Saturday, September 26, 2015

N.Y.'s Finger Lakes Rieslings 2014 =Premium Wines-Revelation

The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance  held a downstate event this past week---the 5th Annual Finger Lakes Riesling Launch-introducing press/industry to the newly released (and mostly for sale now or soon) 2014 Rieslings... from their home region.

New to us---this area of planet earth  -is distinguished by four very deep fresh water lakes (Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga), has 115+wineries, 9200 acres of grapes, with 848 acres of those offerings destined for aromatic Rieslings. PLUS... of course---the glacier-sculpted terroir and micro-climates (east and west sun exposures that yield the bold/mineral-y -to-peachy apricot, cold Winters, cool wind swept Springs, sun warmed Falls)-necessary to make these world class wines.

Upshot- all were delicious-ranging from Dry to Semi-Dry (most of what we tasted), and a few Medium Sweet and Sweet selections ...based on the sugar acid scale rating system of the International Riesling Foundation--- as seen on the back labels.

Price wise...mostly $14-$20...for the Rieslings. Affordable and collectable with aging possibilities for some selections.

International Riesling Foundation---scale---on middle right of this label-great system that is helpful for consumers imo-  now being adopted by other types of wine-

FYI: Rieslings pair perfectly with semi-spicy to spicy foods, pungent hard and mellower semi-soft cheeses, tart fruit-green salads, and basically a lot of fish/meat dishes that mingle well with other white wines (i.e. Chablis).


Boundary Breaks Vineyard 2014 Dry Riesling No. 239 (about $18 retail) layered sumptuous taste with hints of pineapple---from a top rated American winery that hand picks the grapes from four different clones....the owners-Bill Eastman and his wife Penny-have family heritage that goes back to this area- since the 1830s. Buy a case online -one can see the high ratings by Wine Enthusiasts - well earned. 

Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling ($14.99) well rounded fruity wine (peachy-honeysuckle-with citrus notes-and surprisingly nice subtle spice finish)  from a 30 years old vineyard located on a140 acre estate on western facing slops of Seneca Lake region (there's an Inn too). Vineyard offers a full range of wines...including full flavored reds.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars 2014 Dry Riesling  has crisp acidic taste lemon-lime+florals with minerals---a characteristic of Keuka Lake ... from a 4th generation owned winery-and one of the area's oldest wineries (50+ years). Full bodied well rounded...from a winery used to collecting 90+ ratings and Gold Medals...including the prior 2013 release...see below...

Fulkerson Estate Winery-on left Juicy Sweet Riesling ($13.99) has with orange blossom, yellow plum, soft light citrus, white peach+apple- and mineral with BBQ foods...and on right we loved this sweet- Riesling Iced Wine ($29.99)---which---is great as a dessert or aperitif imo...made from fruity loaded grapes picked at their peak-then frozen. Honey and dried apricots shine through aged in new oak and only 127 cases made. This winery offers "a Riesling for every taste..."located on the west side of Seneca Lake. 

Glenora Wine Cellars  First winery on Seneca Lake-poured-2014 Dry Riesling ($14.99), 2014 Riesling ($13.99) 2014 Riesling Ice Wine $29.99 (right to left)
Ranging from dry-to semi sweet---we learned that Glenora Wine Cellar's Riesling Ice Wine was hand picked on a 15ºF February 11, 2014...where the temps have to stay under 18º for a 12 hour window to conjure up the frozen grapes for Ice Wine (risk there)...then immediately pressed while still frozen yielding a tiny amount of juice at 42% sugar. Love this-poached apricots, candied lemon and caramel flavors intertwined with great finish. The tasty Dry Riesling 1.4% residual sugar is combo of 90% grapes from the east and 10% from the west facing vineyards---that get different amounts of sun. Drier and crisp-the 'regular' Rieslings- 2014 vintage benefited from a dryer than average Fall=fresh fruit aromas-the Dry Riesling has ripe lemon and lime flavors with a touch of apricot. Balanced with mineralogy and moderate sweetness. The Riesling 3.5% residual sugar is luscious semi-dry finish balanced by natural acidity characteristics of Finger Lake vineyards, Made of combo of east and west side Seneca Lake grapes...
Heron Hill Winery Classic Dry Riesling and Riesling ($14.99, $16.99) are from grapes grown on a sustainable vineyard- without pesticides and herbicides+ then,  hand picked. . Euro style wines the  Riesling is from single vineyard--- with ripe pear, green apple, grapefruit and gentle acidity-the Dry Riesling crisp with flowery hints, citrus +mineral finish-finesse. Also offers Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Factoid-his colleague from Eagle Crest provided the red wines for the Pope's NYC visit.
Knapp Wines (and restaurant) is 32 years old establishment- with an estate of 65 acres -40 of which yield the grapes. Pictured+ poured- 2014 Riesling $16.99 with vibrant peach, tangerine+lime notes balance sweetness 2.9% residual sugar-with crisp, bright finish, 2014 Dry Riesling $16.99 bright fruity taste w/ grapefruit, honeydew melons, with lingering mineral finish 1.1% residual sugar and 2014 KV Riesling $18.99 -a "single vineyard" estate grown wine-only 75 cases available- signature balance of fresh grapefruit with bit of slate+mineral qualities -residual sugar .5% (r-l)
Lamoreaux Landing is  20 years old winery located on the eastern shore-mid lake- of Seneca Lake-we tried the sustainably harvested Round Rock Vineyard 2014 Riesling-a single vineyard structured wine w/ apple blossom, tropical fruit aromas, nectarine and juicy pear palate-balanced crisp acid level. (about $20 retail). Also produces several varieties of wines including sparkling. 

