bellwetherWinemaker Kris Matthewson is a Finger Lakes native but when it comes to making Riesling he tries to “think like a German”. In the U.S. he says we’re “trained to think about wine on a French model” which may not be the best approach to Riesling which after all the Germans know something about.

Cold soaking white wines on the skins before fermentation, using pressurized tanks to keep wine on the lees for several months in a reductive state with no added sulfur, making multiple wines from a single vintage with grapes at different ripeness levels—all techniques common in Germany but unusual in the U.S. The result is layered wines with a focus on texture that are just different enough to stand out from the crowd.

The Sawmill Vineyard 2014 has the signature lime-kissed minerality possessed by all the quality Finger Lakes Rieslings, but seductive hints of honeysuckle and  tropical fruit, almost in the range of pineapple, signal the come hither dance that awaits. What sets this wine apart is the interplay of dense, luxuriant, charm over bristling acidity that happens in the mouth, vibrating with energy yet with a softly sensual midpalate that swells to an intense mineral core, then unfurling with citrusy chalk on the finish.

Restful yet thrilling, exquisitely balanced, it’s a mouthful of goodness and a testament to the Germanic influence that has helped push the Finger Lakes onto the list of world class Rieslings.

Very dry, .4% R.S.

Score: 92

Price: $24

Alc: 11%

Elegant, sensual energy—that’s Brazilian Girls