Cornell University is conducting a detailed study into Finger Lakes Riesling.
Researchers in the terroir-defining project have designated two test sites each on Seneca, Keuka and Cayuga lakes.
One is a Cornell vineyard, one is grower-only acreage and four are wineries’ vineyards.
Viticulturist Justine Vanden Heuvel has ensured that the same grape-farming practices were used at the sites, which researchers hope will demonstrate how varying terroir factors like soil and climate influenced aromas and flavours in resulting wines.
Enologist Anna Katharine Mansfield, the project supervisor, standardised the process by which all the wines, from the 2009 vintage, were made at Cornell.
Consumers who drink whites at least once a week and, Mansfield told decanter.com, ‘were screened for sensory acuity,’ formed a tasting panel whose findings will issue in a wheel of 12 descriptors.
The Riesling attributes they ‘identified most often and ranked as most intense were pineapple, melon, citrus, and linalool/floral, which indicates a similar family of aromas,’ Mansfield said.
The researchers are using laboratory technology to analyse the sensory characteristics and thus establish any relationships to the test sites.
Mansfield plans to submit the findings to a scientific journal by January.
The short-term project is funded largely by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, a trade association.
Written by Howard G. Goldberg in New York