Wine of the Day: Unionville Vineyards 2019 Amwell Ridge Vineyard Counoise

Plus some updates from CR HQ

As far as I know, today’s WotD is the only varietal counoise bottled in the East – and the winery doesn’t always bottle it alone, instead often using it exclusively in its Rhone-style red blend.

When first opened, Unionville Vineyards 2019 Amwell Ridge Vineyard Counoise ($30) smells mostly of fresh blueberries and blackberries. As it sits in the glass, however, some strawberry emerges along with notes of violets and dried autumn leaves.

Lower in tannin, this medium-bodied red relies on fresh acidity for structure. The same mixture of blueberry and strawberry fruit dominates here, with savory spice and a bit more of that earthiness on the end of a long finish. There is a faint hint of wet gravel too, which brings additional complexity.

This is the kind of wine I gravitate toward anyway – because it’s so unique – but it also happens to be delicious.

Producer: Unionville Vineyards
Region: New Jersey
Vineyard: Amwell Ridge
ABV: 12.5%
Price: $30*
Score: 90 points

* Review sample provided by the winery

Back Tasting and Writing

You may have noticed that this is the first WotD in a while and one of only a small handful in a month. There’s a reason for that.

Just before I was scheduled to get my second COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer) I was fighting what I thought was nothing more than my seasonal allergies, which are always bad in late April. Well, it turns out that despite being partially vaccinated and a diligent social-distancer and mask-wearer, I tested positive for the virus.

Thankfully, my case was pretty mild – some coughing, a little wheezing, and a lot of fatigue were really it. But because I tested positive, that meant that I couldn’t come to work for a period of time – and that my kids had to stay home from school as well. That meant my son missing two middle school football games and a town lacrosse team, which may not seem like much to the adults reading this, but to a 14-year-old, it’s definitely something. Our daughter also missed a lacrosse game.

Did I mention that my wife also tested positive? Well, she did. And she had (and still has) more symptoms than I did, despite being fully vaccinated. She’s been dealing with anosmia for weeks now. She can taste a bit and it seems to be getting better, but very slowly. She still can’t smell anything at all.

But, because she was dealing with it, I was worried that maybe I had some minor anosmia happening myself, so I stopped tasting wines to write about them. It’s important to me that I’m respectful of the wines people send me to evaluate and even if I was only mildly affected, I wanted to hold off. So I did.

I re-opened the Cork Report tasting table this past weekend though and I’m confident that my palate is where it needs to be.

Oh, did I also mention that when I got my second dose of Pfizer that I felt awful for two days and didn’t feel myself for a few more? It’s been a month. Let’s just say that.

I’m back now though, so you can expect daily “Wine of the Day” emails and some longer-form stuff coming soon! Thanks for sticking with me.