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Riesling takes top honours at New York wine contest

A 2005 dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes has won the 2006 New York Wine & Food Classic, held August 15-16.

Made by Hermann J Wiemer, the wine was named best white wine and best of show, and received the Governor’s Cup, the show’s top honour.

Since 2000, Finger Lakes Rieslings have won the contest every year except 2005 (when the winner was a Vidal Blanc dessert wine). These successes have strengthened the view that the region has become one of the world’s great Riesling terroirs.

The German-born Wiemer, whose estate abuts Seneca Lake, is considered one of North America’s top Riesling growers. His winning $16 white defeated 702 entries, the biggest field in the contest’s 21-year-history.

The annual event is sponsored by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and this year took place in Canandaigua, a Finger Lakes municipality.

Entries were sent by 102 of the state’s 239 producers. New York is the fourth largest wine state in the US, as measured by the number of wineries, after California, Washington and Oregon.

Because of a 2005 US Supreme Court decision that has liberalised interstate wine shipping, Wiemer said he can now send his victorious wine to some 40 states.

‘It is not a typical Riesling for the Lakes,’ he said. ‘We had a warm vintage, and the wine is broader than usual — like an auslese.’

Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars, on Keuka Lake, was declared ‘winery of the year’ on the basis of total number of medals accumulated in the contest.

Finger Lakes winners included the following:

Sparkling wine: Chateau Frank’s 2000 Blanc de Noirs

Semi-sweet Riesling: Chateau LaFayette Reneau’s 2005

Gewürztraminer: Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars’ 2005, which tied with Corey Creek Vineyards’ 2005 from Long Island

Cabernet Sauvignon: Chateau LaFayette Reneau’s 2002

Pinot Noir: Chateau LaFayette Reneau’s 2002

Other winners include (from Long Island):

Cabernet Franc: Jamesport Vineyards’ 2004, voted best overall red

Chardonnay: Corey Creek’s 2005 reserve

Merlot: Peconic Bay Winery’s 2001

Late-harvest Chardonnay: Wölffer Estate’s 2005, best dessert wine.

From the Lake Erie region:

Semi-dry Riesling: Mazza Chautauqua Cellars’ 2005

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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