Who needs the Yankees?
Especially when you've got Finger Lakes Riesling to be proud of! A recent NY Times article covered an annual contest of top New York wines as Hermann J. Wiemer's 2005 Dry Riesling was lauded as the best in show. This region, pioneered by Dr. Konstantin Frank's first vinifera plantings in the early 1950's, is just beginning to receive global recognition. The Finger Lakes region, which started out as a haven for jug swirl and sweet labrusca craving plonk guzzlers, has blossomed to become acknowledged as the United States prime riesling site. Comparisons to Germany's Mosel River Valley frequently arise in the sewing circles of local critics, winemakers and aficionados. The promise for potential world class riesling has not only paved the way for the New York faithful to share a sense of pride, but strengthened the state's resolve in becoming a destination for food and wine. The New York Wine and Culinary Center, which was just recently opened in Canandaigua (in the Finger Lakes), will serve as the proverbial headquarters for tasting and educating all things New York. It is my hope that this not only encourages New Yorkers and Americans alike to acknowledge the potential of the Lakes terroir, but also that of the riesling grape in general. For a country that thrives on surplus and size, the days of monstrous, alcoholic fruit bombs from the west coast have not only become tiresome, but impractical. Our oversized bellies could certainly benefit from a splash of positive European cultural traits, such as balance and harmony. There is no better wine to pair with a broader range of cuisine than that of a bracingly fresh riesling. While alcoholic cabernets can play the role of ketchup by robbing the foods flavor instead of enhancing it, riesling provides an ideal supplementary role w/ it's racy attributes that some Americans are starting to appreciate. Up until a few short years ago it would have been heresy to think of coupling an appetizer w/ anything but a riesling from Alsace or Germany. Perhaps American born rieslings can introduce a much needed European concept of dining to our homeland. Our palates will thank you.