Seneca Lake Riesling Country
New York’s Finger Lakes wine region is not as well known as other wine regions. However, its place in American wine history is secure. With grapes being planted as early 1800s, Finger Lakes is one of the country’s oldest wine regions.
During these early years, native grape varieties such as Concord and Niagara were used in winemaking. It wasn’t until the 1970s when two pioneers, Herman Wiemer and Charles Fournier transformed the region with the introduction of quality vinifera grape vines.
The Seneca Lake Wine Trail, the largest and most popular in the Finger Lakes region, was established in 1986. Today, approximately 34 wineries call this area home.
There’s nothing like experience. Whether you are talking about a championship football team, a time-tested corporate manager or a been-around-the-block-a-few times winemaker, a hefty whack of experience often leads to successful ventures. This is certainly the case with head winemakers Tim Miller of Chateau LaFayette Reneau and Steve DiFrancesco of Glenora Wine Cellars.
Miller has been worked for more than 30 wine harvests. His impressive resume includes wine-making duties at two other Finger Lakes wineries, Glenora Wine Cellars for 14 years and Swedish Hill Winery. Recently, this experience at LaFayette Reneau was rewarded with a “Best of the Show” by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. The Governor’s Cup was awarded to Miller and his team for their 2013 Semi-dry Riesling. In addition, the wine won honors as the Best White Wine, Best Overall Riesling and Best Medium-dry Riesling.
When consumers find a wine they love, adding it to their list of favorites is a no-brainer. They keep coming back because of consistency. Due to changing weather patterns and bad vintage years, winemaking is more challenging and consistency becomes an issue. But, that is not the case at Glenora.
Steve DiFrancesco has been member of the Glenora team since the late 1980s, taking over the helm as Head Winemaker in 1995. His long tenure, along with his assistant Chris King gives Glenora’s Rieslings tried-and-true fruity aromatics, as well as refreshing acidity.
Chateau LaFayette Reneau
The 2013 Dry Riesling is very light in color but very strong in flavor. On the nose it gives lemon and lime, with the same citrus coming through on the palate. This is a perfect wine to bring to a football party, especially for those of us on the West Coast were games start as early as 10 AM. The alcohol by volume is 12%, which isn’t extremely low; however, it allows for it to hold up to most foods. It really worked well with a hard and soft cheese plate mix.
When I tasted this wine with food, I knew it was a winner. I ate it with a grilled chicken breast and a cucumber salad. The charring from the grill, along with the vinegar from the salad held up nicely to the wine. I really enjoy a wine that you can continue drinking it long after the meal has been finished. This Chateau LaFayette Reneau wine fits that requirement. This is one of my new favorite casual-drinking Rieslings. I also like the $15 price.
Glenora Wine Cellars
Established in 1977, Glenora Wine Cellars was the first winery on Seneca Lake. For the white wine lover, it is a must stop on the wine trail as it produces wine from 11 different white grape varieties. However, today is all about their Riesling.
The 2013 Dry Riesling has a slightly golden color along with honey and lemon on the nose. It’s a very balanced wine with bright acidity.
This is a great food wine. With it, I had a pork loin served with apples and caramelized onions with a salad of mixed greens, roasted beets, walnuts and goat cheese. Maybe this Riesling has a natural affinity with cheese and apples since both are grown in New York State. With food, there was an added perception of sweetness, although the residual sugar is locked in at 14 g/l.
I really like the tropical taste of this wine as it warms up. I get more guava and mango flavors when I drink it as a sipping wine. I also tasted this dry Riesling with a cheese plate. Again there is great balance between the wine’s the fruit flavors, the acidity and creaminess of the cheese.