Friday, July 4, 2014

Virtual Wine Tasting: Finger Lakes Riesling

The Finger Lakes Wine Region recently hosted another in a series of live virtual tasting events featuring participation via Twitter.  The virtual tasting event 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 Wagner Vineyards Caywood East Vineyards Riesling Dry 2012

Wagner Vineyards is one of oldest wineries in New York's Finger Lakes region.  Located on the slopes of the east side of Lake Seneca, the winery is in the Banana Belt, where the climate is several degrees warmer than areas to the north and south.  Winemaker Ann Raffetto has been with Wagner for over 25 years, and she makes her mark on the wines made from estate-grown fruit.

This dry Riesling is made from Riesling grapes grown in the Caywood East Vineyard, south of the winery on a steep slope overlooking the middle part of Seneca Lake.  Grapes have been grown here for 90 years, so they predate the advent of vinifera grapes in the 1950s.  The vineyard was replanted to Riesling in 2005 and is comprised of three Riesling clones: 90, 110, and 239.  If the clone numbers mean anything at all to you, consider yourself a true wine nerd.

With a residual sugar of just one-half of one percent, the wine is marked as dry on the IRF scale, used by all the wineries in the Finger Lakes region.  It clocks in at 13.2% abv in alcohol.  While very restrained, it is actually a little stiffer drink than one normally finds in the Finger Lakes.  1,045 cases were produced and the wine retails for $15.  This Riesling has won gold medals at wine competitions in the east, west, and points in between.

Wagner Vineyards Caywood East Vineyard Riesling Dry 2012 has a very pale tint in the glass, with a nose of flowers, peaches and minerals.  The palate shows clean flavors dominated by minerality, with peach, pear and Meyer lemon and a beautiful acidity joined by a great citrus mineral finish.

The folks at Wagner suggest pairing the wine with fish, seafood, chicken, pork and mild cheeses. They say you should try it in place of Champagne at your next brunch, and that's a pretty good idea.

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