Sunday I explained why I have been AWOL for the last few months, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten what I promised in my last post; great examples of wines that exceed expectations for their varietal. With some of the varietals I mentioned; rose wines, and Americanized Rieslings, it isn’t too hard to exceed expectations because standards are set so low, however, I have found more than a few exceptional examples, and I actually had to deliberate a bit. I think I have chosen well, so read on!
The first wine I got to try was the Trump Vineyard 2013 Rose from Virginia. Virginia has been a popular wine destination of late and I happen to live in the heart of its best sub-region (IMHO). Now, I haven’t always been a fan of Trump Vineyards, nor was I a fan of Kluge Vineyard which the property was previously, but I was given the bottle of rose as barter for some physical labor, and I fully enjoyed it.
Last time, (and a few times before) we mentioned that inexperienced drinkers expect pink wines to be sweet, however this wine is made in a french style, particularly that of the Loire Valley, and is very dry with a nice soft, fruity mouth feel. The blend was Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc (so a Cabernet d’Anjou).
In the glass, the wine was a beautiful, fresh pink salmon color, which when held under the light had a slight golden tone. On the nose, I picked up rich tart fruits like cranberry and strawberry with a hint of fresh herbs, a sign of a true Virginia wine. On the palate the wine was fresh, and crisp with bright acidity, like biting in to a sun-ripened strawberry off the vine. It also held some peach notes towards the finish and maintained that herbal spring like quality. I would say this wine was refreshing and definitely not sweet, and could easily satisfy the palate of most dry wine drinkers.
Another Virginia wine that I got to try was the Grace Estates 2014 Vidal Blanc. Now, from my experience, Vidal Blanc tends to fall in to the same flavor category as Rieslings and Gewurztraminers, however the grape was originally created by a French wine grape breeder to be used in the production of fine Cognacs. The grape was exported to Canada where it is used to make some of the finest ice wines in the world, but it is also used world wide to make a variety of sweet and dry wines and other concoctions.
This wine is
a beauty and truly expresses all of the ideals that make me so passionate about wine, it was possibly the wine highlight of my summer. My mother and I went to Grace Estates in mid-june (between the car accident and the final hospital visit) for a summer pick me up. Their new tasting room had only be opened a few weeks prior and the bar was empty aside from a spattering of couples who quickly left to enjoy the outside seating area and the beautiful early summer weather. My mother and I are not normally white wine drinkers, but it had been about a year since we had visited this vineyard, so we opted to taste their entire line-up and we were not disappointed. All of the wines were fantastic but the Vidal Blanc was the most memorable.
In the glass, the wine was nearly water clear but had a slight golden hue to it and a nice viscosity. There was just enough color to notice the legs that moved quickly down the walls of the glass. On the nose, the wine smelled fresh with notes of peach and honeysuckle, but it also had a savory smokey quality that was mouthwatering. On the palate the wine was creamy and juicy with fresh baked peaches and honey notes. The wine was definitely dry but felt soft on the palate in part to the smokey, spicyness that lingered well past swallowing. I was beyond impressed with this wine, even more so when my mother (who hasn’t purchased a white wine for her own home in quite a while) bought a bottle to take home.
The last wine I want to tell you about today is neither a new varietal, nor a Virginia wine; however it is a unique expression of a somewhat controversial varietal: Ermisch Vineyard’s Pinot Noir. Most Oregon Pinot Noirs I have sampled are expressive with light, earthy notes and full of bing cherry tartness. The Ermisch Pinot Noir on the other hand is dense, with prominent notes of dark stewed cherries, cracked pepper, top soil, and velvet chocolate.
The Ermisch Pinot Noir is exactly what I look for in a Pinot Noir. This wine is crafted featuring a quartet of Pinot Noir clones, each grown on a separate vineyard, from four of the premium sub-ava’s in the Willamette valley of Oregon.
In the glass the wine is nearly opaque, but as you swirl the wine in the glass it nearly resonates a light golden hue through a clearly garnet toned leggy, viscous juice. On the nose the wine is earthy with hints of heather and leather, but it also holds plenty of rich stewed cherries and caramelized sugar and bitter chocolate hidden in its depths. On the palate, the wine is liquid velvet with a blend of stewed and mashed cherries and plum, chocolate and fresh, loamy dirt.
Perhaps, the fact that I know how the wine was produced makes me love it even more, but the slow-action processing encouraged by the gravity-flow
production, and the pain-staking efforts of blending that the wine maker and vintner utilize to create the perfect expression of Willamette valley fruit and skill simply cannot be ignored. If you’re ever looking for an expressive wine that is heavy on flavor but still light on the palate, I will always recommend this Ermisch Pinot Noir.
(P.S. I’m so sorry that I’ve been M.I.A. lately. In June, I was in a hit and run, and then my father passed away. Then, after 17 amazing years, my mother and I had to make the difficult decision to put my horse down. Needless to say this summer had been pretty rough, but I’m ready to get back in to the action.)