By Richy Petrina of Ithaca Wine Ventures
I just tasted two recently-released white wines from Silver Thread Vineyard in Lodi on Seneca Lake. They are the 2020 Good Earth White, alongside its 100% Dry Riesling sibling, both bottled just two months ago. They share a similar foundation—the Riesling grape—but diverge wonderfully in two very fun styles. So I thought it would be an enjoyable side by side comparison.
The Dry Riesling is an expressive multi-dimensional style, resulting from the blending of grapes from four single vineyards on Seneca, Cayuga, and Keuka lakes.
Famously, the estate vineyard near the winery is over 40 years old and biologically farmed. The husband & wife proprietors of Silver Thread approach their role firmly aligned with mother nature’s long-term holistic needs, and their efforts are a reflection of what it means to be good earth caretakers.
The wine itself is really bright and happy. It nicely captures our Finger Lakes Riesling style: focused minerality, ripe tropical notes, citrusy green apple flavors, and a faint touch of honey. It is definitely high-pitched right now given its youthful age, which I really like—especially with food. Though I also suspect that over the next six to twelve months the wine will become even more enjoyable, like that favorite comfy shirt that over time feels right as rain.
It is the flagship wine from the small-production winery, with only 425 cases made from this vintage in the Dry Riesling style.
The Good Earth White uses the Riesling grape as a starting off point and blends in a few aromatic hybrid grapes. A touch of sweetness was naturally achieved through arrested fermentation, which is to say no sugar was added. But it is by no means a sweet wine. Even ‘off dry’ might be a stretch. Some Brut Champagnes, in fact, are sweeter than this wine’s 9.8 grams of sugar per liter.
That slight residual sugar, however, does help amplify the generosity of this wine with notes of ripe juicy pears and peaches. There’s also a lingering spice and vibrant acidity, adding crisp layers of lime zest and whole tangy kumquats. I can picture drinking a lot of this particular wine this summer, ideally with a dangling foot in whatever water I can find.
The blend reminds me of Riesling with a dash of all the things I love from Viognier, Semillon, Grüner Veltliner, and Gewurztraminer. It’s all terribly fun, whatever it is, and makes for a really entertaining wine to pair with food. In our case, I tried sushi and sashimi. The maki rolls topped with trout roe were especially neat and texturally interesting.
Only 245 cases of this wine was produced, and both it and the Dry Riesling are available to order directly from the winery’s website.
Richy Petrina founded Ithaca Wine Ventures in June of 2019 to elevate and amplify the region and its exceptional producers. The startup’s latest project, WINEcsa.org, is a wine club from the Finger Lakes featuring a different winery each month, with local drop-offs and nationwide shipping.