A few weekends back I joined some friends at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery for a tasting. The group I was with is planning the Harvest Dinner Under the Stars fundraiser benefiting S.O.L.E. (Seeds of Living Education), a local non-profit organization responsible for implementing the Giving Garden community teaching garden at Union Pleasant Elementary School in Hamburg. Leonard Oakes Estate Winery will be providing some of the wines for the dinner which is happening on September 25 in Memorial Park in the Village of Hamburg.
Leonard Oakes Estate Winery is the latest business venture of the Oakes family which has over a 90 year history in agriculture in Orleans County. Known for decades as apple growers, LynOaken Farms is an established and celebrated apple supplier and u-pick operation. The location of the farm, nestled in the northwest corner of the county, sits on unique and fertile soils left behind by the glaciers of the last ice age. This coupled with a climate moderated by the gentle breezes off Lake Ontario provide a great viticultural resource for the winery. Knowing this, Leonard Oakes planted their first grapes on the land in 2003. By 2007, they were releasing wines and opened their tasting room to the public. Today, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery has several award winning wines as part of their growing repertoire.
The always enjoyable and knowledgeable Jared Oakes and Wendy Oakes Wilson hosted our tasting. There were several standouts including their 2008 Blanc d’Orleans which to me is a perfect refreshing summer white. This crisp wine has hints of grapefruit and melon and a nice finish. Jared warned they were down to their last case of this vintage, so I had to purchase a few bottles which part of the proceeds benefit Hospice of Orleans. I also very much enjoyed their 2008 Red Oakes which is a blend of Noiret, Chambourcin, Frontenac, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has an earthy flavor with hints of pepper, cherry, and vanilla.
If you are a sweet dry wine lover, you will enjoy their 2009 Vignoles. Here is Jared giving a brief explanation of this young wine:
Riesling grapes do very well in New York State soils and climate. Leonard Oakes vineyard is no exception to this fact. If you enjoy a dry Riesling their 2008 vintage is definitely one to try. It has hints of spice with a nice lemon lime finish.
As mentioned, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery has received numerous awards for being such a young winery. Included in this group is their 2008 Ice Wine which won Gold at the New York Ice Wine Festival, Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, International Eastern Competition and was awarded a score of 88 points by Wine Spectator Magazine. Another award winner is their 2008 Frontenac which has a surprising flavor with hints of cherry, brown sugar, and marshmallow. Here, Wendy Oakes Wilson, explains the Frontenac:
With over 19 wines to choose from, even the most discerning wine palate is sure to find something they enjoy. Their tasting room is open daily year round. Leonard Oakes Estate Winery is located at 10609 Ridge Road in Medina.
To purchase tickets for the Harvest Dinner Under the Stars fundraiser, please contact Jean Gunner at firstname.lastname@example.org.