Four JG's Vineyards2004 Chambourcin Riserva
(Outer Coastal Plain)
A lot of people turn their noses up at hybrid grape varieties. And while it's true that most of them lack the elegance and character of the most noble grape family, Vitis vinifera, there are exceptions to the rule.
Chambourcin, a French hybrid developed by developed by Joannes Seibel in the Loire Valley of France is one such variety. In some ways, it often reminds me of another red who is right at home in the Loire Valley--Cabernet Franc. And, while many winemakers in the new Outer Coastal Plain AVA point to Bordeaux or the Northern Rhone when asked to compare their region to a classic one, Chambourcin thrives there and shows great promise for future vintages.
This bottling, which has 5% Cabernet Franc blended in, is an aromatic, expressive wine with loads of black pepper, coffee, blackberries and spring herbs on the nose. Medium body, soft tannins and American oak flavors embrace blackberry, spice and black pepper flavors. The result is a surprisingly complex, nuanced wine that seems to signal that Chambourcin will remain an important grape variety in this emerging region.
Reviewed April 9, 2007 by Lenn Thompson.
Lenn Thompson writes about New York wines for Dan's Papers,