7 Best Finger Lakes Riesling Wines (2021)

Best Finger Lakes Riesling Featured

Why Is Finger Lakes Such a Good Riesling Region?

For those who are finding out about the Finger Lakes Wine region for the first time, you may wonder what makes it so special. As the most renowned wine region in New York State, it has a perfect microclimate for growing grapes. The lakes are responsible for creating this temperate climate with mild winters and the warm summer breezes ripen the grapes to perfection. The region is similar to the Riesling growing regions in Europe and the wines produced there are called cool climate wines. Finger Lakes has the magical terroir needed for this type of wine production with its rich soil and hillside vineyards, and as a consequence, it produces top-quality wines.

Historical Winelands

Grapes have been cultivated in the region since 1829, but even before the first recorded vineyards, there are notes about the wide variety of wild grapes that were growing there. Today, Riesling is regarded as one of the most versatile wines due to its appealing “drinkability” and easy food pairing features.


Best Finger Lakes Riesling Wines

Best Overall Best Value Best Cheap Best Sweet Best Semi-Dry Best Under $20 Best Under $30
Bottle
Name Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling Boundary Breaks Ovid Line North Riesling Salmon Run Riesling Hermann J. Wiemer Late Harvest Riesling Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling Semi Dry Ravines Dry Riesling Forge Cellars Leidenfrost Vineyard Dry Riesling
Color White White White White White White White
Country Untied States Untied States Untied States Untied States Untied States Untied States Untied States
Grapes Riesling Riesling Riesling Riesling Riesling Riesling Riesling
Taste Peach, Lime, Apricot, Apple, Melon, Floral Notes Apple, Pear, Pineapple, Honeysuckle, Lime Apple, Peach, Apricot, Honey Mango, Candied Peach, Lemon, Pear Apples, Pear, Peaches, Chalk, Honey, Lemon Curd Crisp Green Apple, Pear, Apricot, Plum, Tropical Fruit Lime, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Peach, Melon, And Pear
Food Pairing Mussels, Mahi Mahi, Caprese Salad, Oysters, Apple Pork Vietnamese Food, Spicy Food, Prosciutto di Parma, Scallops Moroccan Food, Asian Food, Spicy Food, Pork Chops Sushi, Mozzarella Caprese, Lemon Tart, Tiramisu Fiery Thai Curry, Spicy Latin Cuisine, Lamb Tandoori White Fish, Shellfish, Spicy Asian Food, Mexican Chili Thanksgiving Dinner, White Fish, Shellfish, Barbequed Meat, Spicy Food
Alcohol Content 12% 11.3% 11.5% 8.6% 11.5% 12.5% 13%
Sugar Content Semi-Dry Dry Semi-Sweet Sweet Semi-Dry Dry Dry
Our Rating 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)
Read Full Review
Buy Now!

Best Overall

  • Name — Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling
  • Winery — Hermann J. Wiemer
  • Country/Region — United States, New York, Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake
  • Type — Finger Lakes Riesling
  • Aroma — Apple, Apricot, Citrus, Honey
  • Grapes — Riesling
  • Taste — Peach, Lime, Apricot, Apple, Melon, Floral Notes
  • Alcohol Content — 12%
  • Sugar — Semi-Dry
  • Pairing — Mussels, Mahi Mahi, Caprese Salad, Oysters, Apple Pork
Overall Rating: 4.6

Positives
  • Long Smooth Finish
  • Light And Crisp
  • Lovely Fruitiness
Negatives
  • Slightly Higher Acidity

Despite Finger Lakes wines having an outstanding reputation for quality, it is still possible to get your mitts on top Finger Lakes Riesling wines at a reasonable price. Hermann J. Wiemer is just such a Riesling and you don’t have to save it for a special occasion. It’s perfect for a relaxing sip on a warm evening.

In this bottle, the winemakers have captured all the essential elements of a Riesling. There are the classic flavors and aromas of citrus, apple, peach, and pear, along with hints of honey and earthy minerality. Although technically described as dry, there is sugar on the finish which also manages to be crisp and refreshing. You may want to keep this bargain a secret, but make sure that you stock up to ensure a steady supply!


