Here on Long Island, the influence of Italians and Italian-Americans is felt throughout wine country. Winery names like Castello di Borghese, Pellegrini, Pugliese, Scarola, Medolla, Christiano, Diliberto and Macari put that heritage front and center.
In the Finger Lakes, the Italian influence seems a bit less obvious. Being further away from Italian-heavy sections of New York City is probably partly to blame. But, Michael Litterio, owner of Villa Bellangelo on the western side of Seneca Lake, is bringing Italian flavor to Finger Lakes wine. He's from New Jersey by the way.
His wine portfolio shows a definite leaning towards Italy while (mostly) staying true to what the region does best, with riesling, gewurztraminer, pinot grigio and blends like Bella Bianca and Francesca Rossa. He also makes a Sangiovese that is labeled as "Americano" so the grapes probably came from California.
This riesling, from a 2006 vintage that is considered quite good for the variety, pours a pale lemon yellow. Lemon, lime, sweet herb, light floral and faint honey aromas mingle on the nose. ON the palate, it's fruity up front with fresh-squeezed citrus and honeyed pear flavors, but the residual sugar (2%) isn't quite balanced out by the gentle acidity, leaving the wine a bit flat and cloying... particularly on the finish.
Producer: Villa Bellangelo
AVA: Finger Lakes
Rating: (2 out of 5 | Average)