She also wanted to show her friend Radar (whose name is also Mark) some Finger Lakes wineries, so arranged for him to come down from Syracuse with her after her Saturday up there, so the three of us could visit some wineries. That this landed the day after J.C.'s jaunt was complete coincidence!
This time we were visiting Seneca Lake's wineries instead of Keuka's, and we ended up sticking to the east side. (Glenora another time, perhaps.) We started off at Lamoreaux Landing, which was the farthest up the shore of the wineries we planned to visit. They've finally finished their major renovations, that had seemed to be going on forever! It's because the owner (another Mark, it happens) didn't want to take out a loan for the expansion, so was doing it a bit at a time as he had spare money available.
Lamoreaux's wines have never seemed to be the best in the region, and I've gone there periodically over the last few years mostly because Laura's been working there part-time, and partly to see how the construction was coming along. But probably both because they've been maturing, and because there were a couple of very good regional vintages recently, they currently have some great wines. I especially loved the oaked Cabernet Franc! I bought a bottle, though I was a little taken aback that they don't rebate the $1 tasting fee when you buy wine. Nearly everyone does, either casually or with a little coupon that you get when you pay your dollar.
We next moved on to Wagner, which has a brewery as well as a winery, and where Joy wanted to have something to eat. Some of their beers are outstanding; I really enjoyed the Doppelbock and the Trippelbock, and the new Champagne Wit is really interesting. It's actually beer blended with sparkling wine, for which they needed a unique license from the state.
In between beer and wine at Wagner Vineyards, we went over to the Ginny Lee Cafe, where we weren't as impressed. The combination of disorganized and ill-trained service meant even great food would suffer, and the food honestly wasn't that great. At least it was relatively affordable. Radar's "Asiago Sirloin" was a decent steak, though with that name I'd have expected more than a hint of cheese. (He also expected a sandwich, because the menu's a bit confusing.) My "Tuscan Wrap" (turkey and salami) was actually quite tasty, but was drowned in so-so Italian dressing.
This also all took longer than it should have. We were seated by a hostess, and then after we'd waited several minutes, a waitress came over and welcomed us, then looked at us and at her ticket pad, and said "Oh, wait, there are three of you. I'm supposed to be at a table of two. Someone else will be with you shortly." She must've seen the astonishment on my face, because she then asked, "Have you been waiting long?" I answered, "Yes." She still went away, but not before saying she'd see where our server was. I wanted to say "Get back here and take our order, and let someone else have your other table!" But I didn't. Our waiter showed up shortly thereafter. Their Sunday brunch sounds interesting, too,but no one there seemed interested in promoting it; we had to ask about it. At $16.95 for the buffet, it also seemed a bit on the pricey side compared to their lunch.
After lunch we went back to try Wagner's wines. They make people stand around in the store until they're ready to take a tasting group back to the tasting room, which strikes me as odd. It's not like we're going to buy anything before the tasting... even non-wine stuff. Also, they have a "featured" set of wines that changes monthly that you can taste for your initial $2 tasting fee. If you want to taste something else, you can... if you go somewhere else after the tasting's done, and pay more. Weird, contrived, inconvenient. It means you have to taste things out of order, and you don't get any of your $2 back if you're not interested in half of the eight things they're currently featuring. Of the eight, I wanted to try four, and none impressed me that much. Going over to the other tasting table and waiting for someone to show up there, then paying more, seemed excessive. We didn't end up buying anything at Wagner.
Next up was Standing Stone, where I knew I'd be opening my wallet. They have some outstanding wines, and whether the people there actually remembered having seen me before, or were just friendly, they did a great job. We got to taste everything in sight, and ended up buying quite a bit. There's none of the 2001 Pinnacle left, but I bought a few bottles of the 2003. In a year or two, it'll be ready! They also have chunks of bread and some interesting dips to try with the wines. Some of them pair very well.
Last on the itinerary was Red Newt, where I'd been for dinner on Thursday. Their bistro is a lot more impressive-looking than their tasting room, which is really just long folding tables (a little higher than the usual multipurpose-room sort) with cloth tacked to the front. Again a couple of good wines here, but only one that really grabbed me... the Syrah and Cabernet Franc blend. Bought a bottle of that.
From Red Newt we headed home, ignoring the GPS's suggestion that we go back up through the gravel roads of the Finger Lakes National Forest it had selected on our way from Ithaca. I had a little time to unload the wine and move the second load of laundry to the dryer before leaving for BFG.