A Visit to Herron Hill Winery (Keuka Lake)

September 11, 2014

For the first stop on our Keuka Wine Trail Passport we visited Heron Hill Winery. This is actually our second visit to a Heron Hill; our first visit was to their smaller location on Canandaigua Lake last year.

We arrived on a Saturday, which looking back on it now, is really not the best time to go wine tastings unless you like lots of people, standing around waiting, and being rushed. Weekday wine tastings are so much more fun and relaxing.

Driving up to the winery you get a very lovely view of the vineyards. The winery overlooks rows and rows of grape vines. The landscaping around the building was really beautiful with all kinds of flowers blooming. Entering the winery, you find a place at one of their bars for your tasting. I still am not sure who exactly was doing our wine tasting. When we arrived a guy started talking to us and set it up. Then another guy took over and then a girl. This is what I am talking about – when you go on the weekend that’s when all the groups are there. You feel more like a number than a person experiencing a wine tasting. For our tasting we got to choose 6 different wines. Ours were as follows.


  • Classic Chardonnay Unoaked 2013 – Yummy yummy yummy! This is one of the best unoaked Chards I have ever tried. Had a very fruity bouquet, dry and crisp, really easy to drink. We left with a few of these.
  • Reserve Pinot Gris 2013 – It was listed as “exotic and floral aromas meet a lavish mouth feel along with a vibrant finish.” I have to be honest it tasted like water. It actually had no taste at all. It could have just been the bottle we tasted but I had to pass on this Pinot Gris.
  • Reserve Pinot Blanc 2013 – This had more taste than the Reserved Pinot Gris 2013 but I found it really light with an easy finish.
  • Classic Dry Riesling 2013 – A really nice dry Riesling and would be wonderful paired with cheese and fruit.
  • Classic Muscat 2011 – This wine stands on its own. Tastes different than any other wines we have tried so far in this area. Slightly dry with a wonderful taste I really can’t describe. If you visit Heron Hill it is worth trying this one. I think it would pair well with Mexican or Chinese food.
  • Classic Semi-Dry Riesling 2012 – It was described as a versatile wine for food pairings. It came across as a wine I would like to have a glass of while sitting around with friends. Very refreshing with a slight sweet hint but not too overpowering.


  • Classic Pinot Noir 2012 – It was aged for 14 months in 5% new French Oak and then aged in older barrels of French and Eastern European oak. You really can pick up on the oak taste. It is a light and smooth wine.
  • Ingle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 – Described as being aged 18 months in French and Eastern European oak barrels, it actually didn’t have much oak taste we thought.
  • Eclipse Red 2011 – This wine was aged 24 months and the oak taste really comes across. It is a blend of traditional Bordeaux varieties.
  • Classic Cabernet Franc 2011 – The grapes come from Seneca, Cayuga, and Skaneateles lakes. This wine was oaked and described as having a hint of black licorice and leather, which made for a very interesting taste we thought.
  • Reserve Blaufrankisch 2011 – Rich in tannins, this was a smooth and mellow-tasting red. Again, another wine in its own class, with cocoa aromas and clove accents.
  • Game Bird Red – For an all-around great-tasting table wine, this would work. It has a slight sweet note but not so much as to interfere with food.

Overall, our visit to Heron Hill at Keuka Lake was just OK. We felt as if we were being rushed. There was no one to take time to describe any of our wines. They just poured and went to the next people. I think if we had visited during the week with less activity it would have been a completely different experience. They do have some wonderful wines though. :0)

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