Some dishes just say summer. A group of us (managers, chef & owner) from the Rogues' Harbor Inn took a summer wine tour by boat last week. We had an entire day of sun, wine, and creative food pairings all around Cayuga Lake. It was the perfect summer day for a pack of foodies.
First stop was Long Point Winery in Aurora. They served us outside over looking the water. It was like sipping wine at a hilltop chateau- they have one of the best winery lake views on Cayuga. We had 6 or 7 courses with wine pairings. All were just amazing, but three stood out for me. We sampled aged cheddar with their Reserve Chardonnay, BBQ beef with their Syrah and my personal favorite blueberry cheesecake with their Vidal Blanc. It was paradise.
Second stop was Sheldrake Point in Ovid. We've all been there many times, but couldn't pass by without stopping. I tried their Late Harvest Riesling and the staff tried a few of their reserves. As always, we were not disappointed.
Last stop was Buttonwood Grove Winery in Romulus. None of us had been there before and we were pleasantly surprised by what we found. It was a picturesque farmstead winery with vineyards, fields, pond, Scottish Shetland cow & goats, and a cabin like tasting room. The owner was funny and friendly and more than happy to continuously fill our glasses. We tried local cheddar curds with an Estate Chardonnay, spinach salad with fresh raspberries paired with Cayuga Lake Mist ( a 100% Cayuga White wine) and the very best, truly, was their Cabernet Franc with wine marinated watermelon. It just epitomized the day. It was refreshing, summery happy food. They were kind enough to share their chef's recipe. So, we're passing it along with high marks and offering it as evidence that really good food doesn't have to be complicated. Simple is good. So soak up some sun, put your toes in the water and have some watermelon. It's that simple. That's summer in the Finger Lakes.
Cabernet Franc Fruit Marinade:
1 cup Buttonwood Cabernet Franc
1/2 cup sugar
1 3" cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
8 whole cloves
Mix all ingredients in saucepan & bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain dressing & refrigerate till cold. Serve over melon (or berries).