Taste NY – A blind tasting of Finger Lakes Riesling

Last night I had the opportunity to taste 12 Finger Lakes Rieslings, as part of Taste NY, organized by Lenn Thompson of The New York Cork Report. I’ve actually been sitting on these wines for a while and finally got off my butt and organized the tasting. In attendance were some of my wine geek friends, 2 of which are wine distributors, a co- worker at my shop, and a manager from another wine shop in town, as well as my wife (six in total). I assembled this group, one, because I knew they would take it seriously, and two because we all enjoy Riesling. In addition to the 12 from the Finger Lakes, I threw in one from Virginia to mix things up. The wines were all tasted blind, and we used the 20pt scoring system.

The Results…

2008 Stick Dog Riesling – VA

2008 Billsboro Dry Riesling – FL

2006 Red Newt Cellars Reserve – FL

2008 Anthony Road Semi-Dry Riesling – FL

2008 Lamoreaux Landing Red Oak Vineyard – FL

2008 Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Homestead Reserve – FL

2006 Sheldrake Point Reserve – FL

2007 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling – FL

2006 Ravines Wine Cellars Riesling – FL

2008 Fox Run Vineyards – FL

2007 Wiemer Vineyards Dry Riesling – FL

2007 Atwater Vineyads Dry Riesling – FL

2005 Heron Hill Old Vines Riesling – FL

As you can see the Virginia wine won, but only by a nose, which was a HUGE shocker. Before tasting, I honestly thought the NY wines would blow it away. Plus the top 5 were not separated by much, here are the scores for the top 5, based on the 20pt system.

  1. 14.83
  2. 14.00
  3. 13.75
  4. 13.67
  5. 13.5

Overall the wines that scored highest were the ones that showed a balanced presentation of fruit, acid and body. The ones that didn’t show well had out of balance acidity, creating bitter, chemical tasting off-notes. A general comment that went around the table was as if the wines had been manipulated with acid, in an exaggerated way. I don’t know enough about those vintages but understand ’08 was a pretty good one for Finger Lakes Riesling and shouldn’t have required acid additions.

We all had fun, and enjoyed the opportunity to taste so many wines that we don’t see here in Virginia too often.

A special thanks to Lenn for including me in Taste NY and to all the wine makers who sent samples of their wines for me to evaluate. Stay tuned for a future post on some specific tasting notes for some of the wines!


Categories: riesling, wine review | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Taste NY – A blind tasting of Finger Lakes Riesling

  1. Hey John, thanks for the roundup. It seems like all of the tasting groups had pretty different experiences. I recall liking the Anthony Road and the Hazlitt as well, though Lenn told me Hazlitt was very unpopular amongst most of the other groups. Unfortunately we had a little mixup in our group and the Ravines and Lamoreaux weren’t present, but they would have been high on my list based on previous experience with those wines. Was there anything specific that set the Virginia Riesling apart from the others? Do you think there was something familiar about it that made it fare well with you guys? Not that you only drink VA wines, of course….

  2. vcuspoon

    Hey Erika
    THanks for the comment!

    Nothing specific except a better “fruit” showing. And except Megan and I, the other 4 people at the tasting hadn’t had a VA Riesling before so I don’t think there wouldn’t have been anything familiar for them.


  3. WOW, a Virginia Riesling edges out an impressive list from NY. I’m impressed. I’m not familiar with Stick Dog? I’m a big fan of Anthony Road, quality Rieslings every year that deserve more press than they receive from the big boys. Cheers!

  4. John,

    Interesting. As for the VA wine I’ll pick some up tonight and try my own tasting this weekend. I’m surprised ab out the Dr. Konstantin and Lamoreaux Landing Rieslings.. These are usually my favorites when I travel up north. You might try the “non” dry Rieslings from each vineyard….


  5. Cool – Big ups to the Stick Dog. Another great example of the growing quality of Virginia wine!

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