Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WINE WITH DINNER – A Tasting Tour of the Finger Lakes

Fox Run Vineyard Barrel Room

From October 26th through October 29th, I was part of a select group of a dozen journalists, professional wine buyers and restaurateurs who were the invited guests of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance for a tasting tour of about two dozen Finger Lakes wineries. We made new or renewed old acquaintances with about three dozen Keuka Lake, Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake winery owners and winemakers as we tasted and enjoyed multi-course meals together at major wineries such as Sheldrake Point Vineyard and Restaurant; Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars (where we were also given vineyard tour); Fox Run Vineyards and Barrel Room dining facility; Glenora Wine Cellars, Restaurant and Conference Center (where we attended seminars on Rieslings and other aromatic whites); Fulkerson Winery; and Red Newt Cellars Winery and Bistro. Wines of all kinds – red, white, rosé, sparkling and late harvest - were evaluated and discussed with their respective owners and winemakers, but the focus was on Riesling and other aromatic whites such as Gewürztraminer, Traminette, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Vignoles and Rkatsitelli, all of which seem to be well suited to the Finger Lakes terroir.

Owner Mark Wagner conducted a vineyard tour of Lamoreaux Landing

Riesling is without question the signature white wine grape of the Finger Lakes. Of the 11,000 acres of Finger Lakes Vineyards, over half are planted with Riesling grown mostly by small and passionate producers each of which make an average of 2.5 styles of Riesling wine a year. In the November 2008 issue of Wine Business Monthly, Nielsen Scantrack data showed that Riesling sales are up 17% by value over the past 12 months (#1 in growth value) and Riesling is up 16% by volume over the same period (#2 in volume growth behind Pinot Noir). By value, Riesling’s market share is equal to Zinfandel and by volume, Riesling has now passed Zinfandel by 11%.

Lots of other interesting New York wine statistics were given out as well. Did you know that New York is the 3rd largest wine grape producing state following California and Washington? Or that the Finger Lakes viticultural area is New York's largest wine producing region, and it is the second largest in the United States behind California’s famous Napa Valley? To get an idea of the incredible growth in winemaking taking place within our state (10%-15% in each of the past 10 years), did you know that in just the past 30 odd years, New York State has grown from only 9 wineries to 220 – 102 of them in the Finger Lakes and 60 of those on Seneca Lake? It’s time for you to give New York wines another try, especially the aromatic whites from the Finger Lakes - Jay Roelof -

1 comment:

Mike said...

Jay, I've enjoyed reading through your posts on the Finger Lakes and the Hudson Valley Festival, Debbie and I will have to check that out this year. I knew you were a big fan of NY wines but didn't know how involved you were until now. Luckily We have friends in the Finger lakes and so have had the pleasure of getting to know the region and wines and we vacation on the Easy End of Long Island so we've gotten to know a bunch of the wines/wineries out there. Our most recent find being Channing Daughters, good stuff! On a Champagne note we loved a bottle of Lancelot-Royer from Suburban New Year's Eve, I really need to drink more Champagne.
Thanks again

Mike and Debbie Burke