Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Auburn Road - Amazing Wines From the Outer Coastal Plain (NJ)

Soooo....this is one of those reviews that goes back some time. Some of the vintages are no longer available But the impressions are still vivid (as are the notes)....The first thing I remember is that I had not really tasted Auburn Road wines in any real way. And when I did at the Garden State Harvest Wine Festival, I remember being extremely floored....the stuff was good! Real good!

Auburn Road Vineyards is a winery in Pilesgrove Township in Salem County, New Jersey. The vineyard was first planted in 2004, and opened to the public in 2007 by a group of friends and relatives. Auburn Road has 19 acres of grapes under cultivation, and produces 4,200 cases of wine per year. The winery is named for the road where it is located. Auburn Road Vineyards is in the Outer Coastal Plain AVA, and produces wine from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cayuga White, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Merlot, Niagara, Pinot gris, Sangiovese, and Vidal blanc grapes. Auburn Road also makes fruit wines from apples, blueberries, and peaches. 

First one on the list was Auburn Road's The White Bottle, which is a light Chardonnay with a lovely, bright acidity. It was fermented in stainless steel and then matured in new oak barrels for a few months. It has lots of green apple and a hint of vanilla. A very lovely white! 

Eidolon 2011 was created to help support the Walt Whitman Association in its work including the restoration and preservation of the Walt Whitman House in Camden, New Jersey. The wine itself is  
 meant to be a statement of New Jersey terroir from the soils and climate of the Garden State’s premier growing region, the Outer Coastal Plain. It is a blend of Merlot and Chambourcin. This is a big, complex, flavorful, layered, dry red wine. 

Classico 2011 is the most impressive wine from Auburn Road. It is a big, complex, classic Chianti Reserve-styled blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chambourcin. It is aged 23 months in oak, It is an impressive wine! As good as any from any winery on the east coast! It is an amazing wine that calls for a big pot of Penne Arabiata or a big juicy steak or pan fried porkchop with peppers and potatoes. It is begging for a piece of red cow parmigiano! A fantastic, fantastic wine!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Victory View Independence Marquette Reserve 2013 (NY)

Early on I was a fan of Victory View Vineyard! Jerry and his wife Mary have been steadfast in helping make great wine and growing their region, the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Region (soon to be a new AVA).

More than anything, Jerry makes one of the two or three best Marquette varietal wines that can be had! The Victory View Independence Marquette 2013 was incredible! A big, Syrah-like wine, with plum, cassis, and cherry and hints of pepper and vanilla. A beautiful, mature wine! Their first version of Independence, the 2013 vintage, won a double gold and best red wine of the 2015 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition. I took too long to write the review. But this proved to be a good time to revive my interest in the wine. It's no longer available, but what is being released is the Independence Marquette Reserve 2014!

They also make some other fantastic wine....including their Lafayette maréchal foch, Fieldstone lacrosse and Revolution marquette.The one thign about Victory View i they make quality wines...through and through. And from the unlikeliest of grapes But they make great quality wine.

Mary Barnett recently wrote, "Marquette is our signature red grape, and we are happy to announce the release of the much anticipated 2014 marquette reserve - Independence! We are selling our 2014 vintage wines in our tasting room now...Independence is a limited production, dry red wine that we craft using our hand-harvested grapes from our most mature marquette vines. Independence is aged in French oak to produce a well-balanced wine with a complex flavor profile of subtle earthiness with the fruitiness and spice characteristics of marquette grapes."

Victory View was featured in the New York Times.

"Gerry Barnhart named his new winery Victory View Vineyard because when he looks west from the top of a slope on his property, he can see the site where, in 1777, the Battles of Saratoga were fought.
And one of his wines is named Revolution because it is made from one of several new cold-hardy grape varieties that have flourished in parts of northern New York once considered inhospitable to winemaking, from Washington and Saratoga Counties, just above Albany, to Lake Champlain and the Thousand Islands," reported the New York Times..

“About two dozen new vineyards have started up in the last seven or eight years because of the availability of these new grapes,” Mr. Barnhart told the Times. “Before, you couldn’t even think about growing wine grapes here.”

"In 2008, Mr. Barnhart and his wife, Mary, planted 180 vines of marquette grapes, a variety first released in 2006 by the University of Minnesota. In 2010, before going into business, he harvested nearly a ton of grapes and gave away most of his first batch of 160 gallons of wine to family and friends, who all gave it favorable reviews," the New York Times reported.

