Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all!
We are coming to you today with a review of Hopewell Valley Vineyards (HVV). HVV is located in Pennington, NJ (15 minutes west of Princeton). We stopped by for an impromptu tasting after another local winery was closed for the day. We have been to HVV many times before as it is fairly close to our home. Even after visiting many times before, we still fell in love with some new wines at this beautiful winery!
There are two options for tastings at HVV. You are able to choose up to six wines for $6 or up to ten wines for $10. Your tasting fee includes the souvenir glass as well. We opted to taste six wines each for $6/person.
Their tasting menu offers Dry Whites and Roses, Dry Reds, Dessert, Sparkling, and the Vitner’s Collection Dry Reds. In total, there are up to 21 different wines available for tasting at HVV. During our trip on 12/26, the Sangiovese Riserva was not available (and there is the possibility that it will not be available in the future).
Each wine has a classification listed underneath it on their tasting menu. The three classifications are Estate Grown, Estate Fermented, and Estate Cellared. From our recollection, Estate Grown wines are ones that HVV grows in their own vineyard. Estate Fermented wines are wines that HVV purchases the unfermented juice from outside sources (either domestically or internationally). HVV then ferments the juice into wine and cellars it on their property. If a wine is listed as Estate Cellared, HVV purchases the already fermented juice (wine) from an outside source and cellars it for aging on their property.
Depending on the classification above, each wine is grouped into a different brand label. Their wines that are Estate Grown and some of the Estate Fermented will fall under their Hopewell Valley Vineyards brand label. If a wine is listed as Estate Cellared, it will be listed under their Villa Neri brand label. All of their Vitner’s Collection Dry Reds will fall under their Villa Neri label, which includes some of the Estate Fermented wines as well.
Now that we have that background info out of the way, time to get to the ‘juicy’ stuff (get it?). We tasted the following wines during our tasting:
Chardonnay- Estate Grown, 2016 vintage, spent ten months in a used french oak barrels, very light on the oak and the fruit flavors still shine through, medium-bodied dry white with some notes of pear and apple
Stony Brook Blush- Estate Grown, 80/20 blend of Chambourcin grapes and Vidal Blanc grapes, this is a blush and not a rose, considered an off-dry because there is a small amount of residual sugar left, we got notes of strawberry on this one, a bit sweeter than we like
Vidal Blanc- Estate Grown, lighter in body and higher in acidity than the Chardonnay, also considered an off-dry due to some small amounts of residual sugar, we got notes of minerality from this one, possibly due to the soil type in the area
Chambourcin- Estate Grown, 2015 vintage, has some small traces of iron on the palate, fruit notes as well like cherry and raspberry, off-dry, interesting fact is that the 2015 vintage will vary based on the bottle you purchase. Some have been aging longer in large oak barrels because it is bottled as it is needed
Sangiovese- Estate Cellared, dry, balanced and medium-bodied, the acidity is noticeable on this, robust Tuscan style wine
Spumante Secco- Estate Cellared, prosecco style, light and off-dry, clean finish
Basia- Estate Fermented, 2009 vintage, Brunnello style red, dry, made with Sangiovese grapes and aged for three years in barrel and bottle before releasing, intense cherry and mineral flavors, grapes grown in CA
We left with three bottles (Chardonnay, Spumante Secco, and Basia). We’ve had the Chardonnay and the Spumante Secco many times before, but are new fans to the Basia. To our recollection, we have not tried this wine in the past. This is an age-worthy, bold, Tuscan-style red that we look forward to sharing over a nice tomato-based Italian meal.
This was a great trip to HVV. We had an opportunity to taste at their upper-level tasting bar for the first time. We had a one-on-one experience with the tasting associate that day, which made for an educational and memorable time.
See below for our overall rating of Hopewell Valley Vineyards. Have you been before? Let us know your thoughts! Wine is calling, we must go!
Nick & Ed