New Wineries Everywhere!

It turns out that I can’t go anywhere without running into a new winery. The next up on my list to visit is Freedom Run Winery. Its location? Lockport, NY. My hometown.

Not surprisingly there was always wine being grown in that area. My dad even made wine when I was a girl… Hmmm, who would have guessed how that would have influenced me. It turns out that Freedom Run is one of about five wineries clustered in the Lockport/Cambria area.

So now, when I head out east for my grandmother’s centennial celebration, I will be able to explore more Win(e)ding Roads!

Bedell Cellars/Corey Creek

Yes, this entry is from a trip we took a while ago, (within the last month though). It sure would have been nice to go to wineries in both New York and Illinois this weekend. Talk about your labor day! Work, work, work.. that is all I do! (Yes, I know that I am tasting wine which is no particular hardship for me… I am just teasing)

Kevin and I discovered Bedell and Corey Creek Vineyards years ago when trapped on one of my father-in-law’s infamous “Drives”. During these scenarios we are all trapped in a van with insufficient air conditioning or safety harnesses while we traversed the east end of Long Island looking at the houses of every person my father-in-law has ever met or heard of. That being said, the wineries were one of the few treasures of these trips.

These days, we tend to go by ourselves without chainsmokers or children in tow to be able to linger and listen to the stories from the vintners as they tell their grapish tales. Ahhh, this is the life, right? Darn tootin’ it is!

Inevitably, Corey Creek and Bedell are among our favorite wineries out east. Located about 15 miles east of Riverhead, NY the vineyards and tasting rooms are located along Route 25. Wines from both vineyards are available at either tasting room.

Our favorites from the Bedell Cellars include the 2005 Taste Red, blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah and 2005 Reserve Merlot. Other selections available include:

  • 2006 Taste White
  • 2005 Bedell Gallery
  • 2005 Merlot
  • Main Road Red
  • Main Road White

The Corey Creek wine that I can’t live without is the Domaine CC Rosé. Made in the style of a Provençale rosé, it is dry and fruity and light, which I find perfect for summer. This year there has been increased attention give to rosé wines and unfortunately for me, this has meant decreased supplies of my favorite (Perhaps next year the crowds will move back to Chardonnay). Kevin’s favorite is the Late Harvest Riesling which is sweeter and more fruity and perfect for the ending of nice dinner. Other Corey Creek Options include:

  • 2005 Reserve Chardonnay
  • 2005 Chardonnay
  • 2005 Cabernet Franc
  • Raspberry
  • 2006 Gewürztraminer (sadly, sold out)

As members of their wine club, at least we won’t have to wait all year to get another taste!

Ask A Sommelier!

Dear Mr. Rory:

How do I tell when wine has gone bad?

The goal of fine wine is to achieve harmonious balance
of fruit, mineral/earth, acid, tannin, and body.
Faults can be noted by the presence of odd aromas or
flavors, and also by the lack of balance.

One way to know if a wine is 'off' is to be familiar
with the wine. If you know the wine, or have had it
more than one time in the past, then you should have a
reasonable reference. However, there is what is known
as bottle variation, and wine can change with time, so
lack of consistency does not always mean that the wine
has gone bad.
It also helps to know about some common faults.

The most common fault is cork taint, or
TCA, which can
overpower a wine with a wet cardboard aromas, and also
subjugate the fruit character of the wine. TCA
sensitivity varies among individuals and can be very
slight or fairly obvious.

Other faults:
Volatile - extreme presence of volatile acids, usually
acetic acid, and can accompany the presence of ethyl
acetate. The wine can start to resemble vinegar or
nail polish remover.

Oxidative - exposure to oxygen. First clue is color
changing toward brown. White wines will become
darker, red wines lighter. Flavors move from fruity
to nutty, with metallic mineral qualities. Eventually
fruit will be undetectable. This is the flaw to watch
out for when you cellar wine and want to know if the
wine is 'past it's prime'. Heat damage may be a
factor in premature oxidation of a wine.

Reductive - the opposite of oxidation, or the lack of
oxygen contact with the wine can also cause problems,
particularly a dominant sulfur component. This may
smell like rotten eggs or rubber tires, or match
stick. Sulfur may blow off with time, though there is
another trick to rid the wine of this flaw using a
copper penny. Copper will react with Hydrogen Sulfide
to produce Copper Sulfide, which is

Brettanomyces (Brett) - is one form of taint
attributed to use of old oak or
generally unsterile
wine making conditions. In old world wines of the
past Brett was a common feature of wines aged in old,
dirty barrels. Band aid, sweaty saddle notes are

There are many possible faults in a wine. If you open
a wine and it seems odd, wait a few minutes to see if
the strange quality disappears.
If not, open another bottle of the same, or try
something different. Wine is for you to enjoy, so
find a bottle that works and have fun.
Thanks for your question! Looking forward to more! Don't be nervous or afraid! Ask us questions... that is what we are here for!

