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Johnson Estate Winery

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Matt Robbins
 
October 3, 2019 | Matt Robbins

The Seven S's of Wine Tasting

The Seven S’s of Wine Tasting
Wine is one of the most complex subjects to study. So Wine Tasting can seem like a daunting ordeal with a multitude of terminology and options available. Don’t be overwhelmed though.  By following some easy guidelines and studying some common patterns you can navigate the world of wine with ease.
 
See
Hold your glass to the light and look through the wine.  The color of the wine will give away some basic secrets to the wine and will help guide you for the rest of the steps.  Darker wines tend to be more bold and heavy than lighter wines which are more crisp and refreshing. 
 
Swirl
Air is beneficial for a wine.  Proper aeration of wine helps to improve flavor by increasing the amount of scent produced.  Swirling the glass (Not too hard! Don't spill!) will infuse air into the wine and allow scent molecules to leave the liquid and enter the air in the glass.
   
When wine coats and drips down the inside of the glass it is known as “legs”.  Higher alcohol levels cause more legs then lower alcohol and a sweeter wine has thicker and slower dripping legs (like syrup).
 
Smell
Generally, you want to avoid sticking your whole nose into the glass.  Start by putting just one nostril in and taking a slight sniff.  Try to see what smells it reminds you of.  But remember: There. Is. No. Wrong. Answer!  Everyone will smell something different or have different words to explain the same smell.  One person may describe a wine as “oaky”, while someone else may say it makes them think of “shop class”, or even “camp fire” for a smokey smell.  A lot of your terms will be based on memories or experiences.
   
For White Wines, look for White Fruits: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, pineapple, peach, pear, and apple.  For Red Wines, look for Red Fruits: cherry, blueberry, plum, blackberry, raspberry.  Most of the time, look for those and you will find some.  Wines can also have Floral notes (like rose, hibiscus, violet), Herbs and Veggies (like cut grass, oregano, bell peppers), Spice (like black pepper, liquorice), Woody (oaky, coffee, nutty, smokey), and so many many many more!
 
Sip
Take your first sip of the wine.  Swish it around in your mouth, and then swallow it.  Just ignore this first sip.  It tells you nothing about a wine.  This is to coat your mouth and prepare for the wine. Don't take too much wine, as you need three sips to really experience what it has to offer.
 
Slurp
Take your second sip, and this time purse your lips and suck some air into the wine, or slurp.  Don't be over the top with this so the whole winery can hear.  You just want enough to get some air into the wine and really open it up.  Move it around in your mouth, chew it, play with it.  Start looking for different flavors.  As with smell, with red wines look for red fruits, white wines seek out white fruits.  There are no right or wrong answers, this is a personal experience.  Eventually you will start learning certain grapes tend to have certain flavors, like Riesling has apple, Chardonnay has citrus.
 
Savor
Take your third sip and just enjoy it.  This is the time to think of what meal to have it with, what special occasion to serve it at, who would want this as a gift, and if this is a wine that you want to purchase – the whole bottle.
 
Spit!
It’s okay to spit the wine after you taste.  The point of tasting isn't to get drunk, it’s to try new wines, learn, and know if you want to purchase it.  Ask a staff member for a bucket and they will be happy to oblige.
 
Wine and Food Pairing
Wine and food pairing can be just as complex, if not more, than wine tasting.  It is a balancing act between flavors of the wine and components of the dishes.  When the right combinations are made, it can elevate the drink and the dish to magnificent levels of enjoyment.  Having a meal with your wine creates a new experience for all to enjoy and remember, along with all the stories and good times while slowing down to enjoy life. Learning the basic guidelines will help even the least experienced create wonderful meals and impress crowds.  While this is a lot to digest (pun intended), don't panic!
 
The first rule is the wine should not overpower the meal and vice versa.  A red wine should be paired with flavorful red meats like steak, while lighter simple white wines should be paired with white meats like chicken. The heavier bolder flavors of red wine pair best with heavier seasoned meats (always pair to any sauces or rubs used, not necessarily the meat itself). When picking the red wine to pair, go with similar flavors to amplify similar flavor components:
- if the wine is smokey, peppery, and earthy = go with a grilled peppered steak and potatoes;
- if the wine is full of cherry, chocolate, and a hint sweeter = pair it with a nice BBQ pot roast. 
With white wines, you generally pair complementary flavors: lemon notes in a Seyval Blanc wine go great with seafood or a buttery Chardonnay goes wonderfully with popcorn. 

Don't be afraid of sweet wines either! The sugar will help bring out the sweet and salty flavors of the dish, such as a sweet Riesling paired with ham - the higher acid even helps balance the salt! Or a Concord wine paired with a sweet BBQ or chicken wings!  But never pair a sweeter food with a drier wine as they will fight and compete for attention: ice cream with Cabernet Sauvignon is terrible idea, but ice wine with ice cream is delectable.
 
