Opening a bottle of Riesling is always fun for me, especially if it's one I've never tried before. I love Riesling...and I'm always curious to see what direction a particular winemaker takes this grape in. Will it be bone floral, flinty and bone dry? Will it be fruity and off-dry? Plus, for the most part, they're quite affordable and, I think anyway, always much more interesting than a Pinot Grigio.
New York State and the Finger Lakes Region in particular are well known for making great Rieslings. In fact, many wine "experts" think that some of the Finger Lakes Rieslings are the best made in the U.S.
Long Island has some nice Rieslings as well, even if its best wines are Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Recently, Nena and I had a bottle of Castello di Borghese 2003 Riesling ($12). Most anyone familiar with the Long Island Wine scene knows the story of Borghese. In 1999, Ann Marie and Marco Borghese (an Italian noble) bought Hargraves Vineyard, Long Island's first vineyard, which was founded in 1973.
I'm honestly not sure why Nena and I have never tried their wines before. We did stop at their tasting room once, but it was extremely busy and we weren't treated all that well, so we moved on and never went back.
In the glass, it was a surprisingly deep, dark yellow. Most Rieslings are light, almost colorless but this one looked much more like a Chardonnay than anything else.
Despite the color of the wine, the nose was true to the varietal...fruity, floral and citrusy. At this point, I had high hopes...
Delicious, but not as complex as I had hoped. A little heavier on the tongue than most Riesling (which the color would seem to indicate), the fruity character came through with pear and maybe a hint of peach. It had good acidity, making it a great food wine. But the finish wasn't all that interesting or lingering.
For $12 bucks, you can do much worse in the Riesling department. It was pleasant and fun...but I felt like, with a better finish, it could have been much more. I would definitely serve it at one of our Asian-inspired dinner parties though. Definitely.
I haven't organized/devised a rating system yet, so I won't give it a numeric score...but I liked it. Not my favorite Riesling ever, but I've had far worse.