Visiting the Finger Lakes: Anyela's Vineyards

This past weekend I traveled to Upstate New York to celebrate Memorial Day with my boyfriend and his family. We decided that while we were there, we would have to visit the Finger Lakes because it's the area where Kevin and his family spent their summers growing up, and I had never been. On Saturday afternoon, Kevin, his sister Courtney, and I made our way to Skaneateles Lake to visit the beautiful Anyela's Vineyards and enjoy the sunshine. I was blown away by the vineyard from the moment we pulled up the drive.

The vineyard is owned by the Nocek family and was first planted in 2001, but their history begins 3 generations ago in Eastern Europe. In fact, owner Jim Nocek, told us that the vineyard is named after his grandmother Anyela. Jim also informed us that the Finger Lakes in New York is one of the top wine producing regions in the United States. This was surprising to me as I didn't know much about the Finger Lakes before my trip. It's only a 5 hour drive from Boston, and when you're talking about some of the best wine in the country, it's totally worth the trip!

We were greeted in the lounge by Nick, who would be giving us the tasting, and were handed the vineyards wine listing and tasting notes. We were each able to choose 5 wines from the list of dry white, medium sweet, sparkling, rose, reserve red, and dry red wines that we wanted to taste. This was great, because we all wanted to try something a little different! I went with the 2012 Chardonnay (dry white), 2012 Riesling (medium sweet), 2011 Overture (sparkling), 2011 Minuet (rose), and 2009 Shiraz (dry red). I can very honestly say I love each one of them! When I tasted the 2012 Riesling, I thought that it had just the perfect amount of sweetness, and wasn't too sugary. Nick told me that is because they only add sugar before the fermenting process and not after, so it is a very natural sweetness of the grapes.

I actually got to try the 2011 Minuet twice (lucky me!) because Nick wanted to show me the difference in flavor when it was served room temperature and when it was served chilled. When served at room temperature you can taste the full aromatic flavor, but I really enjoyed it chilled as well. I made sure to pick up a bottle before we left so I could enjoy it at home too!

Though I do enjoy the occasional red wine, typically I'm a white wine drinker. But, I knew I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't try a red during our tasting. Unsurprisingly, like all of the other wines before it, the 2009 Shiraz was absolutely amazing. It is oaked for 14 months, and I could definitely taste that in the flavor. Unlike me, Kevin prefers red wines to white and he sampled a few more than I did. His favorite wine of the whole tasting was the 2009 Cabernet Franc which is barreled in French and American oak and is fruit forward with an earthy finish.

Since we were really enjoying the reds, at the end of our tasting, Kevin, Courtney, and I decided that we all wanted to try the 2011 Elation, which is a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cayuga White, and Noiret blend. It's a great wine to try when being introduced to reds. We loved it so much that we decided to enjoy a bottle of it out on the vineyard patio accompanied by a delicious plate of cheese, crackers, bread and grapes. The patio overlooked Skaneateles Lake and 27 acres of the vineyard, and I can't imagine a more perfect way to experience the Finger Lakes for the first time.

Aside from the delicious wine, one thing that really stood out to me at Anyela's Vineyards was how Jim, Nick, and the rest of the staff at the vineyard made us feel so well taken care of. They seemed genuinely happy to have us visiting the vineyard, which in turn made us so happy to be there. They made it very easy for us to enjoy our time there and make the most of our visit. On top of that, they were extremely knowledgeable about the work that they do, and were able to answer all of our questions. What more could you ask for?!

If you're looking for the perfect destination for a weekend getaway, I highly recommend that you make your way to the Finger Lakes and visit Anyela's Vineyards while you're there. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. Before we even stepped foot off the vineyard, we were already planning our next trip back!

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