Va La for Valentine’s – Avondale, PA 2/9/2013

The VineyardThe ‘Wine & Chocolate’ craze is bigger than ever for this year’s season of love. Of course, I’m never one to miss out on the hype. It was a unanimous chorus for our group’s old fave, Va La.

Nestled in Chester County’s mushroom country, the magical soil on this small vineyard yields world class vino. And I personally have never been disappointed by the friendly, knowledgeable staff and beautiful setting as well as the phenomenal wine.

AndyAndy was our host for our party of six this afternoon. He provided generous pours along with various local cheeses and a unique chocolate from Neuchatel with each offering.

The juice lineup today:

  • La Prima Donna 2010
  • Silk 2009
  • Cinderbox 2009
  • Mahogany 2009

The tasting kicked off with the vineyard’s signature white, La Prima Donna. More of an orange than a white, really, this rich flavorful wine is a blend of Malvasia Bianco, Petit Manseng, Pinot Grigio and Tocai. Nice finish on this, coming from a biased lover of powerful reds. This would pair great with Chinese or Thai cuisine, a welcome but not very common trait of a non sweet white.

Silk 2009Next up was Va La’s rosato, the popular Silk. Andy described this as a red for white wine lovers, which was an excellent way to categorize it. I’m not going to out anyone, but I have a friend who ONLY likes whites and she took to the Silk quite well. The Neuchatel truffle that accompanied this wine was a match made in heaven. Silk combines Barbera, Corvina, Carmine, Petit Verdot and Nebbiolo grapes.

The Silk is a versatile table wine that will pair with a wide range of cuisine. A recent example of this came after our tasting, as we opened up two more bottles to accompany even more chocolates and some assorted morsels to nosh on.

Andy probably thought we were crazy as our conversation shifted from Alaskan cruises to Spiritual Warfare to First vs. Third World problems. Not to mention the fact that as the wine goes down, the volume in the room and passion of the conversation tends to go up. A great time was had by all, though. I’m just glad we had the room to ourselves.

Anyway, that was later. Back to the tasting.

It's all in the presentationThird on the docket was a sample of the Cinderbox. This is Va La’s Bordeaux equivalent. The 2009 vintage yielded an extremely limited production of 804 bottles. A single varietal wine from the Carmine grape, this dark wine has hints of coffee and tobacco on the palate. Neuchatel’s chocolate covered potato chips were paired with this. Trust me, you can’t eat just one.

Last and definitely not least was the Mahogany. Also a limited production, this dark blend is primarily from the Barbera grape. The Mahogany gains complexity with some aging. Va La recommends consumption in years six to twelve to take advantage of the peak flavors. Dark chocolate wafers from Neuchatel were provided with this wine and complemented it nicely.

My merry band of revelers and I rounded out the afternoon with a variety of Mexican appetizers. Hats off to the nearby, locally renowned Taqueria Moroleon right on the Delaware border. Try the lime tortilla chips.

Thanks to Andy and the rest of Va La’s staff for another outstanding visit. You won’t get rid of us anytime soon.


Va La Vineyards
Neuchatel Chocolates
Ghost of Valentine’s past
Taqueria Moroleon

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