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Jessica is the NH.com Editor and Producer. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Chester College of NE, and a M.Ed. specializing in Adult Education from Plymouth State University. She is happily married and a proud mama of two perfect little boys and is motivated to alert New Hampshirites to the hottest goings-on in the state. Her interests include cracking the spine of a good book, writing, painting and cuddling with her babies on the sofa while some terrible reality TV hums in the background.

New Red Wine from NH Family Wine Maker

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When I think of wine, I think of lush, warm vineyards, glittering in gilded sunshine. When I look out my window right now, the frostbitten oak branches and heavy-gray sky mock my warm-weather daydreams.

No, this is not grape-growing season in New Hampshire, but that doesn't stop Merrimack resident, Christian Vitone, from preparing his next fermentation.

Christian's grandfather made wine, "Papa's little winery was located in his earthen floor cellar; it was cool, damp, and dark...perfect for wine! Whenever he was making wine, there was a wonderful aromatic combination of oak barrels, fermenting grape juice, and pungent earth. It was a memory I'll never forget, and I was hooked!" Now, with a family of his own, Christian is continuing the winemaking tradition. Vitone Family Wines was founded in 2010 and maintains an office in Amherst, NH and Napa, CA.

Christian is the only wine negociant in New England, who has both a proprietary label, and also has wines produced in California. Christian explains negociant is the French term for a wine merchant who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own name. Christian collaborates with world-renowned winemaker, Marco Capelli, who owns the Miraflores winery in Sierra Foothills where the fruits for Vitone wines are grown. Christian selects the fruits and comes up with a blend and Marco produces the wine.

Vitone's current bottle is the Verde Sole 2009 Sierra Foothills Zinfandel. Christian explained to me that the vintage marks the year the fruit was grown. Christian and Marco are currently working on additional varietals due out this year!

For more information on Christian Vitone, Vitone Family Wines and the 2009 Verde Sol Zinfandel, visit http://www.vitonefamilywines.com or stop by the NH Wine Week tasting at Store #59, Merrimack Shopping Center, Merrimack, this Friday, January 20, from 4pm-6:30pm, or the NH Wine Week Free Wine Tasting and Bottle Signing at New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet, Store #69, 27 Coliseum Avenue, Nashua, on Wednesday, January 25 from 4pm-6pm where Christian will be sampling the 2009 Verde Sol and signing bottles.

Below, I am happy to share Christians New Hampshire story for Vitone Family Wines as well as some Zinfandel fun facts!

Our NH Story-Vitone Family Wines

When deciding on where to set up Vitone Family Wines, we could have located ourselves in Ca, as most negociants do, but we wanted to do something different, in a state that has been our home for 10 years. We wanted to introduce the unique, world-class wines of the Sierra Foothills to our fellow NH residents, at affordable everyday prices.

Here in NH, the Liquor Commission has done a wonderful job presenting a diversified assortment of world-class wines, at exceptional prices. We've lived in Ca, and we've seldom seen the combination of selection and pricing that's available everyday here in NH. This was instrumental in our decision to stay in NH, and focus on the local market. Invariably we get customers from all over New England, as they visit and vacation in our great state. So, by staying in the Granite State; our Verde Sole brand is gaining traction all around New England. We think we offer what New England residents are looking for; a local company that produces world class wines, at reasonable prices.

With the amount of tourist traffic NH receives annually, living and working in NH lets us keep our finger on the pulse of the wine drinking community in New England. This helps us insure that we will continue to offer what consumers want, as we develop our product offerings.

Our 2009 Verde Sole Zinfandel has a suggested retail price of $17.99, but is currently on sale at the NH Liquor stores for $14.99


Zinfandel Fun Facts

- Zinfandel is a Red grape! The grape found its way to the United States in the mid-19th century, and became known by variations of the name "Zinfandel," a name to this day of uncertain origin.

- White Zinfandel, while made with the Zinfandel grape, is very different than the red wine. It is a blush, semi-sweet wine, made by removing the juice from the skins during fermentation and typically adding sugar.

-Though most often associated with California, Zinfandel is genetically equivalent to the Croatian grape, Crljenak Kaštelanski, as well as Primitivo, a grape grown in Southern Italy. Zinfandel is considered an American grape.

- Zinfandel pairs very well with spicy BBQ meats, as well as smoked Gouda cheese. Other Zinfandel-friendly cheese choices include: Parmesan, Dry Monterey Jack, and Manchego. Some other ingredients that work well with Zinfandel are tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms and olives.


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