As the thermometer spikes upward in the month of May, the thoughts of this wine lover turn to crisp, chilled whites that can dispel the heat and humidity with the pop of a cork. We recently convened a group of friends to sample five tasty whites from the Finger Lakes wine region.
The wine (two Grüner Veltliner, two Gewürztraminer and a Pinot Gris) were provided by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance and the tasting took place through #winechat, a facilitated Twitter discussion hooking up wine media from around the country.
Joining us for the tasting were tasting team members Sax Man and Wine Chick as well as our two neighbors Tom and Debbie. Green Dragon displayed her culinary chops by whipping up some really great appetizers to pair with the wines including zucchini parmesan crisps, bratwurst, shrimp with sizzling sauce and a peanut butter mousse cheesecake pie.
We really enjoyed the format for the tasting. It kicked off at 9:00 PM Eastern, so we started at 7:00 with a tasting meal. This enabled us to chat, enjoy the wine and take some notes. I saved a bit from each bottle and was ready to go at 9:00 when most of the twittering began.
A few observations:
- Grüner Veltliner is on the rise in the Finger Lakes. That was one of the major surprises during our visit there earlier this month. It has some of the minerality of a Riesling but the fresh fruit of a Sauvignon Blanc.
- Gewürztraminer is a major strength of the Finger Lakes. Riesling may be king, but Gewürz is building an impressive castle right next door. The terroir is ideal for this grape.
- The Finger Lakes remains perhaps the tops in providing great value through outstanding wines at reasonable prices.
Thirsty Owl 2012 Pinot Gris – One of our favorite wineries on Cayuga Lake. Almost bone dry (0.1% residual sugar) we found this to be light, crisp and refreshing. A great summer patio wine. We also tasted an Italian Pinot Grigio and the Thirsty Owl was far and away superior.
Three Brothers 2011 Estate Reserve Grüner Veltliner – This wine is under their Stony Lonesome label and is a light straw color. It is listed as completely dry, but sure tasted semi-dry to us. It pairs outstandingly well with seafood. My neighbor (not a blogger) said, “How much of this do you have? I’ll take it back home and start blogging!” One of the favorites of the night.
Fulkerson Winery 2012 Grüner Veltliner – A pale gold wine, this is light and understated. This would be good to pair with delicate foods such as salads and poultry. Nice citrus tastes.
Knapp Winery 2011 Dry Gewürztraminer – Delivers spice up front and then some minerality. Was a delicious pairing with bratwurst. This is a subtle Gewürz that I really enjoyed. Only 116 cases produced.
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2012 Gewürztraminer – I tweeted that I consider Dr. Frank Wine Cellars the “mother ship” for the Finger Lakes. It was there that the movement for quality vinifera wines began in the region. This was the other big favorite of the night. It begins with minerality up front, which is followed by spice. Then the wine begins to open up with classic flavors of orange and citrus. This is an excellent wine that dances on the tongue and is a knockout with spicy Asian food.