Last month, the Advice Sisters had the opportunity to taste six sensational Reislings from the Finger Lakes region of New York State, thanks to the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance , during a unique, virtual wine tasting to which we invited some of our in-person, friends including BeautyNewsNYC.com Editor-in-Chief, Candice Sabatini (@SabatinionStyle). The event was broadcast live with the winemakers from the Inn at Glenora (in the Finger Lakes, of course). The Advice Sisters admit to loving wine, and wine tastings. Pairing nibbles and new wines is a social experience to savor. Whether with friends, or with like-minded others on line, the idea of sharing, sipping and savoring in community, is what makes wine tasting so much fun. Virtual wine tastings have all the elements of the in-person variety, but since they are online, participants have the added advantage of gathering with other like-minded people from different places who for practical reasons, couldn’t possibly get together in one room at the same time any other way. It’s a modern, novel and entertaining way to learn about wine and connect with others, without even having to leave home.
In all honestly, I prefer a chat room to a Twitter party, but I did send out some tweets during the event (@advicesisters) using @FLXWine #FLXWineVT. This was the first time I tried drinking and typing on Twitter via my smart phone. In truth, I prefer virtual wine tastings in a chat room, because you can also instantly see everyone else’s comments and interact with them more seamlessly. And, I think perhaps, as the evening wore on, and since we had only about 5 minutes per wine to taste (and no spit bucket) perhaps we all got a little lost. While our hosts were talking via live video feed that we watched on a computer, my group was trying to taste the wines and keep up, as my husband John, poured wine almost faster than we could drink it! But we all had a great time, and learned a lot about Finger Lakes Reislings.
The Finger Lakes region of New York state is one of the nation’s largest wine producing areas, and Reisling is the king of the region. The large, narrow and deep lakes moderate the temperature differences and create the perfect climate and growing conditions for Riesling. This white grape varietal has generally high acidity and can be used to make a wide variety of dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines.
The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance supplied us with six Reislings from six of the region’s different wineries. All of the wines were from the 2011 and 2012 vintages. These included wines that ranged from semi-dry to dry, and that encompassed a range of different taste profiles. For the tasting we paired the wines with some smokier cheeses, red grapes and figs.
The first wine that we tasted with the 2011 Dry Riesling from Swedish Hill Winery. This wine has a very small production and is an excellent example of the Finger Lakes appellation. The wine was dry but quite fruit forward with a solid hint of citrus, and its high acid and lower alcohol content made it an excellent pairing wine, particularly for seafoods. This wine was followed by Glenora Cellars 2012 Dry Reisling, which the vintner touts as one of the top products in its portfolio. The Glenora Riesling had a higher residual sugar level than the offering from Swedish Hill, but also presented a crisp, almost citrusy flavor profile. Personally, the Glenora was a bit on the sweet side for my tastes but again, it was a wine that would pair very well with food.
The third wine in the initial flight that we tasted was Lakewood Vinyards 2012 Dry Reisling. Priced at just $13, the very dry Riesling showed the classic citrus and lime that we had come to expect from these Finger Lakes wines. Again, this is a very small production wine (just 810 cases) suggesting that a trip to the Finger Lakes would be an excellent idea for those who are interested in tasting and purchasing a wide number of spectacular Riesling examples.
After a break, we poured three more wines, nibbling cheese and fruit to keep going. The first wine of the second flight was a 2012 Reisling from the Standing Stone Vineyards. This wine was crisp, like a Granny Smith apple, and like the first set of wines was quite well balanced. The wine is labeled as a medium dry Riesling and it was a bit sugarier than some of the others. Still it was an excellent Riesling and priced at just $15 per bottle was an excellent buy.
The next wine was the overwhelming favorite of our group of tasters. From the Red Newt Cellars, the 2011 Sawmill Creek Vineyards Riesling comes from a lineage that has consistently scored above 90 in the Wine Spectator, and it shows. While the wine has a fairly high level of sugar at 1.3 percent, it showed itself as being quite dry, and the fruit was more complex than the other wines that we tasted. Lime and asian pear showed on the palette, making this an excellent wine to pair with seafood – the winery suggests grilled salmon. Only 160 cases of this particular wine were produced, making it a difficult find outside of the Finger Lakes region itself.
The final wine that we tasted during this event was Lamareaux Landing Wine Cellars, 2012 Red Oak Vineyard Riesling. This wine, which comes from a sustainably managed vineyard, is a medium dry floral Riesling that also presented Asian pear on the palate. It was a fantastic end to a very enjoyable virtual tasting of Finger Lakes king of wines, Riesling.
With the warmer weather on the way, Reislings, served nicely chilled, will be a perfect addition to your Summer entertaining menus. Learn a lot more on the Finger Lakes Alliance Website: http://www.fingerlakeswinealliance.com/
As a bonus, here is the entire video feed that we saw that night, from the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance. Hope you enjoy it!
*my thanks to John Dunham & friends for helping with this article