Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Vermont Wines

At the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, and a couple other spots, I tasted wines from a number of Vermont wineries. I have already raved about the wines of Boyden Valley Winery and now it is time to highlight some of the other Vermont wines I enjoyed. I tried to concentrate on wines made from Vermont grapes, and not grapes imported from elsewhere.

Honora Winery: This winery did not have any wines available that were produced from Vermont grapes, but they are working towards that goal. Their 200 acre vineyard is located in the Green Mountains of West Halifax. The vineyards contains mostly cold-weather grapes such as LaCrescent, Frontenac, Marechal Foch and Marcette. They have also planted some Gewurtztraminer and Pinot Noir.

They are currently importing grapes from California and Washington, with plans to import from other wine regions as well. Their 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon ($11.99), made from California grapes, was a pleasant, easy drinking wine with some nice, red fruit flavors and a touch of spice.

Lincoln Peak Vineyard: This winery only makes wines from grapes grown in Vermont, on their small, twelve acre vineyard, located in New Haven. They grow about twenty different grapes, including Frontenac, Marquette, St. Croix, LaCrescent, Swenson White, and Prairie Star.

I really enjoyed two of their wines. First, the 2008 Starlight ($11.99), was a rose made from Sabrevois and St. Croix grapes. It had a nice strawberry smell and a pale pink color. It was dry, more like an Old World rose, with subtle red fruit flavors. A pleasant wine, perfect for summer. The second was the 2008 Black Willow ($14.99), a white wine made from Louise Swenson and Frontenac Gris grapes. This was a very aromatic wine, with alluring floral and perfume notes. On the palate, it was dry and crisp with floral tastes and subtle fruit flavors. This is a winery you should check out if you visit Vermont.

Charlotte Village Winery: The grapes for the wines produced by this winery come from the Lodi region of California.

East Shore Vineyard: This winery is located in Grand Isle, overlooking Lake Champlain. They have about five acres of grape vineyards, and with plans to double their size. They grow cold-weather grapes such as LaCrescent, Frontenac, Marquette, Louise Swenson and Prairie Star. But the only wines they currently have available, a Traminette and Cabernet Franc, are made from grapes of the Finger Lakes region of New York. Wines made from their own grapes will be released in the near future.

Eden Ice Cider Company: This company, located in West Charleston, was formed in 2007 by Albert and Eleanor Leger. They just produce apple ice cider, made from traditional and heirloom varieties of apples in Vermont. The cider is made from 100% apple, without any added sugar or flavorings. About 50% of the apples used are cider apples rather than dessert ones, giving more tartness to the cider. It takes over 8 pounds of apples to make a 375ml ($25) bottle.

Currently, they just sell the Calville Blend, which is made from apples including, MacIntosh, Empire, Russets, Calville Blanc and Ashmead's Kernel. It has an alcohol content of 10% and 15% residual sugar. The cider is not overly sweet, and does have a rich apple flavor with bits of honey and almost caramel notes. I enjoyed it though it was not impressive. I am curious though about their new product, which should be released in November, called Northern Spy. This will be a "single-varietal ice cider" which will be aged in French oak. Northern Spy is an "antique variety of apple that was one of the three most popular in America at the end of the 19th century. It has a sweetly tart flavor that is superbly enhanced by the oak."

Neshobe River Winery: This is a winery with attitide, located in Brandon. They have a small vineyard and also import grapes from California and the Finger Lakes. Currently, they do not sell any wines made just with Vermont grapes. Their 2007 Purple Haze ($15-a tribute to Jimi Hendrix) is made with Vermont grown Frontenac, but also Merlot and Cabernet Franc which is grown elsewhere.

Snow Farm Winery: After breakfast at the Farmer's Diner, I stopped at the shops of the Quechee Gorge Village which had a tasting table for the wines of Snow Farm. I was most impressed with their dessert wines. I did enjoy their 2008 American Traminette ($17.95) but felt it was too pricey for its quality. The 2007 Estate Vignoles ($25/375ml) is a late harvest dessert wine with a complex melange of flavors, including apricot, orange, honey and almond. Plus, it was not overly sweet. The 2007 Estate Vidal Ice Wine ($45/375ml) is sweeter, though a bit more complex and with a lengthy finish. Though the ice wine is the better wine, I think the Vignoles is a better value.

Shelburne Vineyard: I actually visit this winery and the tasting room was packed on the day I visited. The winery, located in Shelburne, was established in 1998. They have three vineyards, including one which is certified organic, and they grow grapes including Cayuga, LaCrescent, Louise Swenson, Marquette, St Croix, Riesling, Traminette, Vidal, Vignoles, and Zweigelt.

They also use grapes grown in New York and Quebec. Several of their white wines use Chardonnay, which is grown elsewhere. Interestingly, they have two wines, the Whimsey Meadow Rose and MuMondo, which use a blend of grapes from Vermont, New York and Quebec, all in the same wine. Their wines were generally good, though I was hoping for more wines produced just from Vermont grapes.

No comments: