Monday, March 15, 2010

2010 New Jersey "Grape Expectations" Symposium

© 2010 Donofrio
Dessert Wine of the Year
2007 Bellview "Cristallina"

2010 "Grape Expectations" Symposium
Forsgate Country Club
Jamesburg, N.J.

On Feb. 27, a diverse panel of expert speakers and many scores of wine makers and wine lovers flocked to the Forsgate Country Club in Jamesburg, N.J. for the annual information exchange known as Grape Expectations.

The viticultural and enological symposium, now in its 26th year, is sponsored by Rutgers Cooperative Extension and also receives support from the NJ Wine Industry Advisory Council and Garden State Winegrowers Association. The event is designed to present the latest information, news, and legislation to professionals and amateurs involved with any aspect of the grape growing or wine industry in New Jersey.

The day was packed with focused seminars, wine tastings, and lively discussions among growers and wine makers. The seminar topics included:
  • Vine Spacing: Is the Trend Toward High Density Planting Going to End?
  • Crop Management Resources for 2010.
  • Disease Control, A Grower's Perspective.
  • Monitoring and Management Considerations for Grape Berry Moth and Other Insects.
  • Governor's Cup Review.
  • Sangiovese: A Sexy, Seductive, and Sensual Grape Variety.
  • Judges on Trial.
  • Wine Grape Research Update at NJAES.
  • You, the Wine Business and Social Networking.
During the Governor's Cup Review seminar, Jim Quarella of Bellview Winery (Landisville, N.J.) discussed how he made his 2007 Vidal Blanc "Cristallina." This luscious, golden wine was the 2009 Governor's Cup winner for Best Dessert Wine. It was produced from surprisingly young estate vines on his southern New Jersey vineyards.

Using late-picked Vidal grapes and a commercial freezer to extract water and concentrate the grape must, Quarella was able to start fermentation with over 33 brix. After a fairly long, cool ferment, the wine was chilled, clarified, and filtered prior to bottling. The finished wine contained an alcohol level of 13.5 percent and a whopping 10 percent residual sugar.

It is a wine of medium-gold color with thick, full viscosity. The ripe aromas of dried apricot, pineapple, honeysuckle and white flowers dominate. On the palate, the wine is intense, full, and oily in texture. The robust flavors of tropical and exotic fruits persist into a long, pleasing finish. The high alcohol is balanced  by the broad melange of fruit intensity and the final attack of fresh acidity.

This is undoubtedly one of the best wines ever produced with grapes grown in New Jersey. It should be the benchmark for others looking to produce wines of similar style in the Garden State and should serve as the example to those still unconvinced about the future potential of the nation's fifth-largest wine producer.


1 comment:

  1. Great Blog! I've been reading a few of your entries and am very excited to meet! I will be working for Jim and Bellview starting in January doing some marketing and event coordination. Also I am on the Court of Masters track and just finished level 1 already excited and studying for level 2. Would love to chat more!