Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Finger Lakes Wine Alliance Riesling Tasting

I was honored to be invited to participate in The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance Riesling Tasting.

My thanks to Rick Lyke and Amanda Slaver for coordinating the event.

Myself and several other wine writers from around the country tasted 6 Finger Lakes Rieslings as presented by representatives of each winery:

Dr Frank 2006 Dry Riesling www.drfrankwines.com

Hunt Country 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling www.huntwines.com

Rooster Hill Estate 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling www.roosterhill.com

Standing Stone 2006 Riesling www.standingstonewines.com

White Springs 2006 Red Label Riesling www.whitespringswinery.com

Wagner 2006 Riesling Ice Wine www.wagnervineyards.com

I'm not going to comment on each individual wine here because you can find my tasting notes in my archives, but I do want to comment on my overall impressions. All of these Rieslings are well-crafted and very well balanced, but each one is entirely different from the other. From clean and crisp to racy and vibrant, from .8% Residual Sugar to 11.8% Residual Sugar, the excellent diversity that can be brought forth from the Riesling grape is truly amazing. And each of these fine winemakers adds their own expression of the grape. It is truly amazing how Riesling expresses its terroir. I consider myself lucky to be able to have the opportunity to every year taste the wines from just about all of the 90-some wineries in The Finger Lakes and it's always amazing how much the aroma and flavor profiles can vary even at wineries within a half-mile apart or closer.

This brings me to the sweet dilemma that this creates for new visitors to The Finger Lakes. I get emails all the time asking me which Finger Lakes winery makes the best Rieslings. I really don't think that question can be answered. The best for your palate may not be the best for my palate. That's why I do not like wine ratings. It's just one person's opinion based on one person's palate. I tell new visitors to The Finger Lakes to taste as many Finger Lakes wines as you can. There is a Finger Lakes wine for everyone, from dry reds to sweet whites. It may take you a while to explore the wineries and find it, but to me, that's not a problem, that's an adventure. There are much worse things than having to taste more wine.

Another question that I'm asked all the time is, "What do Finger Lakes wines taste like", as if there is one taste profile for this entire region. Finger Lakes wine is diverse and expressive and passionate and as different as each individual vineyard and winemaker, and that's a very good thing in my book. So my advice is Take the time to explore Finger Lakes wine and I guarantee that you will find wine to fall in love with.


Chris said...

I envy you. It is so hard to find Finger Lakes wines in the D.C. area. I bet the tasting was very enjoyable.

Finger Lakes Weekend Wino said...

Chris, it's only about a 6 hour drive from DC. Come on up and start tasting!!!

Bob said...

Thanks for participating in our tasting and helping to get the word out. The Finger Lakes may not have the production volume of other Riesling producing regions, but we do have diversity. With something in the order of 100 wineries most of which produce a couple of styles of Riesling - this is the region to come and experience Riesling in all of it's incarnations.

Bob Madill,
Chair, Finger Lakes Wine Alliance

Finger Lakes Weekend Wino said...

Bob, I'm looking forward to visiting Sheldrake Point very soon.

Brian Vieselmeyer said...

The idea that Finger Lakes Riesling is somehow homogeneous is very frustrating to me. What makes Riesling such a noble grape is its ability to reflect its specific terrior and the wide range of flavors that can result. Given the sheer size of the Finger Lakes it would be ignorant to assume that all of these wines would taste the same. I wish more wineries would provide more information about vineyard location to help customers better connect to the origin of the wine in the glass.