5 Must-Try Finger Lake Wines

April 2020
Written By: 
James Ginley
Photographs by: 
courtesy of the wineries

Favorites from the Finger Lakes

Ravines Dry Riesling 2017
Hammondsport, $18

Winemaker Morten Hallgren previously worked for Dr. Konstantin Frank, one of the pioneer growers in the Finger Lakes. In 2001, he started Ravines Wine Cellars. This Riesling was rated among the Top 100 Wines four out of the last 10 years by Wine Spectator. A flowery aroma is followed by a spritzy palate of apple and citrus notes with a minerally finish.

Bully Hill Sweet Walter Red
Hammondsport, $9

Walter Taylor lost the Taylor Wine Company to Coca-Cola, but he wisely kept Bully Hill. Now the Sweet Walter is one of the most popular of nearly 50 still and sparkling wines produced by the company. A special blend of Concord, Rougeon and Baco grapes combine for a unique, “grapey” taste that comes across with a rich and smooth sweetness.

Forge Cellars  Classique Pinot Noir 2018
Seneca Lake, $30

A blend of grapes from several Forge vineyards, this dense and focused wine brings forth aromas of violet and dried herbs. Bright fruits and savory spices fill the mouth leading to an earthy, lingering finish. A generous wine that you can pair with hearty dishes, such as roast beef and venison.

Wagner Riesling Ice Wine, 2017 (375ml)
Finger Lakes, $30

Established in 1979, the Wagner family has been growing grapes in the area for more than 100 years. Last year, Wagner was named “Winery of the Year” at the 2019 New York State Wine Classic and offers 30 different wines. This unctuous dessert wine is full-bodied and loaded with stone fruit flavors. It can be paired with most rich, sweet desserts.

Dr. Konstantin Frank Cabernet Franc, 2016
Hammondsport, $20

The Cabernet Franc grapes in this wine come from three family vineyards and, due to a hot and dry summer that year, they ripened fully and produced a classic vintage. Aromatics from red raspberry and black cherry bring you a juicy mouthfeel of ripe fruits and toasted oak, with a smooth, subtle finish. Definitely a wine to enjoy with seasoned chicken and beef dishes.