Over the weekend I began one of my summer projects – touring the vineyards of New Hampshire. My first stop was at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, less than 10 miles from the Massachusetts border. They’re open daily from 12 – 5 and offer complimentary tastings. Below you’ll see my first attempt at a vlog. I’m no videographer so I’m willing to accept kind criticism, and you only get the link to the video here because I’m not willing (yet) to pay for the WordPress upgrade until I think I know what I’m doing (which I do not, yet).
Zorvino is owned by Jim Zanello, a guy with a sense of humor (a basic requirement if you’re going to call yourself a winemaker in New Hampshire) and a hobby run amok. He likes to think of the vineyard as his little piece of Tuscany. The property is so beautiful that someone asked if they could have their wedding there and now he runs a full service function facility. As we pulled into the parking lot an outdoor wedding was in progress, with bagpipes playing in the gazebo that looks out over the vineyard. They also have a lovely post and beam function hall.
The tasting room is in the winery. Our pourers, Tammy and Amy were fun and helpful. The wines were surprisingly good and it was an excellent way to enjoy a summer afternoon. Many of the grapes are sourced from Chile, California, and Italy, but of course I am usually more interested in what they grow on the property.
We started with their 2010 Chardonnay Reserve. This wine is made in the “sur-lie” style (on the lees) and spends a little time in oak for those creamy, buttery caramel notes. Not really a chard drinker, I did enjoy this wine.
Next we tried the Riesling. Sourced from California grapes I tasted apple, and honey notes on the finish. Done in the German Kabinett style I felt is was very soft and round but lacked the crisp acidity needed to give it some zing.
Skinny Guinea Pinot Grigio came next. This wine was also round and full-bodied with apple and pear notes. Good chicken, salad, or seafood wine.
Moving into the reds, the Sangiovese (grapes imported from Tuscany) is the lightest in color and body that I have ever tasted. It looked more like a Pinot Noir in the glass. Fruit forward with intense strawberry on the palate.
The Skinny Guinea Red is made from Lambrusco grapes and by now I am recognizing the winemaker’s style is to make reds that are light in color. This is a sweet wine best served chilled. Great for the summer.
Next came the Carmenere, produced from grapes from Chile’s Curico Valley. Also light in color this wine is deceiving, packing a whollop of pepper spice on the nose and the palate. This was my favorite of the day.
The Merlot grapes came from the same region in Chile as the Carmenere and spent a year aging in oak. I should have tasted the Merlot before the Carmenere, because that spice knocked my socks off.
Zorvino makes an Old Vine Zinfandel, another favorite of mine, with grapes from Amador County in California. Again, the lightest color in the glass I have seen on a zin, short of white zinfandel. Good bramble fruit and long lasting finish.
Moving into the fruit wines Bacca Z is a black raspberry blend. Bursting with berries!
Fragole Z, Italian for strawberry – and this wine has it.
CranbreeZ is made from 100% Massachusetts cranberries. A light, off-dry style, this wine is a delight of sweet, tart, and refreshing flavor.
Prior to my tasting room visit I managed to snag a bottle of their PeacheZ, a small production wine with no guessing involved. You’re drinking a ripe peach. All of Zorvino’s fruit wines, by the way, are made from 100% locally grown fruit.
We finished with an unusual and surprisingly delicious Pumpkin Port style wine. Fortified with brandy bringing it to 18% abv this was truly pumpkin pie in a glass. Full-bodied with all the cinnamon, nutmeg, and full-on pumpkin you can handle. The finish is lovely and long lasting. Unique. Tom Zack, Zorvino’s Wine Director told me when we first met that they will try fermenting anything. Well, this one is a hit in my book. Perfect for any fall gift giving too!
All of the wines range from $10 – $15. Distribution is relatively close to the source but they are available online at their website: http://www.zorvino.com/scripts/wineryPg.cfm . Zorvino is also an organizer of this year’s 2nd Annual New Hampshire Wine Festival on August 6th at the Rochester Fairgrounds. Tickets for the event are available on their website. Send me some feedback and let me know what you think so far of the tour of NH Wineries.