A Bi-Coastal Wine Effort

Noted Napa Valley winemaker Scott Harvey took with him more than just pleasant memories after recently helping judge the annual New York Wine & Food Classic in the Finger Lakes.

Harvey, right, purchased a batch of Riesling grapes to be shipped by refrigerated truck from the Anthony Road Wine Co. on Seneca Lake to use in creating his own Riesling wine back in St. Helena, CA.

Harvey has long been impressed with "the quality and consistency of Finger Lakes Rieslings."

A Riesling has won the top award -- the Governor's Cup -- in the New York competition in six of the last eight years. This year's winner, however, was a 2004 Vidal Ice Wine from Casa Larga Vineyards that also was voted “Best Dessert Wine” and “Best Ice Wine” en route to the ultimate award.

I lunched with Harvey at the winemaker's quarters in August of 2003 when he was the winemaker at the Folie a Deux vineyard near Napa. At that point he had branched out with a sideline of his own wines en route to his current independent status. Even then he was enamored of the Finger Lakes Rieslings and mentioned his desire to create his own version.

Harvey comes by his fondness for German-style wines honestly. As an Army "brat," he lived with his family in Germany during his formative years and returned there for an education in winemaking.

Ever since noted wine writer Dan Berger annointed him one of California's best winemakers in the 1990s, anything Harvey does attracts attention. His bi-coastal Riesling should be the next such item.

According to Jim Trezise, head of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, Harvey and John Martini of Anthony Road will unveil the Napa and Finger Lakes versions of Riesling from the same vineyards during the Unified Symposium in Sacramento in late January.

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