Wednesday, April 08, 2020

In Love With Crow Vineyards Sparkling Vidal Blanc (MD)


Recently I was at the Eastern Winery Exposition 2020. At the Grand Tasting on Tuesday night of the three day exposition, I was offered a tasting of the Crow Vineyard Sparkling Vidal 2017. I eagerly accepted. 

Roy & Judy Crow are the owners of Crow Vineyards in Maryland. Lovely folks. I first wrote about them in 2013 but actually met them in 2017 at a tasting organized by Paul Vigna. It was there that I first tried their Sparkling Vidal (2014 vintage). As well as their Barbera Rose. 

Crow Vineyard Sparkling Vidal 2017 is a special wine. This is an estate wine. 1.7 tons of  grapes were hand harvested on September 12, 2016.  This wine was made in using the traditional m├ęthode champenoise. And it was bottled  in March 2018.

Now, the neat trick is that its made using Vidal Blanc, not your traditional choice for a quality sparkling wine. It almost makes me like it just for that. Vidal blanc (or simply Vidal) is a white grape variety produced from the Vitis vinifera variety Ugni blanc (also known as Trebbiano Toscano) and  Rayon d'Or (Seibel 4986). It is a very winter-hardy variety that manages to produce high sugar levels in cold climates with moderate to high acidity. There are many lovely wines made up and down the east coast with Vidal. Its tough as nails, fairly disease resistant, and makes wonderful aromatic wines. But being used in this sparkler brought out possibilities I was heretofore not aware of. Even a month later, I am still geeking out on this wine.

The wine was made by Michael Zollo. He was hired in May of 2017. According to the winer, "Michael Zollo grew up in wine. His father and grandfather made wine in their basement sharing the art with young Michael. After seven years as a home winemaker in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, he had the opportunity to go to California to pursue his hobby and passion professionally. His wine making skills were furthered with under the tutelage of Jacques Mercier at Solune Winegrowers."

“I am enthusiastic to be named Winemaker at Crow Vineyard and look forward to establishing the Chesapeake Bay Area as the next great wine region," wrote Zollo. Zollo worked with Crow’s wine consultant John Levenberg. 

A lovely yeasty/bready note pops like a puff of exotic flour. This is quickly followed by green apple and pears, backed up with nectarine and honeysuckle.More tropical notes follow. Lovey lemon zest acidity keeps the wine honest and refreshing. A wonderfully aromatic sparkling with a fantastic flavor and great acidity. An incredible quality sparkling wine. Serve it to family, friends, and especially wine geeks, even aficionados. You will get nothing but compliments.

Loved this wine!

Stunner: Glen Manor Petite Manseng 2017 (VA)


I was at a gathering of NYC wine writers to taste Virginia wines. Among the wines was Glen Manor Petite Manseng 2017. It goes without saying that Jeff White is among my favorite winemakers on the East Coast. He has a tremendously delicate hand. He makes classic wines that I think are incredible. I have written almost solely about his reds in the past, about which I gushed. I am here to tell you that my opinion of his skills have not changed.

Petite Manseng his his smallest planting - he only grows about 1.5 acres of the stuff, approximately 2050 vines. They were planted in 2008. The vines have been cane pruned and trained to the Double Guyot system.

The Glen Manor Petite Manseng 2017 was one of the most memorable wines of the afternoon. Jeff's Petit Manseng is an off-dry white that started off with candied fruit notes of dried citrus, pineapple, and other tropical fruits. While being slightly sweet, it is balanced with a lovely acidity that leaves a fresh and tingling feeling on the palate. Light, ethereal, and refreshing, the wine was spectacular.

Great job Jeff!




Sunday, April 05, 2020

Good Stuff! Deerfoot Six Point 2016 (PA)


I was recently at Eastern Winery Exposition 2020 in Lancaster, PA. While there I had the opportunity to taste Deerfoot Winery from Pennsylvania. Deerfoot Farm has been the family business of Dan Brown's family for more than 70 years. The farm was given the name is 1947, when the family started out raising pigs and chickens. Since then, their family has had a dairy and raised produce. This is damn good sized working farm. Then son Dan Brown (and wife Jaime) got into the wine business. The winery is meant to be a quality boutique wine producer, making 300-500 cases per year. They also make a small quantity of quality mead.

Dan Brown pere is the farmer. Dan Brown fils is the winemaker. Dan fils wife is Jaime "the Boss."

Deerfoot Six Point 2016 is a big red reserve made from 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Chambourcin. This is their signature dry red blend.  The recipe is different from the 2015 vintage as they have swapped in Chambourcin and deselected Petit Verdot.  The blend still includes Cabernet Franc as the largest component but now with 40% Chambourcin. The wine is aged in oak. 

I was skeptical, since I'd never heard of them before. When someone poured it for me, I didn't even ask to take a photo of the label. Who had the guts to be making a Cab Franc/Chambourcin in Pennsylvania? I looked for the spit bucket before I took my first swallow. Someone said something, something about something completely different, I answered the question, and started sipping the wine, immersed in conversion, before I finally shook my head, and thought to myself, "Wait a minute, what the hell am I drinking? This stuff is good!" 

Deerfoot Six Point 2016 is a terrific effort. A really good wine from a very small, little known producer. But if you are lucky enough to come upon it, you are in for a treat! And if you got there, make sure to tell them I sent you!

Great stuff!