Thursday, May 17, 2007

New York Wines Continue to Impress

NEW YORK GOLD just keeps on flowing out of California , with Riesling leading the way and several wines winning various “Best of” awards. Last weekend I had the pleasure of judging at Dan Berger’s Riverside International, where the Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2006 Off-Dry Riesling won the “sweepstakes” as Best White Wine in the competition (which included well over 2,000 wines from around the world). Other New York wines in the sweepstakes tasteoff, and receiving the “Chairman’s Award” akin to Double Gold, included Fox Run 2005 Dry Riesling, Baldwin Vineyards Raspberry, and Swedish Hill Country Concord, which came within one vote of being named Best Dessert Wine. Other Chairman’s Award winners included Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2005 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Red Newt 2005 RSV Cabernet Franc, and Swedish Hill 2005 Late Harvest Vignoles; and Gold medals went to Heron Hill 2004 Late Harvest Riesling, Lakewood 2006 Off-Dry Riesling, Red Barn Blackberry, Red Newt 2005 Cabernet Franc, and four Swedish Hill wines—Blue Waters Riesling, 2006 Cayuga White, 2005 Lemberger, and Diamond. At the PACIFIC RIM INTERNATIONAL run by Don Galleano, “Best of Class” awards went to Anthony Road 2006 Dry Riesling, Dr. Frank 2006 Rkatsiteli, and Duck Walk 2004 Sauvignon Blanc, with additional Gold medals awarded to Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2006 Dry Riesling, Goose Watch 2005 Traminette, Red Newt 2005 Cabernet Franc (again!), Swedish Hill Riesling and Blanc de Blanc, and Torrey Ridge Peach Wine. A couple interesting footnotes: Red Newt is clearly on a roll with its Cabernet Franc, the varietal wine which some consider most likely to become the equivalent of “red Riesling” for New York in terms of consistent quality and reputation. Duck Walk’s Sauvignon Blanc came very close to winning “Best White Wine” at Pacific Rim, but was edged out by a Niagara from… Oregon ! Niagara, a highly aromatic Native American variety, is grown primarily in New York and other eastern states, so it’s interesting that an Oregon winery has discovered its charms as well. This week is Dr. Bob Small’s fabulous LA International Wine & Spirits Competition, so I’ll be hopping on some more planes and probably won’t be able to do a Wine Press next weekend. Watch for more New York Gold!

Jim Trezise, web