The Finger Lakes produce some of the best Rieslings in the world in a range of styles from sparkling, dry, sweet to ice. Riesling may have Germanic roots, but it has found a home in the scenic Finger Lakes.
Located 300 miles northwest of New York City, the Finger Lakes is the ideal getaway to experience food and wine. Home to 130 wineries and 10,000 acres of vineyards, you find small, boutique producers whose wines reflect place and personality. Winemakers are known to produce 2-3 styles of Riesling wines a year.
History Of Winemaking In The Finger Lakes
Finger Lakes winemaking history dates back to 1829 when Reverand William Bostwick planted the first vineyard in the Finger Lakes in his rectory garden in Hammondsport, NY. Later down the road, Phylloxera hit followed by prohibition, after which many winemakers were not successful in planting Vitis Vinifera in the region.
In the 1960s a new paradigm shift occurred in Finger Lakes viticulture when Dr. Konstantin Frank came to the area at Cornell University. Dr. Frank was sure that these Vitis Vinifera could be grown in the Finger Lakes if grafted onto the proper, cold-hardy native rootstock. Dr. Frank successfully grew and produced wine from Vitis Vinifera grapes such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, grafted onto a native rootstock. Plantings of Vitis Vinifera varieties spread throughout the region, reinvigorating the Finger Lakes wine region’s growth and popularity. Dozens of new wineries began to pop up in the Finger Lakes.
Fingers Lakes is Ideal for Rieslings
The Finger Lakes has the ideal microclimate for Rieslings. The area lakes were carved out 10,000 years ago during the Ice Age. These glacial lakes create a warming effect which helps retain heat and allow for an extended growing season. This combined with cool climates, moderate temperatures, glacial soils and sloping hills foster an environment that creates the finest Rieslings of the world.
Characteristics of Finger Lakes Rieslings
A glass of Riesling typically starts with intense aromas of fruit, floral, and spice, with notes of apricot, honey, pear, jasmine and lime. It is a refreshing wine with zippy acidity and minerality. The wine is usually found in its signature tall slender glass bottles.
Riesling is a tough grape variety to comprehend, as the labels can be hard to understand. Not with Finger Lakes Rieslings, the labels are clear and easy to read and gauge what level of dryness/sweetness you can expect in the bottle.
Six Finger Lakes Rieslings to Try Now
The Lamoreaux Dry Riesling is a great Finger Lakes value. It is lean and racy, jagged with minerality when first poured. With air, a limey core of flavor inhabits its middle, tense but with a modest breadth, to cut against mildly spicy dishes, like chow fun.
There are juicy aromas of tangerine with a hint of flint or wet stone. Light floral flavors, nice even balance of acidity and fruit with understated intensity characterize the wine. The finish is delicate and soft, quite quaffable. The Atwater Riesling is very food-friendly, try this versatile wine with grilled chicken, steamed lobster or sausages. Also, pairs very nicely with smoked salmon and cream sauces or seared pork cutlets with prosciutto, sage and lemon.
Circle Riesling is meant to be a quintessential example of Finger Lakes Riesling; a touch of residual sugar to bring out the rich orchard fruit flavors without overwhelming the lemon zest and citrus that make it crisp and refreshing to drink. The overall wine is easy to drink but made with as much seriousness and as many individual layers as any Riesling that Red Newt releases. The philosophy is simple; a crowd-pleasing wine should still be multifaceted.
A delectable, “off-dry”, refreshing Riesling with wonderful fruit. White peach, apple, and gentle floral character lead to a soft finish. A premium example of Finger Lakes Riesling. Enjoy it with grilled chicken, salmon, crab, cream soups, or gouda or cheddar cheese, Caesar salads, or just about anything!
Slatey and smokey at first go, this exudes an umami character in its scents of jasmine and wheat. There’s faint citrus on the palate, but it’s more of a feel,
with beautiful transparency and drive bringing to mind a rainwater freshness, or spring water on slate. Maximize that umami sensation by pairing it with tonkatsu ramen.
A textural and spicy dry Riesling that plays off the unique attributes of the long ripening required of Bullhorn Creek. Built to grow over many years in bottle in this delicate style which is a tribute to classic Finger Lakes Rieslings that have come before.
Wine Pairing Weekend Group Adventure with Finger Lakes Wine Alliance
Take a look below at all the great ideas our Wine Pairing Weekend group has for your Finger Lakes Adventures! If you’d like to know more, join our chat on Twitter Saturday June 12 from 10-11am CDT. Just look us up at #WinePW.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm is Exploring the Wines of New York’s Finger Lakes Region.
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla pairs Bibimbap with Garden Banchan + Forge Cellars Classique Riesling 2017.
- Lori at Dracaena Wines is Delving Into the History of the Finger Lakes with John Wagner.
- David at Cooking Chat shares Finger Lakes Wine Paired with Everyday Favorites.
- Cindy at Grape Experiences posts An Impressive New York Treasure: the Finger Lakes Wine Region.
- Teri at Our Good Life pairs Zero Degree Riesling with Pan Seared Scallops over Cheesy Grits.
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! writes New York Finger Lakes – I Hope You Like Riesling!
- Jill at L’OCCASION gives us New York Finger Lakes: Wine For Summer Pairings.
- Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings matches New York Finger Lakes Wines – Lonesome Stony Rose and Fox Run Rieslings Paired with Quick-Prepped Seafood.
- Jane at Always Ravenous posts Picnic Fare Paired with Finger Lake Wines.
- Rupal at Syrah Queen discusses The Charm Of New York Finger Lakes Rieslings.
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles pairs Finger Lake Riesling and Alsatian Salmon.
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator offers two posts: Two Riesling from the Finger Lakes Paired with a Potluck and #RoseAllDay for #RoseDay:3 from New York’s Finger Lakes.
- Susannah at Avvinare examines Delightful Wines from the Finger Lakes.
- Jennifer at Vino Travels looks at Wines from Around Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes Wine Region.
- Nicole at Somm’s Table hosts Bo Ssäm and a Comparative Riesling Party!
- Finally, Linda at My Full Wine Glass is sharing
two posts: Three Takes on Finger Lakes NY Cabernet Franc Rosé and Two Pair of NY Finger Lakes Riesling – a Winning Hand.