Need some wines for a holiday party or gift?
Three Finger Lakes wines are a good bet, as all have been included in recent “Best Of” lists in the national wine press. Accolades for Keuka Spring Vineyards, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard and Ravines Wine Cellars will not come as a surprise to people familiar with Finger Lakes wines, as are all considered to be among the top tier of the wineries in the region.
Keuka Spring 2017 Gewürztraminer ($17)
Wine Enthusiast ranked the 2017 Gewürtztraminer from Keuka Spring Vineyards in PennYan as number 100 on its Top 100 Wines of 2018. It noted its fragrant perfume of rose petals, melon, ginger and white pepper spice, as well as flavors of juicy yellow apple, melon, spiced potpourri and jasmine. The magazine said it narrowed the list based on the quality-to-price ratio, drinkability and availability of the wines.
Keuka Spring Vineyards has been making a name for its Gewürtztraminers. This same wine also won the Governor’s Cup, awarded to the best score of the 924 entries, at the 33rd New York Wine Classic in August.
I tasted this wine in October and swooned over the heady floral aroma; purchasing a bottle was a no-brainer for me, and I am looking forward to enjoying it at home.
Hermann J. Wiemer HJW Vineyard Riesling 2016 ($40)
Wine, beer and spirits website VinePair named this Riesling number two of its 50 Best Wines of 2018. VinePair described the wine as dry, age-worthy, and absolutely delicious — and “the most stunning Riesling currently being made in America.” High praise indeed. VinePair’s top 50 list focuses on wines that are drinkable, interesting, readily available in the U.S. and offer great value for the price.
The wine received also high marks in Wine Spectator, which gave it an impressive rating of 93. James Molesworth, senior editor, described it as bright and pure, and found notes of yellow apple, white peach, chamomile and lemon pith.
The wine was grown in its HJW Vineyard, which was planted in 1976 at the same location as the winery on Route 14 in Dundee.
Ravines Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2016 ($18)
While Wine Spectator didn’t include a Finger Lakes wine in its Top 100 list this year, its Top 100 Wine Values list included this Riesling from the Ravines Wine Cellars in Geneva.
Molesworth described the wine as “very lively,” and found notes of peach, yellow and green apple and honeysuckle.
It’s worth mentioning that 2016, in which the Finger Lakes experienced a drought, was a high-quality year for the region and set ratings records in Wine Spectator. Rieslings from Wiemer, Forge Cellars, Keuka Lake Vineyards, Ravines Wine Cellars, Empire Estate, Silver Thread, Boundary Breaks, Sheldrake Point and Lamoreaux Landing all received outstanding ratings. High-quality Rieslings are known for their ability to age well, so if you are lucky enough to spot a 2016 from these wineries, they may well be worth grabbing for your cellar or for a gift.