Enriching your lifestyle through wine, culinary and jazz travel.

The Grapevine

We bring you the best in travel, wine and food with these blog posts.

Posts Tagged ‘#FLXRiesling’

Seneca Lake Riesling Country

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

Seneca Lake Riesling Country

Stunning Finger Lakes

Stunning Finger Lakes

New York’s Finger Lakes wine region is not as well known as other wine regions. However, its place in American wine history is secure. With grapes being planted as early 1800s, Finger Lakes is one of the country’s oldest wine regions.

During these early years, native grape varieties such as Concord and Niagara were used in winemaking. It wasn’t until the 1970s when two pioneers, Herman Wiemer and Charles Fournier transformed the region with the introduction of quality vinifera grape vines.

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail, the largest and most popular in the Finger Lakes region, was established in 1986. Today, approximately 34 wineries call this area home.

 

Experience Counts

There’s nothing like experience. Whether you are talking about a championship football team, a time-tested corporate manager or a been-around-the-block-a-few times winemaker, a hefty whack of experience often leads to successful ventures.  This is certainly the case with head winemakers Tim Miller of Chateau LaFayette Reneau and Steve DiFrancesco of Glenora Wine Cellars.

Miller has been worked for more than 30 wine harvests.  His impressive resume includes wine-making duties at two other Finger Lakes wineries, Glenora Wine Cellars for 14 years and Swedish Hill Winery.  Recently, this experience at LaFayette Reneau was rewarded with a “Best of the Show” by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. The Governor’s Cup was awarded to Miller and his team for their 2013 Semi-dry Riesling. In addition, the wine won honors as the Best White Wine, Best Overall Riesling and Best Medium-dry Riesling.

When consumers find a wine they love, adding it to their list of favorites is a no-brainer. They keep coming back because of consistency. Due to changing weather patterns and bad vintage years, winemaking is more challenging and consistency becomes an issue. But, that is not the case at Glenora.

Steve DiFrancesco has been member of the Glenora team since the late 1980s, taking over the helm as Head Winemaker in 1995. His long tenure, along with his assistant Chris King gives Glenora’s Rieslings tried-and-true fruity aromatics, as well as refreshing acidity.

 

Chateau LaFayette Reneau
Fruit and Cheese Plate

Fruit and Cheese Plate

The 2013 Dry Riesling is very light in color but very strong in flavor. On the nose it gives lemon and lime, with the same citrus coming through on the palate.  This is a perfect wine to bring to a football party, especially for those of us on the West Coast were games start as early as 10 AM. The alcohol by volume is 12%, which isn’t extremely low; however, it allows for it to hold up to most foods. It really worked well with a hard and soft cheese plate mix.

When I tasted this wine with food, I knew it was a winner. I ate it with a grilled chicken breast and a cucumber salad. The charring from the grill, along with the vinegar from the salad held up nicely to the wine. I really enjoy a wine that you can continue drinking it long after the meal has been finished. This Chateau LaFayette Reneau wine fits that requirement.  This is one of my new favorite casual-drinking Rieslings. I also like the $15 price.

 

 

Glenora Wine Cellars

Established in 1977, Glenora Wine Cellars was the first winery on Seneca Lake. For the white wine lover, it is a must stop on the wine trail as it produces wine from 11 different white grape varieties. However, today is all about their Riesling.

The 2013 Dry Riesling has a slightly golden color along with honey and lemon on the nose. It’s a very balanced wine with bright acidity.

Glenora Dry Riesling

Glenora Dry Riesling

This is a great food wine. With it, I had a pork loin served with apples and caramelized onions with a salad of mixed greens, roasted beets, walnuts and goat cheese. Maybe this Riesling has a natural affinity with cheese and apples since both are grown in New York State. With food, there was an added perception of sweetness, although the residual sugar is locked in at 14 g/l.

I really like the tropical taste of this wine as it warms up. I get more guava and mango flavors when I drink it as a sipping wine. I also tasted this dry Riesling with a cheese plate. Again there is great balance between the wine’s the fruit flavors, the acidity and creaminess of the cheese.

 

Note: I received these bottles as samples as part of Finger Lakes Wine Month.

