of the owners, Josh Wig.

Lamoreaux Landing sits above Seneca Lake with magnificent views and an inviting tasting room.  Towering windows,warm wood floors, great displays, and plenty of browsing room.  A space large enough to accommodate summer crowds, cozy enough to linger on a quiet winter day.  As impressive as the room is, it pales in comparison to the wines.

When tasting, I find that the host can make or break your experience. Laura, the Special Events Coordinator, was our host and could not have been better.  Warm, patient, knowledgeable and an all-around pleasure.    We started with the Riesling.  They do six Rieslings here, three are Single Vineyard.  All were fabulous.  The ’08 Reserve has a good balance of minerality and fruit- a touch of citrus and orange blossom. The ’10 had more of a lemony long finish.  The ’10 Semi Dry had softer, honeyed fruit and a long finish.  Of the Single Vineyards, Red Oak was our favorite.  Really big flavor.  Honeysuckle and pear, creamy and delicious.  Although grown so close geographically, each SV Riesling was so different.  Round Rock has a clean minerality (shale/slate) and a touch of gooseberries (I got currant or something, but borrowed gooseberries from their description).  Yellow Dog has more stone fruit , blossoms, and a touch of citrus.

Knowing my palate would only stand so much tasting, we skipped around after the Rieslings and tried a few that were new to me.  The 42 North was an interesting blend.  Mostly Moscato, this wine had fruit and floral notes with a touch of spice (coriander) and would be great with Thai.  The 08 Chardonnay was lovely.  Held  mostly in oak, it had the creamy roundness you would expect, but the time in stainless steel gives the fruit more of a chance to shine.  At $12.99 it is a bargain.  The Estate Red is another excellent bargain.  Cab Franc, Pinot, and Merlot.  Perfectly balanced and a perfect Monday wine at $11.99.  Finally, the big surprise for me was a 2009 T23 Cabernet Franc.  An unoaked Cabernet Franc.  I have never had anything like it.  It has all the big fruit, earthy herbs that you would expect from a Cab Franc and yet, it had a light finish.  Cranberry and soft tannins, this wine would be really versatile in pairings.  Big enough, but not too big for about anything.  Really interesting wine.

When we headed out to Lodi, I had read the accolades in popular publications.  I was impressed by the property. I was rooting for my home state so I was really hopeful that I would like the wine.  I didn’t just like the wine, I LOVED the wine.  I was blown away by the quality for the price point.  I tried things that were completely new to me and was tickled by the depth and variance in the Single Vineyard Rieslings.  And to top it all off, the people were as delightful as the wine.  I cannot recommend this winery enough.  I’d like to say the day was without but disappointment, but there was one.  A big one.  They can’t ship to Texas.  Devastating.  But all the more reason to head back home.