La Garagista, Vinu Jancu, Deirdre Heekin, 2012

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I happened to run into Deirdre while she was doing a tasting at Streetcar. The first thing that came to mind was, “a woman…in Vermont…makes wine?” quickly followed by my usual skepticism about any wine made in the US. To my great relief and fascination, she knows what she’s doing, and does it very well. The Vinu Jancu above definitely falls into the “bizarre” category because it’s not your average white wine with fancy-free ABC structure. As I understand it, Deirdre has cultivated a local grape varietal in the Moscato family, blended, fermented and barreled it into what many will recognize as an aged white: that orange-colored, yeasty, sherry-ish, cider-ish quality that often hints towards oxidation, tart, cloudy, nutty. As far as that range goes, this one is quite floral thanks to the Moscato derivative as the base, so it stays pretty fresh on the palette. Most exciting is that Deirdre has a little farm near the vineyards where she and her team grow vegetables and host dinner several nights a week. I can’t wait to take a trip up there to have the full experience. It’s one thing to drink someone’s wine, and quite another to drink their wine, sit at their table, eat their food, and experience the lifestyle that feeds their passion.

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