Our new winery excursion of a couple weekends ago concluded with Hopewell Valley Vineyards. I’m glad we chose to end the day this way. This was a good winery to spend some down time.
Upon arriving at Hopewell Valley Vineyards, there was a crew of people setting up for a wedding. The set up was on the left side of the building. Chairs were facing the direction of the road, but the surrounding area was so open and natural it didn’t matter. Strings of lights hung over the seats and at the front of the chairs was a table supporting a candle within a tube of glass. With this scene, Tom and I started dreaming about having a 10 or 20 year anniversary party at a winery. Long way to go, but it looked so nice.
We walked up a ramp, passed the front deck with tables and chairs, through the open doors and into the Tuscan-like tasting room. The walls were a peachy-orange color and dark brown beams supported the ceiling. The tasting bar was on the back left of this room. Small tables and chairs were spread across the floor. There was a separate room branched off this one. I noticed a piano in the back of that room. We didn’t end up going in, but I think they were using if for the wedding’s festivities.
At the bar, there were 2 sommeliers that were kind and helpful. I also noticed that behind the counter there was a wine barrel that was turned into a sink. Little things like that seem to add character to places like this. The bar was in an L shape and Kristie, Tom and I fit perfectly at the small side of the L. As we stepped up to the counter, Tom spotted some Asian Trail mix on the other side. He looked at the bowl in front of us and it was empty. Just as he looked at me and I knew that he had a thought of disappointment, the sommelier grabbed a bag of the mix and refilled the bowl. It’s silly and trivial, but again, small things just add to the experience.
I think we were allowed to try 6, but I made notes for 8… Since, I like sweet wines, I took notes on what Kristie and Tom thought of the other wines.
Starting from their wine list left to right…
Dry Red Wines
Chambourcin 2008 – Very flavorful, nice finish and lingers, this is a fuller bodied wine.
Sangiovese 2009 – Soft feel, seemed warm for a hot day, but this wine is pleasing in the way it delivers on its description of cherry, blackberry, and mineral flavors. Most Sangiovese wines that I encounter are a treat. Red drinkers should definitely try this.
Dry Whites/ Rose Wines
Pinot Grigio – This wine was strong and crisp. I mostly got a taste of alcohol and not much of the fruit flavors. Tom said it was refreshing. The dry crispness and alcohol can provide that effect.
Chardonnay 2009 – I didn’t try it, but the red drinker, Kristie said it was good. It’s described as being oak aged and suggesting flavors of pears, apples and vanilla
Vidal Blanc – This wine fit its description of being light bodied and slightly sweet.
White Merlot – Good, refreshing, perfectly sweet, and can be consumed easily. I haven’t seen this offered at other wineries yet. I was excited to try it. It’s like a White Zinfandel, but a little less sweet, one of my favorites at Hopewell. Later on, I had a glass of this.
Porto Bianco 2006 – I tasted the alcohol in this port, actually, I think I can taste the alcohol in all ports. This wine had a deep, rich smell. It tasted sweet and different than other wines. The taste is rich, but ports tend to be too strong for me. I gave my glass to Tom to finish
Spuma Rossa Red Sparkling Wine – One of my other favorites at Hopewell, this wine is made of Brachetto D’Acqui. I never even heard of that grape! It’s Italian, but I guess the name gave that away. This wine was light bodied, sweet and smelled great.
After finishing our tasting, we each bought a glass and a small plate of meat, cheese, grapes, crackers and olives and sat out on the front deck. Nearby a family was sitting at another table. I’m mentioning this because it’s okay to bring your kids to a winery. I’ve seen people bring picnic blankets and layout or sit outside with strollers. This particular child ran through the rows of vines and we enjoyed watching her play. Sitting on the front deck and chatting was just so nice and relaxing. It was enjoyable to just take in the nature and watch the crew prep for a wedding.
I give this place a 4 out of 5 because I liked their wines, but particularly liked 2. Additionally, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the space to sit and drink outside in a relaxed environment.
4 Wine Glasses (Out of 5)