Culinary_centerBy Jason Feulner, Finger Lakes Correspondent

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the Second Annual Rendezvous with Riesling event at the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, New York. As the name implies, this event brings together sampling of New York wineries, mostly from the Finger Lakes, to showcase their most recent riesling offerings.

I highlight some individual wines below.

This event also served as my first visit to the Wine and Culinary Center. While I had always assumed that it had something to offer, I’ll admit that I was a bit dismissive of a centralized Finger Lakes venue. If I happened to be in the Finger Lakes, why not just spend my time visiting the wineries at their own locations?

Frankly, I was blown away by the overall quality of the Wine and Culinary Center. It was laid out wonderfully, the decor was inspiring, and the staff was friendly and courteous. This places simply exudes excellence in wine and showcases a regional pride. And, as this event demonstrated, the advantage of a centralized venue is that one can sample a variety of wines from different areas without the burden of extensive travel.

I highly recommend the Center to all LENNDEVOURS readers. If you are planning a Finger Lakes trip, make sure to check out the website and see what is being featured during your stay. The Center is a time-saver but it is just as beautiful and fun as many other tasting rooms in the Finger Lakes. Plus, some of the events add dimensions to wine education that most tasters cannot gather from a winery visit alone.

The Wines
The wineries brought their rieslings to be sure, but many also brought other wines as well. There were a lot of good wines, but I will highlight a few that grabbed my attention that night. 

But first, a general riesling observation: the 2006 dry rieslings are excellent almost across the board, while the 2007s seem to excel in the semi-dry style and falter a bit in the dry. A select few wineries pulled off a good dry 2007, but I think the semi-dry is a safer bet for a blind grab off the store shelf.

Some highlights:

2007 Silver Thread Semi-dry Riesling:
A great example of the 2007 vintage which seems to find the point of
balance between ripeness and acidity at a slightly sweeter level.

2006 Lamoreaux Landing Gewurtztraminer: Just plain wow — this keeps on pleasing with its hints of spice over a firm mineral structure.

2006 Treleaven Late Harvest Resling:
A warm, dry summer and a long, temperate fall brought these grapes to heights of
complex sweetness that is pure and delicious. This is probably the best
example I’ve ever had in the Finger Lakes.

2006 Standing Stone Dry Riesling: You
won’t find this at the winery any more after Wine Spectator rated it a
best-buy. If you see this on the store shelf, grab a few bottles now.
This is a fine example of a strong, mineral-backed 2006 Finger Lakes

2007 Ravines Dry Argetsinger Vineyard Riesling: This
wine was sourced from a single vineyard with unique soil for the
region.  This riesling is one of the few dry styles for 2007 that
achieved a ripe but complex flavor beyond the limitations of the
vintage.  Only a few cases made, so call the winery directly for this

2006 Dr. Frank’s Dry Riesling: This
riesling is a solid and widely available example of a great 2006. The
mineral taste is strong but nuanced on the palate and the fruit has
hints of apple and melon.

2007 Hunt Country Late Harvest Vignoles: Another
strong example of what a hot fall produced in terms of late-harvest
wines. Flavors of nuts, honey, and citrus fruit make this a diverse
pairing option.

2005 Shaw Dry Riesling: This is one of the few 2005 rieslings
still available from any Finger Lakes winery as the proprietor is
slowly releasing his supply. The 2005 vintage has a little bit of
everything, which is evident by this wine in terms of both its
fruit-forward nature but its underlying backbone.  Most 2005’s are not
as austere as examples of the 2006 vintage.