Wines from the Eastern Seaboard Take Center Stage (Part 1)
Fall is just around the corner. It’s a great time to visit the USA’s east coast and take in the mesmerizing change of colors dotting the serene hillsides, mountains, valleys, and forests that abound. Additional highlights you should not miss are the many wineries producing beautifully crafted wines from vinifera, hybrid and native American grapes grown on the Eastern Seaboard. Here are several favorites I have recently discovered (Part 2 will follow soon in September):
Arbor Hill Grapery and Winery NV Griesa “Iona” Rose; Finger Lakes, New York: This fanciful, sweet Rose with an expressive nose is made primarily of Iona (blended with 7% Vincent). The sparkling hue is eye catching. Pleasing the palate are juicy raspberry and black cherry flavors that meld with savory spice accents and vibrant acidity. Clean and fresh with a satisfying aftertaste. SRP: $10.95 www.thegrapery.com
Ingleside Plantation Vineyards 2007 Merlot; Northern Neck George Washington Birthplace AVA, Virginia: Blueberries and black cherries wow the senses with this juicy, nicely balanced Merlot. Savory spice and a touch of toasty oak join in mid palate as the wine broadens. This easy to quaff Merlot fully coats the mouth with delicious flavors and a velvety texture leaving a pleasurable impression from start to finish. SRP: $17.95 www.inglesidevineyards.com.
Ingleside Plantation Vineyards 2007 Merlot Reserve; Northern Neck George Washington Birthplace AVA, Virginia: Plenty of depth and complexity with their Reserve rendition of Merlot. The black cherry and berry focus remains pure and dense with a delightful jammy quality. A touch of molasses, pipe tobacco and spice add further dimension. Well defined oak nuances speak to its aging in 62% French, 25% American and 13% Virginia oak barrels; and the tannins are integrated and refined; beautifully crafted. SRP: $24.95 www.inglesidevineyards.com
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard 2011 Cabernet Franc Reserve; Montgomery County, Maryland: If I had to choose one red vinifera variety from the Eastern United States that really stands out, it’s got to be Cabernet Franc. This fine CF example supports my thinking, as here is another Eastern Seaboard Cab Franc with distinctive varietal character that is simply spot on. Earthy, dark berry, black cherry and graphite meld harmoniously with a subtle hint of herbs and bell pepper notes weaving throughout. The precise balance and lovely texture impress, too. SRP: $24.95 www.smvwinery.com
Coyote Moon Vineyards and Winery 2011 Marquette; New York State: This hybrid (developed at the University of Minnesota) has captured my attention ever since my first taste several years ago (thanks to Dr. Murli R. Dharmadhikari). With this splendid cold climate dry red wine crafted by Coyote Moon, floral scents join dark berries on the nose. Flowing onto the palate are flavors of fresh cherries and olallieberries mingling with pretty oak highlights, black pepper and a dash of herbs. The wine boasts a creamy texture, medium body, noticeable firm tannins and good acids that keep all the elements on an even keel; well made. SRP: $24.95 www.coyotemoonvineyards.com
Cooper Vineyards 2011 Norton Reserve; Louisa, Virginia: Here is an expressive example of this sassy native American grape. Citrusy, tart cherry and berry aromas and flavors excite the senses and paint a warm, fruit laden mouthful of tasty goodness. Pretty spice elements are highlighted from mid to back palate and there is a pleasant brightness on the clean, appealing finish. SRP: $25 www.coopervineyards.com
Presque Isle Wine Cellars 2011 Dornfelder; Lake Erie, Pennsylvania: If you have not had the pleasure of tasting a new world Dornfelder (a red wine grape widely grown in Germany), here is one that will impress. Enticing aromas of dark forest fruits rise from the glass. Wild berry and blueberry compote flavors saturate the palate, interlacing with savory spice and well integrated oak; a palate pleasing, deliciously balanced wine. SRP: $14.99 www.piwine.com
Turdo Vineyards and Winery 2011 Turis Sangiovese; Cape May County, New Jersey: Enticing aromas of a bowlful of fresh cherries and a thread of earthiness wow the nose with this delightfully colorful 100% Sangiovese. Lush and round in the mouth with unabashed acidity offsetting the spice infused cherry and berry fruit at the core. A captivating and elegant Sangiovese that finishes with a nice lift. SRP: $27 www.turdovineyards.com
Rosemont of Virginia 2010 Kilravock Red Blend; Virginia: The 450 acre Rosemont Estate has been in the Rose Family since 1858. After tending to a variety of farming operations they began planting grapes in 2003. This Bordeaux blend is crafted of 46% Merlot, 27% Cab Franc, 23% Petit Verdot and 4% Cab Sauvignon. Aromas of fresh picked bell peppers and black fruits entice the olfactories. On the palate, flavors of cassis, black cherry and blackberry fruit dusted with a subtle hint of dill and savory spice coat the palate. Nicely crafted with a firm backbone of tannins. SRP: $27.95 www.rosemontofvirginia.com
Frogtown Cellars 2009 Propaganda; Lumpkin County Georgia: From the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, Frogtown Cellars offers this blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cab Sauv, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec that is deep, dark and delicious. Scents of black plums and blueberries join layers of black currant, blackberries, tobacco and savory spice that unfold generously across the palate and persist through the long finish. Firmly structured with velvety tannins, and the subtle oak notes are well integrated. SRP: $33.99 www.frogtownwine.com
Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery NV Cabernet Franc; Eden Maryland: The attractive aroma of sautéed bell peppers waft from the glass and clearly scream Cab Franc. Mouthwatering and pure with dark berry flavors interweaving with herbs and hints of cracked peppercorns through the juicy, full flavored palate. Silky tannins and a lingering finish keep the wine fully captivating throughout. SRP: $18 www.bordeleauwine.com
Cherokee Cellars NV Trio; from Vineyards in Yadkin Valley North Carolina and Georgia: A lively and unique blend of 70% Cab Franc, 20% Norton and 10% Sangiovese captures the senses with aromas and flavors of bright berries, dried cherries, and roasted green bell pepper spilling generously from the glass. Racy acidity plays off the juicy fruit creating a wonderful balance, and this unique blend finishes with good length. SRP: $18.95 www.cherokeecellars.com
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon in September!