Student Blend

The wine blending process was one that seemed to be easy at first glance but upon tasting your blend you are left uterrly opinionated. On October 1, our class revisited Red Hook Winery in order to make the wine blends we decided on a week ago with our partners. The blending process involved putting the various wines in different containers, in which we would pull a certain amount from those various wine containers and mix a desired amount from either 2 or 3 of those wines and making a blend. The blend my partner and I chose was a 75%/25%  of Chardonnay to Riesling and again a 75%/25% of Riesling to Chardonnay. The result of this was us enjoying the blend of 75/25 Riesling to Chardonnay due to its light and crisp taste that doesn’t overwhelm the palate. The blend would pair well with our dish however we chose to venture further; trying blends of up to 3 different wines.

The result of the blend was much more fulfilling than the last. We made a blend of 50% Riesling, 25% Chardonnay, and 25% Sauvignon Blanc. This was it! The smell was intense and it left us curious and trying to pick part all the things that made this blend special to us. The crisp taste of apple and green pepper and the smell of flint almost like you were walking in a dry forest surrounded by various plants and earth. The strong smell of white flowers and a light zing on ginger hits you and it’s hard to distinguish the other tastes but there was definitely one thing that stood out. A berry, the berry was hiding but also trying to make its prescence known; gooseberry. The wine had medium alcohol on the nose however on the palate it was medium minus, it’s acidic notes are from citric fruits such as lemons and with a little hint of white pepper. This wine was complex and we both agreed almost immediately upon our deduction. My only regret, I wasn’t able to blend it and take it with me.



Posted in Team 2, Tanzania E. and Pierre | Leave a comment

Shelf Talker

Name: Ries-Donnay Blanc

50%- Riesling from the Finger Lake AVA)

25% Chardonnay from North Fork, Long Island

25% Sauvignon Blanc from North Fork, Long Island

Notes: Light bodied wine with aromas of White flower, Apricot and Green Pepper. A finishing of Gooseberry, Ginger with Medium Acidity

Food Pairing: Chicken Basque w/ Creamy Polenta


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Sommelier Speak


Grilled Lamb Steak Haché with Ratatouille

Juicy succulent gamey lamb steak cook on the grill topped with a rich tomato sauce. This delightful dish is accompanied with a delicious ratatouille. The ratatouille would tomato based as a foundation with sautéed garlic, onions, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, marjoram, fennel and basil or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence

3 Wine choices:

Samuel Robert Winery Pinot Noir Vintner’s Reserve Willamette, 2016

Raats Family Cabernet Franc, South Africa, 2007

Intrinsic, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2016

I would chose the Cabernet Franc from South Africa.  It is a luscious Cabernet Franc that is the definition of elegance with integrated flavours of blackberry, black cherry and plum mingle with tobacco, cinnamon and spice. Tannins are soft and gentle on the palate, and hints of dark chocolate and minerality on the long finish.  With the charcoal favor of the grilled lamb this will be a excellent wine.


Since Cabernet Franc is lighter to medium bodied, it will pair up just fine along with gamier fare like lamb.  The juicy flavors will help cover up any gamey flavors whilst the herbal overtones will complement the dish. Cabernet Franc is also a good match with tender BBQ.

Grilled, herb crusted, or with an herb sauce will be remarkable with Cabernet Franc.  Unfortunately this red doesn’t get a lot of exposure, compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Merlot.


Tasting notes of Raats Family Cabernet Franc, South Africa, 2007

The wine shows a very complex, perfumy nose of liquorice, spice, aniseed, fennel and tarragon with a dark berry fruit character. Blackberries, red currant, cherry and a cedar wood spiciness follow through onto a very juicy mid-palate. The long, fine finish offers notes of cranberry, blueberry, cinnamon and dark chocolate.

Ageing Potential: 7 to 10 years.

Blend Information: 100% Cabernet Franc

Posted in Team 5, Tory J. and Polina S. | Leave a comment

Student Blend Requisition

In preparation for blending a wine to pair with our menu item, Baked Fish Filet with Mushrooms and Tomatoes, my partner and I agreed that we would like to create a blend of white wines similar to that of the 2014 Conundrum “25th Anniversary” California White Blend that paired so well with the sautĂ©ed mushrooms and tomatoes. Although we don’t have quite as many base wines to work with, I believe what we have been given will offer us the opportunity to mimic the flavors and aromas noted in the Conundrum.

