J.R. Dill Winery Review
Address: 4922 State Route 414 Burdett,New York 14818.
Phone Number: 607-546-5757
Tasting Hours: May 1-Oct 31: Mon-Sat 11:00-6:00, Sun 11:00-5:00; Nov 1-Apr30: Fri-Mon 11:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Finger Lakes AVA, Seneca Lake AVA, New York
Reviewer: Julie Grice
Review Date: 1/9/2014
Reviewer: Julie Grice
The Place:  The front deck provides a nice lake view, and picnic tables offer a place to sit with a glass of wine and enjoy the scene. Inside, two spacious straight bars leave plenty of room for a crowd. One bar top is covered with an array of lake glass, collected over the course of 40 years from nearby Seneca Lake. Above, large wine holders shaped like Cayuga and Seneca Lakes hold display bottles. The wall opposite the bars is covered in large, framed photos showcasing Watkins Glen history.
The Experience:  A $3 tasting fee buys visitors seven pours, a price that is about standard for the area. If you buy a bottle of wine at the end of your tasting, you also get to keep your J.R. Dill tasting glass.
All the employees are either family members or family friends of founder J.R. Dill. The staff is talkative and informative, happy to answer questions or talk about the myth of the Jabber Waulkie. It is said that the Jabber Waulkie, a creature imagined in the style of the Loch Ness Monster, lives in the lake by day and roams the vineyards by night. Apparently, if you drink enough wine, you might catch a glimpse!
The Wine:  The tasting menu is comprised of eighteen wines. The Jabber Waulkie Blush, the wineries best seller, is a clean, sweet blend of Cayuga and Baco Noir grapes.
On the dry end of the spectrum, the 2011 Gewurztraminer and the Lake Glass White are particularly notable. The Lake Glass White, a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Seyval, tastes a bit of lemon, with just a touch of butter. The 2012 Pinot Riesling is another unique wine, a lemon-lime, not-too-acidic blend of Riesling and Pinot Gris grapes.
The two sparkling wines on the menu, the Cayuga White Rise and Jabber Waulkie Rise, are both standouts. The Cayuga White Rise is dry and crisp, with a flavor reminiscent of green apples. The Jabber Waulkie Rise, on the other hand, is sweet and jammy, the sparkling version of the Jabber Waulkie Blush.
Though the winery doesnt grow its own grapes, all the grapes used for J.R. Dill wines come from local vineyards. In fact, 90% of the grapes are grown within five miles of the winery.
Insiders Tips:  Be sure to sample the 2010 DeChaunac. J.R. Dill is the only winery to produce this wine in the region, so the herby dry red is a must-try. If youre visiting in the summer, try to make your visit on a Thursday evening. Every week, the winery hosts a band out back and offers food to go with the wine.
Extras:  In addition to the typical barbecue sauce, salsa and honey that many wineries offer in their gift shops, J.R. Dill also sells their own mixes, ranging from wine bread, to beef wine soup, to dips.
The winery is dog friendly, so feel free to bring your canine friends along to your tasting.