New York's Finger Lakes are home to spectacular natural beauty, and nestled among the lakes and glacier-carved landscape are more than 200 of wineries. One of the most successful grapes that has been cultivated in this northern clime is Riesling.
You can find a number of styles of Riesling in the region, ranging from sweet, to off-dry, to dry as a bone with bracing acidity.
I was recently sent a bottle of the Shaw Vineyard Riesling and was charmed. The wine had a delicacy with aromas of lemon that were also present in the palate. But in this bottle - a 2008 - I also noted lovely ripe pear flavors. Although drinking Riesling with a few years - or even decades - age is a common practice in the Mosel, we in America tend to drink this varietal wine a year or two after it's picked. And, while they are very good young, Finger Lakes Rieslings have the acidity and ripeness to age, so once in a while it's a pleasant experience to sample a six-year-old like this.
This is a medium-bodied white wine that can pair with many foods. The evening I opened this bottle, it was lovely with chicken sausages, kale with pancetta, and creamy parmesan rice. Riesling is reliably a good choice to pair with foods, as its light style does not overwhelm most cuisines. High acid help the wine cut through heavy cream sauces, while its citrus notes often work nicely with fish.
The Shaw Vineyard 2008 Riesling is available in Manhattan at Garnet Wines. Or, as spring weather unfolds, it's a great time to plan a weekend away in the Finger Lakes, where Shaw Vineyard is open to visitors. For visiting hours, check the website.