terrior. (land quality that affects final taste of crop)
Vineyards are farms. Winemakers only have one chance a year to create a stunning wine from the annual crop - that's just 30 - 40 chances in a long career. To make a good wine, they need choose the right planting for the soil and climate, and the right yeast to ferment the grape juice. If the weather cooperates, it can be a stunning year - if something goes wrong it is make the best of it, and try again next year....
The last glacial period was about 22,000 years ago - that's a lot of dirt to pile up, move around, and settle down. Cornell University is at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake - so there are plenty of academics to opine. I'll give you this blogger's overview: Lake Dana was the giant glacial predecessor of Lake Seneca. When it retreated (a few thousand centuries before molecular gastronomy) it left behind a Hanging Delta. The owners of Fox Run have planted Riesling on two
geologically unique plots: Hanging Delta Vineyard and Lake Dana Vineyard. We got to taste them, and the moral of the story is: Minerality in wine comes from the yeast - not the soil. Soil affects the moisture and drainage - how the fruit develops, ripens and changes sunlight into sugars. But the fermentation can make all the difference.
Comparing Soil and Fermentation
These Rieslings were both had different fermenting processes- resulting in much different taste profiles.
Harvest Year: 2012
Riesling #11: fermented in a pied de cuve
method - a small quantity of fermenting wine from another tank was added to the juice instead of a cultured yeast inoculum.
Hanging Delta Vineyard #11 Riesling `12 The first wine that I tasted in the series - it was bright, and complex (citrus fun citrus). Layered flavors. 9.9% ETOH - we were off to a good start.
Lake Dana Vineyard #11 Riesling `12 This wine seemed sweeter - I noted honey sweetness it was also 9.9% ETOH
The difference between the two was subtle.
Riesling #12: The fermentation was started with Epernay II yeast and was carefully
managed using current New World wine-making techniques to ensure healthy
and steady kinetics. Fermentation lasted for three weeks and was
arrested when the alcohol was low and sweetness high, in order to
produce a classic traditional style of Riesling.
Hanging Delta Vineyard #12 Riesling `12 Sweet, delicious. It was my favorite of the four - it was also just 9.3% ETOH - what a difference an allotment makes!
Lake Dana #12 Riesling `12 Fruity with some acid 11.3% ETOH this is a classic.
There was a big difference between these two wines, and the whole tasting experience showed the variability that can be created by the winemaker. It really was amazing - different than a typical vertical tasting - and a great introduction to the recipe science of making wine.