Friday, December 27, 2019

Domaine LeSeurre: Finger Lakes Winery Visit


French sensibility with Finger Lakes terroir equals a winning combination for Domain LeSeurre.

Rising Star on Keuka Lake

Our recent visit to the Finger Lakes included some old favorites as well as a mix of new. One winery that garnered our attention was Domaine LeSeurre. Sébastien and Céline Leseurre hail from France. Sébastien has rich experience in Champagne that spurred a passion for wine that took him around the world. Céline is from the Toulouse region and worked at a winery in the Languedoc-Roussillon region before she too started a globe-trotting wine career.

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Their paths initially crossed in New Zealand and their travels continued together in Australia before they landed stateside. They visited many different wine regions, but fell in love with the Keuka Lake and the Finger Lakes wine region. The first vintage for Domaine LeSeurre was in 2012 and their tasting room opened on the east side of Keuka Lake in 2013.

Céline Leseurre

Artistic Approach To Wine

New World wines typically focus on bold flavors with plenty of winemaker intervention. In France and other Old World wine bastions the wines focus on reflecting the terroir of the vineyard area.

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While the Finger Lakes region is a laid back and beautiful area, it can be a challenge to carve out an existence in the wine business. Domaine LeSeurre approaches the Finger Lakes region in an Old World style, devoting time and attention to each wine.

This artistic approach has earned them accolades and the label of a winery to watch in the region. To enjoy the artistry, we sampled a horizontal tasting of LeSeurre Riesling and a selection of reds.

Rocking The Riesling

Domaine LeSeurre Riesling Trio (1)The various soils of the Finger Lakes allow Sébastien and Céline to paint like artists. Shale soil brings the depth of mineral flavors while the clay soil highlights the fruit flavors.

The 2016 Dry Riesling is sourced from three different vineyards and is aged in stainless steel for nine months. Battonage (stirring of the lees) adds complexity to the balanced mineral-driven wine.

For the 2016 Barrel Select Riesling, neutral French oak barrels are used for 11 months of aging. It’s a touch that adds elegance to this bottle, which retails for $26.99. The Barrel Select also undergoes battonage. There are citrus notes and a mellow acidity.

The pinnacle of LeSeurre Riesling is the 2017 Riesling Terroir D’Excellence. All the grapes for this wine come from a vineyard planted in 1971. The shale soil provides a nice mineral base for the lime and smoke flavor notes. It’s a complex swallow that will bring a smile to your face. SRP is $34.99.

Red Renaissance

Domaine LeSeurre Barrel Select Pinot NoirRiesling has been the calling card of the Finger Lakes for decades. Steep, sloping vineyards and the moderating the temperature and reflecting sunshine work wonders for the white grape.

We’re fans of Finger Lakes reds too, particularly Cabernet Franc. In recent years Blaufränkisch (also known as Lemberger) has had great success.

Domaine LeSeurre has a full line of reds including Lemberger, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and a red blend. As climate change continues to cause upheaval in the wine world, the Finger Lakes may gain equal acclaim for its reds.

The husband and wife winemaking team aim to change the conversation about Finger Lakes reds with Domaine LeSeurre. An example is Pinot Noir, a finicky grape and famously difficult to grow. The wine is only produced in the best vintage years. So far only two years, 2012 and 2016, have made the grade. The 2016 Pinot Noir is light in body with traces of raspberry and a delightful earthiness.

View from Domaine LeSeurre tasting roomPart of the rationale for setting up shop in the Finger Lakes is not only the terroir, but the rising tide of climate change. One of the reasons the Finger Lakes is known for whites rather than reds is the cold winters. As the climate warms, the Finger Lakes will become more hospitable for reds.

Two more Domaine LeSeurre reds of note are the 2015 Cabernet Franc Barrel No. 1 and the 2015 Réserve Spéciale Red Blend. The Barrel No. 1 Cab Franc comes from limestone soil and is aged for 22 months in new French oak with tight grain. The resulting wine offers delicious fruit with toasted highlights. Production is very limited – only 48 cases. The Réserve Spéciale is a blend of 52% Cabernet Franc, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Lemberger. It’s all that’s good about Finger Lakes reds rolled into one bottle.

Domaine LeSeurre is ideal for fans of hand-crafted artisan wines. Special touches like the battonage and neutral oak aging of their whites and extra barrel time for the reds make these wines distinctive. Say “oui” and pay them a visit on your next Finger Lakes wine excursion.

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