Saturday, April 29, 2017

Two Things About Lisa Hinton and Old Westminster (MD)

There are two things you need to know about Lisa Hinton. The first is that she is incredibly charming, funny, witty, and sarcastic, and very gracious. That's just the first thing. The second is that she knows her shit about making wine. And when she speaks, people stop to listen When she offers a glass of her stuff, wine people pause and give the wine proper attention.So imagine my thrill, when I got to sit across from Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post, and NEXT TO Lisa Hinton from Old Westminster at an mid-Atlantic wine tasting in Pennsylvania almost a month ago! She was so much fun to chat with. Such an incredible knowledge of winemaking, and yet chatty and funny to boot! 

The three principals of Old Westminster Winery: Baker siblings Drew, Lisa Hinton and Ashli. In addition to managing their 7,600 estate vines, they work closely with regional winegrowers to source grapes such as Cabernet Franc  from a vineyard on a silty-clay bank of the Monocacy River and Chardonnay from a vineyard perched atop a sandy bank overlooking the Chester River. Old Westminster believes these relationships allow them to craft wines that reflect their region’s unique geology and mesoclimates. More importantly, while still a fairly new winery, they have wowed discerning palates up and down the east coast.

At the tasting, I tasted two wines that were exceptional!

Old Westminster Cabernet Franc Home Vineyard 2013 was incredible. Big dark fruit right up front. Harvested at 23 brix, the wine was bled about 30% and stayed on the skins for 24 days, an was pumped over 3 to 4 times a day in bins, this wine was loaded with big cherry falvors and aromas. A touch of graphite too. And a hint of weeds. All very varietally on point! Immensely drinkable and delicious. Lots of lovely cocoa and vanilla to accompany the cherry and the hints of red cassis. Absolutely lovely!

The nose was a combination of fresh apples ad fresh bread. This spontaneous fermatation petillant Maturel had a lovely effervescence and tremendous acidity. This was a very light rose made from home vineyard Syrah! As per Hinton, the wine was disgorged, and the lees and dead yeast cells displaced with new wine, "but we sacrificed a lot of wine in the process." They made 70 cases of this lovely wine with hints of bright berry, strawberry and bright raspberry but with lost of citrus zest and a creamier finish than I expected. Impressive!!!!!!

Old Westminster continue and continues to make better and better wines.

Hats off to Lisa and the gang! Impressive stuff!