You’ll find several wines made in the Finger Lakes with vineyards listed on the label. Academically, I really enjoy the opportunity to taste wines grown in smaller parcels and kept separate throughout the winemaking process. But there is also a bit of marketing gimmick to them. If a vineyard isn’t distinctive and mature, you’re really just using vineyard desingations to do it. Some vineyards haven’t ‘earned’ it yet.

On the other end of the spectrum is Magdalena Vineyard, owned and managed by Hermann J. Wiemer. It is one of the few grand cru sites in the Finger Lakes. It’s one of the warmest sites on Seneca Lake and its location, resulting mesoclimate and the meticulous vineyard practices employed there result in wines of uncommon intensity.

2010 was a warm vintage and that comes through in Hermann J. Wiemer 2010 Magdalena Vineyard Riesling, with pronounced aromas of red pear and quince — along with classic lime and citrus blossom notes. As the wine warms, a distinct aroma of green fig emerges.

Ripe and with a richness those unfamiliar with this vineyard may not expect, the medium-bodied palate brings layers of pears and peaches and underripe mango fruit, but with beautifully integrated, citrusy acidity to slice through that richness. Green fig lurks in the background here as well, poking its head up leading int a long, juicy finish tinged with green apple skin.

Producer: Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12.5%
Price: $36

 (4 out of 5, Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)