Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Taste of Orange Wine in Vermont with Iapetus

I’ve been fortunate lately to participate in a new wine group and drink outside the box than my typical Italian wines.  Last month I attended a couple virtual tastings via the #winestudio program.  We chatted with Ethan Joseph, the winegrower of Iapetus that shared their wine called Tectonic, a Vermont made wine. 
Ethan Joseph of Iapetus Shelburne Vineyard
Living in the northeast I have visited a couple wineries in each state including Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and if you’re a follower of my blog you know that I typically make an annual trip up to the Finger Lakes.  I have yet to visit any vineyards in Vermont so when I was presented with the opportunity to try the one from Iapetus I was intrigued.  I will admit that when I received the wine in the mail I questioned what it was going to taste like as it was unfiltered and was not your average looking wines.

Vermont’s wine scene began with Snow Farm in 1997 and many other wineries have sprouted since then totaling 13 producers state-wide with Shelburne Vineyard being the largest grape producer.  Ethan described the wine scene in Vermont as a “small and supportive community”.  Grape growing in the area originally started with New York hybrids and german grapes, but as the 2000’s approached the wineries transitioned over to cold-hardy Minnesota hybrids.  

Ethan shared his days of growing up a Jersey boy and his attraction to Vermont stemmed from his studies at the University of Vermont where he was drawn to Lake Champlain.  He began his wine career working part time at Shelburne Vineyard and sippin on good old Carlo Rossi. 

Iapetus is the name of an ancient ocean that once covered the Champlain Valley.  Ethan chose the  name Iapetus to connect the wine of the past and present and relate it to why he remained in the area and to what drew him there.   “We aim to craft our product and farm in a way that acknowledges the broad history written into the earth from which we work”, claims Ethan.  They began their production in 2016 with about 500 cases and continues to grow and expand today.  The biggest challenges they face are the New England cold temps and short growing season.  
Shelburne Vineyard Iapetus 
All the Iapetus wines are spontaneously fermented, unfiltered and unfined.  Their spontaneous fermentation means that 7-10 days before harvest they gather the cleanest fruit from the block in  addition to an assortment of flora from within and around the vineyard. 

2016 Iapetus Tectonic La Crescent grapeThe 2016 Iapetus Tectonic wine is made of 100% la crescent grape where it spends 50 days macerating with the skins.  Fermentation and maceration take place in stainless steel and then aged 8 months in barrel.  Tectonic had notes of citrus and loads of oranges and tangerines with some rosewater.  Some folks in the tasting compared it to qualities of a cider with spice, which I sensed myself.  I was rather impressed and surprised and it’s one that you must experience.  ABV 14% 

Recommended pairings from our chat included pistachios, charcuteries, roasted beets, Mediterranean foods and oysters. 

Have you tried other wines from Vermont or the north east that you recommend?