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New York Riesling comes top again

For the fifth consecutive year, a Riesling has been voted New York State’s best wine.

The 2003 Dry Riesling, from the Rivendell Winery in the Hudson River Valley, near northern Manhattan, won the 19th annual New York Wine and Food Classic yesterday. The competition is seen as the definitive contest limited to New York state wines.

The $13 wine, made from grapes purchased from Chateau LaFayette Reneau, a grower in the upstate Finger Lakes region, defeated 635 other entries to take top honours.

This victory adds strength to an ever-growing body of opinion in the international wine trade that New York’s Rieslings are narrowing the gap with those from Germany, Austria and Alsace.

The two-day competition, held on Long Island, east of Manhattan, is sponsored by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, a nonprofit trade association based in the Finger Lakes wine region. More than half the 24 judges came from out of state.

In winning, the Rivendell Riesling edged out the 2001 Cabernet Franc from Jamesport Vineyards, on Long Island, which was voted best red. Some in the wine trade believe that Cabernet Franc holds greater promise on the Island than Merlot, its current signature red.

Rivendell is owned by Robert Ransom and Susan Wine, who also own two Vintage New York shops in Manhattan’s SoHo and Upper West Side areas, devoted exclusively to New York wines.

Mosel-born Hermann J. Wiemer, perhaps the Finger Lakes’ best-known producer, won top honours for vinifera sparkling wine with his 1999 Cuvée Brut.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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