Bottle # 2 - Riesling

Name -- Riesling
Type -- White Table Wine Riesling
Bully Hill Description -- Lucious, fresh and crisp in the classic, German-style, with ample peach and apricot flavors. Made for seafood, salads, and light fare.
Bully Hill Dryness/Sweetness Scale (0=driest, 11=Sweetest) -- 7
Date Opened -- Wednesday, June 29, 2005. Undetermined hour
Date Finished -- Wednesday, July 6, 2005. Early evening.

Bottle Opened:
On Wednesday, June 29, Patrick, Betsey and I went to an off-Broadway show about a family band that is actually a family and a band. It is called Cecilia in the Living Room. The wonderful thing about the Zipper Theatre, where the show took place, is that there is a bar in the lobby and you can drink wine during the show.

After the show, we decided to go to my apartment and continue our wonderful drunken rally.

We got pretty toasty on some Sauvignon Blanc and went back to my apartment to drink some more.

I had planned to give Patrick a bottle of the Riesling which we sampled at Bully Hill during our wine tasting. So, we put a bottle in the freezer to chill and had some beer from Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo.

Patrick left and we never opened the bottle of wine. At some point in the night, the bottle exploded but did not shatter. However, it opened itself and when I took it out of the freezer, it had frozen through. A wine popsicle.
It's defrosted now, but I may have bruised the wine a bit.
Fortunately, I don't really care about that so much.

Day# 3
We have been drinking the wine periodically for the past week. Any time the urge hits, I hit the Riesling.

The German Riesling tends to the sweeter side. The traditional Alsatian Riesling is semi-dry to dry. I have read that the Riesling grape is unique in that it best expresses the terroir, or geography, of the land where it is grown. If this is true, then this Riesling grows on a laid-back and cheerful patch of land, covered in apricot trees. The wine begins sweet but finishes much smoother. It has a heavy hand of fruit in each gulp.

Patrick came over yesterday with a bottle of Chardonnay from Napa Valley. He was attracted by the label. We tippled a bit before heading to the movies to see, Bewitched with his younger brother, Scott.

When I sampled the Chardonnay, Scott said my face revealed that I didn't really like the wine.

"No, it's fine. I mean, I'll drink it."

Patrick and I tried adding some ice, thinking the cold would help. But it was the overbearing oakiness of the wine that gave it a musty pallor. I decided it would be best if drunk with a meal.
I dumped out the remaining liquid from both of our glasses and poured a heavy portion of the Bully Hill Riesling into our goblets.

Patrick spoke first, "Now that is lovely!"

I plan to finish off the bottle this evening before I go visit my family.

Riesling Recommendation:
Drink this Riesling when other whites seem to be disappointing. Chill exquisitely and share with someone who is having a bad day. Or, drink a bit before you have to do something you dread. It tastes like sitting in an orchard somewhere south of the Mason Dixon, listening to Dolly Parton.


Bottle # 1 -- Fusion

Name -- Fusion
Type -- Red Table Wine
Bully Hill Product Description -- A light, fruity red wine. A great introduction to red wine enjoyment. A blend of Baco, Aurora, Ives and Colobel. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.
Bully Hill Dryness/Sweetness Scale (0=driest, 11=Sweetest) -- 2
Date Opened -- Monday, June 27, 2005. Late evening.
Date Finished -- Wednesday, June 29, 2005. Early evening.

On the long drive back to Manhattan from the Finger Lakes, I pondered. In the trunk of this little rental car sat two cases of wine from my favorite vineyard. I planned it all out. As soon as we got back to our little apartment, I would unpack the bottles and just stare at them. Which is exactly what I did.
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The wines stayed on the dining room table, arranged in order from dry to sweet, white on the left, red on the right, for at least a day and a half. We shifted them slightly to the side so we could sit and eat. But they stayed arranged in order. Like so.
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If you are familiar with urban living, you know that space is a cherished commodity. Having only room for one table in the common space of our 600 square foot apartment leaves little room to accommodate 24 bottles of wine. The wine rack already full, we had to improvise.
I cleared off a small end table that could be sacrificed and moved the bottles there. Like so.
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Eventually, the question came up.

"Uh, honey? Are we going to drink any of this wine?" J. asks, tentatively.

"Well, yee-aah! Of course!"


"Uh, when?"

"Well, not yet! I don't want to break up the set."

J. nods and smiles knowingly. We made the journey to Bully Hill together. He understands. There are currently only three types of Bully Hill wine available to Manhattan consumers according to my wine shop hunts. We would practice self-control.


On Monday night, we went downtown to see an acoustic in-store performance by Leela James at Tower Records on lower Broadway. She was fabulous and powerful and we left the performance high off of good ol' soul music.
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New York rained summer onto our skin. Not fearing this hot dampness, we strolled casually and looked into different shops. Soon, we became hungry and took the train back uptown. We stopped at the Food Emporium on the way back to the apartment and picked up some fresh pasta for dinner. On the walk up Ninth Avenue, I had an immediately Pavlovian experience.

