A few months ago, I wrote about the blight of students behaving badly during tastings at wineries in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Ever the diligent reporter, I decided it was only prudent to go check out the stories of drunken stripping and diving into Lake Seneca myself.
I was immediately disappointed as I didn't see any of the afore mentioned antics. However, was mollified by some interesting wines.
New York state is the third state in wine production, after California and Washington, and the Finger Lakes, with over 10,000 acres under vine, is the main producing region in the state. The striking geology of the region, the long narrow lakes, were formed by the gouging actions of glaciers. Characterized by a short growing season and cold winters, although somewhat mitigated by the micro-climate of being near such a large body of water, the region is well known for its Riesling - a common grape from Alsace. Continuing the Alsatian theme, some of the wineries do a very light red Pinot Noir. A deliciously full bodied rose / light red that I have not seen done that often.
The region also grows an incredible range of cold-resistant native American varietals: Niagra, Diamond, Isabella, Ravat 51 amongst others. In fact, during a long day of tasting I tried almost 10 new varieties of grapes, which allowed me to finally gain access to the Wine Century club (which i've written about before, here ).
While I was there I visited Lamoreaux Landing , Chateau Lafayette , Atwater and Bloomer Creek amongst others. Most wineries still produce several cheaper sweet wines, however, I was very excited by the drier wines (particularly those of Bloomer Creek), usually French varietals.
The Finger Lakes has some similarities with other budding wine regions, and I felt there were some similarities with the Loire Valley in terms of experimentation. Atwater Estates, for example, grows 16 different varieties on their 60 acres of land. Bloomer has 10+ on just 10 acres of land.
In all I tried about 60 wines and will be writing each up on my profile, for those interested.
Finally, I was lucky enough to go during harvest season and spent some time watching grapes being destemmed, crushed or tried those that were being fermented (the juice here ranged from wonderfully sweet when fresh, to painfully effervescent mid fermentation). Here's a video taken at Lamoreaux Landing showing them crushing some Pinot Noir:
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