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Chaddsford Winery Introduces New Artisan Series Noiret

by Melissa Auman Greiner on Feb 11, 2013 in Wine
Chaddsford Winery Introduces New Artisan Series Noiret

Surprises are fun! Just ask any guy who’s been the unsuspecting target of a surprise party and believes the well-meaning friends in his apartment are actually burglars he must pummel with the closest hard object handy.

OK, edit: Surprises can be fun.

Thankfully for Jim Osborn, a winemaker at Delaware County’s Chaddsford Winery, his latest encounter with surprise was positive. In fact, it resulted not only in a fun new bottle, but also the launch of the winery’s new Artisan Series.

It began in 2011 when an unexpected guest arrived at the winery’s door — a crop of grapes called Noiret.

“The winemaking team didn’t know it was coming — it was an orphan at our doorstep,” explains Osborn. “So we did some research, looked around, and decided to do something with it.”

What they did was press it and keep it in oak for more than a year. And then hoped for the best as they waited. “We didn’t know if we were going to release it or not, we had to see what we had. Turns out it evolved into something pretty interesting.”

Interesting, indeed. Noiret is a crossbreed developed at Cornell University designed to handle the weather and growing conditions of the Northeast. It’s only just now being planted in large quantities.

“It’s definitely not what a lot of people are used to,” says Osborn. “It has different characteristics.” The most distinguishing feature are its tannins. The wine is dry but refined, without the bold, brash notes that turn many away from red wines. As a result, its flavors shine more brightly, with cherries and raspberry mixed with a touch of spice. It’s lighter and brighter, a surprise for a wine of its inky color.

With the mini experiment complete and the wine a success, the Chaddsford team realized they might be onto something.

“We decided to start a series of varietals people may not be familiar with,” says Osborn. “All handcrafted, and given lots of attention.”

The Noiret, now available at the winery as well as the shop in Peddler’s Village for $30 per bottle, serves as the debut offering for a new Artisan Series. The potential second release is brewing away in the cellars at Chaddsford as we speak.

It’s a blaufränkisch (don’t ask us to pronounce it), and was sourced from Erie, PA. The grape is originally from Hungary, and is often used to make “bull’s blood” — that region’s style of table wine. It’s known to be tannic and spicy. Osborn and his team will monitor the wine’s progress and decide if and when it will be bottled and released sometime next year.

“We are writing the script as we go along,” says Osborn. “We’re taking raw materials we don’t know much about, and finding something new.”

New and surprising. The good kind of surprise. We promise.

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