WINE TRAVEL: Exploring The Finger Lakes AVA, New York State

The Finger Lakes AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Upstate New York. It’s centred  around four main lakes: Canandiauga, Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga, each of them boasts of its own unique viticulture characteristics lending to unique flavour profiles.

The deep lakes help to moderate the local microclimate. Stored heat is released from the lakes during the winter, keeping the local climate mild relative to surrounding areas and preventing early season frost. Most vineyards are planted on steep hillsides overlooking the lakes, which help provide the vines with good drainage, better sun exposure, and a reduced risk of frost. Soils are generally glacial, deep and free-draining.

The Finger Lakes AVA wine region is often compared to the winegrowing regions of Germany. Riesling, the quintessential German wine grape, is one of the most successful grape varieties grown in Finger Lakes vineyards. This region also specializes in sparkling wines and Ice wine, and is also known for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc, as well as Native American and French-American hybrid varieties.

High-quality Riesling of this cool-climate zone is produced in a full spectrum of  styles, ranging from mineral- and citrus-driven dry wines to juicy peach and apple inflected sweet, off-dry and semidry bottlings. There are 130 wineries in the AVA, each produces two to three styles of Riesling. Many expand their portfolio by providing expressive site-specific, single-vineyard bottlings. Each differs in microclimate, vineyard aspect and soil type, resulting in truly unique wines.

To discover this wine region, we suggest you to taste the HJW Vineyard Riesling 2016 by Hermann J. Wiemer. The estate was founded in 1979 and today it spans 80-acres of prime vineyard sites on the western slopes of Seneca Lake. Estate fruit is hand-harvested and hand-sorted. Vineyard qualities are isolated, worked in small lots, and blended for balance and texture. The small lot production allows for more control of the final product.

“Intensely concentrated in milky white blossoms and ripe stone fruit, this well-balanced Riesling hits all the marks. There’s breadth to the ripe fruit flavours, with plenty of acidity for balance. A delicate, soft grip of astringency holds everything firmly in place, leading into a powdered mineral finish.”- Alexander Peartree, Wine Enthusiast

Critic scores: WS 93, RP 93, WE 92, W&S 92
Aging ability: 2019-2024

Amsterdam, November 25th 2019