While I’m Washington, DC for the “Eat, Write, Retreat” food bloggers conference, I wanted to share with you an article I wrote last September about a great New York State wine that I discovered at their label release party. Recently, I was reintroduced to it at a wine tasting. This piece was originally written for another site, but it is now not available there.
Just moments prior to the massive storm that ripped through the New York area last Thursday evening, I was speaking to Kim Engle of Bloomer Creek Wines in the Finger Lakes region about his new wine label Tanzen Dame (“Dance Lady?”) while at a tasting on the Lower East Side. The Rieslings and Gerwürtraminer that we had the opportunity to sample that evening were ones he had created as an homage to the wines of Germany and Alsace. With just one sip of the refreshing and semi-sweet 2008 Second Harvest Riesling, I was transported away from the steamy city.
At that moment, I wanted to be in the center of the old town of Strasbourg again, where I had lived years ago. We would be in one of the ancient restaurants at a large wooden table surrounded by friends engaged in lively conversations with one (or several) open bottles of Kim’s great 2008 Rieslings and piles of rich, hearty choucroute (sausages, meats, sauerkraut, potatoes) and tarte flambée (a bacon, onion, and heavy cream pizza) to share. This is what well-made, exceptionally drinkable wine should do.
All of the wines Kim poured that night are begging to be eaten with food and shared with friends. Each of the ones that I tried had its own unique personality, from some of the lighter and crisper younger wines to the more complex and later harvest varietals, including a 2008 Late Harvest Gerwürtraminer, which had caramel-apple tones to it. He was completely correct to save this wine as the last one of the evening to taste, as its depth and composition of flavor were so layered that I wanted to continue to savor it long after I’d drained my glass. I would hoard a bottle of this wine all to myself just to keep experimenting to find the perfect meal with which to serve it.
When talking to Kim you get a real sense of the passion that he brings to creating and nurturing his grapes from vine to bottle. He knows the personality of every vintage and can guide your palate to appreciating each to its fullest. It was particularly interesting to talk to him about his method of fermentation, which involves using the natural yeast present on the grapes and in the air balanced with cultivated yeast when needed. By using natural yeasts, the winemaker takes a risk with the final product, as he gives up much of the aspect of control, but it is sometimes a gamble that can reap flavorful benefits, as Kim will confirm. He said that he is working more with this technique, and we can look forward to tasting his results in the coming years.
To read more about Bloomer Creek Vineyard, which is located along Seneca Lake in Hector, New York, please go to their website. They also have a tasting room that is open several days a week and by appointment. Edible Magazine Finger Lakes Spring 2010 edition also has an article about Kim, his wife the artist Debra Berminham, and their vineyard.
With special thanks to Nicole DeCicco of Upstate Wine Co. for inviting FoodieLink to this event. Bloomer Creek‘s wines can also be found at the following merchants and restaurants in the New York City area:
Smith & Vine, 268 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (Blue Peacock)
Brooklyn Wine Exchange, 138 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (Blue Peacock)
Uva (wine shop), 199 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Riesling ’08)
Home Restaurant, 20 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10013 (Riesling ’08)
Wallse Restaurant, 344 W. 11th street, New York, NY 10014 (Riesling ’08)