Finishing Day Two in Finger Lakes

After lunch at the Red Dove Tavern, Meg and I made a quick stop to check out Long Pier.  This is a great place to see the beauty of Seneca Lake.  It’s one of those sites you could stare at for hours, but there was still so much more of Finger Lakes to see on this day.

Belhurst Castle & Winery is definitely one of those places I look forward to returning to for a longer visit.  We walked around the grounds, patio and exquisite restaurant a bit, but didn’t get to spend any time looking at the Inn or newly built spa.  I did, however, get to taste some of their wines.   They have an interesting assortment here, including a Sparkling wine, with lots of lemon and floral flavors.  Their Neptune is a good blend of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.  I really liked the Cayuga and thought the most interesting was the Carrie Blush, named after the Belhurst founder Carrie Collins.  I was a bit skeptical when it was described as “cotton candy,” but I did get that flavor without excess sweetness.

From Belhurst it was off to Geneva, where I was lucky enough to meet owners Carl and Elizabeth at their White Springs Winery .  They shared the news with me that they just sold over 4,000 bottles of their Riesling to the Wall Street Journal Wine Club and I have to agree with WSJ that it is one to try, as is their Moon Shadow Riesling, a semi-sweet version and the Ice Wine like Late Harvest Riesling.  If you are looking for something drier, you can also now find a Pinot Noir at White Springs.

White Springs Winery was actually the first in Finger Lakes to introduce me to the tasting experience in Riedel glasses.  It came up because I noticed a very distinctly unpleasant (tar-like) smell in the region’s Rieslings.  This nose was in no way reflected in the taste, but I did find the Riedel glasses cut that order a bit so I could enjoy the Rieslings more.

The next stop was Billsboro Winery, also in Geneva.  This was a fun stop where I got to sit out on the patio (overlooking the wood-fired stove they use to cook pizza) and chat with Vinny Aliperti about how the boy from Flushing, Queens, became the man who is both winemaker by day at Atwater and owner by night (with wife Kim) of this winery.   Billsboro is still rather small, producing 2,000 cases of 10 different wines while they “try to have fun – and pay our mortgage.”  They don’t grow grapes here, but Vinny has been around the region enough to know where to get the grapes he wants.

Even though the owners describe their wines as “dry,” this semi-sweet lover found plenty to like, especially in the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.  The Sauvignon Blanc had a nice mix of citrus notes with just a bit of pepper as it was not oaked and the Pinot was a bit more on the tropical side, with pineapple and peach flavors.  There’s also a Cabernet Syrah here which is leading to the winery’s introduction of a straight Syrah in the works.

There was only one more stop for day two of Finger Lakes Wine Country and that was at Ports Café.  This restaurant looked very casual, but it was filled with some pretty fancy menu choices.  I kept with my vow to taste wines in restaurants whose wineries I didn’t get to visit and ordered a Lakewood Gewurztraminer, which went well with our shared appetizer of Baked Goat Cheese with caramelized onions, arugula, and balsamic reduction in phyllo dough  that tasted as good as it sounds.  For dinner, I had Charbroiled Balsamic Glazed Veal Rib Chop over Veal Ravioli – a delicious first for me -- with a mushroom Marsala wine sauce.  Meg enjoyed a Portobello Field Salad with chicken, pine nuts, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

We didn’t have dessert at Port Café because Meg had another Finger Lakes surprise for me – Wine Ice Cream.  I must admit I’ve never seen anyone take out proof of age to buy ice cream before, but it was required here.  I had Mercers Chocolate Cabernet and they also had Raspberry Chardonnay and Cherry Merlot available.  The ice cream was creamy, yet not too rich (I’m guessing low fat, though it wasn’t confirmed) with 5% alcohol.  It was a great way to end the day as I headed back to the Hampton Inn Geneva.


  1. It was an excellent weekend in the Finger Lakes with you, Marcia. Hope you can visit again, soon ~ to catch all of the things we missed! Thank again for your time here


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