Two Riesling from the Finger Lakes Paired with a Potluck #WinePW

As summer gatherings become more of a reality after a spring of staying home, you may wonder what to bring to that potluck on the horizon.

Riesling is a great choice for a potluck because it goes with such a wide range of foods. Especially easy drinking and affordable riesling from New York’s Finger Lakes region!

Following the lead of host Linda Whipple, this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend group of wine writers focus on wines from the Finger Lakes, with many of us receiving samples from one or more wineries. (See below for links to participants’ blogs, titles, and topics.) I received wines from three wineries, with two, Fox Run and Keuka Spring sending one riesling and one rose, and the third, Zugibe, sending only a rose. With Rose Day the second Saturday of June each year, which is tomorrow Saturday June 13, I decided to split them into two posts with pairings with riesling the focus for today’s post.

So many of us have all been so careful about maintaining social distancing and limiting the number of people we gather with to immediate family or housemates, and we are only now coming out of our cocoons. First, it was Sue and I and Myr and our families for Sue’s May birthday, and we three families met weekly in May for tasting and dinners outside in Sue’s big backyard. Then Gretel Compton and Sheila Donahue joined Sue and I to taste their “orange” wines in Sue’s backyard for last month’s #WinePW.

Last week we expanded our circle of five women to include a member of the 2018 US Wine Tasting team, Lisa Stoll, for a potluck and blind tasting of seven white wines, including one from the Finger Lakes. After the tasting, we opened the second bottle and sampled it.

It was fun to see how well these New York rieslings paired with the random foods we’d all brought with white wines in mind, but no white wine in particular for pairing.

This made us reflect on how flexible riesling can be — as well as under-appreciated!


The Finger Lakes region is located in northern New York state. As you can see from the map above, they look like fingers reaching toward Lake Ontario — hence their name.

Native American legend explains the Finger Lakes this way: the Creator looked upon this land with special favor and reached down to bless it, leaving the imprint of His hand, hence, the Finger Lakes.

There are actually not ten but eleven Finger Lakes: Canadice, Canandaigua, Cayuga, Conesus, Hemlock, Honeoye, Keuka, Otisco, Owasco, Seneca and Skaneateles ranging up to 40 miles in length and 618 feet in depth. Learn more about each of the Finger Lakes.

The region offers several wine trails: The Canandaigua Wine Trail takes you from just northeast of the city of Canandaigua all the way down the west side of Canandaigua Lake until you’re just south of Naples; this route takes you to six wineries and four breweries. The other three wine trails, the Keuka Lake Wine Trail, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, take you around the lakes that give them their respective names.



  • Dorothy’s Creamery Cows Milk Soft Cheese (center left)
  • Chèvre three ways: with herbs, with cranberries, and with sun-dried tomatoes
  • Raisin crisp crackers
  • Baked Proscuitto filled cups: caponata, fresh basil, fresh tomato, drizzles with reduced balsamic (middle center and top)
  • Fried Chicken
  • Potato salad
  • Spring salad with strawberries, sun-dried tomatoes, and chèvre
  • Fresh tomatoes from my garden
  • Gretel’s slow roasted salmon on fig leaves with herbs

Wines: we actually tasted these in reverse order 

  • 2018 Fox Run Vineyards Silvan Riesling Finger Lakes SRP $25
  • 2018 Keuka Spring Riesling Finger Lakes SRP $17

2018 Fox Run Vineyards Silvan Riesling SRP $25

Fox Run started as a dairy farm and in 1994 converted to grape growing and winemaking. Owner Scott Osborn works closely with winemaker Peter Bell, who brings a science-based, rationalist approach to achieve a full expression of each variety. Key figures include Vineyard Manager John Kaiser who has worked the land at Fox Run since 1984, and Assistant Winemaker Lindsey VanKeuren, a Penn Yan native who got her start at Fox Run in 2012.

Barrel fermentation gives this wine a lovely creamy mouthfeel and additional richness so it stands up to heavier richer and more complex foods.

Color: Pale lemon

Nose: Lemon, sulphur, grass, honey, honey crisp apple, bee pollen

Palate: Viscous, honey, fennel, lemon, lots of acidity, saline finish, clean and dry– very dry. Old world in style and execution.

Pairing: The sweet and sour complexity of the Dorothy’s cheese and the crackers pairs well with the combo of acidity and sweetness in the riesling. The lemon and heat in the chèvre also works well. The richness in the salmon works with this riesling. I tried this wine later with a number of different pairings and it’s very versatile.

TO TRY: Brats.

Also: Asian food.


2018 Keuka Spring Riesling Finger Lakes
alcohol 10.5; RS 1.8; SRP $17
482 cases 

Len and Judy Wiltberger planted grapes in 1981. Today about 30% of their wines use estate grapes; the rest are purchased from other Finger Lakes farmers. Earlier this month, in June 2020, Keuka Springs announced that Lynne Fahy joined the team as head winemaker. Her experience includes serving as Assistant Winemaker at neighboring Anthony Road Winery for two years, cellar rat at Trisaetum Winery in Oregon, harvest in New Zealand, and tasting room management. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts from Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio, and she’s dog lover and runner.  I look forward to tasting the wines she makes in future vintages! Tank fermentation with 50% malolactic fermentation for a lovely mouthfeel.

