Friday, February 6, 2009

Wagner Vineyards: Finger Lakes

At the Boston Wine Expo table for Wagner Vineyards, I found some more delicious white wines. Wagner Vineyards was founded by Bill Wagner, a grape grower for over forty years, and it opened its doors in 1979. All of their wines are estate grown, meaning they only use grapes grown in their own vineyards. Wagner's philosophy has always been "that wine and food are a natural combination," a very Old World mentality.

The winery's location on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake is beneficial as the combination of deep water and sloping hillsides protects the vineyards against extreme temperature changes. They have over 250 acres of vineyards, growing Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Johannisberg Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Seyval Blanc, Melody, Vignoles, Vidal, Cayuga White, DeChaunac, Delaware, and Niagara. They make white, red, rose, sparkling and dessert wines. They are still a small winery, only producing about 50,000 cases a ear.

Their 2007 Dry Riesling ($12.99) reminds me of Alsatian Rieslings. It has an enticing nose of citrus and that citrus comes out on the palate too, along with some green apple taste. It is also a crisp, dry wine, with mineral notes and a decent finish. This would be an excellent wine for seafood, or other light dishes. At this price, it is a very good value as this is a wine with character and I definitely recommend it.

The 2007 Semi-dry Riesling ($12.99) is very similar to their dry Riesling, except that it has the merest hint of sweetness and the green apple flavors seem a bit more prominent. This is the type of wine that is going to appeal to almost everyone, that touch of sweetness making it more friendly to a wider range of palates. The wine is well balanced and I really enjoyed it. It too would be a good food wine, even with something slightly spicy. This is a great wine to bring with you to parties as most everyone should enjoy.

The 2007 Semi-dry Gewurtztraimer ($14.99) has an intriguing nose of exotic fruits with hints of spice. On the palate, you get the traditional Gewurtraminer spice along with citrus and apricot flavors. There is also a hint of sweetness, just enough to be interesting and contrast with the spicy flavors. It has a moderately long finish and would make a great accompaniement for spicy dishes. Another compelling wine at an excellent price.

The most expensive wine this winery sells is only $24.99, and they have a number of wines under $10. Based on the three white wines I reviewed, the winery is producing some excellent wines of very good value. I am curious as to how well they do with red wines but I am hopeful they can do well with them as well.


Rachel Leah Blumenthal said...

I visited Wagner once or twice while I was living in Rochester, and it was a really nice place. I especially love the rieslings and gewurtztraminers :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the notes on these. I like Finger Lakes whites, but have often been scared off by pricing. These look very reasonable.

Richard Auffrey said...

Hi Rachel:
Maybe I will get to visit Wagner one day soon as well. Glad to see you enjoy their riesling and gewurtz too

Hi Dirty:
I do think there are some good value wines, especially their whites, which are well worth checking out.