I Heart NY, Even More

In February, I was first introduced to the fabulous Rieslings in the Finger Lakes region when I visited Lamoreaux Landing.  In July, the quality was confirmed with a sampling of eight Rieslings which were sent to me by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.  Last week, I had the opportunity to, once again, participate in a virtual tasting with eight additional producers, showcasing their 2011 Rieslings.

Let me just start with a disclaimer.  I adore Dry Rieslings.  Crisp and complex, shale and stone fruit, acidity with balance.  A delightful glass of wine.  I also love the addition of residual sugar when I am having salty cheese, spicy Thai, or pouring for my family matriarchs.  Yes, our moms love the sweeter Rieslings.  That being said, I admit that I may be an easy sell, but these wines are really easy to sell.  There is something for everyone.  Want an Old World style with yeast nose and a lemon finish?  Try Ravines.   How about the soft, floral fruit in Sheldrake Point?  Something with more classic stone fruit?  Swedish Hill is lovely.  There was so much diversity in these wines.

I learned from my last attempt at tasting eight wines at one time.  I didn’t feel like I was able to give the last few wines the attention I gave to the first few.  Also, I had a hard time focusing on the wine and the listening to the winemakers while trying to tweet.  What can I say?  I am new to this game.  So, I spread out the wines, tasting a few at a time, pairing with different foods, and taking notes so that I could really focus when it came time for the virtual panel.

When the wines arrived on Monday, my brother, who happens to be a fabulous chef,  was in town. My whole family was here so I thought it was the perfect time to start tasting.  He made a Mediterranean spread and we opened three bottles, two dry and one medium sweet.  I tried the wines from Ravines Wine Cellar, Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, and the Fox Run Vineyards the first night.  I enjoyed all three.  We all thought they were delicious.  The Dr. Konstantin Frank seemed to pair best with the food, and they really liked the Fox Run.   My parents both prefer a sweeter wine.  The Fox Run has enough fruit and sugar to keep them happy with the complexity that my siblings enjoy.  I would drink any of them again.

I shared the Lakewood Vineyards and the Knapp Winery with neighbors.  The Lakewood had a beautiful nose-vanilla, stone fruit, and citrus.  Fruit-forward, a big mid-palate, and a crisp, clean finish.  The Knapp was really interesting.  The nose, to me, was just like the vanilla coating on the outside of white Tic Tacs.  I bet you’ve never read that in a wine description before.  Silly, I know, but that was all I could think about when I was drinking it.  This was a favorite of some of the tweeters. Some of my neighbors didn’t think they liked white wine.  It seems they just haven’t tried the right ones.

On Thursday, I planned ahead and made Tom Kha to enjoy with a glass after the chat.  I opened the wines from Lucas Vineyards, the Sheldrake Point Winery, and the Swedish Hill Winery.  I really enjoyed all three of these wines.  If pressed, I would say that the Sheldrake Point stood out to me.  I like to taste before I read the descriptors.  I picked up on the tropical, stone and citrus medley, and I noted something floral but couldn’t place it.  When I read “lilac,” it took me right back childhood and my walk to school, stopping to smell the heavy blossoms.  So, I guess I’d have to say that this wine wins on sentiment.

The winemakers all agreed that 2011 was a challenging year due to the weather.  You wouldn’t know it.   They made some beautiful wines. The price points ranged from $12-$30 so there is something for every palate and every budget.   Once again, many thanks to Finger Lakes Wine Alliance for providing me with these samples and for all you are doing to promote your local wineries.  If you want to learn more about the region and winemaking in general, their website is a great resource.   I am really looking forward to my next visit.

Disclaimer: The wines and photos were provided by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance for review.

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5 responses

  1. As a chef that specializes in cold foods, garde manger, I appreciate (LOVE) NY whites as the climate promotes a more subtle profile in the wine, making them perfect for foods that do not benefit from the influence of warmer temperature at the time of service.

    I find the Lamoreaux Landing and Dr. Frank to be benchmarks for these styles and for the food I love to prepare as they promote balance among the wine and the food.

  2. Thanks, Curtiss. I can absolutely see those working well. Had Dr. Frank’s with Quinoa salad and Baba Ganoush and it was splendid. Let me know if you want to share some recipes on here. Which Lamoreaux Riesling is your favorite?

    • Thank you for reminding of what was the best part of living in upstate New York for almost 32 years. I made many trips from my home town of Binghamton to Ithaca for a stop-off at the Moosewood Cafe, then on to Seneca, Keuka, and Cuyuga lakes for as many wineries as I could get to before closing time so I could get home before 10 p.m. Once I drove as far as Hammondsport on a blustery fall afternoon in the late 1980’s, just to experience first-hand Dr. Frank’s cellar and his sparkling wines. Being young and inexperienced, I had no idea what a gift I’d been given. Lucas and Knapp Vineyards (Hi, Susie!) were some of my favorites and I miss Wagner’s reds, which I believe they no longer make. I also remember tasting Pinot Blanc for the first time and being totally blown away by it at a winery on Seneca Lake. But you are absolutely correct when you say that there are some beautiful wines in New York state. I think dry Rieslings (from almost any region, especially Alsace) are perfectly and seductively gorgeous. Thanks so much for reviewing and writing. And if we leave right now, we should be able to catch the best of the leaves…

      • Such a beautiful area. My father is from a town just outside of Binghamton and I have traveled that area a lot. I miss it, especially at this time of year. Although my parents moved here, one of my dearest friends lives in Ithaca so I still have an excuse to go. Thank you for reading. Love your pen name! If I do this again, I’ll let you know!

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