Hardwick uses no oak, fermenting all their wines, including the reds, in stainless steel. The result is a menu of lighter-bodied, crisper wines that are clean, refreshing and quite charming.
The menu kicks off with the
Giles E. Warner White Like all the Hardwick wines the Giles E. Warner is made from locally grown grapes, in this wine Seyval Blanc. The color is a medium-straw that has a bit of sparkle when the light hits it, which happened often that afternoon as the bar is well positioned in front of a wall of large open windows which let in a lot of natural light that afternoon. It was one of the few tasting rooms where I felt I the light was ample enough to allow me to get a true sense of the color of the wine. But I digress; back to the wine. The Giles E. Warner is the driest of all the Hardwick wines. The nose is very subtle with just a hint of citrus. In the mouth the wine is crisp with light notes of pink grapefruit. The finish is very smooth and doesn’t linger on the palate. This would pair well with seafood and lighter chicken dishes, or work well as a sipping wine on its own.
Yankee Boy White The second wine is a blend of Cayuga and Niagara grapes and the result is a smooth and somewhat sweeter wine than the Giles E. Warner. The color is pale/medium yellow. The nose is soft but not sweet with light floral notes and as a result I was not fully prepared for the fruitiness of the wine in the mouth. The mouth feel is very smooth and silky. The predominant notes are pear and a hint of sweet apple, although both are subtle and hit in the middle of the tongue, rather than at the front where I expected them. Because of this the wine comes across as more complex than it might otherwise do so; it develops through the mouth, starting out very quietly in the front and opening up as it progresses. Described in the tasting notes as being in a “riesling-style” this wine should appeal to many people and would pair well with a wide range of foods.
Yankee Girl Blush The first thing you notice about the Yankee Girl is the color, an absolutely gorgeous golden-orange. Not honey, not deep gold, a true orange. I think my first reaction when it was poured was “Wow!” A blend of Seyval Blanc, Niagara and Pink Catawba grapes, this is a departure from what I normally think of as a “blush” in more ways than the color. The nose is soft and fruity with notes of nectarine and strawberry. In the mouth the wine is drier and crisper than I anticipated, given the color, the sweet fruitiness of the nose, and my general expectations of blush wines. In the mouth the wine is lightly sweet with notes of strawberry and peach, but it also has a bit of a bite, particularly on the finish, with just a hint of citrus to balance out the sweetness in the front of the wine. A charming wine, and I wasn’t at all surprised to hear this was one of Hardwick’s more popular wines.
Massets Cranberry One could also call the Massets Cranberry a blush wine – the color certainly is more what I anticipate from a blush wine with a lovely pinky-cranberry color. A blend of 90% Seyval Blanc and 10% locally grown cranberries from a neighboring farm, the wine is crisp and lightly tart. I personally found myself more charmed by this wine than the Yankee Girl Blush, I think because of the tartness – as much as I have a sweet tooth (and trust me, I do), I will always gravitate toward the savory and definitely prefer tart, more acidic flavors. The cranberry provides a nice complement to the citrus of the Seyval; the sweet-tartness of the fruit softening the citrus acidity of the grape. Described during the tasting as a nice Fall wine, there’s no doubt this would be a very nice complement to a Thanksgiving dinner. However, I found myself thinking it would make a really interesting sangria, chilled on a warm summer afternoon. Definitely worth a try…
Hardwick Red I was excited to see that Hardwick’s red was a Marechal Foch, a grape which regular readers of Vino Verve know is one I’ve grown to really like since I started on the New England win(e)ding roads. Lighter-bodied than a number of the Marechal Fochs I’ve sampled across Connecticut, no doubt a result of the stainless steel fermentation, the wine is smoother and feels more “mature” than many of the other wines I’ve tried. Marechal Foch tends to be very sharp and the resulting wine can come across as very young – in fact the first few times I tasted Marechal Foch that was impression – these were young wines that needed more aging to “soften the bite.”
The Hardwick Red, however, doesn’t have that “in your face punch.” It still has a very dry finish with the tart bite on the end which is a hallmark of the grape, but the wine is smoother and feels more finished. Fruit forward – another hallmark of the grape – the predominant notes are dark berry and plum, both of which are somewhat subdued so they tease the palate rather than overwhelming it. You can probably tell from my description that I really liked this wine, and I think it will appeal to quite a few people. Even if you’ve tried Marechal Foch wines elsewhere and haven’t been a fan, give Hardwick’s a try.
Quabbin Native The last of the six Hardwick wines, the Quabbin native is described as a dessert wine. 100% Pink Catawba, the color is a lovely pinky/peach rose color. The nose is lightly sweet with soft raspberry notes. In the mouth the wine is sweet and juicy, although not as sweet or satiny as the vidal dessert wines. The sweet fruitiness of the wine is lightly floral in the front; I picked up hints of strawberry and melon but strawberry blossom rather than full-on strawberry. The wine finishes with a slight bite and a hint of raspberry which balances the initial sweetness of the wine. I’m told the wine also responds well to mulling, and I’ll definitely have to give a try come the holidays.
I found myself hard-pressed to choose which wines would come home with me – I’ve pretty much run out of room to store wine, so I either need to stop buying wine or throw a party. I’m thinking the latter… In the meantime, I limited myself to three bottles, the Giles E. Warner white, the Yankee Boy White and the Hardwick Red.
I also made a note to return in December when the restored, historic mansion is decked out for the holidays.