Local Culture – 2022 Chosen Home
The inspiration behind the series from our Winemaker.
The Finger Lakes region is a special place. Starting long before vineyards popped up along the lakeshores, people have been drawn in by its rich resources and natural beauty. For thousands of years, this region has been an important melting pot for cultures and ideas, and for the last two centuries, its wine industry has carried on that tradition. People, grapes, and concepts from all over the wine world have ventured to the Finger Lakes and made it their home. Ask around in the vineyards and cellars and you’ll hear a common sentiment: nobody wants to leave. The natural conditions here are perfect for making compelling wines from a variety of different grapes. With a host of transplanted vinifera as well as homegrown hybrids, the possibilities are effectively endless. It parallels the composition of our winemaking community: some of us were born and raised here, but some of us came for a visit and fell under the region’s spell. The spirit of both the grapes and personalities here is one of collaboration and community — something difficult to find in the wine world.
One of the more interesting hallmarks of winemaking in the New World is the ability to create co-ferments and blends that would never be possible in Europe. While it’s not uncommon to see Pinot Gris hanging out with Tocai Friulano in northern Italy, or with Riesling in Alsace, it’s not terribly common to see all three showing up in the same blend. Having all three of these varieties growing together on Seneca Lake allows us to explore that possibility.
Co-fermentation is one of our favorite techniques to employ in the winery. It’s common to blend in winemaking, but that typically happens after each variety is individually fermented. Blending in this way offers a measure of control, but control is not what gets us most excited. Co- fermentation, by contrast, is a bit more wide open. It makes for difficult predictions about where a wine is headed, but it allows the flavors and aromas of individual grape varieties to harmonize with each other in a way that’s difficult to achieve by after-the-fact blending.
This wine was co-fermented in our concrete amphora and the fermentation happened in stages as each variety came off the vines. The Pinot Gris was first to harvest and was inoculated with our pied de cuve wild yeast starter, allowed to ferment for a few days on its own. We intended to use our Tocai Friulano mainly for a skin-fermented wine, but we opted to saignée those fermentations into our actively fermenting Pinot Gris. Happily fermenting along, the Riesling juice was added to the amphora a few weeks later. Immediately post-fermentation, the wine was racked out of concrete to stainless steel in order to preserve its fresh, vibrant aromatic profile.
With its rich texture, bright fruit, and zippy acidity, our 2022 Chosen Home white blend shows off the individual signatures of its component varieties, harmonized into a wine that transcends the sum of its parts. It’s emblematic of our region and, more specifically, our cellar team. Like the grapes we used to make it, none of us grew up around here. But we recognize how lucky we are to be in this spot, working together to make provoking wines that mark our time here.