Those of you that follow this blog will remember that I just had a jones this spring. I just had to go back to my roots and get to a maple sugar house and stick my head into the steam. I found a sugar house up in Chester, New Hampshire one Sunday that was sugaring and I just had to go. B was doing homework and I was on a mission to find an arc, feel the heat on my jeans, smell the sap boiling and after 30 years, just find someone else that just understands what it means to sugar.
Driving up the back road in Sandown, New Hampshire, just five miles from my target I saw a sign by the road that said, “Wine Tasting”. I almost sprained my ankle jumping on the breaks. What is this, I’m in the middle of Southern New Hampshire? Well, let me fill you in about Zorvino Vineyards.
I walked into the tasting room and got a cheery, hello and welcome from Rue (right) and Sally who were operating the tasting room. We sat down and started to chat about the wines and the vineyard, and what I learned rocked my universe about business models for making wine.
This part of New Hampshire is not buffered by the ocean like Jewell Towne is, so the weather is, well New England weather. Thus it is difficult to find a grape to produce quality wines. But you are Jim Zanello, and you have a heritage of wine making. What do you do? You source your grapes. You source your grapes from Tuscany, Northern California and South America. Check this out, it’s like having two harvest seasons! Right off the bat, I have affinity for this winery. But can they make wine? Yes.
Zorvino Vineyards makes small batches in stainless steel. They are using modern techniques, to make wines in a style that are very flavorful, full bodied, beautifully extracted and just great values.
They are very open about where the grapes are sourced. On the tasting sheet, they list the growing region. They do not barrel age, but they do use chips. The result is a very mildly wooded wine that is similar to the styles of Chile, Argentina and Italy.
I brought two bottles home, the 2007 Chardonnay made with grapes sourced from the Curico Valley of Chile and the 2008 Carmenere, grapes also sourced from the Curico Valley of Chile.
Color: Straw Yellow
Aromas: Vanilla, melon, honey, butterscotch, malt, oak
Flavors: Lemon, mango, butterscotch, oak, mineral, stone, lime zest
Summary: This is a rather refreshing experience. Here in central, southern New Hampshire, I have found a chardonnay that I actually like. I’m not a big Chardonnay fan, I prefer Sauvignon Blanc. Here is a Chardonnay that is moderately buttery, mildly oaked, ever so slightly toasted that was very enjoyable. Nothing in this wine is overpowering. It is not trying to be the world’s best Chardonnay. Like a good friend that stopped over to shoot the breeze, it’s just a pleasurable experience.
We are having this tonight with baked potatoes. This will go good with anything you’d serve Chardonnay with, and you’ll like it.
Back at the Vineyard, I tasted the Dry Mascato, Pinot Grigio, the Chardonnay (above), Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Merlot. Chatting with Rue, I told him about my Italian heritage and how I have Sangiovese in my blood. At that point, he took me back to the tank for a special barrel tasting of the Sangiovese that Zorvino is making. It’s going to be real gooood and I’ll have to make a trip up when it is released.
Aromas: Cherry, blueberry, smoked meat, black pepper, hay, American oak, rose
Flavors: Cherry, chocolate, licorice, tobacco, allspice, cinnamon, blueberry,
Finish: Moderately long
Summary: This is a big surprise. Who would have thought that a good carmernere could be made in New Hampshire. We opened this wine with a tomato based vegetable pasta dish. It complemented the spicy dish very well. The flavors are bold even though the aromas are a little tight. Once it opened up, it became floral. The wood notes are complimentary, not dominant, meaning that it is not overpowered oak and smoke. This leaves the flavors and aromas unfettered by over oaking.
This is a good valued table wine made by an emerging winery, right here in New England.
I would have this with Mediterranean lamb dishes, Italian tomato or roasted meat dishes, pizza or Mexican. It is an easy wine to have with heavier foods.