"I need to hear everyone singing," Peter Weiss said. "Because if I don't I'm going to think you're eating the grapes." I was on the west side of Keuka Lake hand-harvesting riesling at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery. Weiss, who is from Germany's famous Mosel region, is the winemaker responsible for riesling there.
'Finger Lakes' on Serious Eats
For me, this grape is just the ticket for autumn: herbal, earthy, spicy but never heavy. If you're drinking domestically this Thanksgiving, look to these 6 delicious examples from New York, Washington State, and California.
The grape harvest has begun in the Finger Lakes! Thanks to Upstate Wine Company, which distributes many Finger Lakes wines to restaurants and wine shops in the NYC area, I had the chance to visit a handful of vineyards this week (and taste more than a handful of wines.) Highlights of the trip included sampling grapes on the vine, learning about harvest-time decision making from local winemakers, and discovering quite a few excellent bottles from this often underestimated region.
This Finger Lakes riesling may smell like a fragrant peach tart, but it tastes tart, with bright white grapefruit-like acidity that lingers. This is a crisp wine for a sunny day out on the water—the minerality reads as slightly salty, making this perfect for drinking with seafood salads or grilled calamari.
This mouthfilling wine from New York's Finger Lakes reminded us of sweet mandarin oranges and creamy peach yogurt—it's super smooth on the palate, almost glycerine. This plump and fruity wine had nice hints of fresh basil, and a delicate pillow of lemon-chiffon acidity, but it could have used a bit more zing and minerality.
This Finger Lakes Spätlese-style riesling is so lively, so full of tangy, twangy acidity that your tongue curls a bit your your mouth. It's tasty stuff. Up front, this wine tastes like powdered sugar sprinkled on top of lemon bars, but it has a bright splash of acidity that draws you through each sip.
In Summer in a Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes, Evan Dawson tells the stories of the winery owners, winemakers, and grape growers who helped launch the Finger Lakes wine industry in upstate New York.
Back in April, Michael Honig reminded us that at the heart, winemakers are farmers. "We don't grow bottles," he said, "we grow grapes." So today I wanted to take a look at how those grapes have been growing around the country. The weather has been somewhat erratic, hotter than usual in New York's wine regions, and cooler in California (with a few scorching days), but winemakers are hopeful about what they're seeing. Will 2010 be a great vintage or a catastrophic one?