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Johnson Estate Winery



Jennifer Johnson
March 2, 2020 | Jennifer Johnson

March - Maple Madness

March - Maple Madness - Celebrate at Johnson Estate with Maple Liqueur & French Crêpes!

In Western New York and Pennsylvania, the maple tapping season usually begins in March and we begin to see tubing and pails attached to large sugar maple trees.  Soon the maple syrup will be simmering away and the local sugar shacks and pancake houses will be open for business. 

Johnson Estate's Maple Liqueur
Winemaker, Jeff Murphy, loves maple syrup and made an aperitif using estate-grown grape spirits, Vidal wine, and local syrup. The Maple Liqueur tastes like a combination of ice wine and sherry, with a hint of maple on fhs finish. Johnson Estate released this new liqueur in March 2015, just as the region’s tapping season began. To celebrate NYS Maple Weekends, Fred suggested that the winery serve Maple Liqueur and crêpes, which Fanny Tauzin-Dauga, a 2014 French winery intern, made for us during her stay here. So each year, Johnson Estate, a member of the NYS Maple Association participates in Maple Weekends.

A Tasting Room Tradition - Celebrating with French Crêpes
It has become Johnson Estate's annual tradition to serve Julia Child’s French Crêpes and Fancy Ground Nuts with a glass of the Maple Liqueur on the NYS Maple Association’s designated weekends.  This year, Chef Edward Work from the Athenaeum Hotel will be flipping crêpes both weekends ($5/person).  We’ll also be selling French Crêpe kits (white flour as well as gluten-free, buckwheat) so that you can make these treats at home.  We also sell locally-made maple syrup and other maple products.

Time Posted: Mar 2, 2020 at 9:11 AM Permalink to March - Maple Madness Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
January 13, 2020 | Jennifer Johnson

January 17-20 - All About Ice Wine

All About Ice Wine at Johnson Estate!
What it is, how it is made, and why it is packaged in small bottles.   Come see!

  • Special Offer:  Buy one Sparkling Rosé Ice Wine (750ml) and get a $15 off a second bottle or a $15 Gift Certificate to use another day.
  • Register to Win the Grand Ice Wine Basket: We're doing a drawing at the end of the weekend for an "ice wine gift basket".  Just sign up with your email!
  • Photo Album: See how this "mid-winter" harvest is done!
  • Did You Know?:   A series of questions to learn all about ice wine.
  • Ice Wine Flights:  Ice Wine & Dessert Pairings (three ice wines, fancy nuts, & cookie)
                                 Vertical Flights - Taste different vintages of ice wine & compare!
  • Pairing Lists:  Want to know what to pair with ice wines?   Recommendations available.
  • Recipes:  We'll also have our favorite recipes to pair with your dessert wines.
  • Fancy Nuts:  Austrian Hazelnuts, and other choices to pair with our award-winning ice wines.
  • Birch Gift Boxes:  Buy a bottle of ice wine - and the Birch Gift box is just $5.
  • "Best Award Ever":  98 Pt. Award Winner!  2017 Chambourcin Ice Wine - limited supply 
Time Posted: Jan 13, 2020 at 2:30 PM Permalink to January 17-20 - All About Ice Wine Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
December 15, 2019 | Jennifer Johnson

A December Dinner in the Tasting Room

Every year, the Patterson Library hosts an August auction - and this year loyal supporters of the Library purchased a dinner hosted by Johnson Estate Winery
(actually, there were two dinners, but that is another story). 
We are sharing photographs and Chef Edward Work's menu for the dinner held on December 13th in the tasting room when it was all decorated for Christmas.  Chef Ed is the head chef at the Athenaeum Hotel, but off-season, is able to share his talents with us and others.  The meal was delicious and perhaps offers readers some food and wine pairing ideas! 

* * *

Artisan Cheese and Charcuterie Board with Assorted Pickles, Olives & Jams
Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese

First Course
House-Made Fettucinne with Butternut Squash Cream Sauce &
Wilted Greens, Roasted Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seeds
Semi-Dry Riesling

Main Course
Red Wine & Herbed Beef Bourguignon, Parsnip Potato Purée,
garnished with Crispy Root Vegetables
Cabernet Sauvignon

Shaved Kale & Brussel Sprouts with Hard Boiled Egg, Hazelnuts, Craisins, Pecorino Cheese, 
Rye Croutons & Sherry-Bacon Jam Vinaigrette
Sparkling Traminette

Orange & Almond Cake with Chantelle Cream,
Orange Supreme, Almond Bark & Dark Chocolate Shavings
Cream Sherry

Time Posted: Dec 15, 2019 at 10:36 AM Permalink to A December Dinner in the Tasting Room Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
Jennifer Johnson
October 15, 2019 | Jennifer Johnson

Edible Western New York - Nature versus Nuture - In Jennifer's Kitchen

Stephanie Burdo, editor and publisher of Edible Western New York, shares an afternoon in Jennifer Johnson's fall kitchen.....here's her article, complete with photographs by Jill Bornand.

This article includes recipes for quince - the "prehistoric" apple which has been grown in North American since the Colonial days - but alas is not always so easy to find today.  A number of our customers are interested in purchasing quince fruit - and as our quince trees were decimated by fire blight, we have little fruit and not of the quantity or quality which I would feel comfortable selling.  I've contacted three orchards which I thought were likely to have quince - but have struck out so far. 
We'll keep looking for some resources on quince fruit to share.

As Edible Western New York's focus is good, local foods, I would be remiss not to remind readers to visit its website, where one can search articles and events and sign up for the Edible WNY Newsletters.  In addition, three other resources for those who are interested in locally produced
fruit and vegetables as well as meats.

www.postapples.com (North East, PA) - vegetables and apples
Cornell Cooperative Extension Website - Chautauqua-grown

Time Posted: Oct 15, 2019 at 6:30 PM Permalink to Edible Western New York - Nature versus Nuture - In Jennifer's Kitchen Permalink
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.
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. 
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Permalink to The Seven S's of Wine Tasting Permalink
Frederick Johnson
August 26, 2019 | Frederick Johnson


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:

Fred Johnson, Owner

Time Posted: Aug 26, 2019 at 7:26 PM Permalink to Veraison Permalink
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 Permalink to Lake Erie Wine Country Wineries Strike Gold! Permalink
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 Permalink to Photos of Tastes of Germany Permalink
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

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 Permalink to Estate Dinner:  May Wine Release - A Taste of Germany Permalink

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