The 2016 Dry Riesling from Empire Estates provides our introduction to New York State in our eleventh episode of The Make America Grape Again Podcast. This wine is sourced from a number of different vineyards in the Finger Lakes AVA. With 100 wineries and roughly 11,000 planted acres of vineyards, the Finger Lakes AVA has one of the highest concentration of wineries outside of California. Indeed, New York as a whole ranks third in terms of grape production (by volume) after California and Washington.
In this episode, we talk a little bit about the history of Riesling, and about the etymology of grape names, which can be a fun, exciting philosophical endeavor. We also talk about how simplicity can be a very good thing with wine, and why Riesling does not have to be sweet, despite what the few bottles in your grocery store seem to tell you.
From the Tech Sheet for the 2016 Dry Riesling (which we did not have when we recorded this episode, sadly): Harvest occurred over a two-week period from October 6th right up to a major rain event on October 21st; allowing the grapes to be picked at peak ripeness. Each vineyard site was vinified entirely separately to best bring out individual character; from cold soaking decisions, to fermentation style, to storage in stainless steel or neutral oak. After resting through winter and spring, the wines were then blended together and bottled in early summer. The vineyard sites have a mix of mineral soil types ideal for dry Riesling, including: shale & gravel, shale & clay, sand over shale, and limestone & shale.
This bottle was donated for the cause by my friend Nicole Silvestri.