Sunday, July 03, 2011

Jerram Winery in New Hartford, CT

We got to Jerram Winery in New Hartford, Connecticut in a rush - unfortunately. It had taken longer to get there than we figured - late start, lots of July 4th traffic - and of course we were a third the way there when we found out our son had a baseball game at 4pm. Ugh! But arrive did. But Jim was helping jump the battery of a young man's motorcycle, so we were obliged to wait for our tasting.

Jerram Winery is located in the historic Town Hill section of New Hartford, the site of the original town settlement dating to the early 1700s. Because of it's elevation, the vineyards enjoy a relatively long growing season that enables the vines to produce grapes with the sophisticated maturity necessary for the production of quality wine.

Founded in 1998, Jerram Winery currently offers 10 wines, including several award winners. Our vineyards grow many varieties of grapes including Marechal Foch, Seyval Blanc and Vignoles.

Jim Jerram, owner and winemaker, has extensive experience in the food and beverage industries, including wine and spirits. Jim holds a B. S. in Agriculture from Rutgers University in New Jersey and an advanced degree in Operations Management from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. His interest in wine making was stimulated by Dr. Konstantine Frank of New York and Dr. Carlos Aggazotti of California.

Jerram Winery is designated a “farm winery.” It is a small, but beautiful little winery, long on success over the years. The tasting room was one of the prettier tastingrooms we've ever visited. It's bright and charming, and well appointed.

While we were tasting, Jim's wife was setting up an art exhibit there at the winery. She was very friendly, and the art was in fact lovely. The painting of a water lilly was magnificent.

We chatted with her for a second, and then it was off to the races with our tasting.

Seyval Blanc
A crisp, dry wine that can enhance any occasion. Serve it with cheese and cracker, hors d’oeuvres, or with meals featuring fish or poultry. The citrus tones are wonderful. A lovely example of the varietal. Very drinkable, perfect with any kind of fish or shell fish.

Highland Reserve
A blend of fine red wines that are aged until ready for bottling, Highland Reserve is a medium bodied red table wine. This is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Marechal Foch. Again, I liked this very much. This is a rich wine, that can stand up to grilled meats, and spicier dishes. A very good red blend.

Winemaker Magazine reported in Apr/May 2002: Jerram’s first wine is a blend of Marechal Foch and Cabernet Franc. The percentages of each variety will change from year to year depending upon each wine’s character and the availability of each variety. The second wine is 100 percent Marechal Foch and develops a port-like and sherry-like bouquet over time. Jerram says that this wine is woody and very complex, and people either love it or hate it. Most people seem to love it, since it sells out every year.

Marechal Foch
The Marechal Foch was a medium bodied dry red table wine, with big cherry flavors. Also an excellent version of the varietal.

According to winemaker magazine (Apr/May 2002): Jim Jerram of New Hartford has two acres of twenty-year-old Marechal Foch vines on his six-acre farm winery in this cold-climate community in northern Connecticut. Once an amateur home winemaker, Jerram started a farm winery a few years ago that features his Marechal Foch, which he loves. He reports that the grape does well in his area but does require some irrigation and attention to mildew. He produces about two and a half tons per acre and he makes two different styles of red table wine. He ferments 80 percent of the must in stainless steel and 20 percent in glass. He then ages about 50 percent of the new wine in wood and the balance in steel. The use of different fermenters adds to the complexity of the wine. The wood fermenter offers vanilla and buttery traits while the glass fermenter helps retain the fruitiness of the wine. He picks his grapes early, at about 17 percent sugar and 1.1 percent acid, then makes adjustments before fermenting. Jerram uses the Lalvin Bourgovin (RC212) yeast and lets his wine go through a malolactic fermentation.

S'il Vous Plait was a medium bodied red wine with herbal tones and earthy origins. Made from Cabernet Franc grapes, it’s smooth, dry body with peppery undertones. This was our favorite of the reds. A really, really lovely wine.

The line tasted very nicely. All the reds were very good.

Unfortunately, we were pressed for time. We had been thinking of visiting another winery or calling on a friend in the area - a surpirse visit. But with the baseball game looming over our tasting like the sword of Damocles, we bolted out of the tasting room and back into our car. Normally, we would have stayed quite a hwile longer and chatted with the Jerram's but parenthood called. Our apologies to Jim and his wife.

Congrats to the Jerrams on a lovely line of wines and a very nice tasting experience! We promise to stay longer the next time.