When a lot of people think about New York riesling, they think about the Finger Lakes region in central New York, where it has earned a reputation for consistent quality. Some local wineries buy riesling juice from up there and make the wines here. Often, you’ll see “New York State” listed on those labels where you’d usually see “North Fork of Long Island” or “The Hamptons, Long Island.”
But that doesn’t mean that the Finger Lakes have a monopoly on delicious, food-friendly riesling in New York.
This week’s “Wine of the Week” Martha Clara Vineyards 2014 Estate Reserve Riesling ($26) was one of the standouts in a recent portfolio tasting with winemaker and general manager Juan Micieli-Martinez. And if you haven’t had a Martha Clara riesling in a few years, it might be worth another taste.
Bright and aromatic, it features aromas of citrus blossom and just-ripe pineapple with flavors ranging from lemon to lime to pear to more pineapple. Juicy and fresh, there is just a bit of sweetness here, but it’s balanced deftly by lively, almost gritty acidity. The finish is nearly dry and it begs another sip.
As it warms just a bit there are faint notes of petrol, too — which many riesling lovers will enjoy.
Micieli-Martinez is pragmatic in his winemaking approach. He does make decisions, at times, to make wines that will be popular with customers versus where he’d maybe prefer them to end up. Not so with this wine. He knows it might sell faster if it were sweeter, but says “I made this wine like this because it’s what I want to drink with spicy pad thai.”
It’s hard to argue with that. Seems like it’d be a great pairing.
This wine is available at the Martha Clara Vineyards tasting room for $26.