Catharine Valley Winery Review
Address: 4201 State Route 414 Burdett,New York 14818.
Phone Number: 607-546-5300
Tasting Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00-5:00, Sun 12:00-5:00
Region: Finger Lakes AVA, Seneca Lake AVA, New York
Reviewer: Julie Grice
Review Date: 12/19/2013
Reviewer: Julie Grice
The Place:  Catharine Valley Winerys tasting room is housed in an ivy-covered barn overlooking Seneca Lake. Picnic tables just outside the front door provide a clear view of the water and make for a wonderful place to sit with a glass of wine.
The interior of the winery is decked out with cowboy- and Texas-themed décor. Standing at the square bar in the center of the room evokes a feeling of being in a cozy, old cabin, wood paneling and all. The bar is tall, much taller than the typical bar, which may make things difficult for shorter wine lovers. Holiday twinkle lights wind around the bar. Overhead, more twinkle lights and artificial grapevines wind their way around the framing of the bar.
The gift shop is much more sparse than those found at neighboring wineries. However, the food Catharine Valley does offer, namely salsa, barbecue sauce and hot sauce, fits well with the Old West theme of the winery.
The Experience:  The staff is friendly and charismatic and may join you in your tasting if the bar isnt too busy. For only $5, you can taste eight wines or ciders, which makes up the majority of the tasting menu. If youre feeling a little less ambitious with your tasting, you can also opt to pay $1 per taste.
The Wine:  Catharine Valley specializes in domestic and Alsatian-style wines. With only ten wines and ciders, their tasting menu is relatively small, with three dry wines, four sweet wines and three ciders (as of November 2013). The sole dry red on the menu is the Noiret, which is very tart and dry and has a cranberry flavor. The Traminette is one of the two semi-dry wines on the tasting menu and is floral, citrusy, and creamy.
In terms of sweet wines, the White Cascades, a blend of Late Harvest Chardonnay and Late Harvest Riesling, is a particular standout. It is sweet and full-bodied with a creamy, caramel finish. The Lost Irishman, a fruity, semi-sweet blush, is one of the best-selling wines at Catharine Valley. There is also one dessert wine on the menu, the Seneca Steamer. This high alcohol, Niagara-based wine has flavors of butterscotch and honey.
The ciders range from dry to semi-dry and have a subtle bubble. The standout is by far the 100% pear hard cider, made mostly of Bartlett and Bosc pears with a few other miscellaneous pears blended in.
Extras:  Many of the wines on Catharine Valleys tasting menu get their names from local lore and history. The Blue Goose, a semi-dry white wine, for instance, is named after an Inn from the times of Prohibition. The Sweet Revenge and The Lost Irishman are named after an 1870s couple that may have been involved in murder.
Insiders Tips:  Catharine Valley Winery is worth visiting multiple times, if only because they create new ciders throughout the year. In addition to the regular apple and pear ciders, they occasionally offer ginger, lemon-lime or even margarita-flavored ciders.