“So we said, ‘Let’s keep going,’” Mr. Barnhart said. “Like any variety of grape they have their own essential character, whether it’s mouth feel or different kinds of flavors,” Mr. Barnhart said. “These northern grapes are different than some of the traditional European wine grapes like a cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay or riesling. They have different flavor profiles. For example, marquette has a real abundance of color and what people would characterize as red-fruit flavors such as black cherry, raspberry, strawberry or cherry.’’

Still, Ms. Barnhart added, “People will come in and ask, ‘Do you have merlot?’”
“We say, ‘No, we can’t grow those grapes here because they’re wimps when it comes to winter,’” Mr. Barnhart said. “‘But we do have this, this and this.’”

Read more here...

Monday, January 16, 2017

FORBES: The New Single Malt Whiskey

Whisky Book Review: The New Single Malt Whiskey
by Felipe Schrieberg

I cover food, drink, and especially my obsession: all things whisky.

If the New York Times is to be believed, we're in the middle of a golden age for whisk(e)y writers.

I can’t say I disagree, given that just last year I began this water of life-oriented blog, among other whisky-writing gigs. Many writers are jumping on board the whisky train and we're now seeing more books than ever written about that most wonderful of golden spirits.

But in this wave of new scribes, let us not forget some of the old-school writers. There are the thick compediums written by such well-known critics as Jim Murray and Michael Jackson (not that one) before him. There's the forefather of whiskey journalism in the U.S., Chuck Cowdery (he's now got a blog).

However, it’s not just a golden age for writers. Whisky sales, especially for single malts, are increasing, and many distilleries have been founded in the last few years hoping to make their marks on the market.

How do you keep track of all this activity?

I have an answer. The New Single Malt Whiskey from Cider Mill Press might be your best means of discovering how single malt whisky is being produced around the world, and the efforts underway by distilleries both large and small.

I emphasize single malt because this book covers whisky made exclusively from malted grains and produced by a single distillery. For better or worse, that means that almost all bourbons, rye whiskies, and blended whisky are excluded here, even when blended malt.

That's not a criticism because that's not a bad thing. It allows the focus of the book to be a bit narrower, covering 325 bottles from more than 197 distilleries in 25 countries.

Reflecting the current crop of whisky writers, the book doesn't rely on a single author but, rather, many contributors (too many, in fact, to list here).

Writers and bloggers on both sides of the Atlantic contribute articles on a number of subjects, including current trends in the industry, as well as briefings on the many distilleries around the world that are producing whisky today.

Clay Risen

Chip Tate
Chip Tate

It’s worth noting that the introduction is written by the New York Times’ Clay Risen, acclaimed author of American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation's Favorite Spirit, with a foreword by pioneering American whiskymaker Chip Tate. It's been compiled and edited by Carlo DeVito, an experienced drinks publisher, writer, and owner of the Hudson Chatham winery.

The first section provides a loose primer on whisky production and the different elements that give its taste. It’s all good information, though in my opinion doesn't devote enough space to this theme, with so much being covered that it borders on being disjointed.

The sections written by Richard Thomas (who runs the whisky website The Whiskey Reviewer) are stand-outs here, covering well the role of wood and casks in whisky. A few pages are then spent on a variety of whisky cocktail recipes. Again, not a bad thing, particularly as these concoctions are becoming more popular.

The true strength of this book, and why it's worth your investment, is found in the final section on malt whiskies around the world, with excellent interviews featuring whiskymakers and whisky industry figures peppered throughout.

It’s a great catalogue for discovering the distilleries producing malt whisky in countries such as Norway, Taiwan, and India, as well as the usual whisky stalwarts such as Scotland and Japan. Here the book lists the distilleries creating interesting and innovative whiskies, and shines a deserved light on the many smaller distilleries that have been inspired by traditional methods of production, and details how they are putting their own twist on it.

It's a fun introduction to many distilleries and whiskies, and gives both whisky beginners and whisky geeks alike a number of very interesting bottles to look out for.

The book’s unique focus on malt whisky makes it interesting for both beginners and experts, and I’m eager to taste some of the whiskies that I’d never heard of before.

The New Single Malt Whiskey is published by Cider Mill Press and is available for $23.56 (£16.58 in the UK) from Amazon.