With each set of new releases, Nancy Irelan and Mike Schnelle — the husband-and-wife team behind Red Tail Ridge Winery — cement their place as one of the top wineries in the Finger Lakes.  The wine geek in me is drawn to Nancy’s (she’s the winemaker) Obscure Varietal Series, which includes things like dornfelder, teroldego and blaufrankisch, but those are small production and may never be anything more. To be a top-tier Finger Lakes winery, you need to do riesling well.

Nancy does that consistently and Red Tail Ridge Winery 2012 “RTR Estate Vineyard” Riesling ($16) is just another example of that.

Green tea, lime blossom, lychee, lemon and lime peel and just-barely-ripe peach come together on a nose that shows nice complexity and intensity.

The just-off-dry palate is driven a bit more by those peach flavors, which turn a bit tropical and candied as the wine warms to room temperature. A sprinkling of citrus zest and crushed slate adds complexity. With a bit of mid-palate richness and good, well-integrated acidity, the palate is well balanced, though I wouldn’t mind just a bit more verve. A long, nearly-dry finish more than invites another sip — it demands one.

Producer: Red Tail Ridge Winery
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12%
TA: 6.9 g/L
pH: 3.06
Residual Sugar: 15.8 g/L
Production: 852 cases
Price: $16*

(3.5 out of 5 | Very Good, Recommended to Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)