Where does it come from:
The origin of Altesse has been the subject of some debate. It has been suggested that it's identical to Furmint, the noble Hungarian variety used to make the great sweet wine Tokaij. However others suspect that it is indigenous to the hills of Savoie. Today there are fewer than 1,000 acres under cultivation, mostly in France, though there is a small quantity in Switzerland.
What's it like for the farmer:
Altesse needs gentle care, as it is quite to susceptible to the most common forms of grape rot.
Bloomer Creek Vineyard, "White Horse Blend," Finger Lakes, New York, 2010
Distributor: David Bowler Wine, 119 W. 23rd St, New York, NY, 10011
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With the first real winter storm headed our way, we know that you want to wrap yourself in something warm and cozy. A bottle of something hearty and red usually works equally as well as an actual blanket in this situation and we thought that our Wine of the Week should reflect this. So we returned to the Finger Lakes to highlight another star of the New York wine industry: Bloomer Creek Vineyards.
Created in 1982 by Kim Engle and wife Debra, Bloomer Creek has become one of New York's leaders in the world of organic viticulture. From the very beginning, they have strived to maintain a healthy vineyard that will continue to produce beautiful fruit long after someone else has taken the reins. They ferment their wines using only the ambient yeasts that exist in their vines and cellars and work to maintain a minimal sulfur level that will allow their wines to speak in a clear voice.
Like most of the top producers upstate, Bloomer Creek produces a variety of whites and reds. But unlike Herman J. Wiemer, Dr. Frank or some of the other top estates, Bloomer Creek has become perhaps best known for their reds. While the whites are of unimpeachable quality (the dry Edelzwicker field blend is particularly attractive), the reds are special.
The "White Horse" is their little salute to the great Chateau Cheval Blanc in Saint Emilion on the right bank of Bordeaux. It is a blend of two thirds Cabernet Franc and one third Merlot. The wine is aged in a variety of barrels, made from French, American and Hungarian oak, all previously used to avoid the influence of toasty new wood. The resulting wine is incredibly satisfying. The herbal green edge of the Cabernet Franc is unmistakeable, but this is balanced with extra roundness and richness from the dark, plummy Merlot. So come see us some night this week to get out of the cold and warm up with a glass of Bloomer Creek.
Wine Director, Blue Ribbon Restaurants