Best Value

  • Name — Boundary Breaks Ovid Line North Riesling
  • Winery — Boundary Breaks
  • Country/Region — United States, New York, Finger Lakes
  • Type — Finger Lakes Riesling
  • Aroma — Citrus, Lemon, Lime, Apple
  • Grapes — Riesling
  • Taste — Apple, Pear, Pineapple, Honeysuckle, Lime
  • Alcohol Content — 11.3%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Vietnamese Food, Spicy Food, Prosciutto di Parma, Scallops
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Beautiful Balance
  • Great Value
  • Very Easy To Drink
Negatives
  • Maybe A Bit Too Light

The secret to making this Riesling so special is the perfect balance between sweet and dry in taste. The fruit is picked at the precise moment when it is ripened to perfection and the delectable tropical fruit flavors have developed. This makes it a top-rated Finger Lakes Riesling that is easily paired with food or makes a simply divine aperitif.

This versatile Riesling brings the classic flavors of apple and pear to the table, but the other subtle floral and tropical aromas lift it to another level of specialness. Unless you have a guest who is completely averse to sweetness in the wine, you can serve this Ovid Line North Riesling with confidence.


Best Cheap

  • Name — Salmon Run Riesling
  • Winery — Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars
  • Country/Region — United States, New York, Finger Lakes
  • Type — Finger Lakes Riesling
  • Aroma — Apple, Lemon, Lime, Honey, Floral Notes,
  • Grapes — Riesling
  • Taste — Apple, Peach, Apricot, Honey
  • Alcohol Content — 11.5%
  • Sugar — Semi-Sweet
  • Pairing — Moroccan Food, Asian Food, Spicy Food, Pork Chops
Overall Rating: 4.2

Positives
  • Easy To Drink
  • Refreshing Acidity
  • Well-Balanced
Negatives
  • Could Be A Bit Overwhelming

The straw color appearance of Salmon Run Riesling in the glass announces the arrival of summer and good times. The nose exudes aromas of ripe plums, melons, citrus, and hazelnut much like a fruit salad would do. With perfectly balanced acidity, the palate extends into a festival of tree fruit, pineapple, and lemon sorbet. You feel as if you have had more than your “Five a Day” healthy fruit packed into a glass of wine! Purchase this wine with confidence because it is a good Finger Lakes Riesling – of that you can be sure.


Best Sweet

  • Name — Hermann J. Wiemer Late Harvest Riesling
  • Winery — Hermann J. Wiemer
  • Country/Region — United States, New York, Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake
  • Type — Finger Lakes Riesling
  • Aroma — Peach, Citrus, Honey, Apple, Pear
  • Grapes — Riesling
  • Taste — Mango, Candied Peach, Lemon, Pear
  • Alcohol Content — 8.6%
  • Sugar — Sweet
  • Pairing — Sushi, Mozzarella Caprese, Lemon Tart, Tiramisu
Overall Rating: 4.6

Positives
  • Elegant
  • Delicious
  • Great Acidity
Negatives
  • Might Be Tad Too Sweet For Some

If you are asking, “What is the best Finger Lakes Riesling?” then you will not be disappointed in this one from Hermann J. Wiemer winery. Drink it now or store it in the cellar for a couple of years, it will always please the palate. There is nothing random about this Riesling. The grapes are specially harvested from select blocks in the vineyard at precisely the right time to ensure the sweetness obtained from a late harvest.

The nose presents you with a captivatingly intricate blend of aromas. You will detect pine, concentrated citrus oil, and hints of caustic furniture polish. Unexpectedly perfect! These follow through to the more mellow taste of candied citrus peels, crisp apple, and succulent peach on the expectant palate. Then, there is the essential creaminess with spicy saffron and ginger lingering in the shadows. The structure of this Riesling is impeccable and will have you lusting for the next sip.


