Heron Hill's search for a new winemaker is over. The Keuka Lake-based Heron Hill, which abruptly parted ways with winemaker Thomas Laszlo earlier this year, has hired Bernard Cannac. Cannac had been consulting at Long Island’s Castello di Borghese and Le Clos Thérèse wineries.
Cannac, 36, has been on Long Island for a while—he was the full-time winemaker at Duck Walk from 2004 through 2007; prior to that he made the wines at Gallucio Estate from 2001 through 2004. Cannac has also worked at Jefferson Vineyards in Virginia, as well as in his native France, where he worked harvests in St.-Emilion, Côtes de Provence and Corbières.
Cannac will have to hit the ground running, as he takes over the winemaking duties at Heron Hill in the midst of harvest. He has spent a few days at the winery already as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes came in before heading back to Long Island to prepare for the move. He’ll assume full-time duties this Friday,
“It’s a little tricky to jump in during the middle of harvest, but the team at Heron Hill has been together for a few years so that will help,” said Cannac.
“Plus I think we have the same views on winemaking style,” added Cannac in reference to Heron Hill owner John Ingle. “When I tasted their wines and they tasted mine, we saw that we appreciate elegance and balance in wines. Being French, I try to make wines that are meant to pair with food.”
Cannac also noted his desire to work at a winery that was focusing on sustainability, which Ingle is a proponent of.
"John is very strong on this. They're very passinonate about what they do at Heron Hill, and so am I," said Cannac.
Despite the mutual admiration, the move is a major shift for Cannac, as it will be his first time working in a cool-climate region where Riesling is the lead variety (Cannac has some experience with it on Long Island, though it plays a minor role there).
“I’ve been trying to preserve acidity in wines I made here on Long Island. But in the Finger Lakes that’s not a concern, so I’ll have to adapt to that,” said Cannac of the move north.
In addition, Heron Hill has shown promise with the Blaufränkisch variety (also known as Lemberger), a grape that Cannac said he is looking forward to working with.
“Normally Blaufränkisch is a little light and thin, but the one I tasted at Heron Hill was really round, with excellent fruit. That’s one of the many reasons I’m so excited about moving there.”
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Federico Rossi — rome italy — October 15, 2009 1:49pm ET
James Molesworth — Senior Editor, Wine Spectator — October 15, 2009 2:07pm ET
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