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Thursday, September 12, 2013

#Winechat featuring 2012 Finger Lakes Riesling

Last night during our weekly Wednesday #winechat, we tasted through a quintuple of Riesling wines from New York's Finger Lakes. These wines ranged from practically bone dry to frozen iced styled; and its mighty clear that the Finger Lakes delivers quality wine with each style.  When examining the label of a Finger Lakes Riesling be sure to peek at the back label which should include a Riesling Taste Profile. The profile is designed to make it easier for consumers to "predict the taste they can expect from a particular bottle of Riesling" and according to the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance (@FLXWine), there is almost unanimous compliance with the member wineries. Pretty cool.

We also learned about the age-ability of Reisling, in some instances they can maintain themselves for over a decade.  According to Red Newt Cellars (@FLXnewt), "The acid holds on cleanly, the sweetness mellows.  Great Riesling ages better than most red wines could dream of!"  And Fulkerson Winery (@FulkersonWinery) finds "that aging softens them. Brings out the petrol and honey notes." Who knew?

We started the evening with the Swedish Hill Winery (@SwedishHillWine) 2012 Dry Riesling at 0.8% RS and 12% alcohol, the driest of the bunch.  This wine uncorks with powerful floral aromatics which the winery explained in a tweet - is partly due to the season, site, and wine making. The grape itself is clone 90, in which I learned there are approximately four Riesling clones planted in the Finger Lakes. And the site is on Cayuga Lake, one of the right fingers.  The wine itself continues with floral, green apple flavors and nice acidity.

Next up was the single vineyard Standing Stone Vineyards (@SSVNY) Old West Block 2012 Riesling at 1.4% RS and 12.2% alcohol.  The grapes were harvested from the old Gold Seal Vineyards, first planted  in 1972.  The wine has plenty of acidity to balance the additional sweetness and displays a more peaches and honey flavors intertwined with some stoney earthiness.

Moving further along the Riesling Taste Profile, the Red Newt Cellars Circle Riesling 2012 comes in at 3.2% RS and only 11% alcohol. Easy to get carried away with this one. According to @FLXnewt the Circle Riesling is here to remind people that the words "everyday" and "Riesling" DO belong together. And "the RS worked out naturally for us in 2012 to this level; ripe fruit aromas boost the sweet impression instead." During the chat, many of our fellow bloggers recommend spicy foods with the wine or as we dined - spicy pork sausages. The wine itself swayed from apricot to honeyed pear - with the refreshingly balanced acidity.

The Wagner Vineyards (@WagnerVineyards) 2012 Riesling Select is in a similar ballpark  at 4.2% RS and 11.2% alcohol. This wine is made from grapes grown from the winery's oldest block of Riesling, planted in 1979, with the original vines still yielding fruit. Once again, balance. The sweet pineapple flavors blended seamlessly with the effervescent finish. 

Last was from the far right on the Tasting Profile, the Fulkerson Winery 2012 Riesling Iced Wine.  They had wanted to leave the grapes on the vine to produce a true ice wine, but Mother Nature interfered so they grapes were harvested at full ripeness and then frozen. After fermentation, the wine was then aged six months in new oak. The result is a honeyed fig flavored wine coming in at 19.7% RS, but, once again, only 11% alcohol. But even with the intense sweetness the inherent acidity comes through again. The winery tells us that the "Riesling Iced Wine is fantastic with an apple tart or rich cheeses (sharp cheddar, Danish Blue, etc.)". I also want to sample their 0.2% bone dry Riesling as well as their true 2008 Cabernet Franc Ice Wine. Nice range of offerings.

For the past decade, I've said I'm going to visit the Finger Lakes, I need to get on that promise. Look how many there are to choose from. Cheers.

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