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Category Archives: wine

Historic Christmas Present

For the last Christmas present for my husband, Steven, I made my way to one of my all time favorite places to shop: the Ilion Farmer’s Market at Clapsaddle Farm on Otsego Street.

I’ve blogged about the Farmer’s Market many times and will no doubt do so again. It is run by folk artist Jim Parker, which is why I needed to shop there Friday. I wanted to give Steven a Parker print. Steven has a real knack for decorating, and he especially loves to hang nice things on the wall. A nice print which we can get framed seemed a perfect gift.

I decided on a picture of Herkimer which Parker designed for the village’s bicentennial in 2007. It shows an aerial view of the village with a few close ups in bubbles, most notably of my beloved Historic Four Corners. It’s matted, so we can hang it right away, while we search for a frame. Or we may decide to take it somewhere, perhaps the Frame Place in Mohawk. That might make another good blog post.

At another vendor, I purchased a handmade pin of a sleigh with Santa painted on it. Very pretty. I tried a sample of their delicious fudge, but resisted the temptation to buy any of that.

Thousand Islands Winery was there, much to my delight. I’ve been at Thousand Islands Winery several times. In fact, every time I visit some friends who live in Theresa, NY, I ask to go to the winery. I got into quite a conversation with the man there, while I sampled a few of his wines. He was especially grateful when I asked to sample the Cabernet Sauvignon, because he had to open a new bottle. He had been wanting to sip a little of that himself. I bought a bottle, to contribute to my own merry Christmas. I’ll bring it to my parents’ house and share.

While I was tasting and chatting, Jim Parker came over and said hello. I showed him my purchase (the print, not the wine), and told him how I almost never come to the Farmer’s Market without my husband but made the special trip to get the present. Jim mentioned that he had designed the print for Herkimer’s bicentennial and told me he was working on a design for the upcoming bicentennial of the War of 1812. We talked a little bit about that war (not that I know much about it), and I mentioned the book I recently read about The Battle of Oriskany by Alan Foote (and blogged about it, if you happened to catch that post). I knew I had read something about the War of 1812, but the only American history I could recall reading was the Foote book. Jim told me about a man who was a boy during the Battle of Oriskany, went on to play a role in the War of 1812, and built Clapsaddle Farm. Jim is currently reading a book about the War of 1812 which he checked out of the Ilion Library. I said I would go to the library in two weeks and ask for “the book Jim Parker just checked out.”

I just love the Ilion Farmer’s Market. And Steven loved his print. I made him open it Friday night. For one thing, when he saw the pin and bottle of wine, he would have known I went to the Farmer’s Market. Why would I go to the Farmer’s Market December 23 if not to buy my hubby a present?

Vintage Friday

I’d been looking forward to Friday all week, since I have the weekend off. I was delighted when I got the email informing me of the Thanksgiving Wine Tasting to be held at Vintage Spirits.

The tasting ran from four to seven. I arrived shortly after 4:30. The Great Cheese Lady who had been at the last tasting was absent (I wasn’t the only one that missed her), but Bronson had some cheese and crackers out, as well as roasted turkey and cranberry sauce. I thought that was a pretty good idea for a Thanksgiving Wine Tasting: you could easily see which wines would be good with dinner. Some would automatically think of white wine with turkey, but a light-bodied red can work, too.

The first wine I tried was Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fume. The grape used is sauvignon blanc, so I was pretty sure I would like that one, and I was right. I wrote “yummy” in my wine notebook (I haven’t mentioned yet, although regular readers are aware: this isn’t a real wine blog).

Next was Juvenile Macon Chardonnay. It was only lightly oaked, so I liked that one, too. I feel like a real oenophile when I drink Chardonnay, because I say, “Is it aged in oak or stainless steel?” just as if I know what I’m talking about. But I guess aged in oak is OK with me as long as it’s not too oaky (there’s a pun there somewhere).

The other two whites, Pfaffenheim Gewerztraminer and Skyleaf Riesling, were sweeter than I like. I do think Gewerztraminer is a good wine for anybody to drink, though. When you can’t say the name, you know you’ve had too much.

Bronson was also sampling two Woodbridge sparkling wines (some of us call them champagne, but there’s usually somebody around to tell us that’s a misnomer: real champagne is from a certain area of France). I learned that Brut is always drier than Extra Dry. Both Woodbridges were pretty tasty, although I found I liked the less dry Extra Dry just a little bit more.

By the time I moved on to the reds, still busily taking notes, another patron asked me if I was writing a term paper.

“No, a blog post,” I said.

I tried three reds: Pinot Noirs by Barefoot and Illahe, and a Blue Coast Vineyards Syrah. I liked all three, but I decided the Illahe was my favorite wine of the evening.

I also tried the Fulton Harvest Pumpkin Pie cream liqueur. That was quite rich. I asked for another taste of the Illahe, just to cleanse my palate.

