Fulchino Vineyard Review
Region: New Hampshire
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 6/18/2014
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Al Fulchino is a straight shooter if ever there was one; he probably got that from his grandfather, Andrew Fulchino, from whom he inherited his wine press at the age of twenty one. Al welcomes visitors into his family winery with a charming smile, and on the day we visited, still wearing his work shirt from taking care of the grounds around the area. We immediately liked him, as he beckoned us toward the tasting bar so that we could share in the craft that was passed down to him through his family. Once the owner of a series of gas stations, Al has since constructed an impressive, open tasting room, architecturally reminiscent of what you might find in Italy. The picturesque building, set back from rows of vines, surely draws in visitors just passing by on the road, and once they arrive, they are in for a real treat.
As you approach the main building, there is a large patio outside adorned with little bistro sized tables and plenty of additional space to create seating for larger events. A set of large double wooden doors lead you in to the tasting room with sets of windowed doors on either side. Upon entering, the foyer expands with pillars into a two-storied room with a huge structure that houses, or can house, hundreds of bottles of wine. The pressed tin ceiling adds a unique charm, and the whole room seems a mix between traditional and old world styling. The tasting bar in contrast is small and quaint with room for only a few patrons at a time. Though it was nearing completion, in fairness we should mention that the interior of the structure was still under construction during our visit.
We entered Fulchino intent on buying a cheese plate or snack of some sort to tide us over until dinner while we did our tasting. Al beat us to the punch however by providing not only a complimentary tasting but also a nice helping of fine cheese, some excellent, well-aged balsamic vinegar, and a bowl of nuts to compliment the tasting. We were well taken care of and found it easy to settle in, relax, and enjoy the wine.
Produced from both local and imported grapes, the wine selection at Fulchino is immense for a small winery, and diverse by any standard. We enjoyed a free tasting, trying almost everything that was open while lounging casually against the small tasting room bar. In addition to five signature red blends, each one distinct, dark, and full-bodied, a large selection of classic vinifera is also available, ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel to less common offerings like Sangiovese and even Montepulciano. Each wine was unique, and all of them were good. The menu of whites was considerably more limited, yet far from disappointing. In particular we enjoyed the Frontenac Gris, which is very uncommon in spite of the fact that it grows well in the region, and the Biancco.
One wine that was yet to be released was the Barbara. A favorite varietal of ours, we asked for a taste even though it had just been bottled and Al insisted that it needed to sit for a while before being opened. He hesitantly acquiesced, however, and the wine, made from fruit imported from Europe, was an absolute delight. We then begged him to let us take a bottle home with the promise that we would age it well before opening. Its sitting in our cellar now, and we eyeball it from time to time, intent on honoring our promise.
Over the years, weve visited scores of wineries in seven states and counting, and without hesitation we would say that Fulchino is among our very favorites. The beautiful tasting room, excellent wines, and completeness of the overall tasting experience made it a place were certain to revisit the next time were visiting New Hampshire wineries. And the next time youre in New Hampshire, we highly recommend paying a visit to Al Fulchinos splendid family winery.