Coming off the heels of my #CabernetDay celebration, I chose to partake in the observance of International Bacon Day. This unofficial holiday is recognized on the Saturday before Labor Day and was conceived in Bedford, Massachusetts by three grad students who felt that bacon deserved it’s own holiday. They won’t get an argument out of me.
The creative collaborators of wine events over at Penns Woods jumped on the bacon bandwagon this year. They put together an innovative pairing of locally sourced bacon dishes with their award winning lineup of Pennsylvania wines. The gamble paid off. The three day, reservation only affair completely sold out. Luckily, I firmed up my 5:00 Saturday spot for Fran & I early.
We rolled into the winery about 15 minutes early, and I couldn’t believe how crowded it was. I’ve been to Penns Woods on quite a few occasions and this was the largest number of people I’ve ever seen here, not counting festivals. Even with the high August humidity, there were dozens of wine & bacon patrons scattered among tables outside. It was pretty much the same story inside the tasting room and adjoining dining area.
When presented with the choice, we opted for inside seating. There was a table for two right by the window. Perfect. Could it get any better? It did.
Sharp Cheddar Bacon Pub Spread / Traminette 2012
The wine is a sweet, easy drinking Gewurztraminer hybrid that really woke up the spices in the spread. Traminette is a classic summer drinker, straw colored with aromas of citrus & honey. Taste uses all natural, local ingredients in their products and you can taste the difference. I bought a jar to go.
Cheddar Bacon Pub Spread $8/jar (8.5 oz.)
Traminette $22/bottle $6/glass
Potato, Leek & Pancetta Ravioli / Chardonnay Reserve 2011
This lightly oaked Chardonnay exhibits hints of green apple, medium acidity and is another great summer selection. Although the flavors work well together, this is more of a texture pairing. The light character of the wine offsets the heavy, pierogie-like raviolis. Simmered in leek butter sauce, the thick cubes of pancetta and potato encased in pasta really hit the spot.
Chardonnay Reserve $24/bottle $6/glass
Pork Belly Slider / Cabernet Franc 2010
Though it was a close contest, this was my choice pairing today. Created by Chef Kaz Mitsui of Azie Restaurant, these little sandwiches were awe-inspiring. The pork just melts in your mouth and is served on a steamed bun, topped with lightly pickled cucumbers. The fat in the pork bellies opened up the tannins in the wine.
The Cab Franc is a medium bodied red, lightly spiced with a powerful, fruity character. And the 2010 is the first vintage for a single varietal Cab Franc at Penns Woods. As the old cliche says, ‘Red with meat’ right? This pairing solidified that statement. Excellent.
Cabernet Franc 2010 $32/bottle $8/glass
On to desserts …
Maple Bacon Cupcake / Bancroft Field Blend Red NV
The Field Blend Red is a versatile selection offered in Penns Woods’ Bancroft line. Nice fruit with just a hint of sweetness and the flavors persist for awhile. This is a crowd pleasing wine that will not offend. The vanilla mini cupcake from our friend Thais over at Dia Doce is spectacular. The pastry is infused with local maple uncured caramelized bacon, bittersweet chocolate, maple syrup and hand topped with more bacon. The wine is neutral enough to work with the cake. It was a pleasurable balance of sweet vs. salty. Very satisfying dessert combo.
Cupcake minis $2.50
Bancroft Field Blend Red $19/bottle $5/glass
Bacon Ice Cream / Lacrima Dolce NV
Last, but certainly not least. Woodside Farm Creamery mixed crispy bacon pieces in with their creamy vanilla ice cream. It was featured on Food Network’s show ‘Unwrapped’. The Lacrima is a delectable dessert wine.
Our Sommelier for the day, Cliff told an interesting story about how the Lacrima was created by accident. It’s made from Merlot infused with another unidentified grape left over from the last vineyard tenant. It worked. Sweet cherry flavors and a long, chocolatey finish, similar to Port. We were offered the wine in the glass, or as Cliff strongly recommended, right on the ice cream. We went with the latter. Distinctive and decadent. You can pour this stuff over pancakes and it would work.
Lacrima Dolce $36/bottle
Thanks to Cliff, Carley, Andrea and the rest of the top notch staff at Penns Woods Winery for another memorable culinary experience. And as always, thanks to you for reading.