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Domaine LeSeurre Winery
by
Terry Sullivan

Domaine LeSeurre WinerySummary: A small, quaint tasting room sits atop the winery overlooking the southern end of Keuka Lake. Enjoy wines crafted by multi-generational French winemakers. There are wonderful views of the lake from the deck.

Domaine LeSeurre Winery is the creation of Céline and Sébastien Leseurre, originally from France. Céline grew up around her grandparents’ vineyard in Southern France near the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. Sébastien grew up in the Cote de Bar in Champagne. His family has six generations of winemaking experience. The couple have extensive winemaking experiences around the world. In France they have experience in Champagne, Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon. They met while in New Zealand working at Clos Henri Vineyard in the Marlborough region. Other experiences took them to Australia and the United States. Céline and Sébastien commented in an email interview, “We mix what we think are the best of Old World practices with the New World techniques.”

By 2011, they have crafted 16 vintages around the world. They were drawn to Keuka Lake and decided to make it their home. They wrote, “We loved the area, saw its potential for winemaking and decided to stay and create their own winery. The vineyards are getting older and older, the quality of the grapes is improving, the winemakers are becoming more knowledgeable, and everyone is trying to make higher quality wines. This is just the beginning.  We have high hopes for the area.”

The first vintage of Domaine LeSeurre Winery was in 2012. For now they are sourcing grapes from growers in the Finger Lakes. Sébastien explained, "We are using grapes carefully selected from growers in many different locations around the Finger Lakes. The focus, in traditional Old-World fashion, is on terroir. We drew a map of the terroir, tasted juice and realized that grapes from some places were better than from others. They differed depending on which side of the lake the vineyards were on, and how old the vines were. We met with growers and bought from those with the best terroir and the oldest vines. We have a contract with them, and we even have our own rows of vines selected year to year. We stay close to the vineyards during the growing season. As harvest approaches, we taste regularly, every two or three days. It is taste and taste alone that guides our picking decisions. We are not measuring brix or PH as most winemakers do. We will always keep our rows of vines in the different locations of the Finger Lakes. We like very much these terroirs and they will be different from our own terroir on our property."

Domaine LeSeurre Winery

Domaine LeSeurre WineryTasting Room

As visitors drive up to the tasting room, they will notice signs written in French and English. The cream-colored siding tasting room is just a short amble from the parking area. Up a few steps while on a deck, turn around and look at the view of Keuka Lake. The setting offers a stunning panorama of the blue waters of this lake.

Entering the tasting room there is a somewhat U-shaped tasting counter. At the base of the counter, a selection of Domaine LeSeurre wines are displayed. We met Harvey Greenberg, an energetic tasting room associate who personalizes the tasting experience for those that enter. The tasting room is bright with light colored walls making it easy to observe the colors of wines.

Wines

Domaine LeSeurre WineryWe tasted several wines while enjoying the ambiance of the room. We discussed some wine regions with other wine enthusiasts who were tasting wines. The 2013 Chardonnay Unoaked was a light straw color. Green apple and pear were on the aroma. The taste was smooth with apple and hints of citrus. The finish was crisp and fruity. The 2013 Chardonnay Barrel Select was a straw color. The aroma was reminiscent of pear and oak. The smooth taste offered many layers including apple, pear, citrus and caramel. The crispy finish was fruity.

The 2013 Dry Riesling was a pale yellow color and very aromatic. The wine had a smooth mouthfeel and apple, pear and melon notes on the taste. The 2013 Gewürztraminer was also a pale yellow color and very aromatic. It offered floral notes and a lingering aftertaste.

Domaine LeSeurre WineryThe 2012 Cabernet Franc Barrel Select spent 16 months in a French oak barrel. The wine had a translucent ruby color. The aroma and taste offered blackberries, plums and a hint of leather. The wine had tannins and a crisp finish with fruit yielding to leather.

A Sparkling Future

Since Sébastien is from the Champagne region of France I asked Céline and Sébastien about their thoughts about sparkling wines in the Finger Lakes. They wrote, “In the Finger Lakes, winemakers can produce sparkling with all kind of varieties, and do not have to produce sparkling following Methode Champenoise. In Champagne, the rules bring a way more defined style of Champagne. Here, we can say that the cool climate is really interesting to produce a great style of Methode Champenoise Brut, Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir and Rosé.”

Céline and Sébastien work together on all aspects of wine production. Do they ever have a disagreement about the wine? They replied, “We like to say that Céline is the discerning nose and Sébastien the palate, and we take advantage of both senses to make one winemaker! So yes we fight, and maybe the wines are getting better because of that, as we say ‘happy wife, happy life,’ so probably Céline wins!”

Domaine LeSeurre WineryWhen visiting wineries along Keuka Lake, stop at Domaine LeSeurre Winery where you will experience a warm friendly greeting. Discover the wines that showcase old world and new world winemaking practices.

Domaine LeSeurre Winery
13920 Rt. 54
Hammondsport, New York 14840

GPS: N42º 29.079’ W77º 08.253’

 

Article written August 2015



 

 

 


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