Anthony Nappa — the winemaker and blending genius behind Shinn Estate Vineyards wine. Anthony plays close attention to detail when blending wine to make some of my favorite wines from Shinn Estate Vineyards. The one’s that come to mind are Wild Boar Doe and their “reserve” merlot, Nine Barrels.
Anthony Nappa Wines is Anthony’s solo side project. Last year Anthony released his first Pinot Noir, Nemesis and a white Pinot Noir called Anomaly. You can still get the 2007 Nemesis at Shinn Estate Vineyards and the 2009 Anomaly is also available. The 2008 version was excellent and sold out almost immediately. Anthony knows what he is doing.
So now Anthony is trying his hand at Riesling. Anthony Nappa Wines 2009 Luminous ($18) is released and available to tasting and purchase in Shinn Estate Vineyards tasting room. You can taste and buy all of his wine at Shinn Estate Vineyards.
Shinn Estate Vineyards does not grow Riesling. The Riesling that was used in this was purchased from the Finger Lakes of New York on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake from a grower. Anthony gives the Finger Lakes full recognition, where the grapes were harvested and pressed — he used the Finger Lakes AVA, he could have simply used the New York State AVA. The juice however, was fermented here on Long Island.
I asked Anthony about the process of how this wine was made since the grapes were grown off site. Anthony told me via e-mail, that most of the time he uses wild fermentation processes, but for this Riesling he decided to use a yeast that would “eat” up the Malic Acid to lower the over all acidity of the wine and leave the residual sugar alone. The residual sugar of the wine was low according the Anthony, but the acidity was very high.
Did it work — “I do believe conceptually it helped balance it a bit by removing some acid at the same time as converting sugar to alcohol.”
This yeast strain is also prone to getting stuck. Which was fine for Anthony, he was going to stop fermentation anyway to keep the natural sugar in the wine. “Natural sugar is also very important in my opinion for having true balance in the wine, I just can be difficult to stop and at the right timing.”
On the nose, I was picking up Granny Smith Apple and some Peach along with a tropical note and some wet rock minerality
Upon tasting, it was clean, bright and electric (a term used by some Finger Lakes Wine makers used to describe Riesling). Great tropical lemon/lime zest with just the slightest hint of tangerine.
Ice cold, this wine is the perfect wine for your summer picnic and had a wonderful tropical feel to it with wonderful zippy acidity.
In my opinion, this wine is well-balanced, delicious and refreshing.
Anthony shed some light with me on his approach to Riesling in the e-mail. I did include it here in the post because I think it helps you understand the process of making Riesling. Here is what Anthony says: “The hardest part with Riesling is balancing so much acid with the residual sugar, if you go to far you have way too much acidity, or if you have too much residual it’s just sweet. Balancing the sugar and acid is the key to Riesling and not worrying about if it is dry, sweet, off dry, semi-sweet, based only on the RS to define the wine. The perception of acidity or sweetness on the palate is based on the relationship between the two. That is why I did not “define” the wine but merely put Riesling on the label as well as the Alcohol, pH, TA, and RS so the consumer can define it themselves or just enjoy the wine.”
“Just enjoy the wine.” — that’s what I did. And you will too.