From Sure Hands, a Smooth Riesling
The grapes, which were purchased, were grown on a 23-acre tract, first planted in 2002, that is owned by the Kontokosta Winery, in Greenport, which is to open this year.
Smooth, balanced, concentrated, zippy and with a low alcohol content, 11.1 percent, Mr. Roth’s 2010 Virgin Berry Riesling ($30) is probably the finest Long Island dry riesling of the more than 150 I have tasted over the years. The 2010 vintage is considered the region’s most flavorsome.
A companion release, a lighter 2010 dry riesling ($22) from the same vineyard, is a junior version of the Virgin Berry. Crisp and refreshing, it is an everyday wine.
Again using grapes bought from another vineyard, Mr. Roth also sent to market a beautiful 2007 merlot ($50) that is velvety, deeply fruity and nuanced. It exemplifies East End merlot at its best (as the price might suggest).
Germany is riesling’s homeland. Mr. Roth’s riesling experience may be unequaled in the Island’s wine industry, if only because he was born in Rottweil, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, to parents who were in the wine business. At 16, he decided to become a winemaker, and went on to apprentice for three years at a cooperative in the Kaiserstuhl region of Baden while attending technical school.
As for the name Virgin Berry: during the annual growth cycle of riesling vines, if the vine flowers are not fertilized, they may develop tiny golden seedless grapes of great sweetness and aromatic power, which Germans call jungfern frucht (virgin fruit). Normally, riesling grapes are yellowish green.
To capture the Greenport vineyard’s idiosyncratic characteristics, Mr. Roth fermented the seedless grapes with wild yeast from the parcel. The 2.5 acres of fruit yielded 82 cases and 16 magnums.
All three wines are sold through Wölffer.Reviews Main