Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Taste of “The Other 46” for the 2011 Summer of Riesling

At the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference participants had the chance to taste wines from “The Other 46”, which is this case was open to wines from states other than California, Washington, Oregon and New York. I seized on this opportunity and tasted as many of them as I could. Wines from Missouri, Ohio, Maryland, Texas, Indiana and our host state Virginia were poured. To me this was the ultimate experience of exploration, tasting wine from states that have a local reach that I might not otherwise easily have the chance to try.

It was with the above approach that efforts from both my mother (thanks Mom!) and I culminated in the organization of an Other 46  / Summer of Riesling tasting of wines at home. I exempted my own state, NH, swapping it out for New York in lining up wines, with the states of New York, Michigan and Connecticut represented in our tasting. As I mentioned in my recent posts from my one-day vacation to Maine, I was not successful procuring Riesling from  that state, and slow progress in sourcing Riesling from MA, RI and VT means that I am at risk of not finishing my tour of New England for Summer of Riesling, but I’m trying!

No casual wine tasting is complete without some snacks. As you can see from the picture below, we did pretty good this time! Parmesan, Grafton Village Cheese Smoked Cheddar and Berkshire Blue were paired with peaches, strawberries, apples and crusty bread for a wide range of earthy and fruit flavors to pair with the wines.

The first wine was the Sharpe Hill 2005 Dry Riesling from Connecticut. The nose had a petrol element to it that I was quite surprised to find in a Riesling made outside Europe where I typically detect that aroma. I also found green apple aromas with hints of minerality. This wine is steely and stony on the palate, with minimal fruit. I conclude that the wine is showing its age, but hasn’t yet reached a place where I could say it is flawed. The finish is dry, of moderate length containing some citrus notes. This was the wine I felt has the most pronounced nose, and one I would recognize as a Riesling hands down.

I included my homemade 2008 Riesling/Gewurztraminer blend as a reference wine. Aromas of slate and sulfur were immediately found. In the mouth the wine has peach flavor, is off-dry and has a short finish. This wine is past its prime and isn’t really worth drinking.

The next wine was the Dr. Konstantin Frank 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of New York State. I found both apricot and herbs in the nose. The wine is slightly sweet with the flavors of peach and citrus, where the citrus builds and lingers along the finish. The acidity in the finish makes the wine much more refreshing than the early part of the taste might suggest. This was the wine with the best balance of the three wines tasted.

The last wine was the Chateau Grand Traverse 2010 Late Harvest Riesling from Michigan. Aromas of dried fruits, orange blossoms and spices emanate from the glass. There is also a bit of a wild aroma to the wine, similar to ice wines made from Riesling grapes. Flavors of orange and peach are wrapped some residual sugar that comes off much drier than I expected it to be. There is an acidity that comes in at the beginning of the finish, but it trails off long before the flavors do.

The more Rieslings I taste the more I want to try them from as many places where it is made. Do you have a favorite Riesling that isn’t made in CA, WA or OR? Leave a comment with the name, vintage and state of origin. Who knows, I might just seek it out and try it before the end of summer!



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