On Thursday September 22 I had the chance to take part in a “Riesling Hour” tasting on Twitter. On tap were eight different Rieslings supplied courtesy of Finger Lakes Wine, an organization that promotes Rieslings of the Finger Lakes area in New York.
Before this tasting I knew that there were many well known Riesling producers in the Finger Lakes, but I had no idea just how many. The Finger Lakes are home to over 1,000 acres of Riesling vineyards representing over 200 brands and producing over 100,000 cases of Riesling annually! The small sampling of wines sent to me ranged from dry to medium-sweet. The following are my impressions of some of my favorites.
Up first, the medium-sweet Rieslings.
My favorite of the night was the 2010 Billsboro Winery Riesling. A very nice nose of tropical fruits and some floral notes. This wine has good structure and just the right amount of sweet fruit flavor, mainly mango and citrus. This wine retails for $16.
The difference between a dry and sweet wine is simply the amount of residual sugar in the wine. Sugar is fermented into alcohol, so having more residual sugar usually means a lower alcohol percentage. However, there are many ways to produce a wine with a high sugar content including adding sugar directly to it.
Other medium-sweet wines tasted included:
- Three Brothers Second Degree Medium Sweet Riesling: Green apple, hay and some spice immediately makes me think of the fall season when tasting this wine. SRP of $14.
- 2010 Knapp Riesling: Sweet and light with peaches and minerality. SRP of $17.
Next, the dry and semi-dry Rieslings.
My favorite of the night was the 2010 Three Brothers Zero Degree Dry Riesling. This wine has a nice light sweetness to it with tropical fruit flavors. Almost feels a bit understated in a way, but very nice. SRP of $14.
Fruitiness is different than sweetness, so a dry wine can still be fruity and have the perception of being sweet. Things like the acidity and alcohol levels also change our perception of sweetness, so it can often get rather messy. At the end of the day I wouldn’t worry too much about whether a wine is labeled dry or sweet, but just try a lot of different varieties and drink what you like!
Other dry and sem-dry wines tasted included:
- 2010 Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Riesling: Lots of tangerine aromas and flavors plus a good bit of minerality on the finish in this semi-dry Riesling. SRP of $12.
- 2010 Seneca Shore Dry Riesling. If there is such a thing as a “mineral bomb” (as opposed to it’s better known counterpart the “fruit bomb”) this would be it. SRP of $12.
- 2010 Glenora Dry Riesling: Previously reviewed…this one would be a good pairing for spicy Asian food. SRP of $18.
- 2010 Casa Larga Dry Riesling: Floral notes upfront give way to a sour finish. SRP of $12.
Overall, a very satisfying introduction to the wines of the Finger Lakes region!
See a listing of local retailers selling these wines here.