Best Semi-Dry

  • Name — Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling Semi Dry
  • Winery — Dr. Konstantin Frank
  • Country/Region — United States, New York, Finger Lakes
  • Type — Finger Lakes Riesling
  • Aroma — Lemon, Lime, Peach, Honey, Tropical Fruit, Floral Notes
  • Grapes — Riesling
  • Taste — Apples, Pear, Peaches, Chalk, Honey, Lemon Curd
  • Alcohol Content — 11.5%
  • Sugar — Semi-Dry
  • Pairing — Fiery Thai Curry, Spicy Latin Cuisine, Lamb Tandoori
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Zesty And Delicious
  • Easy Drinking
  • Almost Textbook Riesling
Negatives
  • Needs A Bit More Acidity

If the price point is important to you, then this is the best Finger Lakes Riesling wine for you. Semi-dry loveliness presented in a golden hue will make you think that you have entered a dream state. Aromas of aromatic honey, with sun-drenched tropical fruit, form the basis of the bouquet. The mouthfeel is a perfect balance between the acidic citrus base and residual sugar. Do you drink it on its own or prepare some spicy food to complement it? Take another sip and ponder.


Best Under $20

  • Name — Ravines Dry Riesling
  • Winery — Ravines Wine Cellar
  • Country/Region — United States, New York, Finger Lakes
  • Type — Finger Lakes Riesling
  • Aroma — Pineapple, Guava, Lychee, Minerals, Yeast
  • Grapes — Riesling
  • Taste — Crisp Green Apple, Pear, Apricot, Plum, Tropical Fruit
  • Alcohol Content — 12.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — White Fish, Shellfish, Spicy Asian Food, Mexican Chili
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Exciting Tropical Fruit Flavors
  • Light And Flavorsome
  • Sophisticated Palate
Negatives
  • Could Be A Bit Plain

For lovers of Riesling, a bottle of the Ravines dry Riesling has no equal. Embrace the sharp citrus flavors tamed by the succulent peach, earthy flint, and charred pineapple. It takes great winemaking skill to develop such precise and detailed flavors and capture the innate elegance of a classic Riesling. And this great Finger Lakes Riesling wine is available to you!

Layer upon layer of sophisticated floral notes juxtaposed by vibrant tartness will leave your palate begging for more. And finally, there is a sweet, lingering finish with just enough minerality to bring you back to earth. This Riesling will age gracefully in the cellar and bring you much acclaim as a host if presented with a delicious platter of sophisticated entrees. Go on, show this one off with panache!


Best Under $30

  • Name — Forge Cellars Leidenfrost Vineyard Dry Riesling
  • Winery — Forge Cellars
  • Country/Region — United States, New York, Finger Lakes
  • Type — Finger Lakes Riesling
  • Aroma — Peach, Citrus, Jasmine, Mustard Flower
  • Grapes — Riesling
  • Taste — Lime, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Peach, Melon, And Pear
  • Alcohol Content — 13%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Thanksgiving Dinner, White Fish, Shellfish, Barbequed Meat, Spicy Food
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • True Classic
  • Not Overly Sweet
  • Fairly Full Body
Negatives
  • Lacks A Bit Of Complexity

You may think that you are familiar with Riesling wine, but wait until you sip a glass of Forge Cellars Leidenfrost Vineyard Dry Riesling before deciding on your favorite. This award-winning Riesling is in a class of its own. By optimizing the unique winemaking conditions in Finger Lakes, the makers of this Riesling have created an impressive white wine that is harmonious and balanced.

This Riesling is medium-bodied with the traditional flavors, but they are subtle and refined. There are tart citrus flavors in the aroma with gentle floral notes of jasmine and mustard flower. The palate has soft apple and pear which are highlighted by vibrant lemon, grapefruit, and then peach in the background. Every aroma and flavor has been blended to be harmonious and “just right”. Drawing to a close, the finish brings you a sublime rounded, slightly waxy feel that is cut through with the dryness of quinine. These are possibly the most difficult features of Riesling to capture in words and must be judged in a glass.


Conclusion

So, I trust that Finger Lakes Riesling wines will now have secured a firm place on your wine shopping list. The unique features of these wines are simply a reflection of the amazing terroir found in Finger Lakes. The region is picturesque, the wines are delicious, and as such, Finger Lakes may well become a wine tourists Mecca. You may want to put it on your Bucket List too. In the meantime, sample the Rieslings from this region, and you are sure to find yourself under its spell.

Scroll to Top