New Kent Winery
8400 Old Church Road
CALL TO CONFIRM:
OWNER: Joe Dombroski
WINEMAKER: Tom Payette, formerly of Mondavi
LOCATION DESCRIPTION: This winery is located in what might be considered a golf course community. The surrounding community is well kept and inviting. Sorry for the boring intro’, it gets better.
TASTING ROOM DESCRIPTION: This is such a great building – heavy wood beams, woven rugs, and huge windows. The tasting bar is perfect for the large crowds they must draw. There is plenty of room for visitors to spread out inside and outside. I wish they had a fireplace, but it’s a beautiful place regardless.
DATE/WEATHER/TIME IN-TIME OUT: 3/9/2017 | 75⸰ | 3:25pm-4:05pm
MY RIDE ALONG (My side-kick for this visit): Mike R. – He’s a newbie when it comes to drinking wine – actually, he doesn’t drink the stuff at all, but he enjoys making it. Uh, Mike, don’t you want to know if what you are making is any good? Yes, good. I offered him to ride along and learn a thing or two – I think he has, so let’s all welcome another wino into the world.
TASTING FEES: $10 for 9 wines – their wines are worth the tasting fee. Nothing sucks worse than paying $10 for bilge water that ends up in the dump bucket!
POURER: Christie was only on day 2 of her wine pouring career. Had she never told us I would have never known, she did a great job! Anne was also hanging around and was super friendly – I enjoyed visiting with these two ladies.
THE TASTING: My goodness, what can I say? I was blown away by the quality and drinkability of every friggin’ wine they poured. The ONLY negative thing I can say here is buying one bottle of each will cost you more than a cup of coffee, they’re a bit pricey.
|This represents a 1-5 scale with What the fuck? being the worst and Oh, hell yes! being the best.
The W-I-N-O tasting scale (the M is silent because who cares about the Ms?)
|[W] – What the fuck?
If I won’t drink it, it’s fucking bad because I’ll drink anything.
|[I] – I’ll pass.
Not good, but not dumped. That would be wasteful.
|[M] – Meh.
|[N] – Now we’re getting somewhere!
This is a goodie. I may have bought it, or it might not be worth the money, or I’ve already spent too much.
|[O] – Oh, hell yes!
I probably bought this one.
Here we go, the New Kent Winery wines – please remember, these are just my opinions …
I don’t typically like Chardonnay that has fermented in stainless steel, but DAMN this one was a nice surprise! When you can smell lemons and … well crap! No wait, you don’t smell crap, hang on. So I go to the tasting sheet to see if they agree with my assessment of lemons, and they suggest “pome style fruits.” I’m not ashamed to admit I have no fucking clue what a pome fruit is and that is why God invented Google. The internet’s book of answers says “They are fruits that have a ‘core’ of several small seeds, surrounded by a tough membrane.” I guess the tasting note writer didn’t agree with my citrus fruits, but whatever, it’s good wine.
|Rating [N] Price $20|
I like my Chardonnay buttery and this is a goodie, but going to the tasting sheet again they note that this wine is “aged sur-lie.” Dammit! I wasn’t trying to do all this studying to get this article written but here we go … “Sur Lie [soor LEE] The French expression for ‘on the lees.’ Lees is the coarse sediment, which consists mainly of dead yeast cells and small grape particles that accumulate during fermentation.” Um, dead yeast cells don’t sound delicious.
|Rating [N] Price $26|
Oooooh, slight effervescence and 1.8% residual sugar – I like this one too. I’m not sure what’s happening right now, but I think my wallet just panicked and went to wait in the car.
|Rating [N] Price $22|
Wait … what? First of all, I generally dislike Merlot, so who do these people think they are by changing my mind about this otherwise boring grape? Wow! It’s a white wine … what? You heard me, it’s not red, it’s white. It smells like caramel popcorn, and it’s amazing! Okay, wallet, get your ass back in here because White Merlot is coming home with us tonight.
|Rating [O] Price $20|
Seriously now, what the fuck is happening? Norton is nasty shit (unless you’re one of those oddballs that loves it) but this … THIS … YES!! I’m a fan of dry rosé and this one smells like plums and has a bit of a strawberry flavor. My wallet was right to panic because White Norton is coming home with us too.
|Rating [O] Price $22|
Let’s start with the word “Meritage”. This red blend can only be called Bordeaux if it is produced in Bordeaux, France. We can call it a Bordeaux-style or we can call it Meritage. Just like Bordeaux, red Meritage is a blend of at least two of the following grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot, or Carmenère, but any one grape can’t be more than 90% of the blend. I’m a huge fan of vanilla flavors and smells in my wine and New Kent’s Meritage satisfies that little quirk.
|Rating [N] Price $26|
Welp, they’ve done it again. I won’t pour out a Merlot but I definitely won’t order it myself. However, this one slightly smells like licorice and definitely gives Merlot a good name. The grape has been redeemed … that is, until some schmoe goes and messes it up again somewhere else. Joe Shmoe, meaning ‘Joe Anybody’, or no one in particular, is one of the most commonly used fictional names in American English.
|Rating [N] Price $26|
|Norton – “For Pete’s Sake”
Then reality hits. It smells like Meritage, but tastes like boredom. And $42? For Pete’s sake, that’s a lot of money for Norton. No thanks!
|Rating [M] Price $42|
This is a blend of Merlot, White Merlot (my new boyfriend, very satisfying) and the small amount of Concord, 5%, definitely makes its presence known. 8% residual sugar is pretty high but this is a decent sweet wine, for sure.
|Rating [N] Price $16|
SUMMARY: This has been such an educational experience, I hope you’ve also learned a thing or two. I’m blown away by the fact that most of their wines earned the rating of “Now we’re getting somewhere” and two “Oh, hell yes’s!” Come to find out, the reason for their extraordinary quality is consistency in production. They save cases from prior productions and dedicate their efforts to matching flavors. They only produce 7,000 cases per year, so I was reluctant to share this review because I don’t need a bunch of yokels showing up and buying up all the good stuff, but this winery deserves a shout out, so here it is. I was very impressed with this winery and I hope they’re taking good care of the winemaker because these wines have topped my list, this is mind-bogglingly good stuff! Go visit New Kent Winery, but save me some!