The wine tasting was a great way to start my weekend. I picked up a couple of bottles, to continue my enjoyment (um, I didn’t drink them both, or even all of one, on Friday). Vintage Spirits is located at 246 Mohawk St. in Herkimer. You can call them at 866-6800 and ask them to put you on their email list, in order to be informed about future wine tastings. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

The Overtime Blues

Yesterday I ended my post with promise of exciting things to come. Well, keep waiting. Today is my Lame Post of the Week.

I know, I designated Friday as the day for lame posts (and I admit that many of my posts not so designated, may be so considered, but let’s not go there). That was when Friday meant something to me. Before I came down with the Overtime Blues.

The Overtime Blues, as blues go, is not bad disease to have. Overtime pay is sweet. And I like my job well enough that it is not all that burdensome to be there. And my hubby is usually working weekends as well. So you see.

But I am TIRED! I don’t seem to get used to getting up at 3:30 a.m. I usually accomplish it by telling myself, “It’s supposed to suck. Get up anyways.” Then I apply coffee.

This weekend I am additionally suffering from the Missing Wine Tasting Blues. Certain female relatives of mine are touring the Finger Lakes on Saturday. I told one sister I probably couldn’t make it, and they all seem to have accepted it with an unflattering good grace. That might have something to do with the fact that I mentioned how loud and obnoxious things tend to get on these wine tasting trips (we’ve gone on a few). I admit that I am sometimes the loudest and most obnoxious. But I guess nobody likes to hear somebody else call them that. So I hope the girls in my family aren’t mad at me. That would make for a jolly Thanksgiving.

I wrote the preceding paragraph while at work earlier. My blues were at their worst, and I was picturing everybody on the wine tasting trip saying, “Oh thank God Cindy isn’t here! It’s much more fun without Cindy!” In fact, I don’t believe they are thinking about me at all. The last I knew they were all on Facebook arguing over with of them was the main troublemaker (each pointing at another but secretly craving the title). So I’m getting over my Missing the Wine Tasting Blues.

Instead, my Overtime Blues seem to be giving way to the Getting My Husband’s Cold Blues. So my lame post ends with me tottering down to the kitchen to make some herbal tea with lemon and honey. I hope to recover sufficiently for a Mohawk Valley adventure tomorrow.

Lots of Local, with Wine

Friday I was delighted to have a Wine Tasting to attend at Vintage Spirits, 246 Mohawk St., Herkimer.

The tasting ran from four to seven. We arrived shortly after 4:30 when the event was in full swing. The Jones Family Farm was also there with goat cheese samples. I am not very familiar with goat cheese and I am happy to report: it’s yummy!

The Jones Family Farm is located at 753 Caldwell Rd., Herkimer. I intend to go there one day soon for a whole blog post about them. For now I’ll tell you the cheeses I tasted were delicious. I told the lady about my blog and how I’d say there was Great Cheese Lady at the tasting. She suggested I capitalize it.

Also present at the tasting was Domnhall Vineyards, also of Herkimer. I had met them at the Crusaders Wine Tasting Fundraiser at Herkimer County Community College in the spring (alas, pre-blog days, because that would have made a great post). They are located at 531 Shells Bush Rd. I asked the guy when he would have a tasting room available. I confess, I was hoping for today, because I have a couple of sisters coming over later who would love to go to a winery for a tasting. He said probably by spring. I’ll be on the look-out for that. For now, I tasted the semi-dry Vignoles and Baco Noir he was offering. Both were very tasty.

Bronson of Vintage Spirits was offering a number of reds and whites. I tried a Prosecco, a lightly oaked Chardonnay (I don’t like the heavily oaked ones), and two blends. I learned how to pronounce Dogajola, an Italian winery from which we sampled a red and a white (the j sounds like y, as opposed to h in Spanish, or, you know, j).

I decided on the Prosecco, which is bubbly, because I’m having a party tonight. I think a few of my guests would like to mimose, as we say. Bronson also told me I could add peach nectar and make bellinis. That sounded good too, but I forgot to look for the peach nectar when I was at the store this morning. I also purchased the Domnhall Vineyards Baco Noir, because I was fairly sure I would be more in the mood for a dry red. Steven had already purchased a dill cheese spread. Very good choice.

When we got to the front of the store, a lady asked us did we want to sample some vodka. I told her I was not much of a vodka drinker.

“Have you ever tried flavored?” she asked.

“I have.”

“How about some rum?”

I do like rum. One of the men at the register took the wine bottles I was carrying. “Wise man,” I said. “Don’t let me hold the bottles while I’m tasting the rum.”

It was Sailor Jerry spiced rum. Quite yummy. I sampled it straight, but I think I’d also like it in a cup of coffee.

As I was paying for the wine, the man at the register showed me a pomegranate liqueur which he said would be good in the Prosecco. I impulse bought an airplane sized bottle. In case somebody at the party feels adventurous.

We left with our wine and cheese, and headed to Ilion for the Farmers Market. Lots of local purchases! And stay tuned for future posts about the Jones Family Farm and Domnhall Vineyards.