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2018 United States New York Finger Lakes
Of all the New World wine countries, perhaps the one which has demonstrated the most flair for producing high quality wines - using a combination of traditional and forward-thinking contemporary methods - has been the United States of America. For the past couple of centuries, the United States has set about transforming much of its suitable land into vast vineyards, capable of supporting a wide variety of world-class grape varietals which thrive on both the Atlantic and the Pacific coastlines. Of course, we immediately think of sun-drenched California in regards to American wines, with its enormous vineyards responsible for the New World's finest examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot based wines, but many other states have taken to viticulture in a big way, with impressive results. Oregon, Washington State and New York have all developed sophisticated and technologically advanced wine cultures of their own, and the output of U.S wineries is increasing each year as more and more people are converted to their produce.
New York state has a wine history which stretches back to the mid-17th century, when Dutch settlers first began cultivating grape vines in the Hudson Valley. Since then, the wine industry of New York has grown from strength to strength, mixing the old with the new as wineries continue to experiment with modern techniques alongside their traditional heritage. Indeed, certain wineries in New York state hold a claim to being amongst the oldest and most well established in the New World, with at least one dating back over three hundred and fifty years. New York state is responsible for a relatively small range of grape varietals, due to its cooler, damper climate, but many varietals such as Riesling and Seyval Blanc thrive in such conditions and produce wines a of singular quality.
When it comes to New York wine regions, Finger Lakes reigns supreme. Wines have been made in New York for longer than in any other part of the US, with the first vineyards being planted there over three hundred years ago by Dutch settlers. Finger Lakes is home to two of the United States’ oldest operating wineries, dating back to the 1860s, which continue to produce characterful wines inspired by France’s Alsace region.
Finger Lakes is New York’s largest and most productive wine region, with over one hundred separate wineries located on the banks of the six long, narrow lakes. The majority of the wines produced in this fascinating region are made from Chardonnay and Riesling varietal grapes, with Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir also growing well in the unique microclimate that the lakes provide. Indeed, it is the lakes themselves that influence the climatic conditions of the region - without them, the early winters and springs would be far too cold to effectively grow vines, but the lakes allow warmth to be maintained throughout the colder months, and temper the heat of the summer. This allows for a long and fruitful growing and ripening season, which gives the berries the chance to take on plenty of character and many fascinating features of this beautiful terroir.