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Visit to Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod

truro barrel signAs we’ve mentioned, we happened to be on Cape Cod during the recent blizzard, and what fits in better with snow and ice than a trip to a local vineyard?  While there may be several better answers, in this case we were there, one of the owners graciously offered to show us around, and Truro had been on our list of places to visit for some time.  We took advantage of all of that and braved the elements.

Located in Truro, Massachusetts on the outer part of Cape Cod the vineyard is a bit off the beaten track.  Unless of course you happen to be on the Cape during the warmer months – then it is probably not so far off.  In fact, if you’re going to Provincetown you’ll drive right by it.  After tasting the wines and seeing what they have to offer we recommend you do not drive right by, but rather stop in and see what a good New England winery can do.  Plan to spend a few hours on a nice day and smell the roses, while you sip the wine.  Let’s take a closer look.

We last visited Truro Vineyards over a decade ago, and were impressed with the quality of the wines.  The original winery owners

The vineyards in February

The vineyards in February

are no longer there, although it seems they passed on their love of the land and the craft to the new

The vineyards in summer

The vineyards in summer

owners, the Roberts family.  When the winery was placed on the market back in 2003, the Roberts actually placed an offer which was not accepted.  The property sat for two years, and we give the original owners credit for not selling out the land to a number of developers who came calling.  They could have made much more, but had planted these vineyards themselves and did not want to see the land become concrete and asphalt.  They revisited the Roberts’ bid in 2005, and the deal was done.  This is another great family story, as it brought multiple generations of the Roberts together, reuniting them as they dropped their individual careers and current lives to join the family business.

Kristen Roberts agreed to give us a tour, and met us at the winery on a frigid day.  Someone had plowed out the entrance though, so we were all able to park.  While not open to the public in the winter, there is still activity going on all year round.

Our first stop was actually not related to wine, as they now have a distillery, South Hollow Spirits, producing Twenty Boat Spiced Rum & Twenty Boat Amber Rum made from organic molasses and cane sugar juice distilled in their 250 gallon copper pot still.

The rum machine

The rum machine

Specialty spirits is all the rage these days, and several wineries and micro-breweries have delved into this craft, not always with resounding success.  We were a little skeptical, but open minded.  No need for skepticism, as the Twenty Boat Spiced Rum was pretty flat out amazing.  Made with a spice infusion concocted right across the street at the Atlantic Spice Company (you can read a bit about them here), the rum was 94 proof, carried mellow and beautifully integrated spice notes reminiscent of a lightly mulled wine, and was delicious.  I sipped it neat, and intend to do the same with the rest of the two bottles we bought to take with us.  The amber rum is very good as well.  This was a surprise, and a very pleasant one.

The Twenty Boat name comes from story of ten men who were arrested for running a rum smuggling ring on Cape Cod in 1930.  After getting out on bail they reclaimed their confiscated boat and raced out of the harbor.  Twenty boats from the Harbor police and Coast Guard waited for them, but they raced into the harbor at Provincetown and escaped on foot, never to be seen again.  So are we celebrating escaping criminals? Maybe the spirit of ten men defying a wrongful law?  Maybe a daring bordering on crazy?  We don’t know exactly, but the rum is really, really good.  Can’t get this shipped out of Massachusetts right now however.  You’ll have to go there if you’re out of state.

Barrel Room at Truro Vineyards

Barrel Room at Truro Vineyards

On to the winery proper, which has really grown since our last visit and produces around 11,000 cases a

They make a lot of wine!

