Bloomer Creek Vineyard - 'Tanzen Dame' Dry Riesling Barrow Vineyard Reserve, 2017
Bloomer Creek is a true pioneer in natural winemaking in New York State, more specifically in the Finger Lakes Region. If you so much as mention working organically to New York winemakers, you will hear again and again that is an impossible feat, much as the first natural winemakers in the Loire valley and Burgundy heard from their peers. In spite of this, Kim Engle and Debra Bermingham have been crafting beautiful examples of natural wine anyway. They do not use insecticides, finding them to be unnecessary in a healthy vineyard, and herbicides have not been used in over 20 years. Fungus disease is controlled by the use of sulfur for powdery mildew and copper for downy mildew. Seaweed/fish and compost formulations are sprayed to aid in disease resistance and vine health.
Harvest is done by hand and winemaking methods are what they consider traditional. Fermentation is with ambient or “wild” yeast. There is considerable use of stems in fermentation especially with red wine, but to a lesser extent with white wine as well. All fermentations are done in small lots which are later blended. Fermentations tend to be very slow. Malo-lactic, or secondary fermentation, is often completed during the summer following harvest, and therefore lees contact is extended. Lees are not stirred. Most wines are fermented dry and are not fined or filtered. These practices lead to the production of distinctive and long lasting wines.
Bloomer Creek works with two distinct vineyard sites– Auten and Morehouse Road. They bottle wines separately from the two sites to showcase the distinctive terroir of each. Auten Vineyard was planted over 20 years ago and Morehouse Road Vineyard was first planted in 1999. Small blocks of Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer are found in both vineyards. Auten Vineyard additionally includes a small planting of Gruner Veltliner and Morehouse Road Vineyard has a block of Chardonnay. The soil type is Lima, a fertile silt loam naturally high in lime. It runs deep with shallower sections occurring over shale outcroppings. There are also areas of heavy clay that reduce vigor and hasten ripening. The land slopes gently eastward toward the west shore of Cayuga Lake. The row orientation in Auten Vineyard is north-south and vines receive sunlight on both east and west sides of the trellis. Rows are oriented east-west in Morehouse Road Vineyard so vines receive sunlight primarily on the south side of the trellis while the north side remains in shadow.