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hermann j wiemerSparkling wine is a drink of celebration but, if it is of sufficient quality, it aids lamentation as well. This remarkable sparkler from the Finger Lakes got me through a difficult election night.

This is one of the best domestic sparkling wines I have tasted. It features a focused nose of apple and citrus woven with lovely almond nuances and subtle toast. The palate is bright and expressive with richly layered textures giving an impression of fullness and depth yet crisply  balanced with a long, mineral finish. A serious, sophisticated wine from one of the Finger Lakes’ canonical producers.

It is the richness of the mouth feel that sets this wine apart which is the result of 5 years in bottle resting on the lees. In the making of sparkling wine, when the base, still wine is bottled and then dosed with sugar and yeast to create the bubbles, the wine is allowed to rest on the dead yeast cells (lees). The yeast cells break down releasing proteins and enzymes into the wine, resulting in a fuller body and less astringency. In Champagne a wine labeled with its vintage must rest on the lees for at least 36 months. This wine was on the lees for 5 years, an expensive practice that only the best Champagne houses follow.

The difference is extraordinary and well worth the additional cost.

The grapes, 100% Chardonnay, are from their HJW estate vineyard. Produced méthode champenoise, the wine is unfined and unfiltered.

Score: 92

Price: $45

Alc: 12.5%

This wine deserves a happier occasion, accompanied by music that is soul stirring and exultant:

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