My mom hasn’t been feeling that great lately, so I’m keeping tabs on her like a good son. Of course I had to squeeze a winery visit in there somewhere, so we set our sights on Tamanend Winery in nearby East Petersburg … “East Pete” as I recall from back in the day.
Since I remember the old road intimately, it was a bit of culture shock to see, but it’s a definite improvement. No more standing on the gas pedal & merging from a dead stop to 60 mph at rush hour in my rusty 70 horsepower piece of crap and just waiting for the chorus of horns and cuss words from fellow motorists. Ah, memories.
Anyway, Tamanend Winery rests in a nondescript building in an industrial park a few minutes off of the main drag. It was quiet this afternoon, and Fran & I had the privilege of being the first patrons. Upon entering, the room opens up to a vast tasting area. The main winery is housed behind it, poised for the upcoming harvest.
Sherry was pouring the juice today, and greeted us warmly as we saddled up to the bar. A teacher by trade, she offered up today’s wine selections with enthusiasm. Patrons can try six wines for free and additional tastes are five dollars.
Tamanend has a very diverse selection, to cater to just about any wine lover’s taste. The main Tamanend wines are made with grapes from Pennsylvania or surrounding regions. The Torosa line of wines that are also marketed by Tamanend, can be made from a regionally wider selection of fruit. The Torosa wines are packaged in three liter bag-in-boxes as well as your standard 750 ml bottles.
So let’s dive into it. Here’s my notable picks for today. Oh, and I should mention that all of Tamanend’s wines are named after Pennsylvania roses.
Moonstone – Moonstone is a dry, lightly oaked Chardonnay. It’s a good summer wine and paired great with the muggy afternoon. The Mountain Laurel Chard is also very good and unoaked if that is your preference.
Irresistible – Tamanend’s Riesling. Well named. Sweet with just enough dryness.
Alleluia – What’s a visit to a PA winery without Chambourcin? This was my fave selection this afternoon. 75% Chambourcin/25% Cabernet Franc. Not overpowering and just the right consistency. The Cab Franc really gave it a unique flavor. Yes, I bought some.
Azul D’Oro – This a white Port-style offering made completely from Agave, no grapes. Delicious. Nice after dinner drink.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Richard Carey, the winemaker. Dr. Carey had his own winery in the San Francisco Bay area which he sold back in the 80s. He now runs Tamanend with Linda Jones McKee, who coauthored a book on PA wine history. Dr. Carey projects a laid back, west coast type of demeanor and is an incredibly intelligent, well rounded individual. He also runs Vitis Wine Center at the winery location, which consults and helps develop wines with clients who may not have the normal resources to get their start in winemaking. I have to admit, he planted the seed in my head.
Behind the building are 67 vines that Dr. Carey planted for research. The mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Viognier plants make up the extent of the onsite grapes, a tiny bit of which makes it to the bottle. Tamanend & Torosa import the vast majority of their fruit.
Thanks to Dr. Carey, Linda, Sherry and Kate for making us feel welcome. More evidence of the resurgence and quality of PA wine. Cheers!