A Traveling Wine Chick/Uncorked Remarks collaboration
“Riesling, with its thrilling balance of acidity, complexity of citrusy smells and flavours and ability to respond to vineyard character, is one of the world’s greatest varieties.”
~ 01 August 2012 Anthony Barne, Living France (UK)
This past Monday, I had the privilege of taking part in the 2012 Vintage Riesling launch as a member of the media. Participants had the chance to be among the first to sample five offerings from a handful of Finger Lakes finest producers and evaluate them live online via Twitter and UStream.
This was my first pursuit at live virtual wine tasting, but my cohort, Beth (Traveling Wine Chick) has been participating since 2010. She has also visited New York’s Finger Lakes a number of times and is more familiar with the wines & culture there.
“As a friend simply remarked last night, ‘I love Riesling, but no two Rieslings taste the same.’ She is right. During the third 2012 Finger Lakes Riesling Launch tasting, we have the opportunity to taste five Rieslings from wineries in the Finger Lakes. They ran the gamut from bone dry (Knapp), dry (Lakewood), medium-dry (Lamoreaux), and semi-dry (Lucas and Glenora). There were a few cool climate commonalities, such as their light lemon color, vibrant Finger Lakes acidity, and citrus qualities. However, beyond that, these were wines that also greatly reflected their location in the Finger Lakes, vineyard minerality, and the winemakers’ involvement and technique.”
So in the interest of documenting a more complete experience we compared notes and put it out there. What follows is what we came up with.
The bottles were chilled all day in preparation for the 8:00 start. Participants were encouraged to uncork the Riesling about quarter til and be prepared to taste on the hour. No problem here. I only mangled one cork. Four out of five ain’t bad.
So there were problems with the video stream on UStream at the start, and the connection was sporadic throughout the tasting. The Twitter feed provided a successful avenue for communication though and we managed just fine. Each winery had a representative talking about their offerings and answering questions. A link to the entire feed will be available afterwards so we can all see what was missed.
The International Riesling Foundation created it’s own taste scale to make it more friendly for retailers and consumers to evaluate the sweetness before purchase. We added the level to each of tonight’s wines below for reference.
The organizers broke the tasting into flights of three wines then two. Here’s the breakdown of the fantastic FLX juice that was poured in order of tasting.
1. Knapp Dry Riesling 2012
Me: Knapp Winery bottled only 182 cases of the 2012. The grapes were harvested in September and the final product bottled early this year. Though a very young wine, it’s crisp, dry & very drinkable. 12.5% Alcohol by Volume/.5% Residual Sugar/Dry.
Beth: This Cayuga Lake offering was a great example of a bone dry, Finger Lakes Riesling, with lime and tropical fruit aromas, crisp lemon-lime flavors, minerality, and gripping acidity.
2. Lakewood Vineyards Dry Riesling 2012
Me: Green apple! The Lakewood exhibits tons of zesty apple flavors off the bat and settles into a medium finish. I’m tasting this the day after and it’s even tangier than last night. I could see this on a hot, July afternoon at a shrimp barbeque. 11.7% ABV/.78% RS/Dry.
Beth: One visit to Lakewood on Seneca Lake and you will fall in love with the winery as well as the Stamp family. Chris Stamp’s philosophy of winemaking is to stay as true to the grapes’ inherent qualities as possible. Another one of the evening’s delights, the Lakewood Dry Riesling has aromas and flavors of citrus and green apple with tangy acidity.
3. Lamoreaux Landing Red Oak Vineyard Riesling 2012
Me: The Lamoreaux was a standout for me. Not as powerful as the Lakewood, a nice balance. Subtle, floral aromas and hints of tropical fruit led into a smooth finish. If I had to sum up this Riesling in a word, it would be ‘Complete’. Single Vineyard. 12.5% ABV/Medium Dry.
Beth: Two visits to the award-winning Lamoreaux Landing on Seneca Lake in the past have yielded high-quality, quintessential Finger Lakes’ wines. This single-oak Red Oak Vineyard is no exception. It has a delectable balance of acidity and a bit of residual sugar, with aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, melon, and tree fruits, like apples and pears.
4. Lucas Vineyards Semi-Dry Riesling 2012
Me: From my observation, this wine from Lucas was the sweetest of the group. Peachy, slightly spicy with a light, fruity character. Lucas is the first established winery on Cayuga Lake. 11.4& ABV/2.2% RS/Medium Sweet.
Beth: Another offering from Cayuga Lake, this is a sweeter Riesling, with aromas and flavors of nectarine, orange, peach, and tangerine. It’s essentially a fruit bowl in a glass, if you will.
5. Glenora Wine Cellars Riesling 2012
Me: I picked up a nose of peach & lemon peel with potent acidity & concentrated alcohol on the Glenora. This wine has lots of crisp character and would probably pair better with lighter dishes like flounder. Or great on its own. The higher perception of alcohol overpowered the sweetness a bit. 12% ABV/RS 3.4%/Sweet.
Beth: I have visited their Seneca Lake restaurant twice, but never the winery. A friend found this to be her favorite choice of the night as she tends towards the sweeter style. It’s citrusy with sweet stone fruit flavors like apricot and peach.
The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance is promoting the launch of their 2012 vintage the entire month of September. If you want to get more comprehensive information on these and more Finger Lakes Rieslings, head over to rieslinglaunch.com.
I want to thank the Alliance and all of the participating wineries for their time and generosity. And kudos to my colleagues for creating an engaging and enthusiastic event.
And of course gratitude to Traveling Wine Chick, Elizabeth Smith for her support & contribution. I live vicariously through her as she paints the globe red. Cheers, Beth!