They make a lot of wine!

year.  This is pretty big for a New England winery.  It all looks quite familiar, with a large barrel room and another full of stainless tanks.  What’s really important is what is in the barrels and tanks, and what the wine maker brings to the party.  Here the only estate grapes are Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  The rest are brought in, primarily from California but also some other locations.  The Riesling in fact came from Rhode Island, and is excellent, but more on that later.  They buy quality grapes, so the onus really is all on the winemaker here.  There are many styles and varietals produced, some of which go back to our last visit and some which are new.  We tried six of the wines on this particular day.  Here are our notes:

2013 Pinot Grigio – from California Central Coast fruit this wine is pretty typical Pinot Gris, with a crisp presence and IMG_1101grapefruit flavors.  $19.99

2013 Riesling – from Rhode Island fruit, this wine is pretty awesome.  It’s just off dry, very clean and has bright fruit.  It’s got a tiny bit of the typical petrol marker for Riesling hanging around, but it really is about the clean fruit and the crisp finish.  Quite long too.  We bought some to take home, and are going to have to have more shipped as it is quite addictive.  $19.99

2012 Estate Chardonnay – from estate fruit, this is oak barrel fermented and then sees another three months in barrel.  It’s a good Chardonnay.  $25.99

2012 Cabernet Franc – medium red color and medium body.  Lots of spice on the nose.  It’s a very nice wine, bringing IMG_1103raspberry and cherry flavors with good length.  A top New England Cab Franc.  $16.99

2010 Estate Merlot – medium red with the earthy tones you frequently get in Merlot.  There’s a little bit of funk here as well.  Medium bodied, this is a good effort from a cool climate Merlot.  It is a bit on the expensive side however.  $35.99

2009 Unfiltered Free Run Cabernet Sauvignon – California North Coast grapes, made from the free run juice before IMG_1106pressing. While we’re not usually big fans of New England wineries making California wine, this is a pretty serious wine.  It’s dark ruby with orange tinges at the rim.  The flavors run deep here, with currant and blackberry.  The oak is noticeable and nice.  The tannins are fine and integrated.  It’s got a medium+ body, not quite full.  Good length.  We actually brought this particular bottle home after the tasting, courtesy of Kristen, and finished it the next day.  It was richer and more complex, with riper fruit, anise and vanilla showing up.  Now we would say full bodied with excellent balance.  I would decant this for an hour before serving.  This is a great effort from a New England winery, but it is pricy at $44.99. We’d have to say it is comparable to California wines we’ve had in the same price range, so support your local winery and buy a bottle.  We did.

We did try one other Truro wine, during lunch at The Squealing Pig in Provincetown before the winery tour.  Here it is:

2012 Triumph Meritage – dark, cherry red with lots of red fruits and berries.  Dry, medium bodied with a long finish.  We picked out cherry, blackberry and even strawberry.  This is a very good New England red.  We both liked it a lot, and would (probably will) buy this.  $24.99

That’s what we sampled.  There are many more, and that means we’ll have to visit again.

But before we leave the wine, let’s say a few words about the man who makes this juice.   Matyas Vogel has been making wine his



whole life. He grew up in a small village of 400 people, about 10o miles southwest of Budapest, Hungary. There his family grew Chardonnay, Reisling and a few red varietals. They made enough wine for themselves and then sold the rest to the villagers.

In 1987 he moved to the states on an Agricultural Exchange program and ended up helping Via Della Chiessa, a former cattle ranch, plant and maintain 10 acres of grapes and begin wine making. He stayed there for 15 years before coming to Truro Vineyards, where he has been since 2004.  This man knows what he is doing.  We love the fact that he acknowledges how much of this is intuition, there is no exact science that will always be correct.  He clearly puts himself into his wines.

The tasting pavillion

The tasting pavillion

Another thing to consider is that like many small wineries Truro markets an experience along with the wine and spirits.  You can take tours, do a wine tasting, buy a bottle, chill for a while and get some truro private-eventsgrub as well.  They bring in a food truck during the season, affiliated with the Blackfish Restaurant in Truro center.  Special events are welcome.  Wine tastings are held under their large outdoor pavilion, and there are tables and chairs on surrounding patios.  All in all it seems like a great place to spend a summer afternoon.  This was not a summer afternoon.  Next time it will be.

You can visit Truro Vineyards website at and learn lots more about them.  They open for the season on April 3rd this year.

We’d like to thank Kristen for meeting us the day after the blizzard and showing us the operation.  We’ll be calling for more Riesling soon!

A votre sante!

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