Stretching & Sipping at Sheldrake Point

Rosé is still a hot trend in the Finger Lakes. Every winery seems to be producing at least one. But when you start asking around about favorite Rosé, one winery always comes up- Sheldrake Point. Not only is it considered one of the best-many would argue it defines Rosé in the region- but they’ve been doing it since 1997! This ain’t no bandwagon winery, they are way ahead of the trend!

I got a lot of flack on Instagram for not having tried this year’s vintage, so when Indigo Sky Yoga Collective invited me to join a class of theirs at Sheldrake Point Winery, I knew it was the perfect chance to try what seemed to be the winning Rosé of the summer, and also get a little exercise in.

About Indigo Sky Yoga Collective

First, a little about Indigo Yoga Sky Collective, as they were my excuse for finally getting out to Sheldrake. They are a group of yoga teachers who are providing unique and accessible yoga experiences around the Finger Lakes. I’d definitely classify myself as a yoga beginner, and I found the speed of the class just right. They offered a range of poses and options so we all felt comfortable, and they had mats available for those who didn’t have them- so if you don’t have equipment, don’t worry!

In addition to the stretching and poses, we also did a smelling exercise that was perfect for preparing our noses for wine tasting. As we moved through our sun salutation and warrior series, we smelled leaves of basil, mint and rosemary, thinking critically about the smell and how if felt.

The class also came with the tasting at Sheldrake, so at only $20 it was a great deal and a super way to kick off the rest of the day.

About Sheldrake Point Winery

Sheldrake Point Winery is located on the Western shore of Cayuga Lake, and includes 60 acres of vineyard. This highly awarded winery has been recognized twice as the top New York State Winery of the Year and has been listed three times as a top 100 winery in the world by Wine & Spirits. Their focus is on their vineyard, believing that great wine comes from great grapes, and they try to intervene as little as possible during production.

In addition to their renowned Rosé, they also produce ice wine made using the traditional method of letting the grapes freeze before harvesting, and they have a deep library of their wines that they periodically dip into, meaning you can try some fun older vintages on site.

Tasting at Sheldrake Point

After yoga, we headed into the tasting room and got to sample four wines from their regular estate list as part of the fee we paid for the class. Normally, their tasting is four estate wines for $5, or you can do their reserve wines for $10 for four or $3 per sample.

I started out with their 2017 Gamay Noir, a unique varietal for the region. It has a nose of spicy baked fruit, loads of black pepper, with bright cherry and strawberry on the palate. The lingering medium chewy tannin leaves you with a cherry and spicy mouthfeel. It was lighter in body than you’d expect given the notes, making it a perfect late summer wine.

Then, I had to try the 2017 Cabernet Franc. It starts with notes of dark cherry and has a strong vegetal nose that mixes with hints of tobacco and baked dark fruits. However, it’s brighter on the palate with sharp cherry that complemented by a dense velvetly mouthfeel. It’s richer than I usually expect for the region and almost decadent.

Next up, no surprise, the 2018 Dry Rosé, the big reason we had to come. Even with all the hype, it doesn’t disappoint, with a nose of fresh strawberry, watermelon rind, strawberry leaf, and fresh green herbs. There’s a hint of citrus on the palate in addition to fresh herbs, and you’re left with a pop of acid and strawberry cream. It’s all you want in a Rosé.

Next up, I decided to skip the standard Dry Riesling and instead upgrade to the 2017 Acid Head Riesling because high acid Riesling are my favorite. It smells like a green apple jolly rancher, but without the sweetness and loads of mineral. When sipped, it’s refreshing lime peel and curd, tart green apple, and clean high acidity. Crisp and zingy is an understatement.

We also had to do a bonus taste of their 2018 Appassimento Cabernet Franc, because a wine that involves drying grapes on the vine before pressing whole cluster just sounded too fun to pass up. Notes of olive, freeze dried raspberry, beef jerky and chalk make this a crazy fun wine, and it’s drying tannin is super fun. If you like older Italian wines, I highly suggest trying this.

Planning Your Visit

Hours: They are open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. April through October, and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. November through March.

f you’re looking for the chance to try their older wines, you can book a tasting in their Vintage Room. This experience is available May through October, 11:30 to 2:30, but in other months must be reserved in advance and costs $30, including the tasting and a cheese board.

Tasting Fees: $5 for 4 tastes of their estate wine list; $10 for 4 tastes of their reserve list, and $3 for single tastes of the reserve list.

Group Tastings: Reservations are required for groups of 8 or more, or groups traveling in a limo or bus, and need to be made before 1 p.m. See their website for full details on fees and policies.

Wine Prices: Wines range from $16 a bottle for Riesling or Pinot Gris, and go up to $45 for the reserve wines.

We purchased some bottles of the 2017 Acid Head Riesling at $22 and the 2017 Gamay at $18 (also, you get a discount the more you buy!)

Other Amenities: Traveling by boat? You can dock at Sheldrake Point! It’s a fun way to experience the lake and makes for a unique day.

Final Thoughts

Sheldrake Point Winery is a great place to taste wines that exemplify the region, but also a great place to try different experimental wines. It’s even more fun when you start the day with some yoga in the vineyard! This was a really cool experience, and I highly suggest doing it.

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