Saturday, November 21, 2009

2006 Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling Finger Lakes (New York)


Trying to find wine from New York in California is damn near impossible without ordering a whole bunch of stuff on the internet. It isn't like you can really just walk into any wine store and say "Give me a Finger Lakes Riesling and a Long Island Merlot." That's not going to happen. It's too bad, if only for the fact that it's interesting to drink something other than the usual suspects, and New York is closer than Germany. The Finger Lakes AVA is located in upsate New York, roughly 75 miles from Rochester. The main grapes grown are cool-climate grapes--stuff like Riesling and Gewurztraminer, which can survive the cold climate. (The winters are cold. My girlfriend is from Rochester, so I've been there quite a few times and literally become frozen solid.) If you want more information on the Finger Lakes or New York Wine, there is only one resource--and that's the New York Cork Report. It's worth checking out. For what it's worth, the site is the reason that I went way out of my way to find this wine--the NYCR has a contagious enthusiasm for New York wines. It's beyond refreshing to hear someone lauding the values of local wine, from the US, consistently, and not mentioning California. Definitely a site to watch, even if you can't get 99% of the wines that they talk about easily.

Hermann Wiemer is from the Mosel region in Germany; his family has been making wine for over 300 years. Wiemer learned from some famous vintners--Dr. Thanisch is the most recognizeable. In 1973, he planted his first vines in New York, right next to Lake Seneca, because he saw similarities between the soils there and in the Mosel (which is obviosuly famous for Riesling). The winery grows several different Rieslings, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc.

This particular wine cost me 18$, and I had to have K&L ship it here from San Francisco (apparently, San Francisco is more open to trying new things than status conscious Los Angeles...). It's the only New York wine that K&L carries. As in singular. Aromas of green apple, peaches, and lime, with a stony streak right in the middle. Nice balance and acidity, with peach flavors, more minerals and a nice finish. Definitely Riesling. Sarah liked this wine, despite the fact that it's a Riesling (shocking, but yes, she's not a fan). Perhaps it was because this is essentially from where she grew up? I liked it too. I don't think that it has quite the same nervous tension and intense acidity that you get from German Kabinett Rieslings, but maybe it shouldn't, since this is a different place. It's going to be interesting to watch what happens with the Finger Lakes. Perhaps in a couple of years we'll have a Finger Lakes wine as top wine from Wine Spectator? B+

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