Way back in the spring some friends and I toured the wineries of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail for the popular Barrels event. Now that the harvest season is upon us we decided to revisit the experience for the fall Harvest Festival.
During Barrels on the Brandywine I learned that excessive winery hopping, although fun, kind of reminds me of a college bar crawl. So I decided to emphasize quality over quantity this year and just hit some favorites. A few friends and I kicked off Harvest at Twin Brook Winery in Gap, PA.
Harvest Festival passports are available from any of the Trail wineries or from the Trail website for $30. The pass is good for one tasting at each of the seven wineries. In case you don’t hit all seven during the two Harvest Festival weekends, they can be redeemed through December for a regular tasting at any you may have missed.
Twin Brook is one of my absolute favorites. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly and there are some great selections being poured. Here is a breakdown of their offerings for Harvest Festival in order of tasting (Tasting notes provided by Twin Brook):
1. 2009 Naked Chardonnay – Estate grown, unoaked Chardonnay; rich with hints of ripe pear; buttery flavors in the mid-palate and then a slightly citrus finish.
2. 2010 Chardonnay Reserve – Loraine had a carafe of this brand new batch of Chardonnay on hand as it is not yet bottled. Aged in American Oak.
3. 2008 Pinot Gris – Alsatian style white wine; full bodied; rich with hints of ripe pear and anise; creamy mouth feel followed by a lingering citrus finish. Aged in French Oak (softer than American).
- BRONZE MEDAL WINNER
INTERNATIONAL EASTERN WINE COMPETITION
- SILVER MEDAL WINNER
SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
Twin Brook sells sticky toffee cheese from Town Clock Cheese Shoppe that pairs great with the Octorara.
5. 2008 Cabernet Franc – Barrel aged, slightly tannic, medium bodied red with hints of cherry & vanilla. The 2010 is in barrels patiently waiting to make it’s appearance when it’s time.
6. 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – Barrel aged in French and American Oak for 2 years; slightly peppery with soft tannins; Medium bodied wine.
7. Consiglieri – Off-dry, rich, ruby red Chianti-style wine; fruit forward berry flavors and cherry undertones. 70% Chambourcin.
Side note: I made a huge production out of the Consiglieri when it was first released. I kept missing Twin Brook at ‘Friday Night Under the Stars’ due to untimely rainouts and even though I managed to finally score a bottle, I’ve been too busy to open and enjoy it. After trying it at Harvest for the first time, I can honestly say it did not disappoint.
9. Clocktower White – Made from the Gewurtztraminer hybrid, Traminette, sweet with hints of ripe peach.
10. Blossom Blush – Sweet, fruity, medium-bodied blush with hints of apple and pineapple.
11. Strasburger Red – A light, fruity red with strawberry and apple aromas. Awesome when paired with dark chocolate wafers. The Strasburger Red also accompanied our snack feast upstairs after the tasting. A popular favorite and a very versatile table wine.
12. Springhouse Red – Black raspberry flavors dominate this sweet, fruity red made primarily from Norton, a Native American grape.
13. Springhouse White – Sweet and fruity, made from the Niagara grape. So sweet that it will overpower any wine that follows it so a good place to end the tasting.
Twin Brook also offers a spice wine which is a blend of sweet red wine and cinnamon. A decent dessert wine.
The staff at Twin Brook was prepared to move the festivities to the greenhouse today but there was enough sunshine peeking through the clouds to roll the dice and go forward as scheduled. The band played on time and Victory Brewing Company was offering BBQ and beer samples. There was an announcement about hayrides but I can’t confirm if they went down or not. It was enough of a challenge getting my car out of the mud when we left.
Thanks to Loraine and the rest of the great staff at Twin Brook for the always memorable experience.