Finger Lakes wines and I go back to fall of 2012 when I found out my teaching position had been eliminated and I started taking wine certification courses. I feel blessed to have discovered this beautiful wine region. I participated in the 2011 Riesling launch in September 2012, traveled to the Finger Lakes in November 2012, April 2013, and July 2013 for the Tierce Riesling release party, then participated in the Finger Lakes Wine Month tasting on May 31, 2014. If you search Finger Lakes on my blog, two and a half pages of posts will be referenced. I miss visiting now that I am in California, but I am looking forward to the 2015 Wine Bloggers’ Conference there. I am also fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in virtual tastings such as the 2013 Riesling Launch Hour on September 27, 2014. I had a work conflict and had to miss the live tasting, but here is my roundup of the wine samples that were sent to me by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance in the order that I tasted them.
2013 Thirsty Owl Wine Company Riesling (Cayuga Lake, Finger Lakes)
Thirsty Owl and I have a history. I first tasted the 2011 Dry Riesling in 2012 and tasted the 2013 Dry Riesling in May of this year. Unfortunately, I still haven’t made it to the winery. The grapes for this Riesling, a blend of clone 09 and an unknown clone from 30-year-old vines, are 100% estate-grown and produced. It’s pale lemon in color and has both sweet and tart fruit aromatics. It has no tannin, 1.5 % residual sugar, 8 g/l acidity, and 11% alcohol. On my palate, I taste sweeter stone fruits and apple up front, followed by mid-palate zesty citrus, then a honeysuckle-like, long finish that isn’t as sweet as you would think due to its ample Finger Lakes acidity. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. Cork closure. Price = $14.95.
Silver Medal, New York State Fair
2013 McGregor Vineyard Riesling (Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes)
I’ve been to Keuka Lake, but have not visited McGregor Vineyard nor tasted their wines. The land for the vineyard was purchased in 1971 and the winery founded in 1980. Most of the vines are over 30 years old. It was one of the first wineries in the eastern United States to grow vinifera grapes and continues to be owned and operated by the McGregor family. The grapes for this Riesling 100% are estate grown and hand harvested. It’s pale lemon in color, has 10.5% alcohol, has no tannin, and is semi-sweet (4% residual sugar), much sweeter than the Thirsty Owl above. However the bright acidity prevents it from being cloyingly so. Sweet stone fruits like apricot and nectarine dominate the aromatics and flavors. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. 323 cases were produced. Cork closure. Price = $17.99 estimated (2012 Semi-Dry price from the website).
2013 Keuka Spring Vineyards Riesling, Humphreys Vineyard (Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes)
I have not visited Keuka Spring, founded in 1985 by Len and Judy Wiltberger, but vintages of this Riesling keeps appearing in wine award listings. I am very excited to have the opportunity to try this wine, as it lives up to the hype. The grapes for this Riesling are sourced from Humphreys Vineyard on the west side of Seneca Lake. It’s pale lemon in color, with both floral and fruit aromatics. This offering is dry (.7% residual sugar), with what I like to call kick-ass, cool-climate acidity, no tannin, and 12% alcohol. It’s loaded with mouthwatering citrus, green apple, and stone fruits, has noticeable minerality, and has a long finish. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. 360 cases produced. Cork closure. Price = $21.99.
Best of Class, Gold Medal, 96 pts., Los Angeles International Wine Competition
Gold Medal, 90 pts., San Francisco International Gold Medal, Riverside International Gold Medal, New York State Fair
Gold Medal, New York Wine & Food Classic
Silver Medal, Tasters Guild International
Bronze Medal, Great Lakes Great Wine
2013 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling (Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes)
Dr. Frank was the second winery I visited on my first trip to the Finger Lakes in November 2012. The winery, founded in 1962, is humble in appearance, but Dr. Frank’s legacy is that he was the pioneer in producing vinifera grapes in a colder climate, this earning the nickname of Father of Vinifera in the Eastern United States. The grapes for this Riesling are estate-grown and produced. It’s pale lemon in color, with citrus and floral aromas. It is very dry (.4% residual sugar), with that delectible acidity (7.4 g/l), no tannin, and 12.5% alcohol. This baby is delicious, with tangy citrus and green apple flavors and a very long finish. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging if the Stelvin closure will allow. Excellent price-to-quality ratio for this wine. Price = $14.99.
2013 Taster’s Guild Consumer Judging: Gold
2013 – Ultimate Beverage Challenge: “90 Points”/Gold
2013 – Denver International Competition: Gold
2013 – Los Angeles International Competition: “95 Points”/Gold
2013 – Great Lakes Wine Competition: Gold
Cheers! Hope to see you in the Finger Lakes in 2015!