The Hunt family hosted a release party last Saturday, launching their new, premium line of  vinifera “Reserve” wines, allowing a limited number of dedicated aficionados the chance to be the first people to “taste a brand new evolution of Hunt Country wines.”

Winemaker Craig Hosbach and Hunt Country’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)-certified staff introduced the more than 50 attendees to their collection of new releases. The featured wines included the: Reserve Cabernet Franc 2017, Reserve Riesling 2017, Chardonnay 2017, Ruby Port (barrel sample), Vidal Blanc Ice Wine (barrel sample).

Kasey Angelo, the Hunt Country Café chef prepared a selection of savory pairings to compliment and highlight the characteristics of the new wines.

At each serving station, Hosbach and Nishant Ceyyur, a WSET-certified member of Hunt Country’s tasting room team, described the the origin of the wine, its composition, and how the flavor profile was carefully matched to each food pairing.

The 2017 Chardonnay was paired with a fruit ceviche of avocado, orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime juice, thai basil, salt, jalapeno, red onions, served in a crispy tortilla cup with salt. 

The Reserve Riesling was served with a toasted baguette with pureed nasturtiums in ricotta, crisped prosciutto, olive oil, and salt. 

The Reserve Cabernet Franc was paired with portabella mushroom caps, prepared with olive oil, butter, salt, and rosemary. 

The Ruby Port barrel sample was served with crisp apple slices topped with blue cheese. 

The Ice Wine barrel sample was paired with a buckwheat walnut shortbread.

The Reserve Wines

The seven generations of the Hunt family have been growing grapes on their farm since the early 19th century, and Hunt Country Vineyards became one of the first N.Y. “farm wineries” in the early 1980s. Hosbach describes the creation of the Reserve vinifera wines as the newest step in the evolution of the Hunt Country brand, matching the evolution of wine tastes, expectations, and excellence in the Finger Lakes region.

“The 2017 Reserve Riesling is made entirely from Hunt’s estate-grown grapes. The residual sugar harmoniously balances the acidity to produce a complex and lengthy finish. Notes and flavors of green and yellow fruit abound.”

Total Acidity 7.70 g/L

Residual Sugar 2%

Alcohol 12%

141 cases bottled Aug. 23, 2018

“The 2017 Cabernet Franc is predominantly made from grapes from Hunt’s own vineyards and aged for 11 months in neutral French oak. It has distinct notes of red currant, raspberry, and cranberry. The ‘élevage’ (the progression of wine between fermentation and bottling when the raw fermented juice is carefully manipulated into its final form) of the wine imparts notes of pencil shavings with a soft tannic structure to add elegance and tightness to the wine.”

Total Acidity 6.30 g/L

Residual Sugar 0%

Alcohol 12%

48 cases bottled and hand-labeled Feb. 19, 2019

Hunt Country is the longest continuous producer of genuine ice wine in the United States. The Ice Wine is expected to be bottled in the coming weeks, but the Ruby Port will not be bottled until after the 2019 grape harvest is completed.