Wine Reviews

2010 Finger Lake Rieslings have been released!

It’s been a week of Riesling here at The Life of Vines!

The 2010 Rieslings from the Finger Lakes region of New York have just been released. I had the opportunity to try more than 30 different Rieslings, from very dry to very sweet, at two different tasting events.

The Finger Lakes region is known for its beauty, outdoor activities and many wineries.

More than 100 wineries exist in the Finger Lakes, most of which are small and family owned/operated. Most of the wineries make two or three types of Riesling, considered to be the signature wine of the region.

Glaciers carved eleven lakes more than 10,000 years ago, leaving different types of soil and land that varies in elevation. The photo below from the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance shows the varying landscape.

In 2010, the grapes were exposed to drenching bursts of rain interspersed with searing heat which reduced the levels of acidity typically found in the Finger Lakes Rieslings.

As a result of this, some were a little lean with not enough acid to hold the structure of the wine. However, there were many in that perfect spot in between lean and overly sweet.

For the first tasting, I tried 6 wines with the information readily available. The next day, I tried 28 (yes that’s a lot!) blinded. In both tastings, I had the same impressions of certain wines.

The wines were grouped into flights by the International Riesling Foundation’s scale from Dry to Sweet. The IRF scale was created to help consumers select a Riesling according to their preference and also to help educate us that not all Rieslings are sweet.

During both tastings, I found the Dry Rieslings from wineries such as Ravines Wine, Damiani, Fox Run, and Lamoreaux to be pleasant wines that would pair nicely with many foods. The fruits were well balanced with enough acid and had the minerality that would be expected from this region.

Crossing into the Medium Sweet and Sweet Scale, the Knapp Winery and Fulkerson had too much residual sugars for my personal taste, although a tasting friend really enjoyed the Knapp. The Fulkerson comes in at a whopping 58 g/L of residual sugar! The IRF only goes up to Sweet but this wine was really off the charts for me.

The blind testing was finished by sharing a bottle of 2004 Sheldrake Riesling. This nicely aged wine had turned a beautiful deep yellow and had a lovely sweetness to it.

The range of style for these Rieslings made from such a small region is really quite amazing. Almost all of the Rieslings can be purchased for under $20.00.

Distribution is not far and wide for the majority of these wineries as they create such small amounts – approximately 150,000 cases of Riesling are made in the entire region.

A trip to the Finger Lakes Region, where you can sip some wine, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and maybe squeeze in a spa treatment or two would be a great way to spend a long weekend. In addition to Rieslings, the Finger Lakes wineries make a variety of wines including Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

Have you tried any Finger Lakes wines yet? If you want to learn more, participate in Finger Lakes Riesling night on Thursday, September 22nd from 6-9pm EST on Twitter where folks will be chatting about their experiences using #FLXwine.

Thanks to the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance for providing all samples!

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