Matt Robbins
Time Posted: Oct 3, 2019 at 7:53 PM
Frederick Johnson
 
August 26, 2019 | Frederick Johnson

Veraison

What is Veraison?
Taken from the French, veraison is the change of color of grapes.  It is a signal that the plant and its berries are putting their energies into ripening the berries instead of berry 

The unripe grapes, all a bright green color, begin to turn either pale yellow or dark blue/purple in the case of “red” wine grapes.  This is a photograph of Johnson Estate's Pinot Noir grapes which have started but not completed veraison.  At this stage, the vines have begun to transport energy stores to the grapes and they increase in size as sugar levels increase.

Birds Looking for Early Ripening Grapes
In western New York and Pennsylvania, where 30,000 acres of vineyards are found along Lake Erie, the end of September is known for the aroma of ripening grapes and the commencement of the region's harvest of Concords.  When this begins to happen, it is a signal that the grapes are becoming sweeter.  The majority of the region's vineyards are Concord grapes which tend to ripen later than some wine varieties.  As a result, the early-ripening wine varieties, like Johnson Estate's Maréchal Foch and Pinot Noir need to be protected from birds whose choices are fewer at the beginning of the season.

At Johnson Estate, these two early-ripening grape varieties are protected from hungry birds through the use of ballons, kevlar streamers, and periodic cannon shots.  In addition, there is a recording of a hawk attacking a starling and all of these efforts help to diminish the birds' interest in these first-ripening grapes.

More Information may be found here:
https://winefolly.com/review/veraison-when-grapes-turn-red/https://articles.extension.org/pages/31098/parts-of-the-grape-vine:-shoots

Fred Johnson, Owner

Time Posted: Aug 26, 2019 at 7:26 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
April 29, 2019 | Jennifer Johnson

Lake Erie Wine Country Wineries Strike Gold!

April 21, 2019   For Immediate Release                                  Contact Monica Mazur, 877-326-6561
Lake Erie Wine Country Wineries Strike Gold at the 2019 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition  
             
Westfield (NY) – Eight local wineries went up against over 650 competing wineries from all over the world and came away with a disproportionate share of the top honors.  There were over 2800 wines entered in the 19th Finger Lakes International Wine Competition held on April 13th and 14th in Rochester NY. This event has become the largest charitable wine competition in North America, as each of the over 2800 entries contributes over $50 to Camp Good Days and Special Times, a camp dedicated to bringing smiles and memories to children with cancer.   

Of the 64 top honors awarded (Best of Class or Double Golds), twelve were won by the over one-hundred New York and Pennsylvania wineries entering the competition.  Of those twelve Best of Class or Double Gold awards presented, four of them – or one third - were earned by Lake Erie Wine Country wineries!  In addition, the eight LEWC wineries who submitted wines to this competition also earned seven gold medals and multiple silver and bronze recognitions as follows.  Complete results available at https://fliwc-cgd.com/winners-2019.asp.

Summary of Awards Earned by Lake Erie Wine Country Wineries:

21 Brix (Portland, NY) - Best of Class, Sparkling - 2017 Bruttella
Gold - Ella’s White Niagara
7 silver and bronze medals

Johnson Estate Winery (Westfield, NY) - Double Gold – 2017 Freelings Creek Semi-Dry Riesling
Gold - 2017 Freelings Creek Sweet Riesling
Gold - 2017 Maple Liqueur
Gold - 2017 Solstice Sangria
7 silver and bronze medals

Presque Isle Winery (North East, PA) - Double Gold – Eskimo Kisses (dessert wine)
5 silver and bronze medals

Yori Cellars Winery (North East, PA) - Double Gold – Famiglia (red wine)
12 silver and bronze medals

Arrowhead Wine Cellars (North East PA)
Gold - “Midnight Proposal”
3 silver and bronze medals
Lakeview Wine Cellars (North East PA)
Gold – 2017 Traminette
4 silver and bronze medals

Liberty Vineyards & Winery (Sheridan NY)
Gold – “Lucy in the Sky Sweet Rosé”
5 silver and bronze medals

Heritage Wine Cellars (North East PA)
10 silver and bronze medals

Lake Erie Wine Country (LEWC) is a marketing association of 23 wineries located along the shores of Lake Erie in western New York and Pennsylvania amidst 30,000 scenic acres of juice and wine grape vineyards.  Additional information found on the LEWC website, www.LakeErieWineCountry.org.  

