Starting Our Health Kick (Without Forgetting the Wine)

It is that day of the week again! It is time to wine and dine on this fine Wednesday. Too much? Never, when it is in the spirit of wine. This week, we dined with a variety of tastes on our palate. My mother and I wanted to start our health kick this week (especially with how the weekend went) and in an effort to cleanse our bodies, we decided to ease our way into this next stretch. We also decided to stray away from our favorite and familiar, dry red.

For our healthy side dish, we grilled broccoli, tofu and a few dashes of various seasonings getting it crispy enough to provide a little bit of a crunch. Once it was cooked through, we drizzled honey balsamic dressing over the top to give it a tinge of sweetness. For our main course, we went with Wegmans pre-made chicken fajita mix. YUM! So delicious. If you’re not into pre-made mixes, which I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be, Wegmans has crafted a video for customers to make them from scratch with their pre-seasoned chicken, pork and steak. Personally, with our busy schedules, we love this. It takes less than five minutes and it is perfect for a delicious and quick weeknight meal.

The weather has proven to be warm this week and we thought what is the best way to enjoy these last summer-like days? By savoring a light and fruity wine to rinse the palate of course. We opted for the Schmitt Söhne Riesling, described as crisp and fruity. It paired perfectly with our side and entrée. According to the label, it is considered a ‘Best Buy’ by Wine Enthusiast. I definitely recommend!

Must Visits on Seneca Lake’s East Side

5.  Ventosa Winery

Image taken from @ventosavyds

Ventosa Vineyards borders the northern end of Seneca Lake for all vistors to experience great views on the vast 23 acres of land. The vineyard, according to its website, is known for producing dry reds while still incorporating the well known and award-winning Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and other Italian varietals.

4. Hazlitt Vineyards

Image taken from @hazlitt1852vineyards

In 1852 David Hazlitt bought 153 acres of land consumed by fruit trees. From there, Hazlitt Vineyards has grown to be a well-known and prestigious winery located a few miles north of Watkins Glen. Situated along the east side of Seneca Lake, you will find this vineyard is still being run by David Hazlitt’s family six generations later. Come here to try an award-winning wine varying from the 2014 Grüner Veltliner and to the 2014 Homestead Reserve Riesling.

3. Penguin Bay Winery

Image taken from @PenguinBayWine

Located JUST below Hazlitt Vineyards, Penguin Bay is more of a casual, fun and fast-paced stop on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Here, you can sample the Penguin Bay Humboldt Red, Moscato or the Gewürztraminer. Drink here and help save the penguins!


2. Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars

Image taken from @LamoreauxWine

Looking for fancy, glamorous and a little pizazz? Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars is the place to stop and taste with your girlfriends and boyfriends. Winery & Spirits Winery of the year in both 2010 and 2012, the vineyard does very well for itself attracting a breadth of wine lovers. One of the vineyard’s best qualities? That would be using only “sustainable viticultural practices,” according to their website.

1. Three Brothers Winery

Image taken from @three_brothers_wineries

A crowd and personal favorite, Three Brother Winery is the place to head to for some fun. Located at the northeast tip of Seneca Lake, Three Brothers Winery has FOUR wine and beer stops to choose from . A 25th birthday gift to myself, a bunch of us wine toured here and loved it. I can attest that the $60 Bourbon Barbara is delightful. It’s worth the few extra bucks for a tasting of it and one of these days I will be opening the bottle (yes, I bought the bottle) for a special occasion.

Owera Vineyards, A Must Taste and See

Through a gorgeous wrought iron and heavily wooded gate off of Owahgena Road, you will find Owera Winery built atop the hill in front of a skyline of trees. Owera Winery, located in Cazenovia, New York, just 25 minutes outside of East Syracuse, creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for its customers. Upon entering, we were immediately greeted by our wide-smiling host and waitress, Jess.

With minimal patrons and slightly dimmed lights, it was the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing and appetizing girls’ night out. We were excited to get seated, peruse the menu and get to wining down on Wednesday. After all, every day leading up to hump day can be tough!

In my first blog post, I originally said I wanted to stray from dry red wines however, I couldn’t resist. To be fair, we discussed the whole wine menu and ended up ordering the broad spectrum of wine.

Owera’s wine menu works to hit each category from sweet reds and whites, to dry reds and whites. We chose to test our taste buds by ordering a wine flight and sampling a semi-sweet blush, a semi-dry Riesling, a well-rounded dry red and a chilled semi-dry red. While all four were flavorsome, two of us were in favor of the dry and two in favor of the sweet. We chose to order one bottle of the semi-sweet blush and one bottle of the well-rounded red. They are each staple wines of Owera.

The semi-sweet Cazenovia blush is described as a wine that, “features aromas of strawberries and violets with luscious fruit flavors,” according to Owera’s website. The Owahgena dry red is described as, “a nicely rounded finish from a blend of dry varieties; notes of cherry, boysenberry and walnut flavors.” Yum!

To strategically pair the wines, we ordered an artisanal cheese board for our appetizer. The cheese board included an arrangement of delicious cheeses, drizzled honey over assorted nuts and just the right number of crackers. It was divine and the perfect amount for a sharable portion between four women. Because of the variety of cheeses, both the sweet and dry wines paired nicely.

So completely distracted by the arrangement and mouthwatering tray in front of me, I had forgotten about the food order we placed. Our wide-smiling waitress happily carried over our shared beef sliders and spicy meatball pizza. Dee-light-ful. They nailed it. I especially loved the spicy meatball pizza with the dry red (of course). If there was a rating system, I would give this place a five out of five.

Overall, it was an incredible experience and one I was able to spend with my mother as well as two of my very good friends. If you ever find yourself in Central New York, Owera Vineyards is a must-visit stop.

Wining on Wednesdays

Photo by Roberta Sorge

“Wine is bottled poetry.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

What is the best way to get over the mid-week-hump? Well, that would be looking forward to a glass of wine with dinner of course. Welcome to my blog, a place where I will be wining and dining on Wednesdays and telling you all about it.

In an Italian family, it has always been acceptable to sample wine – even at a young age. Don’t tell our secret. I grew up fortunate enough to have a true love and appreciation for Italian food (really all food) and eventually, red wine. While the red wine came later, I sampled different whites depending on what was brought to the meal for that holiday, be it Easter, Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving. My favorite, would be the homemade wine my family began making in 2009. Nothing seems to be even the slightest bit comparable. I hadn’t acquired a taste for dry reds until I was about 22, and I have never looked back. Until now.

I will be exploring the world of wine. Sounds exciting, right? While I much prefer dry reds, I will be stepping outside of my comfort zone in an effort to broaden my palate. I am looking forward to making family and new recipes and experimenting with new pairings. I won’t forget my love of cabernet sauvignon along the way however, sweet reds and whites, and dry whites will also be sampled in this experiment.

On this endeavor, I also hope to make healthier versions of family recipes. When you think Italian food, or at least when I do, the first thing that comes to mind is CARBS. I am hoping to encompass a delicious Italian meal, while still lightening up on the carbo-loading that includes pasta, bread and cheese. Sounds impossible right?

Come with me on this experimentation to ignite and satisfy my taste buds and maybe even your own. I can’t wait.