Seriously, where has September gone? Where has this year gone? September has been another whirlwind month for me, with a new career and writing opportunities unfolding before my very eyes. My time has become a hot commodity and I feel like I am playing catch up most of the time. However, as has become tradition, below are some of the interesting wines I’ve tasted this month. The two Pennsylvania wines were gifts and the wines from Chile and New Jersey were samples provided by the producers.
Blair 2010 Wedding Cuvée
Blair Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery located in Kutztown (Berks County), Pennsylvania that primarily focuses on cold-climate, European grapes like Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. Ten different grapes varieties grow on 23 acres. The red cuvée is a proprietary, Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, which was originally made to be served at the weddings of two of the Blair family children. It is a medium garnet color and medium bodied, with flavors of black cherry and vanilla and firmer tannins than I expected from this five-year-old offering. I paired this with steak, which brightened the fruit flavors. $19.99 at the winery. This was a gift from a friend.
Galen Glen 2013 Stone Cellar Zweigelt
Galen Glen Winery, located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley AVA and owned by winegrower and winemaker Galen and Sarah Troxell, is the culmination of six generations who have farmed this land. The winery is named after Galen and the property’s shape, a glacially-formed, narrow valley, a glen. Galen Glen produces cold-climate grapes on 20 acres, including Cayuga, Chambourcin, Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Vidal Blanc, and Zweigelt. The Zweigelt is a nice, light-bodied transitional red, perfect for late summer and early autumn. Its crisp and fresh combination of cranberry, black cherry, raspberry, and black currant delights the nose and palate. $16.99 at the winery. This was a gift from a friend.
Apaltagua Colección 2013 Pinot Noir, San Antonio Valley, Chile
The grapes for this limited production Pinot Noir from Viña Apaltagua come from a vineyard that is only 12 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean, a Mediterranean, maritime-influenced climate that is cooler than other grape growing areas of Chile. The wine is a rich garnet color. On the nose, the first scent I detected was cinnamon. While very fruit forward on the palate, a mélange of black cherry, cranberry, raspberry, red currant and blackcurrant fruit flavors, it is also cinnamony, spicy and smoky, with good tannin structure and lively acidity. It is quite young, so I recommend decanting for a short while. Approximately 1392 cases produced. SPR $25. (SAMPLE FOR REVIEW)
Every couple of months, I participate in a Twitter tasting sponsored by Old York Cellars, accompanied by a YouTube video that serves as a good introduction to the wines being discussed. In July, I was unable to participate because it was too hot to ship wine samples. However, they graciously welcomed me back into the Old York Cellars fold for their September tasting. This month’s samples were a couple of their best since I started participating, especially for the price point. A tasting package of the two wines is available for $27.20.
Old York Cellars 2014 Vidal Blanc, New Jersey
According to winemaker Scott Gares, Old York Cellars produces Vidal Blanc, a hybrid variety comprised of Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano Toscano) and hybrid Rayon d’Or (Seibel 4986), because it is more tolerant of cold climates, is disease resistant, and yields about seven tons per acre in New Jersey. Because of its higher sugar levels and acidity, Vidal Blanc is often used to make ice wine. However, Gares crafts the variety as a dry wine. This vintage was harvested at 22 brix. Gares fermented the wine at colder temperatures in stainless steel, using Premier Cuvée yeast, which enhances the wine’s citrus aroma and flavor profile. The wine is a clear, pale yellow-green color. It has a weightier mouthfeel than some whites. On the nose and palate, it is all citrus and mouthwatering acidity, primarily grapefruit, lemon, and lime. I paired this wine with shrimp.
Old York Cellars 2014 Malbec, New Jersey
Malbec has its roots in Bordeaux as a blending grape and in Argentina as a single-varietal wine. Gares uses Pasteur red yeast and malolactic fermentation to create an approachable style of Malbec that even white wine drinkers may enjoy. The wine is medium garnet in color. Softer tannins and acid yield a rounder mouthfeel. Berry flavors such as cherry and raspberry dominate the palate, while oak plays more of a supporting role with regard to structure and mouthfeel, rather than imparting flavor and tannin. Suggested pairings include aged cheddar, lean red meat, and dark chocolate, although this wine is easy to drink on its own. I paired my sample with tri-tip sirloin, which brought out the wine’s darker fruit side.
Of course, these are not the only wines I have tasted this month. If you missed my other September features, Va La Vineyards and Kemmeter Wines, please click the links and enjoy reliving my wonderful experiences. Forthcoming are reviews of Galer Estate and Penns Woods Winery, which have been submitted and are awaiting publication dates.
As to October, it’s shaping up to be another busy month, with trips to Seattle, Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina planned, along with more tasting and winery opportunities, including MacLaren Wine Company, Magnum Wines International, LLC, and Nieto Senetiner. I hope you will stay tuned!
Thank you as always for reading and for your support!