New York’s Finger Lakes takes home “Best of Show” in San Diego

Vineyard Finger LakesWhile many New Yorkers may be familiar with the wines produced in the Finger Lakes a.v.a the rest of the wine going nation was just introduced to the region in a big way last week.

A quick primer: The Finger Lakes are 11 glacial lakes located in Upstate New York spanning the area between Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca.  The Finger Lakes a.v.a is massive at just over 2.6 million acres however there are only 11,000 acres under vine.Finger Lakes New York In addition the sub a.v.a’s of Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake are located inside of Finger Lakes a.v.a.  There are over 200 wineries located in the Finger Lakes area.  The deep lakes, some over 600 feet deep, create a moderating lake effect and cool climate which is often compared to Germany’s Rhine.

Over 1,600 wines were entered in the 28th annual San Diego International Wine Competition.  A panel of 28 judges including sommeliers, wine makers and wine writers awarded 669 silver medals, 205 gold medals and 66 platinum medals.

3 of those gold medals were awarded to Dr Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars.  Dr Frank moved to New York from Europe in 1951 and by 1962 he founded Vinifera Cellars and quickly put the Finger Lakes region on the map as capable of producing world class wines.  Dr Frank is credited with pioneering grafting European vitis vinifera onto native rootstock.  The three gold medals were for the 2009 Gewurztraminer Reserve, the 2008 Rkatsiteli and the 2010 Riesling semi dry.  You may be wondering what a Rkatsiteli is…it is one of the oldest varietals and dates back to 3000 b.c. in what is now known as Georgia (eastern Europe)

Finger Lakes Vineyard

Winter vines at Casa Larga

Casa Larga Vineyards took home 2 of the 66 platinum medals for their 2008 Cabernet Franc ice wine and their 2007 vidal blanc ice wine.  Casa Larga was founded in 1974 and is now one of the leading producers of ice wines in the region.

And last but not least is Belhurst Estate.  Belhurst Estate took home a platinum medal for their 2009 Dry Riesling, Seneca Lake.  But wait there’s more, this wine also took home “Best Riesling”.  But wait! there’s even more!  This wine also took home the “Best of Show White Wine” award.

Seneca Lake New York

Belhurst Castle

Belhurst Estate Winery is located in a castle over looking Seneca lake.  The Winery is popular tourist destination for the setting as well as the wine.

This year’s San Diego International Wine competition introduced the wine going public to many wines from regions less well known including the Finger Lakes and even Mexico ( read this post on the $5 Rose that won best Rose ) Have you tried any of the New York wines, any from the Finger Lakes a.v.a?

Links: Dr. Konstantin Frank Casa Larga Vineyards Belhurst Estate

San Diego International Wine competition results

Photos courtesy of Meg Colombo

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