I managed to start the New Year as planned, spending New Year’s Day re-visiting a couple wineries that I hadn’t visited in almost a year. The weather certainly helped; after a Boxing Day snowstorm dumped 12″ of snow on most of Connecticut, New Year’s Day dawned bright and sunny and hit the 50s by early afternoon. The sun glistening off the snow in the hills was beautiful as I made my way over to my first stop of the day, Jerram Winery in New Hartford, Connecticut.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to Jerram, despite my liking their wines enough to have brought home one of everything the last time I was there. So I was looking forward to tasting the latest vintages of some of my favorites and seeing if they had any new wines on the menu.
It was pretty quiet when I arrived; owner and winemaker Jim Jerram was at the Tasting Bar engaged in a lively conversation with a gentleman who, it appears, has recently bought a place – or is considering buying a place in New Hartford. The interior is bright and cheery – just as I remembered it – and both the ambience and the company welcomed me warmly.
There are 11 wines on Jerram’s current wine list, six of which are available for tasting, three whites and three reds. First up was the
White Frost, a 100% Chardonnay lightly oaked. This is a very dry Chardonnay, and those who dislike the fruity, buttery, sweeter Chardonnays should really like this wine. In some respects it reminded me more of a Sauvignon Blanc than a Chardonnay – crisp, with light notes of lemon and a nice bite of acid on the finish.
After the Chardonnay, I had my choice of Seyval Blanc. Jerram produces two Seyval Blancs each year, one sweeter and one drier. I opted for the drier, but in hindsight I realized not only had I sampled the dry Seyval before but had a bottle at home. I would have done better to choose the sweeter Seyval Blanc BC for the contrast. Live and learn… and an excuse to return soon. Despite the oversight I very much enjoyed the Seyval Blanc. Crisp with light notes of lemon and grapefruit, particularly on the finish, this is my favorite of the Jerram whites.
When I returned home, I looked back over my notes from my first visit to Jerram Winery – almost two years ago. I had no idea it had been that long! Turns out the Seyval Blanc BC is one of Jerram’s newest wines, having bottled the first vintage not long before my visit. Man, I definitely should have opted for the BC!
The whites concluded with the sweetest of Jerram’s whites, the Aurora, a Villard Blanc/Aurore blend. This is a really nice wine, and one of Jerram’s most popular. The wine has a soft, sweet nose with notes of apricot and honey both of which blend nicely in the mouth. Semi-dry, the Aurora is fruit forward with lovely notes of apricot immediately apparent. The honey is more subtle and really comes through with subsequent sips, providing the wine with a nice depth and complexity over time.
Not on the tasting menu that day, but a wine which I recently enjoyed at home is Jerram’s Gentle Shepherd, a blend of Cayuga, Chardonnay and Aurore grapes. This was the bottle I opened two weeks ago to launch my vacation – and the holidays. Nice point/counterpoint to the holidays.
Having finished the whites, it’s time to clear the palate and rinse the glass before proceeding to the reds…
535 Town Hill Road
New Hartford, CT 06047