FLX on my Mind

I’ve got the Finger Lakes (FLX) on my mind all the time thanks to my northeast friends, like Adrian, Meg, and Nicole. Shit, Katie even ventured out there recently.

The Finger Lakes are located in the heart of New York State, about a four-hour drive northwest of New York City. There are 11 individual lakes in the region, some of which are the deepest in the United States. The deep lake basins moderate the temperatures of the vineyards planted on their steep banks allowing vines to thrive in a protected cool microclimate ideal for Riesling.

Courtesy Empire state

Until I can make the trip, I just grab whatever FLX bottles I see down here in Miami. One of the latest was Empire Estate’s 2017 Dry Riesling.

Following 2016’s heat and drought, 2017 delivered one of the coolest, longest growing seasons in well over a decade. From budbreak through mid-November, the Finger Lakes had even, cool weather before a two month stretch of solid sun during harvest. The result was the best vintage for Riesling since the storied 2008s—wines that are drinking well with youth, but have the structure and acidity to age for years to come.

Time for the geek info: Harvest occurred over a month-long period, starting two weeks later than average, on October 18 and concluded on November 20. This long harvest happened just before winter cold set in allowed for the grapes to reach peak flavor ripeness, while the coolness of the season preserved their freshness. Each vineyard site was vinified entirely separately to best bring out individual character—from cold soaking decisions, to fermentation style, to storage in stainless steel or neutral oak. After resting through winter and spring, the wines were then blended together and bottled in early summer. The vineyard sites have a mix of mineral soil types ideal for dry Riesling, including shale and gravel, shale and clay, sand over shale, and limestone and shale.

The wine was pale yellow in color. I immediately got the telltale Riesling sign of petrol on the nose, along with some apple, minerality, florals, citrus, and peach. It was dry, light-medium bodied, with high acidity and a long finish. Caught notes of lemon, stone fruit, and almonds. The second day, I noticed more pear, peach pit, and waxy lemon. Absolutely delicious. I enjoyed it out on the deck under twinkle lights. I got it at Vinya for $19.

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