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  • Writer's pictureSara Aber

How to identify a good Riesling while you're wine tasting in the Finger Lakes

We all know that Germany invented Riesling, but the U.S. makes some darn good Riesling as well. How do we know that a Riesling is "good"?


This is going to help you a lot on your Cayuga Wine Trail and Seneca Wine Trail wine tastings. Remember, Cayuga Wine Trail is the closest wine trail to New Park, only 10-15 minutes away. Hosmer Winery, Thirsty Owl, and Cayuga Ridge are our favorites, but the best part is exploration - identify a wine YOU really like!


You can use some of the words below to compliment the wineries while you're there, or ask super smart questions.


"You can tell the acidity of this wine is perfectly balanced"

"I love the balance of acidity and fruitiness of this one" (saying you like something's "balance" is a great way to say - I like THIS balance. Whether it's sweet / dry / fruity, etc doesn't matter if YOU like it)


"What type of barrel did you use to make this?"


A good Riesling is typically characterized by its balance of fruitiness, acidity, and minerality. Here are some key factors that contribute to making a good Riesling:

  1. Ripeness: The ripeness of the grapes is crucial to making a good Riesling. The grapes should be picked at the right level of ripeness to ensure that the wine has the right balance of fruitiness and acidity.

  2. Acidity: Riesling is known for its high acidity, which gives it its crisp and refreshing character. A good Riesling should have enough acidity to balance out the fruitiness and sweetness of the wine.

  3. Terroir: The terroir, or the natural environment where the grapes are grown, plays an important role in the quality and character of a Riesling. The soil type, climate, and other environmental factors can influence the flavors, aromas, and structure of the wine.

  4. Winemaking techniques: The winemaking techniques used can also affect the quality of a Riesling. Factors such as fermentation temperature, aging, and the use of oak barrels can all influence the flavors, aromas, and texture of the wine.

  5. Sweetness level: Riesling can range from bone dry to lusciously sweet. A good Riesling should have the right level of sweetness to balance out the acidity and fruitiness of the wine.

Overall, a good Riesling should have a perfect balance of fruitiness, acidity, and minerality, with flavors and aromas that reflect the unique terroir of the region where it was grown.




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