Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cheektowaga White!

My how half a score will just fly by! Last Friday was our 10th anniversary, so to celebrate we called in the grandparents and took off for a weekend at Lake Chautauqua (a town that surely was the inspiration for Gary, Indiana a la The Music Man). Good weekend, although it was off to a rocky start (see Magnus Patris for blown tire story). Our goal? Celebrate us, take a golf lesson, and sample some wine, not necessarily in that order. Last summer I did a day trip wine tour with some preschool moms, and had such a good time I wanted to go again but with Mike.

Unlike the wineries in Leesburg, the Lake Erie wine samplings are FREE.... and much tastier than those in Virginia (but I'm a sweet wine drinker, and the Niagara grape seems to be the thing to grow in this region). We came home with 16 (yes 16) bottles, and since I'm a one glass a week wine drinker this should keep us stocked for quite a while. So far my favorite is Penn Shore Vineyard's Lambruscano because it's so fragrant. But our stop at Schloss Doepken takes the cake just for sheer amusement's sake. After following the directions, we pull up not in front of a store, but a farm house. The sign told us to come on in, so we did, calling out b/c it didn't appear anyone was home. "I'm a'comin' said this voice, and around the corner is J. Simon Watso, vintner and proprieter. He's wearing red suspenders, leaning on a cane, and was 85 if he's a day. We spend 15 minutes just listening to him gripe about a double hip replacement, reading a 'recent' article (published in 1993... "read the first page and the first column", said he) about his winery, and patiently waiting to taste one of the 12 bottles he had lined up on the counter. He handed me a bottle and told me to read the label aloud. I got about halfway through, finishing with the winery's history, and moving onto the wine's description when he yanked it out of my hand and said "that's for me!" OKAY! Next, he pulled out a stack of little plastic cups (Mike thinks they were Nyquil cups, but I maintain they were little communion cups), and he said "These are the rules of the house: We don't dump. We don't gargle. We don't spit, or any of those affectations." And we were off. For each wine, he had a precise description which he re-enacted with gusto:

This is an exceptional oak aged Chardonnay. It's perfect for any special occasion such as Thanksgiving, or even just with grilled .....SWORDFISHHHHH.

This is CHEEKtowaga WHITE. CHEEKtowaga is a little town outside of Buffalo, where I used to fly out of, and I figured if we named a wine CHEEKtowaga WHITE, and everyone from CHEEKtowage bought a bottle, we'd be SOLVENT.

This is September Rouge. On a late summer evening if you drive down Route 20 with the windows down, this is what you'll SMELL.

At the end (we were there 30 minutes, when mercifully another couple entered), we felt like we had to buy some of his wine. And actually, Mike really liked his Apple Crisp wine (meant to be served warm). Two bottles of that, a bottle of the house wine, September Rouge (my favorite), and CHEEKtowaga WHITE. Just because there was a pink flamingo on the front. On our way down the gravel path Mike wondered which of us would be blogging about him first. I guess I win!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Happy Anniversary! Ten years is quite a milestone.

And what a funny story about the old vintner. Ha!