It’s quite a challenge. Tasting 10 wines in 60 minutes in a beat-the-clock format. Your TWAV tasting team was up to the challenge during the recent Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) Live Blogging session.
How Much Can You Learn About A Wine In 5 Minutes?
That’s the question posed annually during the WBC, which this year was held in Corning, New York.. In this speed tasting format, the winemaker or winery representative pours a glass for a table full of wine bloggers and then has 5 minutes to tell about the wine while the participants photograph, tweet and blog.
All the wines were from the Finger Lakes, host of the conference. Ideally I like time to experience and explore a wine – but this unique format exposes you to many more wines than you could normally experience. The Cabinator (tasting team member) and I we ready to tackle the quest in the interest of journalism!
White Wine Brilliance
Leading off the parade of wines was a true winner, the 2012 Dr. Frank Gruner Veltliner. Dr. Konstantin Frank was the pioneer who introduced vinifera grapes to the Finger Lakes. His namesake winery consistently produces some of the best wine in this region. The Gruner was delicate, elegant and rich with tropical fruit.
The 2014 Keuka Spring Vineyards Dynamite Vineyard Gerwurztraminer continues the trend toward single vineyard white wines in the Finger Lakes. When this vineyard was originally planted, dynamite was used to break up the rocks. Today it is the wine that rocks. It offers a light acidity that tingles on the palate and the 45% barrel fermentation and aging in old oak gives it a depth of flavor.
There are so many fantastic dry Rieslings in the Finger Lakes, it is hard to point to one as the king of the hill. A case could certainly be made for the 2012 Wagner Caywood East Dry Riesling. The vineyard has been producing exceptional grapes for 90 years. It offers lime and nectarine flavor notes laced with pleasing minerality.
Looking For Something Different: How About Vidal Blanc?
The 2014 Americana Vineyards Apparition is a wine that haunted me during WBC. This is a 100% Vidal Blanc wine that is semi-dry and with pineapple and apricot flavors. It was my first taste of Americana wine and I found it great. I had some on the post-excursion tour and liked it even more.
A new experience for me was the 2014 Atwater Skin Fermented Chardonnay. This is an “orange” wine. The fermentation on the skins imparts color, coolness and complex flavors.
The 2010 Casa Larga Delle Stelle Vidal Ice Wine is considered by some to be the flat-out best ice wine there is. With residual sugar at 19.7%, pair this with crème brulle, apple desserts or ice cream.
The 2014 Idol Ridge 2014 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine put a positive spin on the cold and nasty Polar Vortex. It was heck to live through, but froze the grapes just right for this silky, sweet wine.
A Wide Ranging Portfolio of White Wines
After seven wines we were battling palate fatigue, but we couldn’t tap out before tasting this next trio of wines.
Wine making excellence oozes from the 2014 Boundary Breaks #239 Dry Riesling. Named for the Geisenheim #239 clone, this wine was the best of the 10 wines we sampled. Perfectly balanced acidity, mouth watering minerality and subtle stone fruit flavors make this wine exceptional.
For something completely different, we tried the 2014 Montezuma Edelzwicker. Edelzwicker is a blend of Riesling (64%) and Gerwurztraminer (36%). A subtle sweetness, green apple and peach flavors make this a pleasant sipper.
We rounded out our tasting with the 2013 Hazlitt Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. This is not a grape variety you associate with the Finger Lakes, but this was remarkably good. Although after sampling nine other wines, I can’t provide a detailed description of why!
Finger Lakes wineries produce the best Riesling in the US. The Gerwurztraminer is also exceptional. This tasting reaffirmed the high standards and also enabled us to sample wines from a few Finger Lakes wineries we’ve yet to visit. This was 60 minutes of solid gold winetasting!