Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard: Finger Lakes Winery Visit

Another in our continuing series of Finger Lakes winery reports.
If there is one winery whose stock has skyrocketed with us in recent years, it is Herman J. Wiemer Vineyard. After missing this winery during our first couple Finger Lakes visits, now it is an absolute must-see stop.
Some Finger Lakes wineries are known for the scenery, or a great tasting room, or maybe a friendly staff. But Wiemer is a true winemaker’s winery.
We love it for that reason, but also because they are setting incredibly high standards for Riesling. The results are getting noticed around the country and perhaps the world.
Hermann Wiemer  was a German with roots in the famous Mosel Valley. He emigrated to the Finger Lakes in the 1960s. German folk wisdom holds that Riesling grapevines will flourish where black cherry trees grow. With that bit of guidance he purchased 80 acres on which the winery is now located. Long-time apprentice Fred Merwarth took charge of winemaking and vineyard management in 2003 and continues the legacy of excellence.
We tried a constellation of outstanding Riesling. After quenching our palates with the 2011 Frost Cuveé, a blend of Riesling, Gerwurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Gruner Veltliner, we sampled the signature 2012 Dry Riesling. This is a beautiful Riesling with soft citrus and a moist minerality.
The next two Rieslings are world class. The 2011 Reserve Dry Riesling is a combination of grapes specially selected from all three of Wiemer’s vineyards. It is an artful balance of fruit, flint and acidity.
The 2011 Magdalena Vineyard Dry Riesling is one of my favorite all-time wines. This shows the full spectrum of what a beautiful white wine can be. It has layers of fruit, washed with minerality, dabbed with apricot and splashed with acidity. It is a taste of greatness!
The Magdalena is $36 and the Reserve is $29, both representing incredible values!
We don’t want to give the Hermann J. Wiemer reds short shrift, but the Rieslings are truly epic. The 2008 Field Cuveé is a great field blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Lemberger and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2009 Reserve Cab Franc also rocks with rich berry flavor and a soft finish.
We finished with the 2009 Select Late Harvest Chardonnay. This is 9.8% residual sugar, not very sweet as late harvest wines go. This is a wine to savor with honey and peach flavor notes.
A sweet finish to a very sweet visit indeed!
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