Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hermann J. Wiemer Still A Cut Above the Rest (NY)

What is there left to say about Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyards that hasn't already been said? It is one of the most heralded wineries in the Finger Lakes. The first time I ever met Mr. Wiemer was in 1999 or 2000. It was late in the day. I had been tasting quite a bit already, and I was a little toasty. He was alone, and tasting his wines. I informed him I was doing research on a book about east coast wines, and I came to him not knowing who he was. I introduced myself, and he introduced himself, and I said, "OK, Herm, let's see what you got!"
I cringe every time I think about that. I was immediately impressed with the wines, and had an immediate twinge that I had somehow embarrassed myself (not the first time). Then I went home and found out who he was. Hermann is one of the most important figures in the history of east coast winemaking. Ah well, I had failed to impress yet again.
In 2003, Hermann’s long-term apprentice Fred Merwarth took charge of winemaking and vineyard management. Fred’s talent and ambition brought fresh energy and vision to the winery, placing it on a new trajectory. In 2007, Hermann officially retired, handing  over the winery to Fred, who partnered with his university friend, Swedish agronomist Oskar Bynke, to carry on Hermann’s legacy. Oscar and Fred are doing as much as they can to make sure that legacy not only endures, but excels. You have to respect that. 

Over the last two years, I have gone back several times, twice with the same group of people including wine enthusiasts Bryan VanDeusen and Rich Srsich. We have sampled he wines and bought our bottles. This is no small feat at Hermann J. Wiemer. Their wines wine award after award, and they score highly in all the right magazines.


The tastingroom is an odd mixture of gorgeous high-end shop, and industrial chic. The small shoppe up front is elegant with warm off whites and beautiful wood tones. The tasting area is majestic with gorgeous wood bars and gleaming stainless steel. But it is always elegant, and always in exceptional taste.


The one thing Wiemer is known for are their wonderful, delicate, elegant Germanic-styled whites, where in they have gained much fame and rightfully so. The favorite of mine is the Riesling Dry 2012. Big notes of green apple and ripe, juicy pear, are blended with tropical fruits, exceptional acidity, and a long, lingering mouthwatering taste of fruit. Not sweet in any sense, this wine is a beautiful, elegant wine. If it were a painting I would say it was Madame X by Sargent, because it is so sexy and seductive. Something to behold and savor.

I love Gewurztraminer. Let me say that before I begin. And let me tell you before I write about this wine, that I bought several bottles over the last two visits and they do not last in my house, and my wife and I are red wine drinkers. The nose here on the Gewurztraminer 2012 is a big, floral bouquet with mixed with melon, and lychee, and citrus. And the wine is a big, acidic bomb of a Gewurztraminer, with a grapefruit-lemon ending that keeps your mouth awake and wanted more after each sip. One of the most beautiful dry Gewurztraminers you will ever have. Fantastic!
Rose' Cuvee is a dry rose made from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and a hint of Chardonnay. The result is an incredibly beautiful wine that bursts forth with strawberries and bright, ripe cherries. Dry as a bone, with also exhibits lime, vanilla, and a hint of creaminess on the end. A beautiful, elegant sipper sure to impress all your friends.

Field Cuvee 2008 was a lovely, well structured blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Lemberger and Cabernet Sauvignon. A lovely, well structured, complex table red, with big juicy fruit and solid taste. Good enough to pair with chicken, pork, turkey, veal, or even a flank steak as well as Penne Arabiata. Lovely.
2010 was a very good year for Finger Lakes reds. Fermented in small lots and aged in a mix of new and old French oak barrels, the Cabernet Franc 2010 shows a lovely medium-bodied color. Cherry, plum, and red berry all come through as promised. A lovely wine, with a medium, ripe fruit up front and a lovely complexity and structure. An elegant Cabernet Franc.

The Cabernet Franc 2012 is as impressive as the 2010. Big shocks of bright cherry, nice undertones of dark cherry, with spice and a hint of smoke to make it all come together beautifully. Again, the hallmarks of structure and complexity make this a lovely example of everything Cabernet Franc should be - light-to-medium bodied, fruity, but exceptional and delicious. 

Big notes of cherry, bright and ripe, and dark cherry come through on the nose of this lovely, light-bodied Pinot Noir 2010. Delicate and impressive, there is enough acidity in the wine for the fruit to linger a long, long time. Again, elegant, classic Pinot structure, with a lovely, love finish. Complex and extremely well balanced. This was a lovely wine.
These wines prove that Wiemer is making excellent wines, and are still a cut above the rest.