The rain was falling again in the Finger Lakes, just as it had for much of September. The incessant precipitation was causing anguish as grape growers across the region weighed harvesting before optimal ripeness or risking the rot and mold that might come with waiting.
“This is a year that’s going to challenge everybody,” said John Martini, who owns Anthony Road Wine Company, on the shore of Seneca lake outside this village. The difficult climate, combined with a diverse combination of soils, makes the Finger Lakes one of the most unusual American wine regions. In the last decade or so, it has begun to show its enormous potential, as a small but growing number of producers makes graceful wines that stand in contrast to prevailing styles from the West Coast.
Fortuitously, the region hitched itself to Riesling just as, in the last 10 years, Riesling skyrocketed in popularity in the United States. Nowadays, top producers are not simply making good Finger Lakes Rieslings, or good American Rieslings. They are making seriously good world-class Rieslings, in a multitude of styles.