Not to Disappoint!

by Jean Engelke, Better Living With Wine

Today we spent the day tasting wine on the South East shore of Seneca Lake. We visited five wineries on a cold and rainy day. What better way to spend a rainy day?

We started at Catherine Valley Winery and had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Don Kilcoyne, winemaker and farmer. We talked about farming, winemaking, grapes and the weather. We also found out that Don appreciated (not all do) the Chelois grape for winemaking. Don’s farm also has many old vines traced back to original plantings of Catawba and Concord.

We talked about our own winemaking adventure with Chelois grapes harvested in Michigan at Berrien Cellars. Chelois is a French hybrid that is typically used for blending. However, we all agreed that it stands on its own merits and we have enjoyed our respective bottling’s. We appreciated Don’s very personal attention as we tasted his wines. We could not leave without three of them and look forward to sharing on the deck this summer.

Once back in the car, we decided that we would open a bottle of our Chelois that evening to taste with our marinated flank steak. We all agreed that Chelois is finicky in the bottle. Ours had been getting better over time. We wanted to know if it continued!
We opened the bottle to a very subdued, pleasant fruity aroma. The wine was deep red, full bodied and not like other cold hearty grape varietals from the region. It had a full mouth feel and complex, not overpowering flavors, good finish that was not too dry. It completely complimented the flank steak, easily handling the sweet and salt of the marinate and glaze. Wow!

I must return to the South East side of Seneca to do more tasting. I will be taking a bottle of our Chelois to Don so he can sample what we have made of this interesting varietal. (We have already taken a bottle to Berrien Cellars!)

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