Finger Lakes Rieslings for Thanksgiving 2012

Recently I had the opportunity to join a live wine tasting called The Riesling Hour, via Twitter and blogging. Unfortunately, the timing coincided with our daughter’s last-minute, down to the wire, wedding preparations. I did the tasting and am just now getting around to sharing the results. I participated in the same event last Fall, however that wine shipment was accompanied by an insert describing the wines and wineries. I really did appreciate the added information as I am not familiar with that region or their wines. This year I have to wing it!

At Thanksgiving many families are pairing their meals with the more versatile Pinot Noir wines, but perhaps a nice dry Riesling would be just as enjoyable, especially for guests who prefer a white or more fruity wine. I imagine many families in New York will be including a Riesling  in their wine selections to pair with appetizers at least.

The Region

The Finger Lakes region of New York was selected by Trip Advisor as the #4 Wine Travel Destination in the U.S.

Finger Lakes Wine Country, New York is a great weekend getaway destination conveniently located within a five-hour drive of most major metropolitan cities in the Northeast.

The region is made up of three major lakes including Cayuga Lake the eastern most lake of the three major Finger Lakes.   Stretching almost 40 miles in length, it is the longest of the lakes.  I had no idea that the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is the oldest wine trail in America, celebrating 25 years in 2008.

The Keuka Lake Wine Trail is home to some of the oldest vineyard and most historic wineries in the region. Interesting note, Keuka Lake is the only lake in the United States to flow both north and south.

Seneca Lake is the second longest of all the Finger Lakes at 38 miles long.  with a mean depth of 291 feet and a maximum depth of 618 feet, It is the deepest of all the lakes! Seneca Lake is home to the largest wine trail in the Finger Lakes region and the Seneca Lake Wine Trail has 36 member wineries.

Montezuma Riesling 2011Montezuma_Riesling_2011

I’m not sure why I selected this one first, but perhaps the name or label made me think I’d like this one the least. After all, what does Montezuma have to do with New York? This winery actually started out as a Honey Farm and Meadery, later branching out to wines and now, a distillery of Vodka and Brandies. This wine was actually a surprise,  with a refreshing dry, citrusy taste and hints of peach, it turned out to be my second favorite wine of the evening. As it turns out, this wine garnered double gold medals in The New York Wine & Food Classic 2011. So much for first impressions!

Three Brothers Zero Degree Dry Riesling

This dry Riesling was pale straw in color with some green apple notes. For some reason it didn’t bowl me over. Would have to give it another try.  Possibly looking for something with a bit more  body to it or fruitiness. It would be interesting to try all of the Four Degrees Rieslings. They produce four Rieslings beginning with zero as the driest and working up to the Three  as the sweetest.

Wagner Riesling 2011

I’m not a big fan of screw-tops, for no other reason than I love the ritual of  pulling out the cork screw and the little pop sound when the cork comes out.  I found this screw-top bottle Riesling very appealing.  As far as I know it hasn’t won any medals, but perhaps, it hasn’t been entered in any competitions?  Apple and peach aromas, more fruity than the previous Riesling, but still dry with stone fruit flavors and minerality, it had a nice crisp finish.

Hint for Christmas shopping at Wagner Vineyards: Vixen is a Semi Dry Riesling and Blitzen is a red blend. Cute bottles with reindeer on them! Would make a nice “His & Hers” gift.Wagner_Dry_Riesling_2011

Fulkerson 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling

This was the lightest of the Rieslings, in my humble opinion, peach aroma with a delicate almost citrusy  flavor. Possibly pair this with ham for those of you who avoid the traditional Thanksgiving gobbler.

A bit of history, the Fulkerson farm has been in the same family since 1805, black raspberries were the main crop and grapes were planted in the 1830’s. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the vineyards were expanded, with more concentration now on wine production.

* I certainly enjoyed participating in this tasting event again this year and feel like I’ve learned a little more about our American Riesling wines. Thanks for including me!

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