Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Atwater Estate Vineyards Celcius Is A Sweet Success
To those who know about Finger Lakes wine, Atwater has come to be synonymous with quality. That reputation is only growing...for a number of different resons. Firstly, few wineries have won as many awards as Atwater over the last ten years. If they have, they haven't done a good job of letting everyone else know. Secondly, Atwater is starting to take their festival wines, and place them under a second label or different brand - Bannana Belt series. These are more sweet, fun, festival wines (as they have become known in the industry). And thirdly, and more importantly, Atwater is focusing on doing more classic varietals and more classic finnishes. They are taking their game to the next level - if I may use that sports analogy.
Atwater Estate Vineyards and Winery is located on the southeastern shore of Seneca Lake in the heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State. Located 7 miles north of Watkins Glen, their vineyards, containing sixteen different varieties of grapes, grow on a glacier-carved hillside that extends from Route 414 to just above the water’s edge.
While there were a number of nice wines that Matt and I tasted at Atwater, on our trip up Route 414 by Lake Seneca before the wine festival in July, the one that really blew me away was Celcius. One of my favorite dessert wines, when I can get it, is Wolffer's Late Harvest Chardonnay. Here, Atwater has at the very least, equalled Wolffer's grand achievement.
Now, before you wrinkle your nose, there is something you need to understand. Chardonnay has wonderful acidity. And so, the wine and fruit can stand up to the sugar levels involved in a thick, rich, sweet wine like this. Their Chardonnay grape is ripend to golden perfection until late autumn. Then they freeze them to create the ultimate dessert wine. Orange blossom, honey, and tangerine all come through as promised. This will make an incredible after dinner experience. Serve with a nice wedge of sharp cheddar cheese or even better a local artisinal blue cheese if you can. Maybe some salted nuts. Or even a fresh baked apple pie if you must. But I warn you - you'll want to drink it all by itself- it's that good!