Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zero Degrees of Riesling 2010

The first Finger Lakes Riesling that we tasted was the Zero Degrees Riesling produced by Three Brothers Wineries and Estates from Geneva, NY.  The 0 Degrees is 1 of 4 wines in their Four Degrees production.  The 0 Degrees is the driest and the 3 Degrees is their sweet Riesling.  The 0 Degrees wine was harvested in September from the Estate vineyards located on the north east end of Seneca Lake.  The grapes for this wine are from vines 30+ years old.  Upon opening, this wine had a rather tight nose but slowly opened up to some passion fruit and floral notes, along with a hint of slate. The initial tastes included fresh apricots along with some pears. Then, a green apple covered in honey hits you in the mid palate.  Although it is a very dry wine with only 6 grams of residual sugar, the ph was 3.23 and to both my wife and I this was a rather sweet wine.  If the Zero degrees is the driest and the 3 is their sweet Riesling, I can only image how sweet it must be.  We started drinking this while cooking and then served it with our fish dinner.  We both agreed that it completely over powered the fish.  It is a nice wine to drink on the patio with some appetizers or for the first course of a salad with a citrus dressing.  Be sure to keep this wine COLD!!  Also, we tried it the next day and I highly urge you to finish the bottle upon opening.  Overall, a decent wine for relaxing on the patio or to serve with an appetizer.  We now have our base for comparing the other five Finger Lake Rieslings.  I would really enjoy doing a tasting of all 4 wines from the Four Degrees of Riesling production.  The Zero Degrees Riesling 2010 retails for $14.00.

Finger Lakes Wine Country Rieslings

The mayor of Geneva, NY has declared September 22, 2011 as "Riesling Day".  Over the next few weeks, I will be posting six Riesling which I received from the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.  Each of the wines are from the 2010 vintage.  Before I get started, here is an overview of this vintage as provided by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance (

The 2010 Finger Lakes harvest was the warmest growing season in nearly forty years and the wettest since 1973.  Combined with the early bud break in April and adequate rainfall throughout the summer and fall, the wines from this vintage are varied in style but with a slant towards lower acid, intense fruit and wonderful ripeness.  Some vineyards harvested Rieslings early while others chose to let their fruit hang through the end of October resulting in differing styles from the variety.

Riesling grows well in cool-climate and the varied soils of the Finger Lakes.  The lakes and sloping topography create a macro climate protecting the vines from the region's typical cold winters while warding off the high humid levels found in other non-arid wine regions.  Between the lakes, the varying meso and micro climates create Rieslings with incredible diversity and range.  Overall, the region produces wines of outstanding quality and value with most Rieslings retailing for under $20 per bottle.

The Finger Lakes is home to 96 of New York's 231 wine producers.  Although Rieslings are the most recognized wines in this region, other white's that are gaining attention include the chardonnay and the gewurztraminer.  The Rieslings are generally dry, semi-dry, semi sweet or sweet. 
In southern CT, we don't find many wines from the Finger Lake region so I am looking forward to trying these six bottles.   Stay tuned.