In March of 2017 I was invited to attend ‘Riesling Camp’ in New York’s Finger Lakes. This was an immersive deep-dive into Riesling and the history of the region as a wine-producing area. I was shocked to discover a rich history, an incredibly tight-knit community, good food and even better wines.
A note on the Geologic history: carved by glaciers, the 11 lakes are some of the deepest in the world. Seneca lake is the biggest, deepest, and the most classic area for grape production. The deep lakes help to moderate the micoclimates around the lakes. So even though it is extremely cold in winter, the area around the lakes is warmer and protected.
A note on the History of Viticulture: can be traced back to 1829, when the region became known for sparkling wine production. Through multiple ups and downs (including 2 world wars, prohibition, and finally competition from California) the Finger Lakes has managed to hold on to its roots and is more successful than ever. For those of you looking to visit the region, a stop at Dr. Konstatin Frank’s tasting room is hugely informative and traces the modern history back to the ’50’s.
DEP’s is proud to have sourced the best examples of wines coming out of New York. We hope you like them!
FORGE Riesling Classique, $14.99 regular price $22
With a focus on the East side of Seneca Lake, the threesome behind Forge create wines of purity and elegance, with a distinct nod to the old world. The site was once home to a vineyard of native grapes that had been neglected since the 1980’s. The Forge Riesling Classique is a yearly favorite at Wine Spectator, receiving incredible reviews. Truly a standard bearer for what this region is capable of.
BOUNDARY BREAKS Riesling Ovid Line Dry, $12.99
Bruce Murray was retired when he tasted a Riesling from Germany that literally changed his life. It was made by Helmut Donnhoff, a legend in the Nahe. This particular Riesling was so impactful that Bruce decided to start a brand new venture–make wine in the Finger Lakes with the goal to make the best Riesling possible. Now, with a brand new tasting room to welcome visitors, Boundary Breaks is poised to be the quality leader for the region. He says, ‘the vineyard drives the wine’ and is heavily invested in his site, which features Aurora silt loam planted to 5 different clones of Riesling.
RAVINES Pinot Noir, $23.99
Morten Hallgren, who was raised in Provence, is the beating heart of Ravines. His family owned an ancient estate in France. An explorer at heart, Morten set off for the ‘new world’ in the hopes of furthering his winemaking education. He was recruited by Dr. Konstantin Frank (perhaps the biggest name in the Finger Lakes) and fell in love with the region.In 2000 the Hallgrens purchased a 17 acre parcel of land on a glacier-carved hillside on the Eastern slopes of Keuka lake. This land is located at the widest part of the lake which allows grapevines to receive maximum benefit from its temperature-moderating effects, it has a good slope which keeps the mineral rich soils well-drained, and is situated between two deep ravines, which drain cold air from the land during the winter. These ravines are the namesake of the winery.
RAVINES Cabernet Franc, $19.99
Poised to become the most planted red grape in the Finger Lakes, Cabernet Franc does surprisingly well in this climate. Although they are always chasing ripeness, Ravines Cabernet Franc is deliciously fruit-forward and spicy with perfect balance, soft tannins and a round mouthfeel.