The rose label on Lakewood Vineyards' label  refs back to Lady Bird Johnson's initiative to beautify our nation's  highways-resulting in roses being planted by vineyard's owner...back in the day...(l-r) 2014 3 Generations Riesling -driest served a blend of grapes from several vineyards, 2014 Dry Riesling, and 2014 Riesling
Lakewood three vineyards  on the west side of Seneca Lake-3rd generation owned.  As noted "over 1100 awards and counting..."Lakewood Vineyards uses time honored techniques like barrel fermentation +aging AND ultra-modern state of the art equipment  for its great tasting wines.
McGregor Vineyard-established in on the eastern shore of Keuka Lake.Acclaimed for its reds---but imo the 2014 McGregor Vineyard Semi-Dry Riesling (2% residual sugar)-light and crisp with fruity acids,  and 2014 McGregor Riesling (4% residual sugar) voluptuous fruit notes...deserve star billing (too).

McGregor Vineyard

Thirsty Owl Wine company is mid lake on the west side of Cayuga Lake. An award winning winery producing a full compliment of wines...including Rieslings-from dedicated 42 acres of grapes.. Pictured: 2014 Thirsty Owl Dry Riesling -Lahoma Vineyard, 2014 Thirsty Owl Dry Riesling-Estate, and 2014 Thirsty Owl Riesling -Estate-range in taste from very dry style-to medium sweet IRF™ scale medium sweet rating dry (2.1% residual sugar) ---with fruit forward notes of peach+plum, respectively.
2014 Swedish Hill Winery Riesling, 2014 Swedish Hill Dry Riesling- 25 years old Finger Lakes vineyard -family owned....also own other NY state located wineries.

on far right-Swedish Hill natural Sparkling Wine-Blanc de Blanc style blend had nutty taste to us...near right-loved this Swedish Hill Riesling Cuvee Sparkling Wine NV----wow. No wonder it has won scores of awards!Also tasted a smooth Swedish Hill Pinot Noir near left and Swedish Hill Cabernet Franc 2012 far left
Pour on-drink up-can tell experienced wine tasters cause they don't have to lean down to spit out...

Wagner Vineyards-we had a 411 on using screw caps vs crew caps allow for a 'nice' aging process  because can control how much oxygen goes in via the cap's liners. Look for-and avoid buying- dented caps...could indicate damage. 
 Wagner Vineyards is located on the east side of Seneca Lake-Encompassing 250 acres it grows all of the grapes used in its wines. A fifth generation owned company-they offer several varieties of grapes-including-pictured Wagner Vineyards 2013 Fathom 107 an aromatic white from grapes grown on the east side of Seneca Lake, Wagner Vineyards 2014 Caywood East Vineyard Dry Riesling-single estate, Wagner Vineyards 2014 Dry Riesling-mineral driven and fruity palate of lime peel, apple and pears on palate,  Wagner Vineyards 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling fyi -$12.99 rated 90 and a "Best Buy" Wine Enthusiast-balanced with peach+apricot aromas with citrus+pineapple flavors with limestone finish.

Added plus: the labels on the two left bottles...

                          The Best White Wine On Earth: The Riesling Story by Stuart Pigotti