My first experience with Standing Stone Vineyards was at a wine trade show in Boston in September 2011. I was pouring Napa wines and Standing Stone co-owner, Marti Macinski, was at the table beside me pouring their wines. She gave me my first taste of the Finger Lakes, about which I knew nothing.
Marti and Tom Macinski purchased the property on Seneca Lake’s east side in 1991, the former Gold Seal Vineyards, with the intention of “harvesting premium grapes and subsequently crafting heavenly wines.” They have succeeded by creating consistently good, award-winning, and age-worthy wines since their first vintage in 1993. This year, 2013, marks their 20th anniversary vintage.
Fast forward to April 2013, my recent trip to the Finger Lakes, and my second experience with Standing Stone. I arrived at their winery on Seneca Lake just before Marti had to leave. I reminded her of our first meeting and I am not sure she remembered, as she travels far and wide showing their wines, but I’ll never forget the first, and now second, Standing Stone experience.
Marti left me in good hands tasting with a gentleman who has been involved in the wine business for 40+ years. He recommended side-by-side tastings of various vintages and varieties. We tasted so many wines I lost count. But what I do remember is that all of the wines were simply outstanding, especially the Alsatian-style white wines and ice wines.
Marti had told me before she left to take a bottle of anything I wanted with me. While I know Finger Lakes Rieslings are some of the best in the world, I was trying to vary my selections on this trip to gain a broader understanding of Finger Lakes wines. Therefore, I selected the 2010 Gewürztraminer ($14.99 at the winery).
Last night I paired the Gewürztraminer with Kung Pao chicken. A couple of years ago, a friend recommended this pairing with Gewürztraminer from another winery, and it’s never failed me.
The 2010 Standing Stone Vineyards Gewürztraminer, fermented in stainless steel, is a big one. It has lots of floral aromatics, fresh Finger Lakes acidity, a hefty dose of minerality (the vineyards rest over a bed of slate), flavors of orange, grapefruit, and spice, a bit of residual sugar (1%), and a rich mouthfeel from being left on lees for two months. It is an ideal match for Kung Pao chicken’s brown, spicy, and slightly sweet sauce with peanuts. This is one of those pairings you never want to end. You discover yourself eating and sipping until it’s almost all gone. Amazing.
If you plan to visit the Finger Lakes, Standing Stone needs to be on your list of must-visit wineries. The wines, the staff, and the view of Seneca Lake are unforgettable. If you’re interested in other pairings with their Gewürztraminer, visit this page and read the entry for 4/14/13. As you will see, it pairs with a variety of everyday foods and snacks, not just Kung Pao chicken.