For the purposes of this article, I am concentrating on three grapes from the region: Viognier, Syrah, and Counoise (only 1). These are not the only varietal wines of these types being made o the east coast, but they are some of the best, period. THEY ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.
Suffice to say, in this age of local, I have assembled here the best examples of Rhone-styled wines, but they are grown and made here. And they compete with France, Temecula, and Santa Barbara. I have tasted at numerous events, and these wines are the bomb!!! And perfect for the Easter/Passover weekend! They pair well with pork, ham, and lamb, as well as with chicken.
“Forty years ago the Viognier grape, even in its homeland in the northern Rhône Valley, was virtually extinct,” wrote Jancis Robinson in 2005. “Even 20 years ago the total area of Viognier vines planted in the entire world was barely 80 acres, or 32 hectares, and almost all of them were in the little village of Condrieu. Ten years ago, only the cognoscenti had heard of it. And yet today it seems to be on the label of at least a quarter of all the wine samples I am sent to try – both red and white.“
Viognier first found a home in Virginia some time ago, and has absolutely flourished there. But it has also crept up the coast, and now Maryland and New Jersey wineries are catching up and making some terrific Viogniers!
King Family Estates Viongier
Cooper Vineyards Viognier
“Syrah’s popularity is rising fast and now it produces world class wines in France, in Australia,” wrote Oz Clarke, “…and in California and possibly South Africa, Argentina and Chile, too. And wherever it appears it trumpets a proud and willful personality based on loads of flavor and unmistakable originality”
Syrah has found a growing and important home on the east coast, especially in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. These wines again are absolutely fabulous and all grown locally! Surprisingly, New Jersey’s Syrahs are absolute standouts!!!
Here are a few from across the East Coast…
Arrowhead Springs Syrah
Elk Run Syrah
Bedell Cellars Syrah
p.s. special thanks to Vivino, Blogyourwine, Winesearcher,
I borrowed some pic of labels to make my case. Apologies....