Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Crooked Lake Winery

Richard “John” Lebeck is proud of his newly finished tasting room. The 130 year old barn was originally a grape processing plant and still houses the 4 story pulley system that operated at the turn of the century. For the past two years John has worked on remodeling the barn. All the wood you see on the outside and inside (floors, trim, tasting counter) comes from trees in the front yard that used to block the view of the lake.

And the wines? John has been making wine for many years. Growing up in the Hudson Valley his summer job was working at the High Tour Winery. In the early 70’s John moved to the Finger Lakes and worked for Walter Taylor and Hermann Wiemer – both early pioneers for Finger Lakes wines. Today John is “having fun” as he and his wife Yvonne manage 26 acres of grapes and produce a range of wines from native and vinifera grapes.


Ron said...

I love this winery, John and Yvonne are nice. The white wines are excellent and very affordable. The reds are great especially the Chancelor.
I can't wait to visit again, the view of bluff point from there is great too.

Thomas said...

Superior products at bargain prices! The winemaker John Lebeck is interested only in producing superior wines and making sure that people can afford to drink it. His marketing is minimal and it is a "word of mouth" and "come visit us" market. His wife Yvonne is a gracious host at the winery, and even their huge German Sheperd named "Rebel" will make you feel welcome as if you were part of the family!

If you have not tried their wines, you are missing out on something very special. I recommend highly his 2005 Chancellor, the 2009 Late Harvest Reisling (extraordinary complexity -- it stands by itself as well as being a dessert wine!), the Late Harvest Ravat51, the 2005 Chardonnay, and get the 2002 Merlot (while there is still some left).

Big sellers also include his Vidal Blanc, Cayuga White, Keuka White (a semi-dry blend of local Aurora, Vidal & Diamond), Diamond, and a surprisingly wonderful Apple Wine (a blend of 5 local apple varieties).

In my autumn menus I pair the Chancellor with both Venison and rich beef stews, and/or hard cheeses or tomato dishes (great with Ratatouie). I have steamed squashes of all sorts (pumpkin as well) with the apple wine and have paired it with pork roasts, tenderloins, and pumpkin soups. The Late Harvest Reisling pairs with any desert or fruit & cheese platters. The beautifully sweet Late Harvest Ravat matches well with cheesecakes, fruit, or chocolate based desserts. The Cayuga White and Keuka White are great with seafood dishes. The Vidal Blanc is a great apertif as well as when with autumn fruit, cheeses, or creamy soups.

You won't beleive the prices, but they are all true. Some of the wines are worth 5 times the sticker price!

Don't miss this place! It's totally unpretentious, friendly, and on Keuka Lake where the wines are among the best in New York State, Crooked Lake Winery is one of the shiniest of the gems.