We make no secret about the fact that we love wine. Whenever we get the chance we love to visit newly recommended wineries, as well as visit old favorites. Since we spent the first weekend of July in Western New York, we decided to once again try out the Niagara Wine Trail, which just so happens be the area that we both grew up.
The Finger Lakes dominate the New York wine conversation. It’s well established with several well-known and commercially recognized names, whereas the Niagara Wine Trail is not. With just around 20 wineries now, the Niagara Wine Trail is young and growing. This is one of the reasons we make it a point to visit some of the wineries whenever we’re back in Western New York.
On this trip, we visited Freedom Run Winery, Leonard Oakes Winery, and Arrowhead Springs Winery. We first went to one of our favorite spots, Freedom Run. Located in Lockport, NY, Freedom Run offers some incredible red wines. No matter where the winery, Al and I look for wine that we really like and people who are excited about what the winery is producing, Freedom Run has both of these. It also offers a comfortable interior for anyone looking to enjoy a glass, or a bottle while relaxing before your next stop. If you’re stopping by anytime soon, check out their Pinot Noir and Appassimento Meritage. On this trip we walked away with a Pinot Noir and their Vin Gris Rose, a warm weather favorite of ours.
Right around the corner from Freedom Run is Arrowhead Springs, which was our next stop. This experience was a little better than our last, since the pourer was really interested in the wines being offered. Our last experience was a debacle; when we started to ask questions they told us they rarely drank wine and when they did they only liked sweet fruity wines. Unfortunately, sweet-fruity is a term we stay away from. This experience we were led through a series of the pourers favorites, which resulted in us taking home a single barrel Pinot Noir.
Finally we headed back toward Leonard Oakes to see what was new on their list. This was the big customer service winner of the trip, as we were invited to try a couple wines that hadn’t been released to the public yet. Whereas Freedom Run is the place we’re more likely to buy red wines from, Leonard Oakes is doing some great things with the other categories. Their winemaker, Jonathon Oakes, is well-versed in cooler weather varietals after training across the border in Canada. He seems to make bold decisions and if he thinks he can make a good wine from something, he’ll go for it. They’ve won several awards for their wines, especially their Riesling and ice wines. Maybe their most notable creation is the Steampunk Cider, which always goes home in our box.
These were the only 3 stops on this trip, but this winter we’ll be sure to add a couple more to the list. To date we’ve visited about 15 of the wineries and will do our best to catch the others soon. Al will also be stopping back at Leonard Oakes to pick up a couple of the wines that haven’t seen their release dates yet.
Remember for every wine region, no matter where it is, there are always a couple gems to be found.