Worldwide, Riesling, Various Wineries

Feb 1, 2008
2008 / February 2008

In its quiet elegant way, Riesling is becoming the new Chardonnay, the white wine of popular favor. And for those who have always touted its racy acidity, floral aroma, delicious taste and absence of the oakiness that wood aging often gives to Chardonnay, it’s about time.

But while Chardonnay is ubiquitous, seeming to grow anywhere, fine Riesling shows its best only when planted in cool climates. Germany has long been the benchmark for Riesling. Austria and Alsace do wonders with it, too. In the United States, while Oregon and, to some degree, Washington State make very good Riesling, no American vineyards have equaled the Riesling produced in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

The man who first proved that this cold northern region could grow fine, cool climate grapes was Dr. Konstantin Frank. Two generations later, his grandson, Fred Frank, is carrying on that legacy, producing such gems as Dr. Frank Dry Riesling 2006. It is a steely, well-balanced wine of lovely Granny Smith apple and grapefruit flavors with a long, delicious finish.

Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars’ offers its 2006 Dry Riesling, clean, fresh and fruity; and its terrific 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling that is all fruits and flowers in the aroma, rich and round in the body with a citrus-like acidity that keeps the flavors in balance.

Located in New York’s Hudson Valley region, Rivendell specializes in Rieslings made from grapes grown in the Finger Lakes region. It produces a clean, pure, near-perfect Dry Riesling in its Rivendell 2006 version; and in its semidry SoHo Cellars Johannisberg Riesling 2006, an exquisite, elegant wine.

Hermann Wiemer comes from the Mosel Valley of Germany where his family has been involved in winemaking for 300 years. So it is not surprising that at the Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, he produces Mosel-like Rieslings — a crisp dry; a harmonious semi-dry; and a rich late harvest.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards’ 2006 Homestead Reserve Riesling is tasty, semi-dry and has a round, silky body. Lakewood Vineyards too has a delightful semi-dry Riesling 2006 with a nose of delicate flowers.

These wines are not made in enormous quantities nor widely distributed, but they are well worth seeking out.

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