In order to do so, we agreed that we would like to create a blend with about 70% Chardonnay, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Riesling. The neutral barrel, whole cluster fermentation of the Chardonnay will give the wine a light body with low intensity and hints of lemon and lime, while the Sauvignon Blanc will add notes of tropical aromas and some acidity with a lingering finish. Finally, a touch of Riesling will provide a necessary hint of sweetness with its aromas of apples and peach. The final product will pronounce the subtleties of the different flavors in the dish, and we predict it would be a hit among the guests of the Janet Lefler Dining Room.

Posted in Team 1 Joshua B. and Alison M. | Leave a comment

Student Blend Requistion

After visiting Red Hook Winery, our team has decided to blend the Merlot with the Cabernet Franc to pair with our menu which consists of Braised Beef Jardiniere and Duchess Potatoes. We believe that with the heartiness of the meal, it would be fitting to combine these two wines.
We want to create a wine that is smooth on the palate, not too tannic, or much acidity, but have the combination of the fruitiness and the herbs which would enhance the menu. The Merlot with its rich burgundy color, carries an herbal aroma yet on the palate the fruitiness emerged. This wine with its medium body and soft tannins, is part of the characteristic that our team is looking for. The Cabernet Franc has a strong fruit flavor, and the aroma of fruit, flowers and graphite but low in acidity and tannins as well. I believe it will bring out the different flavor of the braised beef. Although young, this wine is well balanced. Both wines can be medium- dry yet strong in their own right, with this said,  these are the characteristics which we are looking for when blending.
Zenas and I are still undecided on how much percentage we wanted to use from each wine, I would like to try the 75 % Cabernet Franc to the 25 % Merlot and see what result that will give us. However, we will try different percentages to see which suit our palate. One thing is certain after tasting these two wines last Monday we agreed that in using this combination of wine would make our menu a very enjoyable meal.

Posted in Team 4, Chrisitine G. and Zenas S. | Leave a comment

Student Blend Requisition

The three red wines that we tried last Monday at the Red Hook Winery were Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Before we even got to the winery, Torey and I were thinking of something rich, flavorful, well-balanced with a good amount of acidity to hold up the bold flavors of Grilled Lamb Steaks Hache with Ratatouille. Cabernet Franc from Finger Lakes fit into the most of our desired taste characteristics. We tasted medium to high acidity as well as medium tannins which we thought would pair great with our lamb dish. Good amount of acidity will nicely complement Ratatouille flavors as well. This Cabernet Franc has mouthwatering savory and herbal taste with the notes of sour cherries, raspberry sauce and sweet peppers.

This upcoming Monday, what we will be looking for while blending wines would be a nice addition to Cabernet Franc that will make it even more interesting in terms of flavors and texture. For right now, our idea is to keep Cabernet Franc as our base wine (around 60-75%) and maybe use the rest for Merlot from Long Island. Being soft and silky on a palate, this wine would add notes of herbs, dark cherries and hints of vanilla to a blend. We will play around with the ratios, but the goal will be to try and mimic a traditional Bordeaux style Cabernet Franc, using grapes from New York. Even though, we are beyond excited to try a blend of Merlot, we are looking forward to see how the blend of Syrah would come out as well. I really liked the smoky flavor of this Syrah which could definitely pair nicely with lamb steaks.

The best thing about this hands-on project is that it helps develop a better palate and truly expand your horizons in winemaking process. We get to understand that a lot depends on a winemaker, his techniques and desired outcomes.

