Geneva, New York State is 300 miles from my home and my ‘02 “petrol head’s” Jag XJ8 Sport filled to capacity with fuel indicated that the car would fall short of my destination by two miles. Five hours later as we pulled into Geneva On The Lake hotel/resort, my car was showing 125 miles still remaining in my tank — so I squeezed 25 mpg out of the monster, which was remarkable.
This hotel is also remarkable.
Geneva On The Lake (www.genevaonthelake.com) is located on Seneca Lake in the midst of the scenic Finger Lakes wine region. This historic landmark, on 10 beautiful acres, is open year-round. The resort has received the coveted AAA Four-Diamond Award for 32 years and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The friendly hospitality of the staff, the exceptional beauty of the villa and lakeside setting and the gourmet cuisine have attracted guests from all over the world. Service is attentive to the smallest detail. Guest suites are superbly furnished with Stickley furniture. The terrace, formal gardens, classical sculptures, 70-foot pool and boathouse are quite breathtaking.
We were staying in The Classic Suite — a grand, spacious two-bedroom suite with Chippendale-style mahogany furniture, including a rice–carved canopied bed. It features two fireplaces, a balcony and a breathtaking view of the gardens, pool and Seneca Lake.
The property’s Lancellotto Dining Room has a wine list comprised (60 percent) primarily of the region’s wines, and Maryann Mari selects the wines and acts both as a server and wine steward. She chose Ravine’s Dry Riesling for my jumbo shrimp cocktail trio starter, and it was brilliant. Gorgeous fruit compensated for the wine’s crisp dryness, shades of a steely Mosel. For the Australian rack of lamb she picked a stunning red from Keuka Lake Vineyard made from a very unique grape called Leon Mallot; wow, what a crackerjack little guzzler — smooth and delicious. For pudding I had fresh fruit trifle. In case kids are reading this, let me just say: très érotique en effet!
General Manager Bill Schickel and I had a lovely chat for my show while sitting at the edge of the lake in the hotel’s ornate gardens. The following four days took me to 16 wineries, an opera house, a superb B&B, an inn with an amazing spa and glamping (glamorous camping), where I slept in the same bed the Dalai Lama slept in a short while before my visit. But most importantly, I tasted the finest Riesling wines outside of Germany and the best Pinot Noirs outside of France and the Northwest of the USA.
The Finger Lakes wine region is the most modest, underhyped, underrated, uncharted shores in America, and next week I am going to recommend some producers and some of their incredible elixir to add to your bucket list of nectar to taste.
My thanks to the Finger Lakes Tourist Alliance (www.fingerlakes.org) who organized my visit and provided me with a schedule that was so jam-packed it almost did me in. But it’s all recorded for the next four weeks of radio shows (or possibly longer).
All I can say is this: Finger Lakes wines rock! Cheers!
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly two-hour podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4. “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining
Editor’s note: This story has been updated for clarification.