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WTN: Vergennes

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Dan Smothergill

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WTN: Vergennes

by Dan Smothergill » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:28 pm

'04 Arbor Hill (Finger Lakes)

White Labrusca - type discovered in a garden in Vergennes, Vermont in 1874. Open pollinated, probably some vinifera. Mild grape nose; a bit of perfume and spice. Finished dry. Big mouth feel. Tastes of dried fruit and grapes, but not at all cloying. Crisp and well balanced. Resembles Delaware, but lite. Very nice. 12.6% alcohol. For sale in New York only. $7.95 at the winery.
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Paul B.

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TN: Vergennes

by Paul B. » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:41 am

Dan - many, many thanks for this TN. I cannot believe that I am only noticing it now. How did this ever fly past my radar? Must've been the French-sounding name ... :lol:

Dry, crisp, well-balanced, non-cloying - this is exactly what I keep preaching that labrusca wines should be today. The days are gone when North American wine drinkers had soda-pop tastes and expected wine made in a "training wheels" style. North America's non-traditional wine-growing regions have successfully experimented with vinifera and are making excellent white vinifera wines in places as diverse as the Finger Lakes, Michigan, Virginia, etc. What now really should happen is for that admirable and proper dry style to be translplanted into the labrusca realm. You and I both know that successful dry labrusca whites are possible - we make them, after all! But not enough wineries are willing to take that very bold step and introduce bottlings - even very limited, trial runs at first - of completely dry labruscas to spring on customers at tasting rooms. My experience has shown that people without preconceived notions of what given wines are "supposed" to taste like will try a dry labrusca and never say "by the way, why isn't it sweet?". Getting wineries to change is very difficult given their dogmatic, by-the-book approach to making labrusca, but it's something that I feel must happen in order for our heirloom grapes to come into the modern century wearing up-to-date clothes. It's time to chuck the bellbottoms and polyester styles already, I say. 8)
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Also on Arbor Hill's website ...

by Paul B. » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:43 pm

Dan, I just browsed Arbor Hill's website and came across this completely unexpected write-up on a dry, oaked Moore's Diamond:

This wine gained regional prominence from about 1940-1980 as the most outstanding dry white table wine produced from Labrusca style grapes. We are now re-introducing (by popular demand) this taste of yesteryear to a select audience of wine consumers. Moores Diamond is produced dry and exhibits a fresh fruit character harmonized with American Oak aging.

Canandaigua's dry, oaked Diamond

Ed, if you're reading this: Is this wine available at your store?
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Arbor Hill Diamond and Traminette

by Dan Smothergill » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:36 pm

We bought a couple of bottles of the Arbor Hill Moore's Diamond too. Sad to say, it was disappointing. Diamond usually has a very distinctive taste, but this one was almost neutral, as though it had been overcropped or even ameliorated (which I doubt). Our high expectations based on the Vergennes just weren't met.

On the other hand, the Arbor Hill Traminette (Classic) continues to set the standard for the variety. The RS is noticeable but nicely balanced by acid. We served it this past weekend when family were visiting. It was a big hit all around. Arbor Hill also makes a Dry Traminette, but they were out of it when we were there.

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