It’s easy to get complacent when you taste a lot of Finger Lakes riesling — overall quality has risen to the point that even producers that historically fell below the median are now making wines I’m happy to drink. It’s almost to the point that one can take for granted that Finger Lakes riesling is going to deliver.

Then you taste a wine like Hermann J. Wiemer 2013 Josef Vineyard Riesling ($39) and you’re reminded just how high the ceiling is for Finger Lakes riesling.

The Josef Vineyard, located 10 miles north of the winery, is just south of the better-known Magdalena Vineyard. The two sites share some similarities, but the Josef Vineyard wines differ due to the slope, soil type, and average age of the vines. The vineyard rests on a 6% slope with deep honeoye silt loam soils and features 30-year old plantings of riesling and chardonnay, as well as a one-acre block of gewurztraminer planted in 1967.

Hermann Wiemer purchased the vineyard in 1996 and the riesling grown there has become an important component for the winery’s riesling program, but this is the first single-vineyard wine I’ve had the opportunity to taste from it. Previous vintages of Josef Vineyard wines have been dessert-style wines, but the 2013 is more off-dry than sweet.

The nose bursts with peach, apricot and pear fruit aromas with pretty, floral notes and just a bit of spice peeking from just beneath the surface.

Feather-light weight belies the intensely concentrated flavors of apricot, peach, golden raisin, citrus blossom and spice. Though off-dry, there is bright, edgy acidity that brings focus and stretches the floral, just-barely-sweet finish out.

This is a beautiful, distincitve wine that stands out even within the impressive Wiemer portfolio.

Producer: Hermann J. Wiemer
AVA: Seneca Lake
Blend: 100% riesling
ABV: 9%
Production: 45 cases
Price: $39 (sample)




(4.5 out of 5 | Outstanding and Delicious-to-Extraordinary, Can’t Recommend it Enough)