Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Finger Lakes 2011 Rieslings

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity, along with 23 other wine bloggers and writers and a panel of eight winemakers to attend a virtual tasting celebrating the release of the 2011 Finger Lakes Rieslings. This was the second year I was given this opportunity, so I thought this would be a great time to compare the 2011 vintage against an extraordinary 2010. What I did learn is that, at least for me, without tasting both vintages together it is almost impossible to make a comparison based on notes or reviews from last year.  So, I'll put it bluntly, the 2011 vintage is as good as the 2010.  Why??  Because I liked them both, period.
Each participant in the virtual tasting was sent eight Rieslings.  The samples were a very nice representation of different growing regions within the Finger Lakes. Here is what we tasted:
Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars  2011 Dry Riesling
Ravines Wine Cellars                      2011 Dry Riesling
Lucas Vineyards                              2011 Dry Riesling
Sheldrake Point Winery                   2011 Dry Riesling
Fox Run Vineyards                          2011 Reserve Riesling
Swedish Hill Winery                         2011 Riesling
Lakewood Vineyards                        2011 Riesling
Knapp Winery & Vineyard                2011 Riesling

The dry Rieslings were tasted first.   Residual sugar contents ranged from .6% to 1.0%.   The dry and semi-dry Finger Lakes Rieslings have always been my favorite, but as my wine experience broadened to were I can now enjoy the sweeter style wines, I enjoy them all equally.
I had already posted my review on the Dr. Frank and Ravines in July.  The remaining two I tasted during the week leading up to the virtual tasting and found them to be very much the same.  Lemon and grapefruit like citrus, orange zest with some pineapple, hints of green apple and slate aromas.  Nice acidity and mineral with citrus and peach, nectarine and apricot flavors filling the mouth.  I like the drier Riesling with salmon, haddock, scallops and grilled or roasted chicken.
The second flight of tastings contained residual sugar from 2.2% to 3.4%.  Not really a sweet, but more of a semi-sweet Riesling.  When trying to come up with a short phrase to describe or compare the Riesling to the dry Riesling, I would have to say "more eloquent."
I found lots of aromas of honeysuckle, melon, tropical fruits, pineapple, pink grapefruit and lime.  Nice, well balanced with flavors of tropical fruits, melon, juicy ripened peach, citrus, pineapple and a little slate with honey.  All these wines are fantastic with spicy oriental foods or white meats.  I like these sweeter Rieslings with burritos and quesadillas loaded with jalepeno peppers and BBQ chicken with cajun style rubs.
Now to stock up on Finger Lakes Riesling and more. On Dec.1st  we will be attending the Holiday Shopping Spree on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail and if a kind soul wants to rid themselves of two or three tickets to the second week end(sold out) of Deck the Halls on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, we'll be there also.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Inkberry Mountain Estate Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Starting to find a spot on my most liked wine list for Cabernet blends.  I recently reviewed a Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese from Italy that was very enjoyable and now found a very tasty Shiraz/Cabernet blend from the Central Ranges of Australia, an Inkberry Mountain Estate 2010($13).  A blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.

*Inkberry Shiraz Cabernet is 100% estate grown and crafted from our high elevation Mountain Estate. This extreme elevation exposes our grapes to an intense amount of sunlight and UV rays. This generous sunlight gives our small grapes an amazingly dark,"inky" color.  *Inkberry.com

I opened this one while watching some late night TV.  I also diced up a few bites of extra sharp cheddar cheese and crackers to munch on with the wine. I enjoyed a few glasses before bed and finished, very nicely, the following evening with some BBQ pork ribs.
On the nose I got both red and black berries with plum and some spice.  Also got a little mineral aroma, reminiscent of coal dust.   Growing up in the coal region of Pennsylvania, that aroma is kinda easy to pick up, but I never got that in a wine before, even with PA wines.  The berries and plum were still there on the palate with a little more spice and some chocolate.  The finish was moderate, spicey with hints of pepper and espresso. Very enjoyable wine with a very nice price and very highly recommended.