Sunday, January 04, 2009

Hopewell Valley - Great Reds and Dessert Wines

When I first went to Hopewell Valley Vineyards, two or three years ago, it was a single building next to a very large, lovely home, both of which were set against a series of sprawling vineyard blocks. Beautiful.

Dominique and I went on a visit. And they have grown!

They have a new addition, which is much bigger than the original building, to where the winery is much bigger. The original winemaking room is now a banquet facility of immense size and charm! And the winemaking area is huge, populated by giant stainless steel tanks, a very expensive bladder press. And many state-of-the-art pieces of machinery.

But what of the wine?

Dom and I were especially interested in their reds, as I had recently heard that, while their Pinot Grigio is especially nice (which is true, since I have had it before), their reds had matured wonderfully.

We were greeted cordially by Ando, who had been with the vineyard many years. He welcomed up into the sage colored tastingroom, trimmed in dark wood, field stone, and burnished copper.

We tasted many wines, but four really stunned me.

First were two dry reds....the Chambourcin 2005 and the Rosso della Valle 2005. These wer both affordable and very, very drinkable. On the Chambourcin the cherry, raspberry, and slight plum come across as promised. It was definitely one of the better Chambourcins I have ever had! And he Rosso della Valle was a blend of Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc. Fabulous! Deep dry red, with great fruit, nice structure, and long finish. Excellent!

The second two wines I want to rave about are the two dessert whites...Porto Bianco 2005 and Dolce Vita Late Harvest Vidal Blanc. The port smell likes fresh, gourmet, fruitcake. Light, sweet, with touches of pear and apple. Smooth! One of the best white ports I have ever had!!!! The Dolce Vita was lovely. It was fragrant with hints of melon and honeysuckle. And it was smooth. Not too sweet,but balanced and delicate. Very nice!

Congrats to the folks at Hopewell Valley! Great stuff!

And another great sign of how there are more and more great wines being made in the Garden State!