Sunday, 19 October 2014


Naturally Made Wines:  Bloomer Creek Vineyards was my favourite wine tasting experience in the Finger Lakes region during my late summer visit. Kim Engle shared his passion for viticulture and natural vinification processes while I tasted 8 wines in their bright and welcoming tasting room. Engle and his wife, Debra Bermingham, created Bloomer Creek over 30 years ago.  Most Bloomer Creek wines are made from grapes grown in one of the four vineyards located at different points between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. With the help of an assistant winemaker, Katy, a graduate from Cornell University's Viticulture and Enology program, the owners employ natural winemaking styles that require patience and skill. Grapes are grown without the use of herbicides and then hand-harvested and pressed in small batches. Fermentation is done with ambient (wild) yeasts in small lots and later blended.  Bloomer Creek wines are generally not filtered or fined.

Purchasing Bloomer Creek Wines:  While some Bloomer Creek wines are served at New York City restaurants the wines are available for purchase only through the winery. (Unfortunately I found few Finger Lakes wines at local restaurants). The winery is located on the east side of Seneca Lake at 5301 Route 414, Hector, New York. You can phone 607-546-5027 to arrange your visit or check out their website:  I decided to purchase 4 bottles even though Canada Customs sets a 2 bottle limit. Bloomer Creek wines are well priced and a testament to artful winemaking.

Tasting Notes: The Finger Lakes is renowned for its high quality whites, especially Rieslings, and Bloomer Creek whites did not disappoint. I tasted the following four (out of many more):

Tanzen Dame Edelzwicker - This wine is a blend of Gewurztraminer and Cayuga White grapes and has aromas and flavours of citrus (lime), honey, and minerality. This wine has not been fined.

Bloomer Creek Vineyard Tanzen Dame Riesling 2012 - This wine is a blend of Riesling from different vineyards. While the aromas were predominantly floral and petrol I detected honey, citrus and apricot flavours. This Riesling is nicely balanced.  I purchased this wine.

Chardonnay 2011 -  The aromas and flavours were of ripe pinepapple, orange and buttery caramel, reminiscent of a barrel aged Chardonnay. Kim explained that 50% of the wine is aged in old oak and 50% in stainless steel.

Bloomer Creek Vineyard 2013 Dry Riesling - This Riesling was delicious and fuller bodied; with aromas of apples, cinnamon, honey and orange blossoms. I picked up apple, honey and citrus flavours. I also purchased this Riesling.

Kim selected a rose and three reds for me to taste:

Pinot Noir Dry Rosé: The Pinot Noir rosé is quite dry with typical pinot descriptors of sour cherry with an earthiness. It has a medium acidity and would be very easy to pair with a variety of summer dishes. I purchased a bottle of this unfined and unfiltered rosé.

Cabernet Franc 2011:  In my opinion Bloomer Creek has made a superior Cab Franc in that it is more complex in aromas and flavours than are commonly found in this cold climate red varietal. Partial carbonic maceration (grapes are fermented whole in a carbon-dioxide rich environment) is used, resulting in fruit flavours and lower tannins. I detected aromas of ripe raspberries, strawberries, cherries and green grass while white pepper was also evident once I tasted the wine. 

Cabernet Franc 2010:  This vintage was drier and had a longer finish than the 2011 Cab Franc. The 2010 had aromas of sweet cherry, strawberries and white pepper while the flavours were sour cherry, leather and spice. This wine would pair well with coq au vin or beef.  I brought this wine home as well.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2007:  While this varietal was planted about 30 years ago Bloomer Creek has not made much Cabernet Sauvignon simply because the climate is not amenable to this varietal. Given that Cabernet Sauvignon requires a long growing season and a high number of sunny days I thought this Bloomer Creek wine was a decent example of a cold climate Cab Sauv. It had aromas of red currants, raspberries, black pepper, baking spices and eucalyptus.  I also found leather and spice on the palate. 

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