Saturday, December 16, 2017

Trip to the Finger Lakes part IX - Hermann J. Wiemer

Next up was a trip to Herman J Wiemer, where we were given a tasting by an affable Swedish chap who we later learned was Oskar Bynke, one of the co-owners.

We started with the Field White ($16.50) which was a mixture of gruner veltliner and riesling from 2016 along with some vin clair chardonnay from 2015. As I understand it, vin clair is a kind of grape must. This came in at 11% and my notes just say that it was interesting. Must try to make better notes in future!

However, it turned out that they specialise in riesling at Hermann J Wiemer, and we then tasted our way through quite a few.

The Dry Riesling 2016 ($19.50) was off dry and we liked it. Oskar compared it to a trockenbeerenauslese and told us that they carried out 34 pickings over the course of 7 weeks, so they got a mixture of grapes at different levels of ripeness.

Then we tried the Riesling HJW Vineyard 2015 ($39) which is made from grapes from one of their coolest sites. This was less fruity but more sophisticated than the previous wine, but we actually preferred the Dry Riesling especially given that it was half the price. The Riesling Reserve Dry 2015 ($29) was somewhere between the two and had more fruit but still a sense of being "wrought" according to G. He then had a revelation which was that the last two wines had a lot of sulphur, which would explain why we found them less attractive.

The Riesling Magdalena Vineyard 2015 ($36) was from grapes from a riper site by the lake, and had a lovely aromatic nose. We preferred it to the HJW but it was still relatively pricey. The Riesling Josef Vineyard 2015 was considerably sweeter and in a richer style and had a lovely mouthfeel. D mentioned honey.

The Semi-Dry Riesling 2016 ($17.50) is picked earlier and has a lower alcohol level, coming in at 11 to 11.5%. This had lovely aromas and was very Germanic but G found it slightly short and D thought it wasn't as complete as the other wines. The Late Harvest Riesling 2014 ($24.50) was not really botrytised but had a wonderful fruit and sweetness. It got a star from me.

We moved on to a couple of wines which weren't actually rieslings! The Cuvee Brut ($37), which I think was from 2013, was 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir. and was very impressive, like a good champagne.

The Field Red ($19.50) was a mixture of blaufrankisch, cabernet franc and a little bit of cabernet sauvignon. This wasn't my cup of tea, possibly because I don't like blaufrankisch. Then again I could have been getting it confused with my nemesis, Spätburgunder... I preferred the Cabernet Franc 2016 ($25) which had low yields. D said that their Cab Franc is consistently good year on year, and he has several vintages of it.

By this stage I think we'd gone completely off the tasting menu and were being offered things gratis which was very kind of Oskar. We finished with two sweet wines. The Noble Select Riesling Magdalena Vineyard 2013 ($75) was made from 100% botrytised riesling and had a lovely thick texture. It was sensational, but the Noble Select Riesling Josef Vineyard 2013 ($115) was even better. This is not only hand picked but extensively sorted and again was quite extraordinary. It had a lovely apricot note, and the finish went on for at least 10 minutes until we arrived at our next destination. It comes with a hefty price tag but perhaps this wasn't extortionate if you compare it to something from Germany and it was certainly a wine built to last. A real highlight to end with.

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