Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oeno-fessions: I Drank Fruit Wine and I Liked It

The tasting bar at Hermit Woods Winery

I was going to try and figure out how to do this overlaid with the lyrics to the Katy Perry song I Kissed a Girl, but alas, I just couldn't make it work.

In the wine world there are anti-snobs, or people who eschew snobbery and then get kind of snobby about doing so. Then there are those who know what they like and what they don't, but sometimes they make these decisions based on hearsay or assumptions. That's where Hubby and I were with fruit wine until last spring.

My aunt Nancy in Meredith, New Hampshire had been trying to get me up there for a book signing for a while. She acted as a liaison to get me in contact with Bob Manley, one of the partners at Hermit Woods Winery, and we planned it for the end of March to celebrate my second book Long Shadows coming out in paperback.

My book postcards, munchies, and Blueberry Wine
Of course I was super excited about this - I love doing signings and drinking wine. Hubby and I had tasted wine in New Hampshire before, and although most of it was hybrids, at least it was made from some sort of grapes. I called my mom to tell her, and she said, "You do know that's fruit wine, right?"

My reaction:

After I got through my dramatic chipmunk moment, I thought, "What the heck?" We've typically skipped - okay, avoided - wineries that focus on fruit wine, probably because of old associations with that stuff our college friends liked, you know, the stuff starting with Arbor and ending with Mist, but we'd never tasted fruit wine made by people who were really serious about it and who had formal oenology training. (See tomorrow's interview with Bob to see what his background is - I was impressed)

When I stopped by the winery the day before the signing, Bob greeted me and Hubby and offered to let us do a tasting. We accepted, bellied up to the bar, and...
Wine for snail, er, sale!

We drank fruit wine. And we liked it. And we learned stuff. As Bob, who has made wines from grapes in the past, pointed out, winemakers often do things to get certain fruit characteristics. At Hermit Woods, they start with the fruits and go for flavor profiles from there.

The highlights with comparisons for vinifera wine drinkers:

2013 Lake House White: really nice stone fruit nose, reminiscent of a white Bordeaux. Made from 52% Peach-23% Rhubarb, 13% Quince, and 12% Rosehips.

2013 Three-Honey Wine: A mead made from three different wildflower honeys. I found it to be nice and light-bodied. Made me think I need to re-investigate mead.

2013 Knot Mead: Made from Japanese Knot Weed flower honey. Tastes like a dry Riesling.

2013 Heirloom Crabapple: My neighbors had a crabapple tree when I was growing up, and we were always told not to try them because they'd be horribly bitter. This wine is not what I expected at all. Bob recommended it over ice or with Mexican food. I concur. Made from 95% Crabapple Wine, 5% Blueberry.

2012 Hermitage: I thought this was a play on Meritage because it kind of tastes like a light Bordeaux, but it references the hermitage that's part of the winery's name. Made from 40% Blueberry, 35% Elderberry, 25% Blackcurrant and aged in French oak for two years.

2013 Deep Blue: This 100% Blueberry wine is reminiscent of a port.

I sold some books, and we came home with a couple of bottles, one gifted to us from Bob. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised, and I won't allow my preconceptions to get in the way of me trying new things again.


Tim said...

Lolz - "starting with Arbor and ending in Mist" love it

kenn said...

As Justin Wilson the Cajun cook used to say,,,the wine that's right is the wine you like, I guarantee!