Today, wine is being produced in all 50 US states. Within those states there are a few wine regions that have successfully matched a classic grape variety with its terroir and went on to produce distinctive, world-class wines that are capable of holding their own against top renditions of the wine world. For example, the Napa Valley (CA) does it with Cabernet Sauvignon, and the finicky Pinot Noir grape variety has put the Willamette Valley (OR) on the world wine map. Despite advancements in viticulture and enology, Mother Nature has a fair amount of influence over which wine regions are capable of this and which are not. Some regions are too cold, others too hot, some deal with rainfall and severe storms during the height of the growing season, while others enjoy picture-perfect weather during this critical time. Generally, for a region to gain some degree of global recognition on the world wine map, the producers within that region must come together to focus on one or two varieties and craft well-defined, high-quality wines reflective of that region’s unique characteristics and growing season.
Riesling Hour: First Flight
The Finger Lakes are one of those special wine regions. They have the right climate and soil type(s) to produce high quality wine from one of the world’s most versatile and intriguing white wine grape varieties – Riesling. A region originally thought too cold to grow vinifera varieties, experienced a turning-point in the early 1960’s when Dr. Konstantin Frank successfully grew and made wine from Riesling and other cool-climate varieties. Today, the Finger Lakes wine region is internationally-recognized for their world-class Riesling.
Riesling Hour: Second Flight
I recently had the opportunity to participate in Riesling Hour, a large virtual Riesling tasting put on by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance to celebrate the 2010 vintage. I do not know the final stats, but the event was well attended. Those who searched on hash-tag “#FLXWine” that evening witnessed an endless stream of tweets [thoughts, tasting notes, food pairings, etc.] centered on the Riesling wines of the Finger Lakes that poured – no pun intended – into the following day. The 2010 growing season for the east coast was warmer than normal with low to moderate rainfall. Bud break came early, harvest came early, and I recall seeing a few tweets that stated 2010 was the warmest growing season seen in the Finger Lakes in 37 years. If there was one item of concern for Finger Lakes growers, I’m sure it was when to pick. With Riesling, you want to retain the grape's wonderful brightness and lovely natural acidity. I had a chance to taste six  dry Riesling wines from the following producers: Anthony Road Wine Company, Atwater Estate Vineyards, Billsboro Winery, Fox Run Vineyards, Hunt Country Vineyards, and Lucus Vineyards. Based on what I sipped, the biggest difference was fruit – some of the wines offered fresh ripe flavors while others were soft and delicate. See some of my tweets (short tasting notes and comments) from Riesling Hour below. I would also like to thank the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance for the opportunity to taste and tweet about the Finger Lake's 2010 vintage -- it was great fun. Cheers!
PS ... There is always a Finger Lakes wine conversation happening on Twitter; just search #FLXWine hash-tag and join the discussion.
Wine Tasting Notes
@myvinespot: @anthonyroadwine 2010 Dry Riesling: Fresh, lemon citrus, lime zest, vibrant acidity, mineral nuances throughout. Nice start! #FLXWine
@myvinespot: @atwaterwine Tangy and refreshing w/ a soft delicate frame, demure tree fruit and subtle mineral/slate notes. #FLXWine #wine
@myvinespot: @Billsboro 2010 dry Riesling: Dominated by food-friendly acidity & pronounced mineral character followed by tree fruit & melon #FLXWine
@myvinespot: @foxrunvineyards 2010 dry Riesling: Light-bodied, citrus and floral flavors, w/ brisk acidity, ending in a crisp finish #FLXWine #wine
@myvinespot: @HuntWines 2010 Dry Riesling: Classic aromas of petrol, w/ floral scents & tree fruit hints w/ an oily lingering finish #FLXWine #wine
@myvinespot: @LucusWinetalk Simple, yet satisfying ... Floral front, lemon rind, nicely balanced, with good food-friendly acidity #FLXWine #wine
Wine Tasting Comments
@myvinespot: When it comes to food, a dry Riesling pairs nicely with just about everything :-) #FLXWine #wine
@myvinespot: Anyone else notice the high QPR (quality price ratio) on Finger Lake Riesling tonight? #FLXWine #wine
@myvinespot: Great when a classic wine grape like Riesling finds a new home (Finger Lakes). Wish these wines were more accessible here. #FLXWine #wine
@myvinespot: Riesling is one of the most versatile & food-friendly wines available. The Finger Lakes is producing world-class examples. #FLXWine #wine
@myvinespot: "Riesling grows well in the cool-climate and the varied soils of the Finger Lakes." ~ Finger Lakes Wine Alliance #FLXWine #quote
@myvinespot: "The warmest growing season in 37 years resulted in a harvest that was two or three weeks earlier than normal" @atwaterwine #FLXWine #quote
@myvinespot: Enjoying the refreshing acidity, fresh fruit flavors, mineral character, and LOW alcohol, that is Finger Lakes Riesling. #FLXWine #wine
@myvinespot: Finger Lakes Riesling wines are dynamic, food-favoring, and as seen tonight -- gaining fans one sip at a time! #FLXWine #wine
Picture from my visit to Dr. Konstantin Frank
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at email@example.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come!
CLICK HERE to visist the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance website.
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