Sipping the Finger Lakes - Four Wonderful Wines from New York

May was Finger Lakes Wine Month.

I was invited to join in the celebration of Finger Lakes wines. The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance sent me four New York wines to review. They sent a Riesling, a Chardonnay, a Gewurztraminer and a Pinot Noir. Part of Finger Lakes Wine Month included a virtual wine tasting on twitter last weekend.

The wine I opened for the virtual tasting was the Thirsty Owl 2012 Dry Riesling. I tweeted for an hour with fellow participants. Feedback was strong and positive.

This was not my first New York Riesling. I've participated in two previous Finger Lakes Riesling launches, in 2012 and in 2011. Wines from the Finger Lakes are nearly impossible to find where I live. Yes, I was looking forward to this tasting. We used #FLXwine for our tweets.


Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2012 Dry Riesling

Color: Straw with green highlights.
Nose: Pear, apple, cinnamon
Palate: Fresh apple, crisp, lively, with a creamy crisp dry finish. As it warmed up, I noted a lovely apple cinnamon flavor in the background on the finish. Yum. Really dry, mineral, steely.
Toasty pear/peach cinnamon nose after 44 minutes, pear on the finish. After an hour honey on the nose. I craved savory seafood for this wine. Or crusty bread, hard cheese and fresh crisp apple. Lovely Riesling, recommended.

Blend: 100% Riesling
Finger Lakes AVA
ABV: 11.2% and 0.4% RS.
Closure: natural cork.
All stainless fermentation.
Sample provided by Finger Lakes Wine Alliance

Thirsty Owl Wine Company opened in 2002. They are located near the midpoint of the west banks of Cayuga Lake. They produce about 12,000 cases of white wine annually. All of their vinifera plantings are on the VSP or Scott Henry trellising systems. Shawn Kime has been the winemaker and vineyard manager for 11 years. Kyle Van Allan has server as assistant winemaker and assistant vineyard manager for four years.

Thirsty Owl Wine Company
6861 Rt. 89
Ovid, NY 14521
Phone: 607.869.5805
Toll Free: 866.869.5805

The next Finger Lakes wine I opened was the Lakewood Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay. This was the first Finger Lakes Chardonnay I have had the opportunity to taste. It was with eagerness and I admit, some trepidation, when I pulled the cork on this bottle of New York wine.


Lakewood Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay

Color: Pale gold with green highlights.
Nose: Ah, a lovely wine. Toasty, nutty, with vanilla, taffy and fig on the nose.
Palate: Bone dry and crisp, with toast, pear and lemon on the medium buttery finish. I enjoyed how bright and dry this wine drank. It had all the best Chardonnay offers with a gentle hand in its execution. Well done, bravo.

My first Finger Lakes Chardonnay experience. It was a lovely example of a premium Chardonnay from New York. Food friendly too, I enjoyed this wine with garlic chicken. The bottle emptied quickly at our table. At this price it would be a perfect every day wine. Recommended.

Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Finger Lakes AVA
ABV: 13.5%
Closure: Natural cork
SRP: $12.99
Cases produced: 336
Sample provided by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance

Established in 1988, Lakewood Vineyards is family owned and operated. Chris Stamp has been the winemaker for the last 25 vintages. David Stamp oversees the vineyards. They have 80 acres of vineyards, growing 14 varieties.

Lakewood Vineyards
40244 State Route 14
Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Honestly, I was very happy to receive a variety of Finger Lakes wines this time around. Not just the tasty Riesling, which the Finger Lakes is well known for, but also for a New York Pinot Noir. A red wine from the Finger Lakes! What would it taste like?


Wagner Vineyards 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir

At opening the wine had a distinct musty nose. The flavor profile was classic Pinot Noir; strawberry, raspberry, light body. Lovely, clear, candy red color. After an hour the musty odor disappeared, replaced by soft, earthy notes, red fruit and a hint of toast. After four hours the palate was smooth, almost luxuriant, with gentle tannin and polite acidity on the red fruit finish. Interesting nose of strawberry skin and tangerine with some earthy, almost funkiness. I liked how it changed over four hours. Very good.

This Wagner Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir was an interesting introduction to red wine from the Finger Lakes. I enjoyed this Pinot Noir with dinner of roasted beef, bell peppers, brown rice and watermelon with Feta salad. I noticed that when I paired it with food, the food brought out cherry on the finish. A lovely vintage and one I believe will drink well over the next five years. Recommended.

2010 provided one of the longest, optimal growing seasons in the history of the Finger Lakes. This Pinot Noir was made from hand-picked grapes, grown in a single vineyard. It was oak aged for 12 months. This is a limited release wine.

Closure: Agglomerated cork
Finger Lakes AVA
ABV: 12.8%
Cases produced 291
Sample provided by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance

Wagner Vineyards was established in 1979. It is one of the oldest wineries in the Finger Lakes region. They are now in their 5th generation of grape growers. Family owned and operated, the estate winery has more than 250 acres of vineyards. Winemaker Ann Raffetto has been with Wagner Vineyards for more than 25 years.

Wagner Vineyards
9322 State Route 414
Lodi, NY 14860
Phone: 866.924.6378

The last bottle of wine I opened was the Standing Stone Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer.


Standing Stone Vineyard 2010 Gewurztraminer

Color: Pale gold, with green highlights.
Nose: Honey, peach, floral, cinnamon, petrol.
Palate: Peach, intense fruit, beautiful amount of acidity, gorgeous honey, peach finish. Drinks almost sweet, slightly tart, touch of cinnamon and spice. My preference would be to enjoy this wine warmer than cooler. Paired with lemon-garlic chicken wings and hot sauce. Scrumptious. Recommended.

Finger Lakes AVA
ABV: 13.3% and RS 1%
Closure: Agglomerated cork
SRP: $13.99
Case Production 421
Sample provided by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance

In 1991, Tom & Marti Macinski purchased historic vineyards on the east side of Seneca Lake. In just a few short years, their winery began to make history with a prized selection of award-winning wines. Their first crush, in 1993, yielded only 800 cases, which was quickly discovered and sold out in just 12 short weeks. They now produce about 8000 cases from their 41 acres of vineyards.

Standing Stone Vineyards
9934 Route 414
Hector, NY 14841

I'd like to thank the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance for allowing me to participate in this years Finger Lakes Wine Month. It was a special treat and an educational experience. Truly, New York wineries are crafting not only world-class Riesling, but also Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and even Pinot Noir. I'm impressed by the quality and range of styles. Well done Finger Lakes Wineries! I encourage you to broaden your palate and bring some of these wines home to your table. Share with your friends the fruit of the harvest from New York.


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