Time Posted: Apr 29, 2019 at 11:40 AM
Jennifer Johnson
 
April 15, 2019 | Jennifer Johnson

Photos of Tastes of Germany

TASTES OF GERMANY, April 12-14, 2019 at Johnson ESTATE Winery
Last night's hail storm would not make one believe that we are on the cusp of spring - but here are some other signs!
 


April 12-14, Wine & Cheese Weekend, Lake Erie Wine Country
Johnson Estate Winery featured Flammkuchen, or Flame Cake, paired with Sweet Riesling.


April 13, ESTATE Dinner:  A Taste of Germany - May Wine Release
Featuring Exec. Chef Edward Work, Heirloom Restaurant, Athenaeum Hotel
Tablescape by Mary Marzec
Chocolates from Le Rouge by Aarti, Westport, CT


 

Time Posted: Apr 15, 2019 at 4:21 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
March 12, 2019 | Jennifer Johnson

Estate Dinner: May Wine Release - A Taste of Germany

ESTATE Dinner:  May Wine Release, A Taste of Germany
 

The evening starts with appetizers in the Tasting Room, followed by a multi-course dinner and wine pairings in the warehouse prepared by Executive Chef, Edward Work of the Heirloom Restaurant (Athenaeum Hotel at Chautauqua Institution).  Tablescape by Mary Marzec. 
White chocolates from Le Rouge by Aarti, Westport, CT. 
 
Appetizers – In the Tasting Room
Chicken Liver Mousse with Pickled Red Onions & Spicy Greens on Toasted Brioche
Gougères Stuffed with Sliced Bratwurst, Wild Ramp Tops &  Sweet Mustard Glaze
Cheese and Charcuterie Board with House-Made Crackers and Pickles
Prosciutto and Quark-Wrapped Asparagus
Wine of Choice
 
First Course
 Baby Mix Green Salad with Snap Peas, Asparagus, Hard Boiled Eggs, Crispy Prosciutto, and Toasted Hazelnuts with White Wine Vinaigrette

Second Course
Smoked Lake Erie White Fish Cake with Arugula and Sweet Apple Mustard Vinaigrette

Main Course
Crispy Braised Pork Belly Served with House Made Spaetzle, Sweet Pickled Pearl Onions, Braising Liquid, and Crispy Pork Rinds

Dessert
Schaum Torte Filled with Bavarian Crème Served with Macerated Berries
Johnson Estate 2019 Vintage of May Wine
 
Time Posted: Mar 12, 2019 at 5:03 PM
Jeff Murphy
 
February 13, 2019 | Jeff Murphy

98 Points! Read All About It

Just Released:  Results for 2019 International Eastern Wine Competition, Santa Rosa, California:

Our 2017 Chambourcin Ice Wine was just voted best “Best of Show”, "Best of Class”, and Best of Dessert/Late Harvest.  Yes, that means that the Competition's group of wine judges, who come from  around the world, voted unanimously to award this wine these accolades.  This garnet-colored red ice wine, which pairs famously with any dark chocolate, was also awarded 98 points.  And yes, this is a score out of a possible 100 points - in which the judges are assessing all of the elements of the wine, including color, aromas, acidity, balance, and flavors which contribute to overall drinkability.  Johnson Estate's team is delighted with this recognition!
              
                  
Winemaker, Jeff Murphy - 2017 Chambourcin Ice Wine Harvest, December 2017

Here are eight other Johnson Estate Winery GOLD medal winners at this Competition:

  • Founder’s Red            90 points
    A fruit forward, full-bodied dry red wine.
  • Ives                              92 Points
    Concord grape's first cousin, a sweet and grapey red wine.
  • Vidal Blanc Ice Wine   93 Points
    The traditional grape for ice wines, honey and peach flavors.
  • Niagara                       93 Points
    A semi-sweet American Heirloom white wine.
  • Seyval Blanc               94 Points
    A dry, crisp, lightly tropical white wine.
  • Concord                      95 Points
    All-American Heirloom red, semi-sweet wine.
  • House Red                 95 Points
    Our version of your favorite grandfather’s basement sweet wine.
  • Marechal Foch           96 Points
    Our tasting room's 2018 best-seller; rich, silky, off-dry red wine.
Time Posted: Feb 13, 2019 at 7:20 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
February 8, 2019 | Jennifer Johnson

Valentine Ice Wines - Two for the Price of One!

Just for Valentine's Day
Ice Wine - Two for the Price of One
Use Code:  VALENTINESDAY

Valentine's Day is just a week away.  Would a bottle of ice wine be a good way to celebrate it? 

Johnson Estate has three vintages of award-winning "frozen by Mother Nature" true ice wines
and is featuring a "Two for the Price of One" sale just for Valentine's Day. 

