Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery2005 Chambourcin
The French-American hybrid variety Chambourcin, still planted in Rhône and Loire regions, has been embraced by growers in the Mid-Atlantic states and has been selected as the flagship variety for the fledging Lehigh Valley American Viticultural Area.
The warm and dry 2005 vintage, vaunted throughout the east, delivered a ripe extracted Chambourcin for Clover Hill. Deep ruby, the perfumed nose shows exotic spices and incense. In the mouth, the wine shows rich flavors of dark cherries.
Clover Hill attempts to merge the terroir of wine and oak. The wine is aging in Pennsylvania oak made by Keystone Cooperage in Western Pennsylvania. Slower growing and tighter grained than oak from warmer areas, the wood slows the extraction, Clover Hill’s John Skrip III says, allowing the sometimes subtler fruit of Chambourcin to show.
While Chambourcin is notorious for vigor and heavy fruit set, Clover Hill doesn't need to flower or cluster thin its lot. The Chambourcin is planted on a steep, well-drained, hill of loose, highly fractured shale that naturally de-vigors the vines overlooking the winery and tasting room.
This is the first Chambourcin produced by Clover Hill since 2001. In other years, the winemaking team decided the fruit wasn't up-to-snuff and used it to make an off-dry, steel-fermented proprietary wine Turtle Rock. www.cloverhillwinery.com
Reviewed April 30, 2008 by David Falchek.
David Falchek writes a weekly wine column for several newspapers in Pennsylvania, including the Scranton Times-Tribune. He also contributes regularly to trade publications such as Vineyard & Winery Management and Beverage Media. David has judged regional, national, and international wine competitions where he likes to think he lauds outstanding Seyval or Foch just as readily as Cabernet or Riesling.