Friday, November 15, 2013

Top 10 Reasons the Winter is the best time of year to visit wineries and vineyards!

Ok, yes we all love visiting the vineyards in Summer and Fall. After all, when you visit a vineyard you expect to see clusters of grapes dangling from rows of vines right? Yet the winter and early spring months are the absolute best time to go vineyard hopping! Here are my personal top 10 reasons to dawn a heavy jacket and hit the wineries:

  1. The fall harvest is over, things have wound down and the staff have more time to showcase their wine making process, provide tours and provide you with more in-depth information about the wines they make.
  2. The “Wine Trail Tourist Crowd” has dwindled down. Enjoy no lines, no long waits, and sip at your leisure.
  3. Your wine tasting experience will more than likely be more personal, comfortable.
  4. You will be more likely to meet the actual owners and winemakers themselves instead of less knowledgeable staff or volunteers.
  5. Local lodging is more likely to be offered at reduced rates during the winter and early spring months.
  6. Winery events are more likely to be less hectic and provide a more intimate atmosphere.
  7. No bugs! Fruit flies and mosquitoes don't care for the chilly weather.
  8. Not only can you taste all the regular wine offerings, but many wineries have special hot wines / winter blends... whether you call it Gluehwein, Mulled Wine, Wassail, or Vin Chaud.. it's ALL great for sipping from a hot steaming mug by a winter fire.
  9. Gift time! Bottles of wine make GREAT gifts for the holidays! (Hint, Hint, my friends and family)
  10. You are supporting your local vineyards through their leanest of seasons!
So this winter, bundle up and visit the wineries in your region and enjoy all the benefits without all the hassles!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Allegro Vineyards & Winery: The Nouveau release!

On 8 November 2013, Allegro Vineyards & Winery celebrated the release of it's 2013 Nouveau, a wonderfully luscious and fruity Beaujolais style red wine. A little more than an hours drive from Baltimore, this unpretentious winery in Brouge, PA has delivered an exceptionally drinkable wine for those of us who love Beaujolias. The release party was an exceptional value at just $20 a head and included a tasting consisting of seven wines of your choosing from their considerably large selection, dinner (no not small tastings, you have to come hungry to this one) and 10% discount on any bottles you purchase, even if it was less than a case. The dinner included a vegetable curry soup, pumpkin lasagna, sausages and peppers, bread with sweet and herbed whipped butters and an assortment of desserts. They set up tables in the rooms surrounded by wine barrels and steel vats, so there was no mistaking you were dining in the heart of the winery.

My personal tasting selection was a straight run of dry reds.. starting with the star of the party, the Nouveau.. and I found myself torn between wanting to tell everyone about this wonderful gem.. and also hoping that it stays a best kept regional secret. This wine will undoubtedly win some awards. Luckily for me, they aren't shipping out of state yet, so I will hopefully have a few more times to stock up before they are sold out (hopefully). I also partook in tastings of the Claret, Chambourcin, Syrah-Chambourcin, Merlot-Chambourcin, the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon.  I personally think the Merlot and the Cab Sav are both great for drinking now but will get even better with some cellar time. My favorites for this trip however were the Syrah-Chambourcin, the Claret, and the Nouveau. 

Seating at these special events are very limited.. which is a great thing if large crowds aren't in your list of desirable elements for ambiance. This event had the feel of a private party, very relaxed, and it was easy to mingle with such a small group. But please note, if you live outside of Pennsylvania and would like to attend one of the many special events at this winery, you will find that they cannot sell anything online to an out of state address. Simply call the winery and they will hold a reservation for you.