Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mt. Zion Orchard Aronia Wine - A Pleasant Surprise From Maryland (MD)

Mt. Zion Orchard is a farm located in Marydel, Maryland.  Owner Gerald L. "Gerry" Godfrey's Aronia wines are crafted on his orchard farm in Caroline Country, Maryland and branded with the family Mt. Zion Orchard label. It's family run. 

They grow Aronia. What the hell is aronia? This, from Wilipedia: 
Aronia is a genus of deciduous shrubs, the chokeberries, in the family Rosaceae native to eastern North America and most commonly found in wet woods and swamps. The genus is usually considered to contain two or three species, one of which is naturalized in Europe. A fourth form that has long been cultivated under the name Aronia is now considered to be an intergeneric hybrid, Sorbaronia mitschurinii.

Chokeberries are cultivated as ornamental plants and as food products. The sour berries can be eaten raw off the bush, but are more frequently processed. They can be found in wine, jam, syrup, juice, soft spreads, tea, salsa, chili starters, extracts, beer, ice cream, gummies and tinctures.[9] The name "chokeberry" comes from the astringency of the fruits, which create a sensation making one's mouth pucker.

Chokeberries are often mistakenly called chokecherries, which is the common name for Prunus virginiana. Further adding to the ambiguity, a variety of Prunus virginiana is named melanocarpa, readily confused with black chokeberry, commonly referred to as "black chokeberry" or "aronia". Aronia berries and chokecherries are both high in polyphenolic compounds, such as anthocyanins, yet the two plants are distantly related within the Rosaceae family.

Mt. Zion makes 4 wines:
Skinny Oak Aronia Wine.  Fermented on the skins and lightly oaked, Mount Zion Orchard Skinny Oak Aronia Wine is a dry red that pairs well with sharp cheese, savory dishes, or dark chocolate.

Party Foul Aronia Wine,  Party foul is Mount Zion Orchard’s sweeter finish for our Black Aronia wines. It would be a shame to spill (a party foul) this off-dry to semi-sweet red wine.

Whole Notes Aronia Wine,  Black Aronia fermented whole to bring out all the flavor notes. We have some cases of this full bodied dry red where no sulfites were added during the winemaking process; however, sulfur does occur naturally in all plants.

Duet Apple Wine and Aronia Wine,  Duet is a Blend, two-thirds apple wine and one-third black aronia. Though red in color; Duet is more akin to a white wine, albeit with more tannins. A little lighter than the all aronia wines.

I met Gerry at the Eastern Wineries Exposition 2016. I was manning the blogging table when he approached. I was with a number of other folks who sat with me there.

Now, I will tell you that I, and a number of other tasters, were extremely skeptical when Gerry approached the table. That said, we drank the wine, cautiously. But there was no need for our concern. The wine was alike a dry cassis. A hint of sweetness, but a very elegant and very drinkable wine!!!!We were all pleasantly surprised (and not a little bit relieved). The wine was very tasty!!!!!!

And indeed, as the back label explains, it would go very well with cheese, especially any kind of cheddar would be excellent. A very, very nice and surprising wine!

p.s. Gerry, I owe you one. This review is waaaaaaay late! Well done, sir!