Standing Stone Vineyards, big yellow hard to miss barn

Standing Stone Vineyards is hard to miss along the Eastern side of Seneca Lake.  The big yellow barn with adjoining tasting room is like a beacon in a sea of green grape leaves and vineyard posts.  The vines that belong to Standing Stone are some of the oldest Vinifera (European) vines and rootstock in the area.  The quality is easy to taste.

The Wines

Standing Stone Vineyards offers several noble whites including Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Vidal Blanc ranging in price from $9-$20.   Chardonnay and Riesling are both up to standard for the region and if you like either of these popular varietals you should certainly try them here.  The Gewurztraminer is outstanding, combines the floral nose with the spicy taste and mineral notes that just make it enjoyable to drink with a wide variety of meals.  Standing Stone WineryThe Vidal Blanc (at the time) came in both a semi-dry and dry.  Either one makes a nice porch wine, though I particularly liked the dry version which was crisp and a bit tart, perfect for a hot summer day.

Standing Stone's Reds are dry and deep with a variety of flavor (complex),  ranging from their $11 Smokehouse Red to their $31 Pinot Noir.  Their Cabernet Franc is a nice exemplar of what it can taste like in the Finger Lakes.  Strong hints of tartier fruit (cranberries, raspberries...) give way to a nice smooth finish.  I particularly enjoy their Pinnacle, which is a Meritage blend without the licensed name of Meritage.  The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc makes it both robust and smooth from start to finish.   The "everyday" medium-bodied wine called Smokehouse Red is a blend of the same three grapes just in different proportions so it is a little  approachable by those who may not like the bolder reds (more fruit, less oak, less tannin). 

On the sweeter side, Standing Stone offers a Vidal Ice Wine and an Ice Wine they call Caillox (French for "stones") which is a blend of several varieties.  Both are true ice wines where the grapes are allowed to freeze naturally on the vine several times priot to picking.  Both are sweet but do have enough acidity to give them balance.

The Setting

The Tasting Room has several counters so it does accommodate large crowds better than most of the wineries in the area.  Standing Stone is fortunate to have flight attendants who are well aged and are more professional than many of the "kids" you'll find at some of the other wineries in the area.  Their understanding of the grapes and the wine they produce is quite good.  They are also good at making informative small-talk as they pour.  The experience is quite nice.  While many of the Finger Lakes wineries offer crackers or wine cookies to cleanse the palet, Standing Stone typically offers bread pieces with a variety of mustards, dipping sauces, or cheeses.  Some of the sauces are on the spicy side, so make sure you look carefully at the jar before tasting.  It was nice to be able to see how the Gewurztraminer pairs up with a taste of spicy peanut sauce (it was great).  Standing Stone does offer a barrel tour which gives you a tour of the facilities and the vineyard.  You may want to contact them ahead of time to arrange it.  It is not a spur of the moment kind of thing. 

If you like dry wine from European varieties of either red or white, then you will likely enjoy Standing Stone Vineyards.

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