Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blue Mountain Cabernet Franc 2003 (PA)

I first met Joe and Vicki in the late 1990s. They were still relatively new to the wine scene, but they were making a big impact on Pennsylvania wine. We met them at the Pennsylvania Farm Winery Show at Slippery Rock. I am sure they don’t remember me or Dominique, but one could not help but remember their absolute belief in their wines and their plan – to make a sizable winery that could make great wine. They were an interesting couple. He had long hair in a pony tail and wore jeans and she wore a women's navy blue business suit with a skirt.

Joe and Vickie have been making wine at Blue Mountain Vineyards for more than 24 years in the Lehigh Valley in New Tripoli, PA. In 1986 Joe and Vickie planted the initial vineyard of 5 acres consisting of French Hybrid varietals, such as Chambourcin, Vignoles, and Vidal Blanc. However, through research and experience they had discovered that the Lehigh Valley provides an excellent micro-climate for growing not only French Hybrid grapes, but also European varietals due to their well-drained soils. Therefore, in 1988 the winery expanded the vineyard another 5 acres, planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, and have continued adding this acreage to its present 50 acres.

We watched over the years. He wine started showing up in the state stores. They had satellite tasting rooms, especially one at the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia. Their ascent was unmistakable.

In Fall 1997, Blue Mountain Vineyards purchased a parcel of land that carries with it a significant historical background dating back to pre-Revolutionary War. Spring of 1998 Joe and Vickie planted 20 acres of mostly vinifera grapes with the addition of Syrah, Petite Syrah, and Riesling vines. The winery's plan is to continue to plant vineyards over the next few years, which will bring the total acreage to 100 acres. In the Spring of 2007 they constructed a winemaking facility and have established a new winery - Leaser Lake Vineyards!

For years I have been impressed with Blue Mountain’s meritage wine. But I didn’t remember drinking their Cab Franc before. Recently, I was going through the wine cellar, and I found a bottle of Blue Mountain Cabernet Franc 2003. It was a Sunday night, as Dominique had made a roasted chicken with some couscous and green beans. She had rubbed the chicken with lemon and pepper and rosemary and garlic.

I opened the bottle with some trepidation. I wasn’t sure a wine this old would be any good. After all, 2003 was ten years ago!

The Blue Mountain Cabernet Franc 2003 was a dry, medium bodied red. The color was a purplish-red ringed in orange. The wine was a nose full of dried cherries and raspberries, with a hint of blueberries, and a whiff of tomatoes and black pepper. There was some other spice. On the palate a stewed mixture of cooked dark berries gave way to a dark our cherry. The acidity a still nice. The tannins were soft and the finish was lovely. Smooth and it lasted for a while.

The chicken was perfect and the wine went beautifully with it. I was surprised the wine was still so pretty, but I have to say have been impressed with Blue Mountain before, so my surprise was tempered.  It was a tremendous experience, and a great way to spend a Sunday night!
Congrats to to Joe and Vicki and all the people at Blue Mountain!