Wines from New York State
New York State of Vines
New York is the third biggest wine-producing state in the USA. There are vineyards on Long Island, along the Hudson River and on the Lake Erie shoreline, but the most important and well-known region is the Finger Lakes.
This picturesque cluster of thin lakes is just south of Lake Ontario, and like the Canadian vineyards on the opposite shore, this is a cool climate region. Here, the lakes provide an important moderating effect on the temperatures, providing protection from frost in the spring and causing a warming effect in the summer.
The star performer among grape varieties in the Finger Lakes area is Riesling, though there is also a reasonable quantity of Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grown. Most producers make Riesling of several different sweetness levels.
From dry to sweet versions, the Finger Lakes is slowly but steadily cementing its reputation as this country’s best source for Riesling.” - James Molesworth
Riesling from New York State is able to hold its own alongside those from well-established regions in Germany or Austria, yet it is comparatively little known outside its own state boundaries. As such it remains one of the wine world’s few remaining secrets.
New York Wineries
One of New York state’s most historic wine estates, Villa Bellangelo has some vines dating back to 1866 which are still bearing fruit today. Previously known as Squaw Point, the name changed in 2002, since when they have focused on making Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer for whites, and Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for reds.
They source their fruit from vineyards around Seneca Lake, and make a wide variety of cuvées including single vineyard Rieslings to showcase their varying terroir, while their semi-dry Riesling was selected as one of the best from the Finger Lakes in a 2014 Wine Spectator feature.
“New York State is the most underated wine region in North America”
The variety of Fox Run’s wines shows how diverse the Finger Lakes is a winemaking region. Their complete portfolio includes nine different Rieslings, five other single varietal whites, three rosés, ten reds plus some port-style fortified wines too.
They have 20 hectares of vineyard which they manage in parcels according to the soil type and meso-climate. By studying the geology of their region, Fox Run want to reflect the specific flavours they believe are connected to the soil. Correspondingly, their viticultural practice follows sustainability principles to ensure the healthiness of the vineyard environment. Of the dozens of awards their wines have won, one of their proudest achievements is being one of only a few producers to have won triple gold in the Riesling du Monde competition.
The mission of David Whiting at Red Newt Cellars is to produce ‘life-changing Riesling’. There are nine different cuvées in their range, including six from specific blocks chosen for their particular distinction. Winemaker Kelby Russell has a particular penchant for lower alcohol styles of Riesling.
Based on the east of Lake Seneca, Red Newt source fruit from various growers around the lake to ensure they have access to the different styles and varieties of fruit they are looking for. They have been awarded numerous accolades, including being featured as one of Wine & Spirits magazine’s Top 100 Wineries Of The Year in 2011.
“As for places to keep your eye on, the Finger Lakes of New York are producing Riesling that Rocks”
The history of the Brotherhood brand stretches back to 1810, and the winery is the oldest in the entire USA – they even managed to survive the prohibition era by selling sacramental wine! Situated in the Hudson Valley region, today Brotherhood produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.
Since 2005, a new partnership has resulted in significant investment to upgrade the winery and acquire new vineyards, allowing quality to improve with every vintage. This is helped by a winemaking team who have had experience working in Champagne, Burgundy, Virginia and the Napa Valley.