Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Salamander White in the Finger Lakes

I am as guilty as the next winey person. It's very easy to fall into what I call a "regional rut" where wine is concerned. After all, here in the good old US of A, you hear wine and you think "California". But there are so many other regions that produce some great wine. So I am on a personal challenge  to branch out and sip wines from these other regions. Today I take you to the Finger Lakes region of New York.

The Finger Lakes are 11 long, narrow lakes that, when viewed from the air, look like skinny fingers. They're located in upstate New York, south of Rochester. Thanks to these lakes, and their "lake effect" weather (if you live in Cleveland, Erie or Buffalo please don't cringe when I use that expression, where grapes are concerned, this is a good thing),the Finger Lakes district is New York's largest wine producing region with over 100 wineries and vineyards lining the lake shores.

It is from here that Salamander White (12%, NV, Finger Lakes, NY) wine hails. I usually tend to avoid anything with icky (my opinion) reptiles on their labels. But this one was kind of cute in that it had yellow polka dots on it. And the wine was from the Finger Lakes, so I gave it a whirl. The wine is made at Red Newt Cellars in Hector, New York. In fact, it's made right beneath the winery's tasting room. Very efficient, huh? You'll also find a bistro that features local foods, as many of the Finger Lakes wineries are doing these days.

The label tells you that the Yellow Spotted Salamander is related to New York's own Eastern Red Spotted Newt, but is more aggressive than its NY cousin. OK, that would explain the BIG tastes in this very pale yellow wine. It starts out a bit deceptively with an aroma of flowers and mellow spices. But the taste is pure fruits: green apples, tart and fruity bursting all over your mouth. There's a hint of grass in there somewhere as well. It finishes tartly and hangs around for a bit. Very crisp, almost puckery. And oh so refreshing.

This is a great wine to begin a tasting tour of the Finger Lakes, especially given that I sipped during a brutal summer heat wave. This Salamander handled the heat very well, let me tell you. I'd put him up against a heat wave any day of the week. I'd also head back to the Finger Lakes (or at least their section of the wine store) for some more wine!

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  1. I love the Finger Lakes wineries! The Salamander White is one of my favorites from there. Usually get a few bottles every time we take a trip up to New York! Thanks for the post!

  2. Stocking up is a good thing Colleen! We are hoping to get up that way soon - maybe some skiing this winter. Not too far from Holiday Valley and a great weekend trip!


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