Tags: , , , ,

How to Select A Riesling

Posted on: | 2 Comments
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

Riesling Sweetness Chart

Riesling Grapes

Sunkissed Riesling Grapes

It seems whenever I mention drinking Riesling, inevitably one or two people in the group will state they do not like sweet wines.  That’s when I go on my tirade stating all Rieslings are not sweet.

But it’s statements like “I don’t like sweet wines ” that make it difficult for Riesling wines to gain the esteemed reputation in the United States they so desire.  But I think the tide is turning. A new Riesling taste profile will give consumers an easy way to figure out how to select a Riesling based on their taste preferences.

 

Determining Sweetness Level

Thanks to the efforts of several Riesling wine makers and wine journalist Dan Berger, a sweetness guideline has been created for consumers to use when buying a Riesling.  The International Riesling Foundation has designed a system comprised of four categories, which depict a wine’s level of sweetness. And don’t worry. The system is simple, forgoing the usual complicated numerical rating system. Instead, Riesling bottles are labeled with a sliding descriptive-word scale as follows:

Dry    Medium Dry    Medium Sweet    Sweet

Riesling Sweetness Level Chart

Riesling Sweetness Level Chart

These type of initiatives have helped make Riesling the fastest-growing white wine in America. Chefs and sommeliers have been championing the virtues of Riesling for years. As more consumers drink Rieslings, they too will learn to appreciate its versatility. Are you looking for a wine for dinner, hanging out with friends or as a gift for a wine collector? A Riesling wine will satisfy all of these situations.

Rieslings pair beautifully with myriad foods.  They have great acidity and minerality. And contrary to popular belief the fruit flavors are not-to-syrupy sweet.

 

Here’s a guide on how to select a Riesling for any occasion.

  • Sweet – Trying serving with an after-dinner cheese course. The high acidity levels help tame the butter fat content.  This means diners will not be overpowered by either the wine or the cheese.  Dessert such as a pear tart or apple pie are other great options.
  • Medium Sweet – They are a great pairing partner with spicy foods like Thai, Szechuan and Indian dishes.  This natural sweetness gives balance to the heat. In addition, heat of the food brings down the sweetness levels in the wine.
  • Medium Dry – These Rieslings have a hint of sweetness, which due to their generally low alcohol levels allows the fruit flavors to shine through. However, it’s this delicate balance that makes these wines perfect for general, daytime drinking. You may also serve them alongside salty, snack foods or appetizers, making them ideal for game-day gatherings.
  • Dry – A dry Riesling can be served with dishes you’d serve at a dinner party such as chicken, pork, and even vegetarian fare, which can be challenging. The citrus flavor makes it a natural companion to sushi and seafood dishes.
Drink Something New

I think many people are opening up to the idea of drinking wines from outside their comfort zones. If you normally drink a California Zinfandel with pizza, next time try a medium dry Riesling.  If you love Sauvignon Blanc, then reach for a dry Riesling instead.

There’s a big wonderful world of wine just waiting for you to explore.  Still not sure what new wine to try?  Think Finger Lakes. There are more than 115 wineries from which to choose. Wines from this chilly region are produced in all four style categories. Do you enjoy a wine with a great sense of terroir; one with a pronounced taste fruit or perhaps one with brazen acidity?  The Finger Lakes region has something for everyone. You can’t go wrong.

Well, don’t just sit there. It’s time to go wine shopping! And now it’s easier than ever to select the right wine for your needs.

Tags: , , , ,

Cayuga Lake Rieslings

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

Cayuga Lake Rieslings

Swedish Hill & Hosmer Wines

Swedish Hill & Hosmer Wines

The vineyards of the Cayuga Lake region benefit from a micro-climate created by the 40-mile-long lake and its neighboring hillsides. Granted AVA status in 1988, currently 17 wineries are region members. Established in 1983, Cayuga Lake is credited as being America’s first organized wine trail.

There are some winemakers who produce wines using native grape varieties such as Niagara, Catwaba and Cayuga.  However, it’s the region’s cool-climate vinifera grape varieties that have brought it the most accolades. Two of the more popular stops along the trail are quality wine producers Swedish Hill Winery and Hosmer Winery.

