The virtual tasting is a great way to gain exposure to a new wine or winery, and it’s a great way to mingle with folks who are as inquisitive about wine as you are. Like many wine regions, the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance uses the social aspect of virtual tastings to their great advantage.
In May 2014, the FLWA staged a virtual event featuring a large variety of wines, not just one or two. Participants sipped at home and joined in during a four-hour marathon. (Most virtual tasting events only run an hour or so.) I was supplied with several white wines to sample, and today I’ll focus on the Villa Bellangelo 1866 Reserve Riesling 2012.
On Twitter, @travel4foodfun carried the sentiment of all by tweeting, “We are now doing our virtual tasting from our friends @villabellangelo and It's a definite Wow!” @jeffal66 commented on the wine: “Nice mix of melon, fall fruit on the Bellangelo. Pear for sure. Minerality.” The winery of the moment, @villabellangelo, offered a glimpse behind the bottle. They wrote, “Geek out on the Gibson Vineyard - the source for our 1866 Reserve Riesling. http://goo.gl/PeQTWm” and “Check out our background history on the 1866 Reserve series at: http://goo.gl/IKpx3G."
This release marks the debut vintage of a Riesling that shows why New York’s Finger Lakes Riesling is known for that grape. The fruit came from a single vineyard - Gibson Vineyard, just north of the winery on the west side of Seneca Lake. The date in the wine’s name - 1866 - is a tip of the winegrowing hat to Dr. Byron Spence, an early grape grower in the region
With residual sugar at just 1.9%, this Finger Lakes Riesling clocks in on the dry side of medium dry. Finger Lakes Rieslings all bear the Riesling Taste Profile scale designed by the International Riesling Foundation.
It’s easy on the alcohol - 11%.abv - and only 99 cases were produced. My bottle was number 87 of 1188.
The 1866 Reserve Riesling gets a special touch in the winery, aging half in stainless steel tanks and half in oak barrels sur lie - in contact with the spent yeast cells - for eight months.
The light straw tint is pretty, and the nose is even more so. Floral notes, pear and nectarine aromas are not shy about getting out of the glass. The mouthfeel is full and creamy and the acidity is on the gently side, making it a great wine to sip. Flavors of pears and white peaches provide plenty to ponder while doing so. This wine would be nice with spicy food, like a Thai dish or even Mexican food with a bit of heat to it.
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