Color: Lemon.

Nose: Lemon chiffon pie, white flowers, spice, very expressive and inviting.

Palate:  Juicy, ripe fruit, fruity, semi-dry, lively acidity, light in body and on the palate; easy drinking.

Pairing: Love it with the cheese and cracker, thinking about chicken korma. Works well with the salmon and the various flavors on the plate. 

In the area and wanting to visit? They currently offer tastings outside.

Please join our Saturday June 13 8am Pacific twitter chat by following the hashtag #WinePW.

Thirsty for more from the Finger Lakes? Want to know who else is writing about wines from the Finger Lakes for Wine Pairing Weekend this month? Check these out:

  • Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm is “Exploring the Wines of New York’s Finger Lakes Region.”
  • Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla is pairing “Bibimbap with Garden Banchan + Forge Cellars Classique Riesling 2017.”
  • Lori at Dracaena Wines is “Delving Into the History of the Finger Lakes with John
  • David at Cooking Chat is exploring “Finger Lakes Wine Paired with Everyday Favorites.”
  • Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “An Impressive New York Treasure: the Finger Lakes Wine Region.”
  • Teri at Our Good Life pairs “Zero Degree Riesling with Pan Seared Scallops over Cheesy Grits.”
  • Jeff at Food Wine Click! suggests “New York Finger Lakes – I Hope You Like Riesling!”
  • Jill at L’OCCASION offers
    “New York Finger Lakes: Wine For Summer Pairings.”
  • Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings shares “New York Finger Lakes Wines – Lonesome Stony Rose and Fox Run Rieslings Paired with Quick-Prepped Seafood.”
  • Jane at Always Ravenous offers “Picnic Fare Paired with Finger Lake Wines.”
  • Rupal at Syrah Queen discusses “The Charm Of New York Finger Lakes Rieslings.”
  • Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles is
    pairing “Finger Lake Riesling and Alsatian Salmon.”
  • Here at Wine Predator we offer two posts: “Two Riesling from the Finger Lakes Paired with a Potluck” today and “#RoseAllDay for #RoseDay: 3 from New York’s Finger Lakes” tomorrow.
  • Susannah at Avvinare shares “Delightful wines from the Finger Lakes.”
  • Jennifer at Vino Travels takes a look at “Wines from Around Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes Wine Region.”
  • Finally, Linda at My Full Wine Glass is sharing two posts: “Three Takes on Finger Lakes NY Cabernet Franc Rosé” and “Two Pairs of NY Finger Lakes Riesling – a Winning Hand.”

Join the twitter chat or simply check out the hashtag #WinePW. Here’s the discussion questions:

  • Welcome to the #WinePW chat on NY Finger Lakes wine. Introduce yourself and share where you’re tweeting from. Share a link to your blog if applicable.
    6/13/2020 11:05 a.m. EST
  • Q1 We’re talking about the NY Finger Lakes this morning for today’s #WinePW. Is it easy for you to find these wines where you live?
    6/13/2020 11:10 a.m. EST
  • Q2 Tell us about the wine you tasted and the producer. Share the grape variety/varieties. #WinePW
    6/13/2020 11:15 a.m. EST
  • Q3 Was this a new region for you? Have you had much experience with Finger Lakes wine? #WinePW
    6/13/2020 11:20 a.m. EST
  • Q4. Was there anything about the region or producer that particularly stood out for you? Share a picture and your tasting notes. #WinePW
    6/13/2020 11:30 a.m. EST
  • Q5 What dish did you prepare? How was the pairing? Share a link or photo. #WinePW
    6/13/2020 11:40 a.m. EST
  • Q6 Did your Finger Lakes wine remind you of any other cool-climate wine regions? Which ones? How did they compare? #WinePW
    6/13/2020 11:45a.m. EST
  • Q7 Have you visited the Finger Lakes region? Would you like to visit after the pandemic ends? #WinePW
    6/13/2020 11:50 a.m. EST
  • Q8 How can Finger Lakes wines become better known? #WinePW
    6/13/2020 11:55 a.m. EST
  • Q9 Any final thoughts about Finger Lakes wine? #WinePW
    6/13/2020 Noon EST
    Thank you to everyone who participated in today’s chat. Next month #WinePW will be focusing on the wines of Moldova with Jeff @foodwineclick as our host. Join us!


6 thoughts on “Two Riesling from the Finger Lakes Paired with a Potluck #WinePW

  1. I had lunch with Peter Bell back in 2016 when I was touring the area. You’re right – he does take a rationalist approach to winemaking. He’s also highly artistic – his Sylvan Riesling is an excellent example of his creativity. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s