Sycamore Winery

I visited the Sycamore Winery store in downtown Sycamore, Illinois as part of our first Illinois wine tour. About 69 miles outside of Chicago, the store houses not only wines made from local gapes, but a panoply of winemaking and beer making supplies and ingredients. I did not taste any wine on this leg of the tour as the room did not seem to be set up for tastings. After looking again at the website, I realized I could have done a tasting if I had asked. This seemed a bit confusing though. I did pick-up a few bottles, including a Bergamais and Liebfraumilch which we will be tasting at a later date. Other selections available included:

  • Chardonnay Semillon
  • Cruisin Showcase Piesporter
  • Lowdock Mezza Luna White
  • Musette
  • Colonial White Soave
  • Split Personality Sauvignon Blanc
  • Wild Stallion Australian Murray
  • Bourgeron Rouge
  • Undiscovered Fields Montepoliciano
  • Bay View Zinfandel
  • A Barrel for Two Shiraz
  • Fisherman’s Red Pinot Noir
  • Lost Civilization Chianti
  • Old Time Travel Blackberry
  • Berries Galore Cranberry
  • Lowrider Black Raspberry
  • Train Depot Peach
  • Old School Athletics Tropical
  • Somonauk St. Mango
  • New Beginnings Blueberry
  • Town Square Wildberry

According to the website, Sycamore Winery is locally owned and operated by Sheri and Scott Prutton. Sheri and Scott have been making wine and beer both personally and professionally for years and have won numerous awards. Additionally Scott has received formal training at the Siebel Institute in Chicago. The store is open Tuesday to Thursday Noon till 6PM, Friday Noon till 7PM Saturday 10AM till 4PM, and Sundays, June till September will find them at the French Market in Sycamore.

Sycamore Winery
322 W State Street
Sycamore, IL 60178

Win(e)ding Roads

When most people think of wine, they think mostly of the ancient vineyards of Italy or France.

In America they think of Napa or Sonoma first. Maybe they consider Washington or Oregon or even New York.

But what about Connecticut? or Illinois, Georgia or Maryland?

The truth is that every state in the nation has at least one bonded winery. While most American wine is made in California, it isn’t the only game in town. Local wineries are springing up all over the country.

As wine lovers, aren’t we obligated to explore them; to try their products and encourage their production?

I think so.

To that end, I am beginning a quest. To travel America’s Win(e)ding Roads… and taste the wines at small, local wineries!

If you have tried the products at a small winery and want to tell everyone about it, feel free to send me a description of your experience, with pictures or video if you have them and we will post as many of them here as we can.

Please submit your entries to:


Now get out there and start exploring!

Kevin and I will be… This weekend in fact!

Raise a Glass to Chicago Wine Pros

Please see the link below to get a rarely seen glimpse into the professional wine scene. Congratulations to these wine pros.

Per the Chicago Tribune, “Those who passed the advanced exam are Mike Baker, manager of the Wine Discount Center’s Elston Avenue store; Chad Ellegood, sommelier at Tru; Amy Lewis, sommelier at Smith & Wollensky in Chicago; Douglas Marello, wine director with the Spring restaurant group; and Marcus Will, beverage director at Va Pensiero in Evanston.”

Taking a Flight for Lunch

Kevin and I love to eat out.

Stop snickering those of us who know us… yes, it is obvious.

Usually though, we have trouble getting out of the neighborhood for lunch. As my daughters are getting older and able to stay in the house for a couple of hours without burning the place down or practicing their knife skills on each other. (knock on wood) We decided to take a chance.

July 12th we stopped for lunch at David Burke’s Primehouse. This restaurant has been the site of many a family dinner. Dinner that have been blog worthy (see Maman) because of both the food and the hospitality.

That week we enjoyed a special that they ran at the restaurant. They called it the 777 Luncheons. 7 Wines from 7 regions for $7. I was there for Spain day and loved it!

We started out with a Llopart Rose Brut Reserva Cava. It was light and full at the same time, rich with fruit. Then we moved on to a Do Ferreiro Albarino Rias Baixas, a white from Galicia that was dry and tasty but a trifle light for me during a meal. But I can imagine drinking it at a summer party.

Then came our favorite. The Bodegas Vizcarra Ramos “RobleRibera del Duero, it was full bodied and smooth and so tasty that we were very sorry to see the end of it. To balance this out was a fuller tempranillo in the more typical and macho style, the Rotllan TorraReservaPriorat. The Vinas del Cenit was wonderful and tasty… a complete delight.

Finally was the Jorge Ordonez Malaga wine. This wine I loved as much for the taste as the story behind how it is created. Apparently this section of Spain is so dry that the grapes are allowed to dry. Don Ordonez has 5 different levels. The wine that we drank was a level one! Unlike other wines of this type there is no botrytis to sweeten/dry the grapes because the Malaga region where it is produced is too dry to develop the mold. The wine was wonderful. It was sweet and delicious without being cloying.

Over all the wine flight to Spain was amazing and better yet? All the proceeds went to charity, Common Threads. Their mission is is to educate children on the importance of nutrition, physical well-being and to to teach them to appreciate the world’s culture by experiencing their food.

The rumour is that David Burke will host another week of 777 lunches sometime in December. I can’t wait to see what they have planned then!