Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brimstone Hill Vin Rouge Superior 2007

I have met Richard Eldridge many times. He and his wife Valerie were some of the people that formed a new breed of winemakers that helped breathe new life into the Valley winemaking scene not long after the farm winery act was passed. These are people who helped usher in the first wave of farm wineries. And they've been making local, artisanal wines for a long time.

Brimstone Hill Vineyard & Winery is celebrating 30 years of operation. In the summer of 1980, Richard and Valerie Eldridge started by selling two wines -- a 1979 Vin Rouge and a 1979 Vin Blanc -- next to the barrels in the newly constructed winery. Now the Brimstone Hill label is attached to more than 8 wines, which include a sparkling wine made in the traditional "Methode Champenoise", a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Franc, and a Riesling.
The winemaking families of the Valley owe a great debt to the Eldridges, not only for their helping to transform the Valley wine scene, but for also making wonderful wine. And for being just plain nice folks.

The vineyard, started in the spring of 1969, consisted of four acres with only half in production. Today the vineyard has expanded to over 13 acres and the small winery building now houses a cozy tasting room overlooking the vines, an office and a lab. An extra large pole barn was built to accommodate much of the storage and the increased wine production. In 2001 an extension was added to the barn.

The Eldridges continue to be excited with the quality of the wines they can produce in the area.
"We are fundamentally interested in producing quality wines with a French character at a reasonable price - similar to the better products of the Loire Valley, Burgundy and Champagne. In order to do this, our operation will remain small and experimental in character.".

I have told Richard and Valerie several times that my favorite Brimstone Hill wine is the Vin Rouge. I think it's the best value in the Valley. The Vin Rouge 2007 is a blend of Foch , Chambourcin, and Chancellor. It is a lovely Burgundian-styled, soft red with big fruit up front and low, soft tannins. Stewed dark strawberries and cherries. A touch of vanilla and spice. A great wine for lunch, or for dinner with chicken, pork, pasta, or even tuna. An incredible wine.