Last spring I traveled to the Finger Lakes region of New York researching a cover story on beef I wrote for the September 30 issue of Wine Spectator. (Yes, they do raise cattle there!). On way to the farm of Jeff Rosenkrans (they call them cattle farms, not ranches in New York) I stopped by this winery, where Jeff’s wife works.
To be sure, the Finger Lakes is known more for wine than beef, especially Rieslings. And Swedish Hill didn’t disappoint. I was particularly impressed with the 2010 Dry Riesling ($16), which was crisp with citrus flavors. Even better was a Riesling that is common in Germany but not often seen in the United States, a sparkling Riesling. The Riesling Cuvee is richer and fuller with a bit more sweetness but still crisp. And a steal at $18.
Finger Lakes reds are often made from Cabernet Franc, which withstands cold winters better than most other red varietals. But better growing and winemaking techniques as well as warmer weather thanks to climate change has made other Bordeaux varietals more common. The Swedish Hill 2007 Optimus is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc that has enough structure and flavor to stand up to quite a few other $24 red wines.