Sunday, December 28, 2014

Chestnut Run Winery - If You Like Fine Cider and Perry, This is Your New Go To Winery (NJ)

OK, so let me tell you all the things I don't like about Chestnut Run first. I'm not a huge fan of their label. Mostly because it's hard to tell apart one wine from another without carefully reading. And I am a big, fat, lazy guy, who doesn't want to work that hard. So apparently, it's just me.

Now, let me tell you everything I like about this place. Number one, it's owned by a family that' been working the same land for a while. Bob Clark and his family are hard working farmers, which makes me like them instantly. They began farming in 1984, bought the farm in 1986, and permanently preserved the farm in 2001. During most of that time, they operated as growers/packers of fancy specialty fruit and vegetables including such items as Asian pears, gourmet apple varieties, yellow tomatoes, gourmet bell and hot peppers, baby round eggplant, baby round zucchini, ornamental Indian corn, giant pumpkins, peaches, and chestnuts. By 2006 all their fruit was being processed into wine. All this instantly makes me think I need to invite myself for dinner one night.
The next thing is that they make wine from apples and pears, which should in this day and age be an easier sell. I mean ciders and perrys are off the charts, right? But you say apple wine or pear wine, and people wrinkle their nose. Let me tell you right here and now, one taste, and you will not be wrinkling your nose. Let me tell you a story.

So I was at the Fall New Jersey wine festival, and I came upon the Chestnut Run tent. I had heard about their wines before and even tasted one. I remembered it being good, so I said to myself, let me stop in. I got to talking to Bob Clark, and of course now I'm knee deep into a fruit wine tasting. As a wine writer in the north east this is sometimes sketchy territory, but has been markedly improving over the last half-dozen years. So the Semi-Sweet Pear wine comes first. It's lovely! It's produced from a blend of their Asian pear varieties. It's an off-dry wine. Not too sweet, nicely balanced fruit wine with a smooth, easy finish. Bob said I should think of it as an alternative to Riesling and he was absolutely right!

They use only their own Fuji apples to make this varietal wine that displays their own terroir. Chestnut Run Farm Fuji Apple wine is a semi-sweet wine with a nice, zesty finish that shows great balance. A very distinctive apple comes through beautifully. This wine would instantly go great with turkey, salmon or pork dishes, or with sharp cheddar cheese. A fantastic wine!

Must be absolutely honest here. When Bob first suggested this next wine, I shook my head. Not a spiced wine kind of guy. I have my limits. But he insisted I would be surprised. And I was! This ginger-spiced Asian pear wine is among their most popular, and now I see why! This is made from a blend of different varieties of their own Asian pears. They add ginger root to the wine. See, now that's usually where I nod off. But I have to tell you, it's spectacular If you like for example Nine Pin Ginger or some of the other ciders with ginger, you will absolutely love this!!! Semi-sweet and gingery, but well balanced, this wine is a perfect match for spicy Asian and Indian meals such as sushi, Thai, Mandarin, Szechuan or Vietnamese. I was instantly in LOVE!!!

Great apple wines can taste like very god Rieslings. If you ever do a barrel tasting at Farnum Hill you'd know what I meant. Or if you like Aaron Burr ciders and perries, then you know what I mean. Chestnut Run's wines are very reminiscent of very good Rieslings. If you like Rieslings, and light styled wines, run to Chestnut Run. These are great apple and pair wines for those who like good wine. I promise you!!!