Friday, April 03, 2015

What Exit is Rhone on the Jersey Turnpike? Unionville Vineyards Does it Again!

Can I ever stop crowing about Unionville Vineyards and Cameron Stark;s accomplishments? While I was at Eastern Wineries Expo 2015 in Syracuse I ran into Stephen Johnsen and the lovely Stacy! They were pouring three wines at the welcome tasting that Tuesday night.

I was so excited because they were among my favorites!

Unionville Amwell Ridge Viongier 2013 was he first of the three I tried! This Garden State Viognier is an exciting experience. The nose is a combination of sweet tropical fruits and flowers. It explodes out of the glass. Green apple. Melon. Kiwi. Meyer lemon. Honeysuckle all burst from the rim of the glass. While there’s sweetness on the nose, there’s none in the glass. Brilliant acidity releases the tart apple flavors that are combined with a citrusy twit. A lovely, complex, austere white. Absolutely spectacular. Among the best Viogniers grown anywhere in the United States.

The Unionville AB Counoise 2013 was next. Now, I have to tell you, that my two favorite American Counoise are from Turley and from Unionville. I have tasted them side by side, and they are both exquisite in their own way. I have done this with several other wines writers who were all shocked at the quality of this Garden State Counoise!

The grapes (from seven year old vines) were macerated in macrobins and the wine itself was aged for seven months in neutral oak. Violets and other flowers, mixed with blueberries and bramble berry greet the taster, waved over by a hint of vanilla. Blueberry and plum come across the palate with a fabulous white pepper finish. An exquisite wine. Absolutely tremendous!!!  

The last wine I tasted was the Unionville Pheasant Hill Syrah 2012. I had done a barrel tasting of this wine last June 2014. Here it was in the botle. In reviewing my notes from that last tasting, I wrote, "Cameron makes his Syrah in the French fashion, adding a little bit of Viognier into the final blend. In Cotie-Rotie, the syrah and viognier grow right next to one another...and are often blended). The viognier adds a lovely touch to the nose, and adds some acidity and flavor to the wine. In this case 8% . This was a lovely wine with dark cherries, prunes, and plum very much as the forefront. A beautiful, Rhone-ish styled red. Lovely and elegant." Those notes were spot on! A fabulous, fabulous wine, that was absolutely elegant in the bottle!

Cameron and the team do it again! Fantastic! While other wineries in New Jersey, are attempting to close the gap (and they are doing an admirable job) thee is no question that Unonville is among the best vineyards on the entire East Coast and make a number of wines that can compete, not only nationally, but internationally.