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Repost – Review of Chatham Hill Winery in Cary, North Carolina

0421151544Generally if we’re in a new area and there is a winery about, we are going to find it.  When you’re in the Raleigh – Durham area there are a lot of wineries about, so we picked one close to our other excursions and stopped in to try the wines.  This turned out to be the Chatham Hill Winery in Cary, North Carolina.  They’ve been in this location for about two years now, and it houses their production facility, a dining area for catered events and a large, modern and well appointed tasting room.  An

Lots of Awards!

Lots of Awards!

X-bin wall housed the wines for sale.  In a corner was a display of the numerous awards Chatham Hill Winery has won over the past few years.

They make a range of wines covering both dry vinifera varietals as well as fruit wines.  The fruit wines are typically built off of Chardonnay as a base, with pure fruit juice added in prior to fermentation.  They do not use fruit essences (which is a good thing). The grapes for their dry wines come from the Yadkin Valley, located closer to the Winston Salem area and the bread basket of the North Carolina wine industry.  All wines are made at Chatham Hill.

It was the middle of the day and no one else was around, so we had time to sip slowly and discuss the wines with our host, Marek Wojkechowski.  Marek was very knowledgeable about wine and especially their wines.  In general we agreed with his descriptions of the wines and their flavor profiles.  It’s always nice when the person pouring knows the product.

We tried nine wines; two fruit, three dry reds and four dry whites.  We also purchased another dry red, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and can report on it as well.  Here they are:

2013 Vionier – this is a new wine for them.  It was described by Marek as having a fruity nose and citrus flavors.  This is the only wine where we really didn’t agree with Marek’s description.  We found the aromas very muted, as well as the fruit on the palate.  It just never presented well.  $18

2013 Chenin Blanc – now this was better, with tropical fruits on the nose and a nice, bright fruity palate. A twist of lemon at the end was very interesting.  Very, very pale straw in color. This sees nothing but stainless.  A nice Chenin Blanc.  $16

2012 Chardonnay – this does see oak, with 50% aged in two year old French barrels.  The other 50% stays in stainless and they are blended.  It does not undergo malolactic fermentation.  The resulting wine is very typical Chardonnay, with subtle nuances from the oak and a little toast as well.  This is good, if you’re a Chardonnay fan.  $18

2013 Pinot Grigio – done in a French style, this wine has more body, texture and mouthfeel than the typical American or Italian Pinot Grigio.  The color is light golden straw, but with a deep hue.  It’s very fruity with a long, clean finish.  This is an excellent wine.  At $15 it’s really a good value too.

2011 Merlot – now the reds, and generally we don’t expect too much from East Coast red wines, but you never 0421151529bknow.  This is one of those pleasant surprises.  It’s medium red in color, and medium bodied.  The nose is all spice and raspberry.  On the palate cherry clearly joins the party, and the spice focuses toward white pepper.  Deep flavors lead to a long finish.  The tannins build slowly, typical of Merlot.  Aging is done in 50% French and 50% American oak.  This is really good, and is another good value at $16.

0421151529a2011 Cabernet Franc –  also done in 50/50 French and American oak (which seems to be the style here) this wine is cherry red in color.  The nose is quite jammy with blackberry aromas.  The finish on this is a little tart, and that took away from it.  Not their best effort, especially compared with its siblings. $19

2011 Trinity – a Bordeaux style blend, comprised of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet 0421151529Franc and 20% Merlot, this wine gets the identical barrel treatment to the Reds above.  It’s a bit darker than the previous two, and the nose reminds you of the Merlot, with red fruits and spice.  This is smoother though, and a bit richer from the Cab Sauvignon.  The finish is long and satisfying.  Very good red wine here. $22

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – just released, this is 100% Cab.  It’s dark red, medium bodied and carries more reddish fruits.  I would say leave it alone for a while, as it should get better.  it’s a little disjointed right now.  If you do open it decant for a bit. The Trinity is the much better wine right now. $19

Now for some berries, blackberry to be exact…..

Blackberry Wine – this is made with a Chardonnay base, mixed with fresh pressed blackberry juice.  This has all0421151528 the characteristics of blackberries, and is a bit tart, but in a good way.  It’s very fresh.  The Chardonnay lends it a bit of elegance and it is not too sweet. We enjoyed it.  $12

Blackberry – Cabernet Franc – built off a base of Cab Franc, this wine drinks more like a grape wine, but it still preserves a vibrant blackberry flavor.  It’s a little drier, and just delicious.  One of our favorite fruit wines ever.  $16.

In the barrel room

In the barrel room

So in general pretty high praise for this North Carolina winery. Quality is quite good across the board.  Our big mistake here was not buying the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, as we generally always try to investigate the high end wines at every winery.  It really gives you a feeling for where the winemaker is capable of going.  That will have to wait though.

With excellent pricing to go with the quality these wines are winners.  If we lived in the area we’d be buying several of them.

The particulars:

Chatham Hill Winery

8245 Chapel Hill Road

Cary, North Carolina. 27513

919-380-7135

On the web at www.chathamhillwine.com

 

A votre sante!

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