Vidal Blanc Ice Wine$49.49 (375ml)
        Honey and peach flavors - try it with goat cheese and honey toast.
Chambourcin Ice Wine$49.49 (375ml)
        Hints of berry and raisin - pair with chocolate, cinnamon, and walnuts.
Sparkling Rosé Ice Wine$49.49 (375ml)
        Fine mousse-like bubbles with mild strawberry flavors.
Sparkling Rosé Ice Wine$69.49 (750ml)
        Perfect for that Valentine's Day party (serves eight +).

We also have:
Birch Boxes - Especially made for our ice wine boxes

Austrian Hazelnuts or Cinnamon Walnuts to pair with ice wines.

Time Posted: Feb 8, 2019 at 5:14 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
January 25, 2019 | Jennifer Johnson

Mid-Winter Diversions - Burns' Night Supper

Robert Burns' Night Supper
   
Johnson Estate Winery's owners, Fred and Jennifer Johnson, have celebrated many Burns' Night Suppers over the years, beginning when they lived in Canada.  And right, most of the guests are not Scottish!  While Fred doesn't own a kilt, those dinners have included guests who did wear them.  Jennifer swears that the best reason to attend annual Burns' Night Dinner at the The Caledonian Society in Cincinnati is to see gentlemen dressed in kilts and jackets with elaborate ruffled shirts.   These dinners were always fun - and as described in this "how to", always included poetry readings and sometimes bagpipes and dancing.  Mostly celebrated with friends in Cincinnati and in western New York, some of them Scottish or of Scottish descent, our menu of the dinner hosted with friends, varied little from the one listed below. 

We've added wine pairings, but please know that Scotch is always served.  These days,
we might serve a Hudson Valley Single Malt Whiskey, now sold in the winery
(we're sorry, we do not have the license to ship this product to your home).

Appetizer
Paté of Westfield Fisheries’ Smoked White Fish
Pair with sparkling or still Traminette

First Course:
Cock-a-Leekie Soup or Leek and Potato Soup
Pair with Toasted Oak Chardonnay or Pinot Noir

Main Course:
Haggis, Tatties & Neeps  (Mashed Potatoes & Mashed Turnips)
Colçannon (Mashed Potatoes with Leeks & Cabbage)
Vintner's Cabernet Sauvignon or Founders' Red

Cheese Course:
Scottish Oat Cakes, Cheddar & Stilton Cheeses
Cream Sherry or Ruby Port

Dessert Course:
“Cranachan” - Toasted Oats with Whipped Cream & Fresh Raspberries
with a drizzle of Scotch Whiskey

Time Posted: Jan 25, 2019 at 10:01 AM
Jennifer Johnson
 
December 14, 2018 | Jennifer Johnson

Sips and Tips, The Science of Shape and Stemware

Sips and Tips, The Science of Shape and Stemware, Edible WesternNY, Winter 2018
by Matt Robbins

Here's how the article begins:
The holidays are upon us.  You toiled over a hot stove for hours creating culinary perfection, researched the perfect wines to pair with the meal, and now your guests' stomachs are grumbling.  You set the table - a seasonal table-cloth, the good china, and the beautiful centerpiece you made, pulling the whole things together.  But then you go to the cabinet full of 50 different types of glassware you got from from relatives at your wedding and the panic sets in.  Which one do I use?  Does it matter?

Author, Matt Robbins, thinks it does.  His knowledge of glassware and the interplay between them and the taste of wine is shared in this article for the Winter 2018 Issue of Edible Western NY. 
Matt Robbins is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (aka the mad scientist).  He works at Johnson Estate Winery in the tasting room as well in the winery laboratory with winemaker, Jeff Murphy and regularly educates customers and winery staff (!) about things we did not know.  Here's the whole article!

Time Posted: Dec 14, 2018 at 10:28 AM
Jennifer Johnson
 
October 28, 2018 | Jennifer Johnson

Centennial Celebrations

Centennial Celebrations at Johnson Estate Winery

100th anniversary of Armistice Day (November 11, 1918-2018) 
and Century Farm Award from NY Agricultural Society


A Toast to Veterans and Those Currently Serving Our Country
Beginning on Armistice/Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2018 and for the rest of November, Johnson Estate Winery will be offering free tastings for veterans and those serving in the military.  Come taste our special wine honoring Maréchal Foch (Marshall and Commander-in-Chief of Allied Armies). 

For Groups of Eight Or More: Please call Mary the winery at 716-326-2191 to make a reservation; please note that the winery is wheel chair accessible. 

Centennial Dinner, December 8th, 2018
A French-inspired dinner to be held at Johnson Estate winery to feature Maréchal Foch and other red wines. Reservations ($65/person) may be made here

Centennial News Release Here - for additional details about both Maréchal Foch and the grape variety named after him.

Time Posted: Oct 28, 2018 at 7:50 PM

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