Kemmeter “Sheldrake Point Vineyard” Riesling 2014: $24 Very Good+

The Kemmeter Wines “Sheldrake Point Vineyard” Riesling (Finger Lakes, NY) 2014 $24 [Very Good+] is not one wine.  It is two.  That’s right.  There are two versions of this wine, and the only way the two can be distinguished is by looking at the sweetness scale on the rear label. 

Both wines are flavorful, pure, and streamlined.  With impressive balance, they should age well.

How did one wine become two?

Essentially, Johannes Reinhardt crushed his grapes and all the juice went into a single tank.  For fermentation purposes, the wine was divided into two vessels.  Each fermentation was natural, with no added yeast.  The yeast did its work, and the fermentations stopped.  One of the wines ended up medium sweet, one medium dry (the difference in residual sugar is about 1.2%).  

Made from the same grapes, yes, but separated at birth —  these are two different wines.  Reinhardt decided that getting approval from the TTB for two new front labels was too much fuss and expense.

Color:  Both wines are light lemon in color.

Aromas:  The medium-dry version has the more atttractive nose.  Lean aromas of apple, apricot and grapefruit show a bit of waxiness and fairly strong dusty/stony notes, as well as a slight floral element.  The medium-sweet version’s aromas have a meaty quality, which are less vibrant, but there is still the apple, apricot, and grapefruit (with more emphasis on the stone fruit) as well as the dusty/stony mineral element.  The floral note is less prominent.

Balance & Flavors:  Both of these wines are light-bodied, very zippy, with some spritz, and impressive balance.  The medium-sweet wine is not as racy as the medium dry.  Both wines have a lean and electric core of apple, citrus and stone fruit with a notable dusty/stony accent, but the medium-sweet wine seems richer, although this is probably just sugar speaking, not fruit.  The medium-dry wine is more multi-dimensional, I think, and more satisfying. Both wines have very lively finishes, but the medium-dry wine is a veritable bullet train, lip smacking, and superior in my estimate.  Overall, the drier wine is better, in my view, but both are very satisfying and both should age very well, given their high acidity and excellent balance.  August 2015


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© Douglas Hillstrom 2014