A Fun Blend from the Red Hook Winery
2010 The Red Hook Winery “Vipolze” SK Reserve (Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay), North Fork Long Island via Brooklyn, NY (500 ml)
The Red Hook Winery is remarkable for many reasons. First, its creation as a hands-on small craft winery represents a coming together of three dynamic winemakers – Brooklyn boy, Mark Snyder, and two Napa Valley cult winemakers, Bob Foley and Abe Schoener. Second is how they approach this great experiment – they source some of the best fruit from the North Shore of Long Island, divide the grapes, and experiment with the fruit applying their own personal approach to ‘letting the juice tell its own story’. The third, of course, is that all the wines are vinified in a small warehouse in an old seafarers’ neighborhood on the shores of New York Harbor in Brooklyn.
From an unusual concept comes an even more unusual wine. Vipolze is, what many wine professionals refer to as, orange wine. Though this may seem like a new trend in winemaking, it is actually a return to techniques utilized thousands of years ago (orange wine is basically white wine that has been fermented and possibly aged on the grape skins, extracting some color and a distinct flavor). This revival of ancient practices is what winemaker, Abe Schoener, is most known for – primarily via The Scholium Project where he makes orange wines in Napa Valley from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes… This Vipolze is in a similar vane, from the same grape varieties.
This is an unusual wine – in a wonderful way. But be warned that orange wines are not an easy white wine replacement. They are however extremely food friendly. The initial aroma of the Vipolze was of fragrant sandalwood, this slowly gave way to tangerine zest, clove, and toasted hazelnuts. Briny, mineral, chalk-like notes rounded out into burnt orange and spice. With a good backbone of acidity and a round pleasing mouthfeel, this is a great wine for ripe cheeses, roasted vegetables, and roast meats. Very much worth it if you’re feeling adventurous.
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