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Cold Soil White: The Finesse of German Wines, American Style


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.