If you’re in the Ithaca area, you’ve probably heard of Six Mile Creek Vineyard. Not only is it just four miles and quick drive from Ithaca College’s campus, its owners encourage people to visit, taste their wine (responsibly), and take in all that their beautiful land has to offer. If you’ve never been, you should make the trip.
A little bit of background about the place first: A man named Roger Battistella opened the vineyard in 1987, intending for it to be a family venture with his wife and children. When I visited the vineyard, I met Amy, who now manages the vineyard with her husband. She also intends on making it a family experience because her parents will be moving to the area soon. She also hopes that one day her son might take over for her and her husband. For a full bio about the vineyard’s history, you can visit the website.
Now, what should you expect?
There are several of very unique aspects of Six Mile Creek. The first is that their conditions are different than the vineyards of Cayuga and Seneca lakes. I learned that Riesling grapes do not grow as well away from the water. That being said, I tried both their Reserve Riesling 2014 and the Riesling 2014 and enjoyed both, so much so, that I took home a bottle of the Riesling 2014. Both Rieslings are dry, but I found the Riesling 2014 to be softer than the Reserve and it turned out to be my favorite of all the wines that I tried.
The next wine I sampled was the Vignoles 2013. Amy told me that it was a very popular option so I was excited to give it a try. Even though it was a dry wine, it is slightly sweeter than I expected and it makes for a perfect summer wine. Amy told me that they are hoping to make a sparkling version of it within the next couple of months. It was quite delicious and I can see why it is so popular, especially as we approach the warmer months.
Rosé & Reds
I then moved on to the rosé and red wines. Because of the conditions of the lake and the surrounding areas, it is rare to see Cayuga wineries that make heavy, deep reds. I tried the Pinot Noir 2013 and the Quintessence 2013. The Pinot was dry and light; it would be easy to enjoy in a larger quantity if desired. The Quintessence had a full taste and was heavier than I expected. Between the two, I would choose the Quintessence for it fruity flavor and its hint of spice.
Even though I’m not a fan of the sweet stuff, I had to try at least one of the semi-sweet or sweet wines. I jumped right in and chose the sweetest of the sweet. It’s called Bellissimo and even though it was very sweet, it was delicious. I would highly recommend this one, just don’t drink too much of it in anticipation of a dreaded wine headache.
Another unique aspect is that Six Mile Creek makes spirits out of their wines. They make vodka, gin, grappa, limoncella, orangecello, and an amaretto called Amoré. The gin, vodka, and the Amoré are most popular so I tried the gin, the Amoré, and since I am not a huge vodka fan, I threw in the limoncella (recommended to me previously by my Italian roommate).
I don’t usually drink gin straight so I was apprehensive before I took my first sip, but when I did, it blew my mind. It is made with juniper so it tastes like you’re drinking a refreshing Christmas tree and that taste stays with you, but in a good way. Even if you don’t necessarily think of yourself as a gin fan, I think that everyone should try this one. Get yourself a bottle of this, some tonic water or maybe not even, and you’ve got yourself a great evening.
The limoncella was a burst of flavor that left my taste buds tingling. I find that limoncello can taste very artificial sometimes, but this one is very smooth and natural. If you know you like limoncello, definitely try this one.
Lastly, I tried the Amoré and I thought it was unbelievable. Anyone who comes to Six Mile Creek needs to try this. It was delicious and a perfect desert amaretto. If you purchase a bottle, it could go well with ice cream, in some late night coffee, or on its own. Amy told me that people who like Bailey’s love this, so if that’s you, you need to check it out.
For Ithaca College students, Amy would like everyone to know that the winery is open to all (if over the age of 21, of course) and they welcome large groups. I strongly encourage everyone to try to visit the vineyard soon as the nicer weather approaches. At the end of your tasting, if the weather permits, you and your group can enjoy a glass or a bottle outside on the terrace and enjoy the beautiful view of the vineyard below. I know that I will definitely be returning especially when my parents come to visit for my graduation.
When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine, that’s Amoré.
Special thanks to Amy and Max.