Some days you want a glass of wine, and some day you want three… tasting glasses of wine. There’s something fun about getting to directly compare a few different types of wine against one another- it clarifies things like whether you like Chardonnay in French or American oak, or what is the difference is between Cabernet Sauvignon when its grown in different regions.
I’m on a quest right now to find the best place in Rochester to taste wine, and my first stop on this adventure was Via Girasole.
About Via Girasole
Via Girasole is located in Schoen Place in Pittsford, and is both a wine store and wine tasting room. Not only can you enjoy the bountiful fruits of the vine, but you can savor
the fruits of sheep, cows and goats an assortment of cheeses (and if you’re not into wine, they do have a selection of interesting beers).
My mom joined me on this first stop in my wine bar quest, boldly accepting the challenge to try out a new happy hour spot. Their tasting format is similar to the New York Wine and Culinary Center, in that they let you try wines from different vineyards and in some cases very different regions. However, instead of five 1 ounce pours, Via Girasole does three 2.5 ounce pours (so you are getting about a glass and a half). Sadly, unlike New York Wine and Culinary Center which does only New York wines, there were not many local options at Via Girasole. Their focus tends to be more on national and international choices from Europe, California, and Australia.
I ordered the sparkling flight and my mom ordered the rosé flight (they didn’t put years on any of the wines, so I don’t know the vintage to include with the tasting note). We also had the manchego cheese, which came as a fairly large hunk of bovine goodness with crusty bread.
Carpene Malvolti Prosecco Extra Dry (Italy): This was the first sparkling that was labeled with the word Prosecco, and the winery has been making it since the mid-19th century. The nose is bright apple and pear, and a hint of crusty bread. The delicate bubbles, bright acid, and hint of sweetness make it an easy drinking wine that is probably a people-pleaser.
Juvé y Camps Rosé Cava (Spain): This is a very pretty option, with a deep pink color. Red apple, strawberry and a hint of nuttiness on the nose. The mouthfeel is creamy and rich, which is balanced out by a nice acid and the bubbles.
Heidsieck Monopole Brut Blue (France): Of all the sparklings, this had the strongest nose, with strong scents of toast, brioche, and apples. When sipped, there is a slight citrus and the fruit notes become more prominent. The creamy, buttery, and yeasty notes on the nose are balanced by the acidity and amazing bubbles. This was my personal favorite, but I’m a sucker for a French sparkling wine.
What was fun about this flight, was that I got the opportunity to sample three classic versions of sparkling wine- it really shows you the difference between a Prosecco, Cava and French Sparkling when you get to sip them side by side.
Domaine de la Brilliane d’Aix-en-Provence (France): The nose was very floral and fruity, with notes of raspberry, peach, and rose. It had a nice minerality, medium plus acid, and lingering mouthfeel.
Château Montaud Côtes de Provence (France): The wine was a little more reserved on the nose, with something floral we couldn’t quite identify, though it was slightly of boxwood. It also had notes of strawberry and cherry.
Earthshaker Wines Côteaux du Giennois (France): This was my personal favorite. The nose had aromas of fresh strawberries, a bright minerality, and honeysuckle that was balanced out by a nice, cleansing acidity.
Finger Lakes Wine: Not really… This place is more about trying out the major wine regions, which can be fun and gives you the opportunity to know the classics. Local wine included Fox Run Traminette and Port, and a Kyrie Late Harvest Wine (which kind of supports the myth that the Finger Lakes only do sweet wines). It would have been fun to compare the classic dry reds against a Finger Lakes red, of which there are many fabulous options.
Price Range: $8-12 for a glass, $18 for a flight
This may seem a little pricy for a flight, but it is about a glass and a half of wine, so it actually is priced fairly well when you consider the amount.
Wine Knowledge: The manager, Sue, was very enthusiastic about the wines and shared a little behind the trips that she and the owner take to procure the various options. We didn’t get to hear about the wines we were tasting as much, but that did allow us to draw our own conclusions.
Overall, it was a fun experience and I’ll definitely go back when I want to try international wines. I do wish the flights had more dry white and red options from the Finger Lakes, but I’m a little biased.