Four Sisters Winery ~ The Whites & Rosés

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Continued from Tuesday, December 1st.

The winery is housed in a ranch-style house with the tasting room located in a large open room in the back of the house.  As we made our way back, we discovered that despite it being close to the end of the day, the tasting room was fairly busy and all the spots at the bar were taken.  So Maree and I hung out for a bit, browsing the gift shop and admiring the extensive and very creative samples of custom labels that Four Sisters offers for people who would like to order custom labels for their wine.

The folks ahead of us at the bar had seemingly settled in for the afternoon, and the staff didn’t seem inclined to move them along despite the fact that there were now another 4-6 people waiting with us for spots at the bar.  But finally after about 15-20 minutes a couple spaces cleared, and Maree and I were able to start our tasting.  We had each purchased the 10 tastings for $5 package and decided 10 wines was more than enough for each of us to get a full sampling of the Four Sisters range of wines, so we skipped our usual “let’s coordinate our selections” and just focused on our own choices.

I kicked off my tasting with the

Seyval Reserve Like most of the whites I’ve tried here in the Northeast, the Seyval Reserve is a very pale yellow color.  The nose has lovely light floral notes, and in the mouth the wine is light, crisp and fruity with soft notes of melon and almost no citrus.  The finish is light and crisp, and this wine would pair well with seafood or grilled chicken.

Vidal Blanc Next up for me was the Vidal Blanc.  As anticipated this was a little sweeter than the Seyval although it is still a pleasant, dry table wine.  The color is very pale, almost straw, and the nose is grassy with subtle notes of green pepper.  In the mouth the wine is lightly tart with citrus notes, particularly lemon.  The finish is smooth with a slight smokiness from the oaking.

Cayuga Over the past year I have become a real fan of Cayuga whites.  When I first started on the Connecticut Wine Trail in October 2008, I wasn’t really sure what I thought of the Cayuga; interesting certainly, particularly given I hadn’t really encountered Cayuga before, but not something I found overly impressive.  Over time, though, as I’ve tried more local Cayuga wines and blends, I’ve found myself really liking this grape, and the Four Sisters’ Cayuga is no exception.  Also a pale yellow, almost straw color, the nose is extremely clean – in fact there’s almost no nose.  Clean is also the best word to describe the experience in the mouth: light, crisp, smooth, the wine has light citrus notes, low acid, a pleasantly smooth finish and just a hint of sweetness.  This would make a good “lunch” wine, pairing well with salads or light pasta dishes.

Niagara The last of the whites I sampled was the Niagara, made from Niagara grapes.  The tasting notes describe it as “spark[ing] childhood memories of eating grapes off the vine.”  I don’t know why that didn’t clue me in that it was going to be a sweet wine, but I found myself surprised by the sweetness when I tasted it.  The nose is light with nice floral notes, and in the mouth the wine has notes of melon and a touch of honey.  It’s a very nice wine, but as I definitely prefer drier table wines, this was not one of my overall preferences of the afternoon.

I had also selected one of the Blushes, the

Merrill Blush I admit I tried this because I was intrigued by the tasting notes which read “enjoyed by traditional wine lovers,” and found myself wondering what on earth that meant.  Is the implication that traditional wine lovers don’t like blushes?  And what is a traditional wine lover anyway?  On tasting I discovered a fairly complex wine with an interesting spicy nose (unexpected after the predominant floral notes among the whites), notes of melon and a touch of lemon on the palate which produces a semi-sweet blush with tart notes at the end that give the wine some bite.  As someone who definitely prefers dry wines, I often don’t buy or serve blushes finding them too sweet for my tastes. But the tartness at the end gave this wine some kick and, for me, made it more interesting than other blushes I’ve tried.  Perhaps that’s what Four Sisters is getting at with their tasting notes for “traditional wine lovers” read “people who prefer drier wines.”

That concluded the first half of the tasting, next on to the Reds…

Continued on Thursday, December 10th.

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