We passed The Nook, a small eatery that serves pleasantly uncomplicated American fare. The Nook, like most of the restaurants in Hell's Kitchen, had it's doors and windows open to the street. One two-top table straddled the sidewalk so the couple dining were an arm's length from me.

The man picked up a dark green bottle and poured it's contents evenly between two stout wine glasses. I watched the stream of thick, red liquid cascade in a long rivulet and settle into the base of the goblet.

I sighed, "Let's drink one tonight."

"Are you sure?" J. looked at me suspiciously.

"Yes, yes. I am sure." I stated seriously, like a Zen master. Inspired with this revelation, we hurried back to our apartment.

When we arrived at our place, I told J. that I would make dinner and he complied. In a 600 square foot apartment, there is literally only room for one chef in our kitchen.

"Which wine are we drinking? I'll put it in the fridge to chill it."

"I don't know, I don't know," I blabbed frantically.

J. snorted simply and shook his head. "Okay, well, you choose."

I tucked my head down to clean and chop vegetables. Admittedly, I was still feeling unready to open a bottle, but I desperately wanted some wine.

We purposefully chose to purchase doubles of a few of the wines. That way we could sample one bottle and give away another. I decided to pick one of these wines, and my instincts led me to the Fusion Red.

Dinner -- Porcini mushroom and black peppercorn ravioli served in a red sauce with sauteed white button mushrooms and roasted whole garlic cloves.

I poured out two servings of the Fusion Red into stemless Pinot Noir goblets we picked up at the Corning Museum of Glass.

The color of the wine is a very bright, light red. It is very fruity - like cold berries, but not sweet like a dessert wine. However, it may turn off those who enjoy fuller, earthy reds. It is a very good wine for people who think they do not like wine. It is not complex.

"Mmmm. I love it. It's perfect!" I gushed at the first sip. I put the remaining wine in the refrigerator, knowing it would taste even better as it chilled.

Jason nodded his assent but added, "I don't think it's the right match for this meal."

"I disagree."

"Of course you do."

Still, we drank about half the bottle, refrigerated the rest and fell asleep pleasantly.


I had the most heavenly experience with the Red Fusion wine. It is afternoon and I am alone in the apartment.
I am hungry and a little bit stoned. I have been working all afternoon on a story about our trip to Bully Hill and stop to make a snack.

I take out a hunk of cheese that we purchased at a farmhouse outside Seneca Lake. (Backstory.) We discovered recently that the Amish Market down the street sells Portuguese Bolos Levedos. It is the most amazing bread for sandwiches, soft and floury. I decide to make a grilled cheese using this bread and the triple cream bergenost from Doris' farmhouse.

I settle into a perfect lunch with the sandwich, a thick slice of cold watermelon and a chilled glass of Fusion. In the background, on the radio, is NPR -- "All Things Considered." Otherwise, it is silent. The fan in the next room hums to itself. Even the traffic does not pervert the boundaries of acceptable din.

It is hot and my fingers smell like butter. I try to sip the wine slowly, to make it last. It tastes like the sunset.

Enjoy this wine when you are very hot and it is very chilled. Sit somewhere all alone and eat something organic and clean but comforting. Listen to something quiet like jazz or talk radio. Read a trashy magazine. Tell no one.

Bully Hill

I am a lover of wine.

I love everything about consuming wine. I love to open bottles with a double-hinged wine key. I love to drink from wide bottom goblets. I also love to drink from short bistro glasses.
I love to smell wine. I love to share wine. I drink wine with breakfast, at midday, after work, during work . . .

There are people who study wine. They understand which years are considered vintage, the make up of the land at certain producers. They read Wine Spectator and remember what certain bottles scored. They make recommendations of food pairings and have detailed explanations of oak vs. steel and cork vs. synthetic. They can decipher the confusing labels from Italy and France.

I do not claim to be one of those people. I have a broad familiarity with wine because I have worked as a server in many restaurants and have become exposed to different wines. I have known sommeliers. I've read up a bit. But, my knowledge of wine is purely experiential.

Knowing wine is understanding that the palate is subjective. Almost anyone who has a degree of passion can sound learned. I worked at an Italian restaurant in Key West called "Salute!" The owner is a wonderful woman who is also a passionate wine collector. She is one of those knowledgeable, studied people. In her restaurant, there is a sign inscribed with the saying:

"In Vino Veritas, In Aqua Salus!"
In wine truth, in water health!

This site is about 24 bottles of wine from Bully Hill Vineyards. These posts will be about my experience consuming each bottle. What I ate, what activities I engaged in while imbibing, what I think about the wine. Those of you familiary with Miss Hag. know I will not withhold any opinions or observations. Consider them, "Experience Pairings."

We're pouring nothing but truth here at The Vino Veritas, I hope you enjoy!


For background on my trip to Bully Hill, click here.
For general information on the Bully Hill Vineyards, click here.