A family owned farm offering fresh Jersey produce, beautiful wildflowers and fresh-made baked goods including infamous Apple Cider donuts… that also makes their own wine? Terhune Orchards in Princeton, New Jersey is a one-stop shop for families and friends looking to get some fresh air and taste some great wine on a beautiful summer afternoon.
Our group descended upon the farm as the jazz band played. After sampling some gorgeous, fresh-made crepes we headed off to the tasting line. For $5 we sampled 5 wines each. Terhune’s Chambourcin was popular among dry red drinkers. This French-American hybrid is medium-bodied and leaves a tannic essence on the tongue. A bronze medal winner in the 2011 New Jersey State Wine Competition, Chambourcin is a great wine for pasta and barbecues. Another award winner, Rooster Red, pleased the palate with its smooth body and chocolate essence.
I found myself favoring Terhune’s white wines. Their Vidal Blanc had a rich mouthfeel offering a unique harmony of mineral and fruit. The Farmhouse White is a unique blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Vidal Blanc and Chardonelle. Clean and crisp, this wine offers the kind of detail that surpasses your expectations of a white table wine.
The standout in the crowd, however, is the Cold Soil White. I am an unabashed Gewurztraminer/Traminette fan. A white wine that carries strong floral and herbal notes, the Gewurz (or its American cousin, Traminette) is the easiest wine to screw up. It can smell great, like the best bouquet of wildflowers you’ve ever been given, and have no taste; it can smell lousy and carry an overwhelming sweetness, as if the bees drowned in pollen as the wine was being made. However, when done right, Gewurz/Traminette can taste as beautiful as it smells; light, flavorful, airy – a fairy elixir sourced in wooded wilderness. This is the kind of Traminette that forms the backbone of Cold Soil White.
A Traminette blended with Vidal Blanc and Muscat Ottenell (a German white used in dessert wines), Cold Soil White has a full-figured, light body rich in fruit, flower and herb with a light acidity that lingers on the palate. Some sip wine; Cold Soil White is best enjoyed by the mouthful. Like any great white, you can pair it with spicy and/or Asian foods. I’d also drink it alongside appetizers (a sharp cheese, perhaps) or as a dessert unto itself. A refreshing surprise, this Bronze winner in the 2013 New Jersey State Wine Competition is not to be missed by lovers of German wine varietals.
As with any good Garden State winery Terhune also offers Apple Wine, Harvest Blues (Blueberry), and Just Peachy. These fragrant, fruity wines transition from dry to sweet. The Just Peachy, a blend of their dry Apple Wine with fresh Jersey peaches was a hit served up with chunks of fresh fruit.
After our tasting we roamed the farm, wine glasses in hand, sipping and savoring as we took in the orchards, picked blackberries and strolled through wildflower gardens. A bucolic setting, Terhune Orchards offers the best of the Garden State in a nutshell, a retreat from the often all-too busy culture of the New York/Philadelphia/D.C. nexus. With promising blends already on the menu, I look forward to the challenges to the palate that are on Terhune’s horizon.