November 12, 2007

The Hunt Country blues

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Hunt Country Vineyards, which makes about 20 wines at its facilities on the shore of Keuka Lake in New York's Finger Lakes, has two I particularly like. Both are encased in cobalt blue bottles. I had the opportunity to re-taste them over the weekend when they were part of the lineup of wines used in a workshop I co-hosted at the annual "Pride of New York Harvest Fest" food and wine extravaganza in Albany, NY.

Hunt Country 2006 Vignoles:

Vignoles is a Franco-American grape hybrid that presents first as a sweet white wine that makes one think of a dessert wine, but its high acidity helps create instant character when used as a meal wine.

Owner/winemaker Art Hunt's expression of this vignoles presents notes of citrus along with a bit of melon and pineapple. It's best served chilled, and Hunt recommends it as a complement to spicy foods which its rich flavor helps soothe. Suggested retail price is a bargain $10.

Hunt Country 2006 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine: This is one of the finest ice wines you'll find on the market. It's almost too easy to drink once you are exposed to its exotic fruit flavors and tastes of apricot and honey. I can't imagine any dessert it would not complement.

For those not used to good ice wines, the $40 price tag might be a little surprising, but it shouldn't be. Good ice wines are expensive to make and, thus, expensive to buy. Caution: True ice wine must be made from grapes that have frozen on the vine. Some less-than-ethical types pick grapes, freeze them, then add sugar. They must label such things "ice" without the word "wine" being used. If it says "ice wine" it must be properly made.

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