 

Swedish Hill Winery

This pale, straw-colored wine has beautiful apricot and pear aromas that are mirrored in the flavor. On the first sip, there was a perception of sweetness, which was not present when I drank it later with food.  I love drinking wine with food, as both play off the other. I had this wine with Thai curry, grilled chicken and chicken spring rolls. Although the wine was a great accompaniment to each of these foods, its lush fruit flavors really paired exceptionally well with a cheese and fruit plate.  It’s a wine that has you wanting to take sip after sip.

Tropical Mango Flvaors

Tropical Mango Flvaors

This Riesling is the real deal. It’s a perfect wine for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You can open a bottle when your guests arrive and continue drinking into dinner service. Then, as you are sitting around enjoying each other’s company, the wine remains pleasing on its own. This Swedish Hill is a dry wine; but because it has that hint of sweetness, it should satisfy a wide range of palates. As it warmed, I got more tropical flavors like mango.

The tasting room,  located in Romulus is open daily through December from 9 AM to 6 PM.

 

Hosmer Winery
Hosmer Winery Riesling

Hosmer Winery Riesling

There is a saying that old vines make great wines.  If that is true, then the 25-year-old-plus vines at Hosmer Winery should provide wine lovers with a special treat. The Riesling vines are more than 30 years old, thriving in high-lime Cavenovia loamy soil.

Winemaker Aaron Roisen should have plenty of frequent flyer miles. He hails from Minnesota but worked harvest in New Zealand on two separate occasions, prior to leading the wine-making efforts at Hosmer.

 

 

Grapefruit Flavor Profile

Grapefruit Flavor Profile

The Hosmer Riesling presented as the most dry Riesling of the four I tasted from the Finger Lakes region.  There was citrus, as well as pear aroma. Pear and acidity that came through as grapefruit on the taste.  The beautiful grapefruit flavors paired nicely with my cheese board. As the wine opened up, it became more lovely and smooth, with an almost honey like finish.

Through October, the tasting room is open Mon-Sat from 10:50 – 5:50, then closes at 5:00 in Nov. On Sundays, it’s open from Noon – 5:00.

 

Finger Lakes Riesling

I was pleasantly surprised these Finger Lake Rieslings were start-to-finish wines.  I only wish I had discovered them this summer because they would have been my afternoon go-to wines.  Until next then, I’ll just have to enjoy them with my fall and winter meals.

Note: The wines reviewed here were provided by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance as part of a Virtual Tasting. No promises were made regarding what I was to write only that I should post my reviews.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Finger Lakes Riesling Launch Wines

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook
Review of Riesling Launch Wines

Review of Riesling Launch Wines

Starting at 4:00 pm PDT, I’ll be sharing my impressions on four Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake Riesling wines. These wine regions are part of the Finger Lakes AVA.  You can follow me on this blog, as well as at twitter.com/winegospel.

To join the overall conversation on the newly released 2013 Riesling wines from the region, join us during the Finger Lakes Riesling Launch.

Checking my phone, I see it’s going to be sunny in most of the country. So a glass of Riesling is a perfect way to kick off a late afternoon.

See you on the Tweetosphere at #FLXWine and #FLXRiesling.

Tags: ,

Finger Lakes Rieslings Launch

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

 Riesling Country

Finger Lakes Riesling Launch 2014

Finger Lakes Riesling Launch 2014

The Finger Lakes 2013 Vintage Rieslings Launch debuts on September 27, 2014 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EST. This event showcases approximately 20 wineries throughout the region.  With more than 100 wineries, Finger Lakes is the largest American Viticulture Area (AVA) in New York.

 

Finger Lakes Rieslings

Wine has been produced in the region since the early 1800s, with the first winery opening in 1860. Cool climate grapes such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer are ideally suited for the area. However, Riesling is the most widely planted grape; and is the region’s most celebrated grape variety.

 

You are welcome to join in this evening’s event. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Finger Lakes region, then head out to the tasting room. If not, grab a bottle or two from your local wine shop and start tasting. Either way, the Finger Lakes Rieslings Launch will be a fun look into this emerging region.

To share your thoughts on social media:

Twitter & Instagram: #FLXRiesling and @FLXWine

Facebook: Tag @Finger Lakes Wine in your posts

 

 

 

 

Note: I had the honor of being selected to participate in this event as a member of the media.

Tags: , ,