Counoise is a unique red wine grape variety, late-ripening and plump, with a thin skin. In the Rhone region of France, Counoise is typically used in red blends, for instance Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
We grow Counoise right here in Hunterdon County, New Jersey...right in your own backyard! At Unionville, we celebrate Counoise by bottling it as a varietal wine. (According to federal regulations, at least 75% of the grapes used to produce a wine with a varietal designation must be of that variety.) Like Pinot Noir, Counoise has big berries with thin skins. As our winemaker Cameron Stark likes to say, Counoise is like Pinot Noir...but with attitude.
Here are three reasons why we like Counoise as a single varietal:
1. It's Unique
Don't deny it. You've never heard of this variety before. Why should you have? It's a typically used in blends, never celebrated on its own. Unionville is one of only a handful of wineries in the world to produce a varietal.
2. It's Got Attitude
Counoise, as a varietal, is a light-bodied red with good structure and bright acidity, making it very food-friendly. The acidity works wonders when paired with richer meats like duck. Good structure allows for graceful aging - our 2013 vintage will age well for 5 years and hold for another 3.
3. It's Flavorful
Like Pinot Noir, Counoise is lighter in color, but don't be fooled. This wine has beautiful aromatics and is full of flavor.
Aromas of rose petals, violets, blackberries, and blueberries, all surrounded by a note of white pepper. Beautiful. On the palate, notes of blueberry and blackberry, hints of sweet vanilla, again with the white pepper surrounding. The finish is long with flavors of blueberry and a lasting white pepper glow. A very pretty wine.
In short, it is a yummy wine and one of my favorite wines for picnic. Cheers!
~Stacy Brody, Operations Coordinator and former Cellar Rat