Posted in Team 5, Tory J. and Polina S. | Leave a comment

Student Blend Requisition


During the base wine tasting my partner and I disagreed on what white wine was gonna be our number one favorite. I was more in favor of the Riesling while my partner was more in favor of the Chardonnay. So instead of making a wine that is half Riesling and half Chardonnay we decided to do a 80% of one and 20% of the other. The Chardonnay came from North Fork, Long Island, it’s a wild fermentation in a neutral barrel. This wine was pale yellow with a low intensity. Aroma of white flowers, lime, and apples. On the pallet, it was dry with a medium acidity and taste of crisp green apples.
The Riesling came from the Finger Lakes and was fermented in a steel tank. The wine was pale yellow with an aroma of apples and peaches. On the pallet it was clean, medium intensity, balanced with a taste of apples, stone fruit and hints of tropical fruits and a long finish. Chardonnays tends to lean towards two distinctive characteristics, it is either less ripe with flavors aimed towards light colored fruit such as lemons, or sweeter light colored fruit such as pineapple or apple. Oak casks imparts vanilla notes into the wine and my partner deducted that it would pair better with the basque chicken dish, my partner later concluded his dislike of the riesling due to the nature in which it is made; in a stainless steel barrel. The wood gives the wine herb like accents along with spice notes which also adds to the appeal of the wine, although there is no right or wrong, everything is dependent on your style of winemaking, and what you want your product to do/be.

Posted in Team 2, Tanzania E. and Pierre | Leave a comment

Student Blend Requisition

After a careful evaluation of the wine notes, our team has decided to make a blend between two red base wines: Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Blending these two wines will create a balance between acidity, fruitiness and tannins. Cabernet Franc has a very mellow grape flavor while the addition of Merlot will add depth to the final blend.


With a dense purple color, this Cabernet Franc is a full-bodied wine that creates flavor on the palate after each bite of the grilled skirt steak. It also possesses a long, silky finish with moderately high tannins, but they are ripe and well-integrated. The ultra fine tannins help cutting through the intense flavor of the chimichurri sauce, refreshing the palate after each bite.

Merlot is a grape variety that can be commonly used to make blends for its versatility. Expressive flavors of blackberries and cherries are joined by subtle nuances of black pepper and spice. While soft and approachable, this wine maintains a firm backbone of tannins, which will help complimenting our dish. In addition, this Merlot delivers aromas on the nose of light spices with a perfect balance of tropical fruits on the palate. 

The blend can withstand the fattiness of the steak and the strong, garlicky chimichurri sauce but does not overpower it. We intend to blend these two wines together to achieve dark fruit flavors and enhance the tannic structure in the final product. Both wines are fairly young therefore they don’t have harsh characteristics of an old wine that may interfere with the entree. These characteristics may include smokiness and earthiness.

We intend to use mostly Cabernet Franc in our blend (about 75%) and 25% Merlot. Cabernet Franc will provide stability to the wine while Merlot will provide robust flavors. Our final product will be labeled as Cabernet Franc. 


Posted in Team 6, Nicholas K. and Gehang Z. | Leave a comment

Student Blend Requisition

At Red Hook Winery we tried three white wines which were a Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay. In the beginning when each student had to pick what three wines that would pair well with your dish, our dish being the “Broiled Salmon w/ Bearnaise Sauce, Pommes Natures, and Sautees Zucchini,  a grape variety we had in common was Riesling. The Riesling we had at Red Hook Winery was exactly the type of wine that would pair well with our dish because it was a clean wine with medium body and had notes of crisp apple, peaches which will balance out the lemon zest of the bearnaise sauce. Also we thought it would cut through the richness of the salmon and the intensity of the wine wouldn’t be too over bearing, so we know definitely the Riesling is our base wine.

The next decision we agreed on is that we probably won’t use Sauvignon Blanc because as good as it tasted we thought the wine was very sweet and would over power our dish. Even if we did a blend that was 85% Riesling and 15% Sauvignon, we felt the salmon and sauce will be lost. We were leaning towards more of a Riesling/Chardonnay. The dominated tasting notes in the Chardonnay are similar to the Riesling so wouldn’t lose the qualities we like so much in the Riesling. The light zing of the wild flower and the smoothness of the Chardonnay will blend well and tie up the meal together. Our next move is to decide how are we going to blend it, which we’ll know when we test them on Monday.

Posted in Team 3, Jarnelle F. and Maria P. | Leave a comment

The Julia Child Award (Youtube)

Good morning class. I found this video that explains how recipients of the Julia Child Award are chosen, and might give us a better understanding of what the foundation is all about.

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