Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Finger Lakes Wine Festival — Reislings Ruled —

by Randy Agness

What fun visiting the 2013 Finger Lakes Wine Festival. Elizabeth Mayer Public Relations Manager for Watkins Glen International said it best: “The Finger Lakes Wine Festival brings wineries and wine enthusiasts together for the chance to enjoy the region’s simple pleasure.”
As many wineries have begun to bottle their 2012 vintage, one opinion was evident – expect outstanding wines.
Matt Cassavaugh, Winemaker at Casa Larga in Fairport, was showing off the 2012 Riesling. Despite Matt’s modesty, the Casa Larga Riesling’s taste was off the charts. Great wines were the rule, not the exception for 2012.
White Spring’s Sauvignon Blanc was judged best white wine at the 2013 San Francisco Wine Festival, a difficult task in New York, a monumental task in heart of California.

At Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, the challenge is how to top the Winery of the Year honors. The simple answer from the staff was, “We make the next the vintage.”

Other wineries too are facing the challenge of success. Lakewood’s Riesling considered a favorite in many wine competitions has introduced “Three Generations Riesling” – sure to please. When asked the most popular pour, Beverly Stamp replied, “Everything!”

Not all the wine poured wins fame and fortune, but Rasta Ranch’s Uncle Homer’s Red (Concord wine) was flying off the shelves, literally, in gallons. Rasta Ranch maintains a strong following dedicated to keeping the 60’s alive.

Montezuma Vineyard was serving up fruit and mead-based wines pleasing to the palate.

It’s a family affair with Miles Cellars. Owner Doug Miles was grinning from ear to ear saying: “2012 will be a fantastic year for wine in the Finger Lakes.” When asked about the effect of the great amount of rain so far this season, there were some concerns.

“We have had to increase the frequency of treatments”, replied Doug Miles. This concern was confirmed as Matt Cassavaugh remarked: “The amount of vigor in the vines has been a challenge, but we are staying on top of it”.

For many wineries attending, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival remains their biggest showcase for the entire year. Meg Tipton, the Assistant Wine-maker at Keuka Springs Winery, stated: “Riesling has made the Finger Lakes a top destination point for wine enthusiasts, yet many become pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of excellent wines produced in the region”.

The distance that visitors traveled to get the chance to taste a cross-section of Finger Lakes wines has been increasing — as a quick glance of license plates indicated.

From brief conversations, many first timers were glad they came, and promised to make regular trips to back to Fingers Lakes.