2008 Salmon Run Riesling

Yep, you read that title correctly; this is not an Italian wine I'm reviewing! I decided that since I am now living on the East Coast, I should embrace my new home by trying their wines. As I wandered down 7th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn yesterday, I came across a little shop called Shawn's Fine Wine and Spirits. I went inside, chatted with the staff about their recommendations for East Coast wines, and was led to a delicious Riesling that is produced in the village of Hammondsport, New York.

Hammondsport is the center of the New York wine industry, and is located next to the Finger Lakes, a group of long and narrow bodies of water that resemble fingers on a hand when seen from an aerial view. The Finger Lake region is home to over one hundred different vineyards, and also contains a number of colleges, including Cornell University in Ithaca.

They produce many different wines in this region, but one of their best known is the Riesling. Riesling grapes hail from Germany and are usually on the sweeter side. Although they often flourish in a cold climate, they did not alway grow well in the Northeastern part of the United States. In the early 1950s, a European immigrant and expert in Viticulture, Dr. Konstantin Frank, moved to New York to take a teaching position at Cornell University. 

Earlier in his life, Dr. Frank  had conducted research while trying to grow European grape varietals in the Ukraine, and decided to apply his findings to the climate in Hammondsport. His techniques were largely successful, and as a result, he ended up revolutionizing the wine industry in New York. In fact, his son and grandson are still running their family vineyard to this day, and are the geniuses behind this fine bottle of Riesling I am trying this week.  

2008 Salmon Run Riesling

Let me just start by saying that I love this wine! It tastes of pears and honey, and is the perfect balance of acidity with a sweet finish. It also paired exceptionally well with the summer salad I made for lunch today because, to be perfectly blunt, it was far too hot to cook anything! We had a high of 95 degrees in New York City, and I don't know what the humidity level was, nor do I want to, for that matter.

Rather than turning on ovens and stoves, I took advantage of the great selection of summer fruits -- that likely will not be available much longer -- and made my own adaptation of my sister-in-law's fruit salad. Use whatever fruits you like, and don't forget to throw in the roasted peppers. They will give it a smoky, saltiness that will round out all the sweetness of the fruit. On a hot day like today, it was delicious and SO refreshing!

Spinach & Summer Fruit Salad With Piquillo Peppers

6 oz. bag of fresh baby spinach
16 oz. package of strawberries, sliced
6 oz. raspberries
3 nectarines or peaches, chopped into bite-size pieces
5 oz. jar of piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese
crushed black pepper, to taste
Trader Joe's Cranberry, Walnut & Gorgonzola salad dressing, to taste

Simply mix everything together in a big bowl, and enjoy!