You need to go to the Finger Lakes. Now.

We’re pretty excited about our Fall Focus on the Finger Lakes. Excited because it’s our first focus on a U.S. wine region. Excited because it’s only a 4-5 hour drive from Pittsburgh. Excited because we just recently got back from a kind-of-mind-blowing staff retreat on Seneca Lake.

But more than anything, we’re excited because, through innovation, smarts, back-breaking work and sheer stubbornness, the grape growers and wine makers of the Finger Lakes are very quietly creating stellar, authentic wines — some of the best in the country.

And it’s not just Riesling. This, of course, was the breakthrough grape for the region, the one that put the Finger Lakes on the world stage, and it’s still very much the star player, with almost every producer offering several versions at varying levels of sweetness, single-vineyard cuvees, etc. But as they get to know the vagaries of their microclimate and their terroir better — and the Finger Lakes has terroir out the wazz, as they say — they’re starting to branch out. Gewürztraminer and lean, focused, Chablis-style Chardonnay are coming on strong. At Bloomer Creek, we talked with Kim Engle as he was laying drainage tiles in a field soon to be planted with Chenin Blanc, a collaborative project with superstar sommelier (and Chenin evangelist) Pascaline Lepeltier. And producers are starting to crack the nut of how to make reds in this challenging environment that live up to the reputation of the region’s whites. (Finger Lakes Pinot Noir, in particular, is ready for its close-up. We’ll be adding proof from Forge Cellars in the coming weeks.)

Almost-there Pinot Noir at Silver Thread

Almost-there Pinot Noir at Silver Thread

So, as you can see, there’s a lot going on in our neighbor to the north. Really, you should drop what you’re doing and visit for yourself. But stop by first and taste what we’re pouring. We’ll be happy to talk to you about what makes these wines — and the region they come from — special.

Bloomer Creek's Kim Engle with lucky vineyard dog, Odie

Bloomer Creek's Kim Engle with lucky vineyard dog, Odie