By Finger Lakes Correspondent, Jason Feulner

Riesling_du_monde_judging_2The Finger Lakes continues to earn recognition for its outstanding rieslings. Last week, at the 10th Annual Riesling du Monde tasting competition in Strasbourg, France, five Finger Lakes wineries placed in the gold medal category amidst a slew of riesling entries from prestigious German and French wineries. These Finger Lakes wineries include Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Dr. Konstantin Frank, Fox Run, Glenora Wine Cellars, and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards.

Each winery submitted its top 2006 riesling for review.

Fred Frank of Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars is keen on entering competitions like the Riesling du Monde due to the high-quality judging standards present at such events. "We believe it is important to submit our wines in national and international competitions because the wines are tasted blind by a large group of professional wine judges, resulting in an accurate reflection of quality."

Dr. Frank’s 2006 Dry Riesling has won 8 gold medals and 2 "Best of Class" awards at national and international wine competitions.

Glenora Wine Cellars produces their riesling from three different sites situated on the eastern and western slopes of Seneca Lake. "We blend it from all three sites," Glenora winemaker Steve DiFrancesco explains.  "It’s sort of like a Champagne cuvèe method of winemaking." DiFrancesco is convinced that, despite riesling’s versatility and ability to adapt to many regions, it excels in relatively few growing regions, the Finger Lakes among them.

Winemaker Tim Benedict of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards could not agree more. "There has been a consensus here in the Finger Lakes for a while now that our rieslings can stand toe-to-toe with the best rieslings in the world."  Benedict believes that the unique micro-climates of the Finger Lakes are perfectly suited for riesling production and that Finger Lakes rieslings belong in prestigious competitions like the Riesling du Monde.

The 2006 vintage was very kind to Finger Lakes rieslings, producing crisp and acidic wines that make an impression on the palate. While I am not at all surprised that these five wineries were able to win gold medals at an international event, I am convinced that several Finger Lakes wineries that likely did not enter submissions would also be worthy of such an award. Yes, the 2006 rieslings are that good, and the more I’ve been fortunate enough to taste, the more I’m convinced of that fact.

Grab those 2006 rieslings off the shelf while they are still available!