I'm a believer in spirit animals.
I also believe that spirit animals don't actually have to be animals. They can be other people, like Joy the Baker, who creates insta-stories that just speak to me. They can be cocktails, like dirty martinis - extra dirty, no olives because olives are gross (don't ask questions, just go with it).
I've also discovered they can be physical places - like Living Roots Wine & Co, Rochester's first urban winery - and a destination the city probably didn't know it absolutely needed. Owned by husband and wife duo, Colleen & Sebastian Hardy, Living Roots found a home on University Avenue in the 1255 Lofts building. The trendy location (East Avenue/North Winton Village) is surrounded by other hot spots in the ROC (Joe Bean, The Revelry, M/Body, etc.) and seems to be a perfect addition to the revitalization of Rochester's downtown area.
The concept is different. Pulling off their backgrounds, they produce about 4,000 cases of wine using fruit from (mostly) the Finger Lakes (Colleen is a ROC local) and Australia (Sebastian's from Adelaide). Andy and I enjoyed the tasting menu, and split the red and white flights - the whites from the New York State, reds from Adelaide - both equally impressive and delicious.
While all were, delicious, there were 3 standouts for Andy and I, which we brought home and enjoyed during our Super Bowl weekend together:
Living Roots Wine & Co 2016 Finger Lakes "Linden Blossom" Dry Rielsing
Our first taste was the Dry Riesling, and a true homage to Finger Lakes wine, which has taken it's lead from Germany with a robust offering of rieslings thanks to the climate. This one was fresh and clean, which I equate to the citrus notes throughout. This is an easy crowd pleaser for wine drinkers of all levels.
Living Roots Wine & Co 2016 Long Island Dry "Eastern Rebud" Rosé
Outside of being absolutely delicious, we found ourselves loving this Merlot Rosé for the story behind it! The story, which I think we were told thanks to Andy being in the industry, we'll keep to ourselves. The wine, tho - it's wonderfully good. Very short skin contact created the light coloring of this very berry-fruit forward rosé that's great year round (not just #summerwater!).
Living Roots Wine & Co 2016 McLaren Vale Grenache
One of the things I love most about Living Roots is their ability to offer different varietals to Upstate New York thanks to their Australian offerings. The blend (32% Graciano, 4% Shiraz and 0.5% Viognier) was super flavorful and slightly spicy while still being well balanced.
I'd be remiss to not mention the Shiraz as well - they offer two versions and an impressive tasting experience of the Pepperberry Shiraz, which changes drastically after being decanted. The Blackwoods Shiraz has all the makings of an epic port one day - and makes me wonder if we'll see Colleen and Sebastian produce one in the coming years. The tasting room, which is beautifully designed, has been super well received. So much so that we'll likely see an increase in production from the duo next year.
Add it to your list if you're headed upstate for wines this summer!