In the four short years that I’ve been chasing the local wine scene, there has been a noticeable growth spurt. Tasting rooms are going up all over the place, some of them even representing wineries outside of the region. The populace has embraced the surge in availability of PA grape juice, and personally, I’ve noticed an overall increase in quality. Apparently the competition is good for everyone.
The Brandywine Food & Wine Festival, now in it’s third year, was showcasing nine wineries along with some innovative food vendors in the area. It was a perfect day, not too hot and no rain in the forecast.
Since this event is only one day, and I swear, exponentially more crowded than last year, I had to be selective in my visits. As a member of the media, I was graciously given free range throughout the event, but that didn’t make the lines any shorter.
Ten Gallon Hat Winery was one of my first stops, as they just set up shop in Chadds Ford and I have not yet had a chance to visit. I sampled the Cab & Barbera and these are BIG wines, powerful, deep & full of flavor. They provide some alternate fruit wines as well. Ten Gallon Hat was serving up the Cranberry Wine with a slice of lime. Delicious and lots of presence on that also.
The long lines that I mentioned made it difficult to access the wineries so We killed time sampling some of the food and checking out vendors. The smell of crab cakes over at Sherri’s was screaming my name. However, before I could get over there, Fran and I gave into the temptation of short rib tacos at Jimmy’s BBQ. It was a good move. I never would have thought of putting ribs on a taco.
Later in the afternoon, the crowds died down a bit and I hit some local favorites. Penns Woods had a crowd all day but I got my face in there for a glass of Bancroft Merlot. Black Walnut was showing off their magnificent Merlot as well, and who was I to turn it down? Smooth & flavorful & the new batch of 2010 just hit the shelves. I made it a point to get over to Borderland, as I have only been there once and am really impressed by their offerings.
Pennsylvania is in a position to be one of the next big wine destinations. Remember, you heard it right here. The quality is good, and it has a character all it’s own. They make more than Chambourcin here, folks. California wine didn’t take off until the seventies. We’re next. Try it for yourself.