But before this gray gloom descended on us, we had some glorious moments in the sun while visiting Cubanisimo Vineyards, which is located west of Salem. I first heard about Cubanisimo Vineyards during our visit here last summer: MC's husband's daughter told me about their incredible Pinot Noir. I found a bottle at a local shop and adored it. During that same visit, I had a glass of their Rosado at The Wild Pear (this post) and loved that too.
So this summer it was time to go out to the vineyard, which is only about 30 minutes from MC's house; despite the rain, I'm kind of thinking that the proximity of Cubanisimo to my in-laws' place is worth moving here for! Here is what we tasted:
- 2010 Rosado de Pinot Noir - This is one of my favorites, as I think it's an ideal summer sipper; I bought a bottle to take home. It's bright, dry, and acidic but has enough herbal tones that it's well-balanced.
- 2010 Pinot Gris - MC really loved this one and we bought a bottle to sip on Cubanisimo's gorgeous patio. It had the same balance as the Rosado but with some floral notes, and the citrus bite isn't as pronounced. It would pair well with light salads and fish, but it's also perfect for drinking by itself on a warm day.
- 2008 Pinot Noir - Such a friendly, unassuming wine! I think this is perfect for a summer red. I got strawberry flavors and a dry finish. This was also a favorite of MC's - she bought a bottle.
- Pinot Noir Rumba (sadly, I didn't mark the year) - MC and I immediately turned this one down. It didn't have the balance: the spice sort of thumped us over the head. MC said it was "harsh". Adam suggested that it would probably benefit from a few years in the cellar.
- 2008 Pinot Noir Estate - My other favorite. It was the 2008 Pinot Noir...but better quality. It had the bright flavor of the 2008 Pinot Noir, but there was some spice and warmth to give it a more well-rounded quality. The mouthfeel was richer and weightier too, which I considered a plus. I bought a bottle of this for our friends, Amy and Lisa, who we'll see tomorrow. Amy is a certified sommelier; I like to bring her a bottle of something every time I see her, and I think this will fit the bill.
Then we moved outside to enjoy our bottle of the Pinot Gris. Jenelle Ford, who is the Operations Manager according to the website, helped us during our tasting and she was so sweet and enthusiastic. You can just tell, while talking to her, that she loves what she does. She told us all about the owners of the vineyard and how down-to-earth and incredible they are; we also shared stories about raising pre-teens. As if we weren't already thrilled by the wine, the location, and the conversation, we then had the tremendous honor of meeting the owner, Mauricio Collado, Jr. MD. In a word, charming. As it turns out, Mr. Collado's son is an attorney in New York so we talked a lot about working insane hours and wanting to slow down and cut back. I also told Mr. Collado that I saw his gorgeous wife in The Wild Pear last year but explained that I didn't introduce myself because I got a little starstruck. Being the down-to-earth guy he is, Mr. Collado dismissed his celebrity status, to which I responded, "Have you even tasted your wine?!"
The perfect end to the day was that Ms. Ford gave me a list of local places in New York that have stocked Cubanisimo in the past: World Wine and Spirits (right next to my apartment!), Sussex Wines and Spirits, 86th Street Wine and Liquor, Adriatic Wines and Liquors, A Voce, Manley's Wine and Spirits, Mini Bar/MHLC. You bet I'll be scouring the city when I get home!
It was a truly amazing experience. I don't mean to be corny - though I tend to be a corny person - but I just felt welcomed into the arms of the vineyard and found myself not wanting to leave. And thanks to Mr. Collado and Ms. Ford for making our visit a memorable one.
Eat, drink, and celebrate Cubanisimo time!
NOTE: Follow Cubanisimo Vineyards on Twitter and "like" them on Facebook. And if you're in the area, join them for salsa lessons and wine in the summer! They also do weddings and Bug already declared that she's getting married there - and, for heaven's sake, I hope she does!