I recently had the opportunity to participate in Riesling Hour -- a fun-filled social media driven event put on by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance to promote the area’s 2011 vintage Riesling wines. Riesling Hour is part of a month-long celebration in September that was launched last year to focus on the Finger Lakes’ preeminent grape variety. In New York, the celebration included Riesling tastings at wine shops, tasting rooms, restaurants, and a number of themed tasting opportunities throughout the state.
Riesling Hour with #FLXwine and Asian Cuisine
Interestingly enough, the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York was once believed too cold to grow the more desirable, yet less-hardy vinifera varieties. The turning point for the region came in the early 1960’s, when Dr. Konstantin Frank, a Russian viticulturist experienced in cold-climate grape growing, successfully grew and produced wine from Riesling and other cool-climate varieties. Today, the Finger Lake's wine region is internationally recognized for their world-class Riesling wines, which span a broad range of styles from refreshingly dry to luscious and sweet. I visited the region several years ago and took back an appreciation for the area's natural beauty, its lighter and brighter food-friendly wines, and all of the great people I met along the way.
Enjoyed the remainder the following day w/ grilled chicken fajitas
Looking back a few years, the 2010 growing season was warm-to-hot and fairly dry here on the east coast. I believe it was the warmest in the Finger Lakes in well over thirty years. It was a growing season that generally produced better reds than whites – and for Riesling, less natural brightness and vibrancy than in nominal years. The 2011 growing season was generally better for whites than reds. Unfortunately, torrential downpours, particularly during red wine grape harvest season, marked much of the 2011 vintage on the east coast. From conversing with several Finger Lakes’ producers via Twitter during Riesling Hour; I found that 2011 had its challenges -- but, many called it a good, not great, well-balanced [overall] vintage for Riesling that kept growers on their toes.
Picture from my visit to Dr. Konstantin Frank
For the virtual tasting, I had a chance to sample the 2011 Wagner Vineyard's [Dry] Riesling Select, the 2011 Three Brothers Winery [Dry] Zero Degree of Riesling, the 2011 Fulkerson Winery Semi-Dry Riesling, and the 2011 Glenora [medium-sweet] Riesling. All of these Riesling wines are well-made, entry-level selections that are food-friendly and attractively priced at under $15. If you see these wines in your neck of the woods, buy and enjoy with confidence. In Virginia, we don’t see too much Finger Lakes’ Riesling on store shelves. And some of the sweet [non Riesling], festival chugging wines from the area we do see, while satisfying a certain customer base, are not representative of what the region is about [in my humble opinion]. The Riesling Launch promotion, as I see it, is an excellent way to introduce or reintroduce locals to some of the exceptional Riesling wines being grown right in their own backyard. The virtual Riesling Hour event gives bloggers, journalists, etc. from near and far away, a chance to share the Finger Lakes most prized liquid gem with the rest of the [virtual] wine world one tweet, blog-post, and sip at a time. In closing, some of the region’s best wines can only be found in the producer's tasting-room due to limited production. So, I highly recommend visiting the area and enjoying their wineries, restaurants, attractions, and more. I have included links below [the picture] to help you plan your visit as well as links to the producers whose wines we enjoyed. Thanks for the invite, FWA. Cheers!
Happy Fall, My Friends!
Click here to visit the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance website.
Click here to visit Wagner Vineyards' website.
Click here to visit Three Brothers Winery website.
Click here to visit Fulkerson Winery website.
Click here to visit Glenora Wine Cellars' website.
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.
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