Over the next few days, you'll be reading a lot about Martha Clara Vineyards' wine here on LENNDEVOURS because I've sampled eight of their recent and upcoming releases in the last week or so (for a column on them).
Martha Clara Winery's owner, Robert Entenmann, named his wine making venture after his mother, Martha Clara Entenmann in 1995. You might be asking yourself why Entenmann sounds familiar...well that's because these are the same Entenmanns that deliver baked goods to the "end of the aisle" at your local grocery store.
Actually, the family sold the bakery business in 1978, and moved to the east end of Long Island to grow potatoes (a lot of our vineyards used to be potato farms) and raise horses. In 1995, Robert caught the wine bug and planted 18 acres of grapes...and the vineyard eventually grew to 112 acres.
Martha Clara Vineyards released their first wine, a 1998 Viognier, in September 1999...and they've been churning out wine ever since.
This wine, their 2003 Himmel (Himmel means "sky" in German), is a dessert wine made from 66% Riesling and 34% Gewurztraminer (100% estate-grown fruit). The grapes were frozen, resulting in high-sugar juice (40 brix) which was gently pressed at a yield of 60 gallons per ton. The juice was cold fermented at 55°F for three months. Malolactic fermentation was not allowed to completely run it's course. The resulting wine is 13% alcohol by volume and has 10 grams of residual sugar per 100ml.
Only 95 cases of 375ml bottles were produced and the wine was released in January 2005.
Eyes: Deep, rich gold
Nose: Extremely fruity on the nose, with peach, nectarine and apricot.
Tongue: Succulent and sweet, but with just enough acidity to bring balance. Nena wanted a bit more acidity, but I really like the lingering, sweet finish with an almost minty note at the end.
Food:`I almost always prefer my dessert wines on their own, but the winemaker suggests sipping this along side creme brulee, fruit pastries and chocolate cake. I'd add quality blue cheese to that list as well.
Overall: Well, after tasting and taking my notes, we ended up drinking most of the bottle in one sitting, so I guess you could say we liked it. In my upcoming column, I mention that I might like this one more than Martha Clara's other dessert wine, Ciel (which is 60% Viognier and 40% Charddonay). I do enjoy them both, however.
Lenn's Grade: B
Nena's Grade: A