Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Hunt Country Ice Wine Vidal Blanc 1998: A Treat 14 Years in the Making!


Hunt Country is one of the first New York state wineries I fell in love with back when they were one of the first wineries selling their wares in Union Square and Grand Army Plaza at the greenmarkets back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The quality and their availability improve each and every year. And once you meet Art and Judy Hunt, well, who can say no?

So it was Thanksgiving day, and me and my brother-in-law (and partner in crime) Robin Hoover (formerly the chef at Alchemist in Vermont), decided to investigate the cobwebbed chambers of our wine cellar in search of “stickies.”

After all, if you’re going to sit around the fireplace after dinner, and you’ve started with local cider and sparkling wines with cassis, locals wines with dinner, then what to have just hanging around? A “stickie” is the only proper solution!

So we braved the spider webs, and perused the shelves in search of the golden nectar called dessert wine. I suddenly has an idea. Let’s look for some of the older wines and see how they had fared. The argument is ice wines and late harvest wines age well,  because the acidity and sugar start to really balance each other well, and more exotic flavors should by now have developed.

One of the wines we found was the Hunt Country Ice Wine Finger Lakes Vidal Blanc 1998. A fourteen year old bottle of wine. Now, there’s a decent test, no? We pulled a couple of other bottles (those may or may not be separate posts) and made upstairs with our booty determined to enjoy them while the kids sat in the den and watched “Elf.”

Hunt Country refers to this wine as “Our marquee wine, featured on NBC's Today Show….” The anticipation was intense, as we pulled the cork and poured the wine. It was golden in color and smelled fantastic. It was thick and viscous. Apricot, dried peaches, honey and other tropical fruits burst from the glass. And on the palate honey, and raisin, and apricot all layered on top of one another. There was some age to it, with a hint, a slight, slight, slight essence of sherry, but it was incredibly complimentary. It added another layer of flavor to the wine.

It was beyond expectation. Absolutely fantastic! 14 years old and it could easily have taken another few years no problem.

Congrats to everyone at Hunt Country Vineyards!!!!!