A great Riesling from New York, and not from the Finger Lakes

I had the pleasure of meeting Roman Roth in Long Island during Taste Camp in May, while he led us through a fabulous tasting at Wolffer Estate. While Roman is the head winemaker for Wolffer, he also makes wines under his own label “Grapes of Roth”. I had the opportunity to taste his Grapes of Roth Merlot and absolutely loved it and Roman was nice enough to grab me a bottle of the sold out 2002 from his secret stash. In addition to Merlot, Roman has been bottling a Riesling since 2007 under his label.

A couple of weeks ago I received a nice email from Roman asking if I would like to try the 2008 Riesling ($22) and of course I jumped at the opportunity. One, because I love Riesling and two, because I enjoyed his Merlot so much.

The grapes for 2008 Riesling come from two separate vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island – “The fruit source for this Riesling is 68%Split Rock Vineyard, located just east of Greenport, owned by Michael Kontokosta. The location on the far end of the North Fork with its pronounced maritime influence is particularly important. The cooling breeze is perfect for Riesling, preserving a lively acidity, yet allowing excellent maturation and ripening of the grapes. 32% is from Martha Clara Vineyards, located in the warmer Riverhead area, bringing fourth wonderful richness” – Roman Roth

grapesofroth_rieslingMy Tasting Notes:

nose: tangerine, dried apricot, honey, banana peel

taste: apricot, pear, orange zest, slate, star fruit

mouthfeel: full body with tons of acidity

finish: long with just a kiss of sweetness to brighten up the fruit

I drank this with some vegetarian tacos and it paired very well. Overall both Megan and I were impressed by the wine and Roman’s German heritage is evident in the wine. If I had one complaint about the wine it would be that I didn’t get any of the classic petrol notes that I really enjoy in my Riesling. Other than that, the touch of sweetness helped make the fruit more vibrant and rich but was balanced by the racy acidity that ran across the palate. I plan on grabbing a couple more bottles when I head up to Long Island in October.


Categories: $20-$30, riesling, wine review | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “A great Riesling from New York, and not from the Finger Lakes

  1. Looking for petrol in a wine so young? Rare my friend! 😉

    This vintage is VERY different from his 2007, which was sweeter…this one is by far my preferred!

    He’s found a great little vineyard to source grapes for this wine…and I’m including this wine in my TasteNY tasting next week. Curious to see how it stacks up with all the Finger Lakes wines.

  2. vcuspoon

    Thanks for the comment Lenn. I didn’t think that Petrol should necessarily be there in an ’08 wine, just that I really like that in my Rieslings. More of a common attribute in more aged wines, rare, as you put it in a young wine. Also being my first Riesling from Long Island – didn’t know if it ever shows up.

    Geeky stuff for your new contributor Mr Mansell –
    The petrol note is considered to be caused by the compound 1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene (TDN),[17] which during the aging process is created from carotenoid precursors by acid hydrolysis. The initial concentration of precursors in the wine determines the wine’s potential to develop TDN and petrol notes over time. From what is known of the production of carotenoids in grapes, factors that are likely to increase the TDN potential are:[16]

    * Ripe grapes, i.e., low yields and late harvest
    * High sun exposure
    * Water stress, which is most likely in regions which do not practice irrigation, and there primarily in certain dry vineyard sites in hot and dry years
    * High acid content

  3. John,

    I too was impressed with the Grapes of Roth after TasteCamp and prefer Rieslings that have a bunch of acidity so will have to try to find this one. I haven’t been too successful tracking down LI wines here in Corning yet. I should have brought an extra suitcase to TasteCamp I guess!

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