Chronicles of the Long Shot Farm

Wine and Chocolate Pairing: First Attempt

Let me start by saying that you should drink the wine you like with what you like to eat and therefore, should probably take someone’s wine pairing suggestion with a grain of salt[y chocolate].  I actually think that plain chocolate goes with most wine.  And by plain I just mean milk chocolate and the various degrees of dark chocolate.  I just really like chocolate and wine.

I recently visited the Lindt outlet in Carlisle and thought it would be fun to pair the Long Shot wines with the myriad of flavored truffles. Our naive expectations were that all the truffles would go more or less with every wine, and this would be a silly game, were we just make up what is “best” with what. And we were very wrong. Very, very wrong.

While we stand by the idea that most wine goes with most plain chocolate, flavored chocolate is a whole different beast. Example:  Chambourcin wine and orange chocolate do NOT go together.  Kinda like the pair of friends you have that you never invite to the same event. Chambourcin wine is best with just plain dark chocolate truffles.  We also thought that really sweet wine, like Concord, worked well with salty truffles.

But there were a few wines that were really enhanced when paired with flavored chocolate.  For instance, Vidal Blanc wine pairs well with citrus in general, so it was natural to try the Valley Blush wine, which is a blend with Vidal Blanc, with orange chocolate.  Wow.  We were all pretty shocked at the outcome.  Similarly, the Vidal Blanc wine and citrus truffle are absolutely splendid together.

Here is our list of recommendations
  • Concord and sea salt
  • Chambourcin and dark chocolate
  • Chardonel and almond
  • Vidal Blanc and citrus
  • Blackberry and extra dark or hazelnut
  • Fletched and coconut or strawberry
  • Chambourcin Rose and white chocolate (strawberries and cream anyone?)
  • Valley Blush and orange
  • Winter Blend and salted caramel

Nota bene: blueberry truffles hated all wine pairings. At least in our mouths.

posted by Anja Weyant

First Wine Descriptions

Duff and I have been tasked with writing descriptions for the first 10 wines that are available at the Winery.  It took us a few weeks as we wanted to savor each bottle as we wrote about it.  We first sampled the wine a few times and independently wrote down what flavors we tasted and smelled. We were careful not to say anything till we both had written something down. It was helpful for me at this point to just reference a huge list of flavors, good and bad (from strawberries to buttered popcorn), commonly (or sometimes uncommonly) found in wine. We also made use of a taster’s reference kit, which had purified samples of all sorts of awesome and awful smells. After we combined our tasting notes, we then enjoyed a fresh glass of wine while we came up with the wine descriptions below.

Fletched
Fletching refers collectively to the vanes attached to the end of an arrow. Traditionally, three such fin-shaped feathers made the arrow fly straight and true, if attached by a skilled fletcher.  This wine is crafted from a blend of three fruits. Like the fletching, Chambourcin, Blackberry, and Vidal come together to create a sweet wine with an accent of fresh cherries and black raspberry.

Bow and arrow
Chambourcin and Blackberry, which is the bow, which is the arrow? One builds the foundation with a dark dried cherry profile, the other enlivens the wine with a shot of summer jam. A dangerous combination.

Concord
A straight forward wine with that classic grape flavor. This is the grown-up’s grape juice, but now with a sophisticated fruity bouquet.

Chambourcin
Dried cherries, dark berries, need we say more? A deep ruby wine with a soft and supple mouth feel.

Chambourcin Rosé
We have removed the cherry to expose a floral bouquet and a strawberry palate. When chilled, enjoy the mineral overtones with a hint of sweet.

Vidal Blanc
With a clean crisp acidity, slightly chilled this wine puts forth a peachy semi-sweet palate, with hints of melon.

Chardonel
Like the debutant at her own ball exhibiting her virtue, this is a crisp off-dry wine, showcasing a pure white grape profile with a lemon finish.

Valley Blush
This blend of Chambourcin Rosé and Vidal acts as the cousin to the Rosé, the one you want to spend the reunion with. Drier, lively, a bit of a lemony acidic bite, but with the strawberry flavors still coming through.

Winter Blend
You spend all season out in the woods with your bow and arrow, have nothing to show for it, and coming in from the cold, something good needs to happen. Winter blend gives you a sweet ripe cherry and apples wine that when warmed, will not improve your shot, but may make you not worry about it anymore.

BlackBerry
Slightly sweet with notes of jam and balanced acidity. This is a summer fruit reduced to its essence, to be enjoyed all year round.

Posted by Anja Weyant

Trimmin’ Traminette

Duff and Leif set about getting their field north of Possum Lake ready for summer. They have several rows of Traminette vines that were planted last year, but due to a bad case of downy mildew at the end of last summer (which had a never ending monsoon of rain, great for fungal diseases!), the vines had lost almost all growth.

Beyond the mildew, one must also contend with the voracious appetites of the Cumberland County white-tail. One would think that with the fields of oats, wheat, soybeans, hay, and sweet corn that cover Cumberland County, plus the odd manicured lawn, the deer would not have much use for grape vines. But as Duff’s father would say, that’s what you get for thinking. Deer will try and eat whatever is before them, even if they don’t like it, out of sheer boredom it seems.

This year is going to be different!

First Duff taught Leif how to trim back the vine to three or four healthy buds.  As it is early spring, the interior of the cane where it is still alive is green. Often there would be up to 6ft of dead vine from the downy mildew before one started finding green stem. After Leif got the hang of finding the living part of the vine, he would count three or four buds up from the roots, and prune the rest off. This was so the plant would focus its energy in making those few buds into long canes, not making 10 or 20 short little ones.

Meanwhile, Duff played John Henry, pounding oak stakes next to all the vines. This is for deer. Well, not so much for the deer, but rather to spite the deer. Tree tubes are placed next to the stakes and around the vines. The top of the tube is zip-tied to the oak stake. The base of the tube is buried mulch, and the vine after being trimmed is at the bottom.

Leif was a real trooper, and due to exercising at 7000ft regularly, thought running the oak stakes and tree tubes up and down the rows was easy work, even with the hard winds coming off the mountain. Enough light can still get through the blue tubes for the plant to grow.

So far, the deer have not taken to eating plastic tree tubes, which will protect the poor vines up until at least mid-summer, when the vine should poke out the top. When coupled with a bit more judicious spraying and a bit less rain, the vines should do well.

 

Posted by Anja Weyant

Andrew and Amanda’s Wedding

Although the rest of the barn is not ready for the Winery to use yet, it has come along way in the last month. It was just enough space for a 45 person wedding. It’s amazing what you can do with fabric and twinkle lights! Eventually it will be a perfect size for private events at the Winery like bridal showers or painting events.

 

But for the Winery to use it we would need the proper inspections first.

Posted by Samantha Weyant Shaffer and Anja Weyant

What’s in the rest of the barn?

Zach and his friends have been working hard on the center section of the barn.  They are preparing for a small wedding this weekend.  Zach leveled and secured the floor with insulation and plywood.  They also drywalled and primed several sections of wall.

For the wedding twinkle lights and fabric will be hung to cover the unfinished areas.  This will be a great practice run for when the Winery holds events in the future.  It will also serve as extra space when the weather is too poor to use the deck.

There is still a lot of work to be done before it is ready to use by the Winery but the progress is exciting.

Posted by Anja Weyant and Samantha Weyant Shaffer