Atwater Estate Vineyards Review
Address: 5055 State Route 414 Burdett,New York 14841.
Phone Number: 607-546-8463
Tasting Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00-5:00, Sun 11:00-5:00
Region: Finger Lakes AVA, Seneca Lake AVA, New York
Reviewer: Julie Grice
Review Date: 1/11/2014
Reviewer: Julie Grice
The tasting room at Atwater Estate Vineyards is housed in a cheery yellow farmhouse that overlooks the vineyards, a pond, and Seneca Lake. Well-maintained landscaping near the front walkway welcomes visitors to come inside.
The interior is bright and airy thanks to the many large windows that span nearly every wall. The unevenly shaped wooden bars and wood paneling lend a rustic feel to the room. Maps of the farm and vineyards are posted on the walls. Along one wall, various medals are draped over their corresponding bottles.
The Experience:  With three long bars, there is plenty of space for multiple large parties to taste without feeling crowded. The staff is exceptionally friendly, going beyond the typical question-and-answer back and forth about the menu. As they pour, they ask their visitors about themselves and share some of their own stories, in addition to talking about the wines in detail.
Three dollars will garner you six pours off the extensive tasting menu. In the holiday season, a complimentary sample of mulled wine may be offered as well.
The Wine:  Atwater Estate is known for its dry red wines. The 2011 Big Blend is particularly notable. A mix of Blaufrankisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah, it gets its smoky up-front flavor from the Hungarian oak in which the Blaufrankisch is aged. The peppery 2011 Syrah and Stone Bridge Red are other must-tries from the dry red section of the menu.
Though the winery may be known for its dry reds, it also offers a unique selection of white and sweet wines that shouldnt be missed. The 2011 Riewurz, made up of 78% Gewürztraminer and 22% Riesling is well-rounded with a long finish and won multiple medals at the 2012 New York Wine and Food Classic.
The Stone Bridge White, a Vidal Blanc and Cayuga blend, starts out fruity but ends on a dry note. It is a nice, crisp wine that recently won Double Gold at the New York Wine and Food Classic. Also of note are the flowery 2011 Gewürztraminer and the new-release 2012 Riesling. There are two sparkling wines on the list: a very dry, sparkling rosé, the Pinot Bubble, and the semi-dry Riesling Bubble.
Extras:  Atwater Estate uses several of its wines to support local causes and nonprofits. A portion of the sales of Cecil Chardonnay, named after the dinosaur mascot of the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, go to support the museum. Similarly, some of the profits made from the Stone Bridge White and Red wines goes to the Watkins Glen International Motor Racing Research Center.
The winery also takes part in the annual New York Grapehound Wine Tour, a four-day fundraising event seeking to raise awareness of greyhound adoption and fostering opportunities.
Insiders Tips:  Visitors can bring a piece of the vineyards home with them by purchasing large prints of photos of the Atwater grapes. Additionally, the gift shop offers several locally produced foods, ranging from dipping oils to chutneys to mustards.