Hermann J. Wiemer and winemaker Fred Merwarth get a lot of attention for their rieslings — and rightly so. Those wines can be incredible. Some of the best in America.
I’ll tell you what though, the rest of the portfolio is pretty outstanding too. I recently reviewed Merwarth’s 2013 Cabernet Franc which has become a favorite, but will never challenge the rieslings for supremacy at the winery.
The sparkling wines though? They rival the rieslings in terms of quality. They are that good. In fact, this Hermann J. Wiemer 2011 Blanc de Noir ($39) is among the best domestic sparkling wines I’ve ever tasted. And yet, these wines fly well under the radar, even in New York.
Small production (190 cases for this one) is partly to blame. Beyond that, there’s no excuse that these wines aren’t better known — revered, even.
The palest of coppery pink in the glass, there are bright, fruity aromas of white cherries and spring flowers, with hints of something citrusy in the background and a faint earthy-chalky note in the background. This chalky character becomes a bit more pronounced as the wine warms to room temperature.
Mouth-filling but focused, the palate begins with sweet red cherries and then turns just a bit creamy and autolytic with subtle nutty edges. It’s intensely flavorful, but remains elegant and balanced with a beam of acidity that runs right down the middle. Long and slightly minerally, the finish begs another sip. And then another and another.
I typically try to taste wines over the course of two or three days. This bottle didn’t survive that long.
Producer: Hermann J. Wiemer
AVA: Seneca Lake
Grapes: 100% pinot noir
Production: 190 cases
Price: $39 (sample)