Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling Reserve 2018
#55 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 of 2020
The finest qualities of the estate are expressed in Hermann J. Wiemer's Reserve Dry Riesling, an exclusive wine spotlighting unique characteristics from all three of their vineyard sites. Small selections of grapes are meticulously chosen from specifically identified lots, which are fermented separately and then blended to create the exquisite balance of juiciness, freshness, and minerality displayed in this specialty bottling. A brilliant, tangy nose heralds a burst of stone fruit and citrus zest on the palate. Fruit and minerality play into a lingering finish that continues to make the mouth water long after the wine is gone.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Sourced from three estate vineyards (15% HJW, 20% Magdalena and 65% Josef), this reserve offers ripe aromas of apple, pineapple and apricot that are delicately perfumed with ginger and blossoms. Rounded in feel, the palate shows pineapple and peach, lifted by reverberating jolts of lemon peel and white tea. It shows great texture and depth, ending dry and stony.
Flinty and green at first, this leads with scents of lime and green apple, high toned but not too tart. The flavors are supple and rich, with a texture that has some give, and yet the acidity is the lasting impression, leaving a mild spiciness that suggests a pairing with Thai yellow curry.
Hermann Wiemer was born in Bernkastel, Germany into a family with 300 years experience in making the distinguished vinifera wines of the Mosel Valley. He arrived in the United States in 1968 already well versed in the European tradition of fine winemaking. To this heritage he added the skill of grafting fragile vinifera vines onto sturdy American rootstock.
In 1973 he bought 140 acres on the west side of Seneca Lake, which he planted with a variety of European vinifera grapevines. Visitors who wish to see these vines, along with ponds and the six acre nursery, can take the popular Vineyard Walk through the property.
The Winery, which produces 12,000 cases each year, was designed in 1982 by an award winning team of Cornell architects. Enclosed within the shell of a seventy-year-old scissor-trussed barn, it accommodates a laboratory, tasting and retail sales, a wine production area and a private tasting room. Its unique white cathedral-like interior counterpoints the bare wooden walls and sleek Italian stainless steel tanks.
As the most historic wine-producing region in New York state, winemaking in the Finger Lakes area dates back to the 1820s and today as a region, accounts for 90% of the state’s total wine production.
Its narrow and deep lakes created by the movement of Ice Age glaciers create an environment similar to the classic Riesling-loving regions of Europe, namely Germany and Austria. The Finger Lakes retain summer heat that incidentally warms up cold winter air, making it fall down from the lakes’ steep slopes. When spring comes, the lakes, already cooled by cold winter weather, stave off vine budding until the danger of frost has subsided. The main lakes of the zone, that is those big enough to moderate the climate in this way, are the focal points of prime vineyard areas. They include Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.