Have you ever woken up in a bunk-bed in a Vermont cabin accompanied by great friends and a pain in your head? Well your esteemed columnists sure have. A couple weekends back we ventured over to the Green Mountain State for no real reason at all and found ourselves in the picturesque town of Woodstock, Vermont. Per the recommendation of a dear friend and Woodstock regular, we stopped in at the famed FH Gillingham  & Sons general store to see what they had to offer. Gillingham did not disappoint in its wine selection, containing delightful bottles both Old World and New. We thought, to commemorate our Grand Excursion, that we ought to get something that reflected the local terroir. 

Putney’s Apple Maple Wine presented itself as a truly Vermont vino. When one who has spent relatively little time in the state thinks of Vermont, he thinks of apples and maple. Rumor has it that some who spend lots of time in the state think of apples and maple when they think of Vermont. While the verdict isn’t out on what makes this wine a wine and not a cider (many of the options stoked at Gillingham were marketed as ciders), your reviewers were very excited to try this bev and look back on our idyllic weekend spent slightly south of where we currently are. 

We uncorked the bottle on a calm, unseasonably warm Monday night, dreaming of cross-country skiing, taking the kids on a sleigh ride and chopping pine on a Saturday afternoon. The wine pours clear and looks like a golden, grape-only white wine. We believe this color is almost certainly derived from the apples. Apple cider is sort of golden, right?  There isn’t much of a nose to the wine, but the legs show just from the pour. Not able to smell a whole-heck-of-a-lot, we dove right into our tasting.  

 This wine does not taste like a grape-only wine. This wine is, upon initial contact between beverage and tongue, dry. This wine, seconds after this initial contact between b and t, tastes spicy. This wine has a kick. This wine probably has a kick from the maple. These reviewers question whether the maple was added before or after fermentation. The kick may derive from a spicy post-fermentation addition of maple. The kick may derive from the fermentation of honey producing a drying-out quality. Interestingly enough, this wine is mild in the booze department, clocking in at a calm and tender 10 percent. This kick, this spice, is mysterious.

In theory: we are fond of this wine. It is an interesting application of local resources to create a product representative of a space and time. It is clear from visiting the winery’s website that the vintners are passionate about producing a quality product in a place that they love. At the end of the day, that’s a great thing. While the wine may not be to our tastes, were we to open a bottle shop (currently seeking investors), it’s a product we’d proudly sell.

Additional Notes:

Tonight's Soundtrack: Phish, live: August 20, 1993 - Red Rocks, Morrison, Colorado

Justin: "Vermon is cool, not quite Maine cool, but in my live ranking of New England states it has surpassed Rhode Island. Also Boston—it was always cooler than Boston. “

Will: “It’s foolhardy to talk about the Vermont beverage industry without making reference to its incredible craft brewing scene.  Speaking of beer, if Jae-Yeon Yoo [’18] and Nick Benson [’17] of the Orient’s Tapped Out column want to review my homebrew, I wouldn’t stop them."

Nose: 2/5

Legs: 4/5

Mouthfeel: 3/5

Taste: 1.5/5

Overall: 2.785/5