Being a January baby and raised a skier and snowboarder since age 3, my birthday consists of an annual family trip to the majestic Green Mountains of Vermont. Typically included are a gourmet meal, family time on the slopes, and a visit to the Vermont Country Store on the way out. If I could ski or snowboard professionally for a living, I would do it in a heartbeat. Both of my brothers were racers and even when that ended, our family traditions never did, and now our kids share the same traditions. In addition to the mountain time, a new tradition of late as a grown-up who loves wine is that I always make sure to pick up some ESV wines and Cabot cheddar (and many other culinary treats) when we visit the Vermont Country Store. I have had their fantastic Vidal Ice Wine in the past, and this time picked up their 2010 Cabernet Franc and 2011 Traminette, a hardy Gewürztraminer hybrid that does well in the cold inherent to these parts of the country. They are located on the Grande Isle in the middle of Lake Champlaign situated between Vermont and New York State.
The 2010 Cabernet Franc is a medium-bodied, fruit-forward and well-balanced wine. It also has medium acidity, tannin and length with red and black fruit and spice notes both on the nose and palate. I paired it with the Cabot horseradish cheddar, a rich and pleasurable local treat. Unsurprisingly, they paired perfectly.
The 2011 Traminette had a slight fizz that I didn’t expect, but didn’t dislike. Slightly off dry, it had a crisp acidity and honeysuckle, rose petal and lavendar notes on the nose as well as the palate like its big cousin Gewürztraminer. There were also some slight tropical fruit notes on the palette. The body was well-rounded and this would be a lovely summer sipper with seafood or poultry. The fruit is sourced in neighboring New York where this hardy hybrid also thrives in the cold.
Their vineyards are sustainable and all the wines locally produced. Though they lost all their vines in a hailstorm years back and had to source fruit and juice for a while, the vineyards are again thriving and the results are delicious! They have a partnership with Shelburne Vineyard to share winery equipment and are saving up to open their own winery in the future. You can buy the wines at many locations in Vermont, all listed on their website. At $18 each these were worthy and affordable.
Visit the tasting room at
28 Church Street, Burlington VT 05401