2017 Forge Cellars Riesling Seneca Lake Dry Classique

Year: 2017
Appellation: Finger Lakes
Country: USA-New York
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 91
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
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"Jasmine and mustard seed notes lead the way here, backed by a mix of yellow apple, mirabelle plum and citrus oil flavors. Shows good intensity through the finish. Drink now through 2022. 5,773 cases made. -JM " (WS)

"The 2017 Dry Riesling Classique is whole-cluster pressed, then fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in a mixture of 57% neutral French barriques and 43% stainless steel for about eight months. It comes in with 13% alcohol and just three grams of residual sugar. This, says the winery, is the first labeling with the Seneca Lake AVA. It is a blend of sites from the southeast side of Seneca.

This has as much power as the single-vineyard wines, showing some bite from the wood and plenty of focus. It holds up well to the upper level and comes at a bargain price. It may not have the finesse of the Leidenfrost, say, but it has as much depth and more power. And it's a lot cheaper—a word that only references price, not quality.

The 2017 vintage has been a little different and a little controversial. It won't ever be the best, most consistent or most typical vintage, but there are successes. Forge, however, took a strong stand: "In 2017, we chose not to make our top cuvée, Les Alliés Riesling, and declassified our fruit in order to ensure the absolute best quality would remain in our core wine," said co-owner Rick Rainey. Others, like Wiemer, also declassified some bottlings to keep quality in others (which it successfully did). For the 2018s, not here yet, Rick Rainey said he was happy with them for their freshness and minerality, although the alcohol was less. In fact, he has more single-vineyard Pinots in 2018.

This winery is also one of those that is a proponent of wood—it handles it beautifully. In fact, it is kind of astonishing. Rick said that "Riesling likes oxygen," and the wood allows that. All I can say is, it works for them. I won't be an ideologue or a snob and refuse to admit it. I will keep one eyebrow flamboyantly raised, though, just in case it stops working." (WA)

Winery Notes:
Our most important wine aims to reveal the true nature of the vintage and to explore the terroir of lower east Seneca Lake. Due to our focus on this narrow 8-mile stretch of slope on the southeast side which includes 13 of our 14 Riesling vineyards, this is our first labeling under the Seneca Lake AVA. In 2017, we chose not to make our top cuvée, Les Alliés Riesling, and de-classified our fruit in order to ensure the absolute best quality would remain in our core wine. Candied lemon, apricot peel, Asian pear, and anise join with salinity to give impeccable freshness.

You and I carry within us the genetic characters of all our ancestors, which have mixed together and made us unique, well-rounded, complex individuals. This is how our Riesling is born: it encapsulates the characteristics of all our vineyard sites and of our unfailing, passionate commitment to excellence. -LB