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Wine recommendations and comments from Dean and Lisa Foster, Vintage Connections Wine Educators and Consultants. Most wines are available in Southeastern Pennsylvania and are priced between $10 and $20. Up-coming "wine events" available in the Pottstown Tri-county area are listed.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wine Tips - Wines of the World Tasting and Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan 2007 Riesling

from Vintage Connections
Dean and Lisa Foster, Wine Educators and Consultant

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Wines of the World

Click here to link to the beautiful poster which includes more information.

A hometown holiday wine tasting.  This fun event is sponsored by PDIDA (Pottstown Development Improvement District Authority).  It will be held on Friday, December 10, 2010 from 6 PM until 8 PM at the PDIDA office in Pottstown at 139 E. High Street and is part of Pottstown's "Hometown Holiday Celebration". 

We will be taking you on a tour of five different countries known for their wines. We will start in France with Ehrhart Crement d'Alsace, a sparkling wine, then "travel" to Marlborough, New Zealand to taste their Brancott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. 

Our next stop will be in South Africa where we will taste their signature wine Pinotage from Spice Route Vineyards.  Then on to Italy to sample Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, ending in Argentina to taste their signature wine Malbec from Trapiche Broquel. 

These wines will be paired with food prepared especially for the event by "Panevino" and music will accompany your tasting by "Zach and Dan". 

Tickets are available for $45 per person.  Contact Leighton Wildrick at 610-323-5400 for more information and to purchase your tickets. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan 2007 Riesling trocken

This excellent dry Riesling comes from Pfalz Germany.  The vines are planted on the hillside of the Haardt Mountains on the western rim of the Rhine Valley.  Winemaker Ullrich Mell is one of the most respected wine makers in Germany. 

It is a refreshingly dry wine with aromas of minerals and light flowers with flavors of green apple and citrus.  It has good balanced acidity which makes it very food friendly.  Alcohol is 12.5% by volume, so is a little hotter than most German Rieslings.  Great when paired with spicy Asian food and seafood. 

We first tried this wine this past weekend at a friends after Thanksgiving Indian food feast.  It was great with all of his wonderful Indian dishes.  Also delicious and well-balanced for drinking by itself.

PLCB product code is 20801 and is available at many PA Wine and Spirit Stores for $19.99.

Fun Facts are Back

Let's make up for lost time.  Both of these Fun Facts were provided by our winemaker friend Joe.

1. The corkscrew was adapted from a French artillery device.

2. Cremant is sparkling wine originating anywhere in France except the Champagne district, the triangle around Reims. Technically, no other sparkling wine should be called "Champagne."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Wine Tips for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Vintage Connections

If you have not our Thanksgiving Wine Tips from last week, be sure to read that blog posting (scroll down).

More on Nouveau Beaujolais

We tried the Nouveau Beaujolais and liked it.  No tannins, easy to drink.  We bought more. Not as dry as we usually drink, but not too sweet.  We think it is best just a little chilled because of the slight sweetness.

The 750 ml bottle is $12.99 in PA, but only $8.99 in Delaware.  (That's a tax rate of almost 50%.  Why do Pennsylvanians drive to Delaware to buy wine and other spirits?) 

The 1.5 L bottle in PA is $23.99, saving you only $1 a bottle so we don't recommend the larger bottle until after you try it and make sure you like it.  We bought two because we think all of our friends, including those who don't usually like our dry wine choices, will like it.

More on Sparklings

If you like a little sweeter sparkling and don't have time to go to Pinnacle Ridge for their Blanc de Blancs, try Domaine St. Michelle Brut or Extra Dry.  

PLCB codes for Domaine St. Michelle Brut is 4550 and 6480 for St. Michelle's  Extra Dry.  Both are $11.99 and usually easy to find.  Korbell offers a wide selection and even half bottles of a few.  They are widely available and start at $15.

Sparkling wine is categorized on a "dryness to sweetness" scale.  Naturel and Extra Brut are the driest with only a trace of residual sugar (RS) that you will NOT notice, Brut is not quite as dry and is a popular level of dryness.  The RS is not noticeable, but takes the edge of the dryness.  With Extra Dry, you'll probably taste some sweet. This is a good choice if you don't like dry wine. Demi Sec is the sweetest.

Even more about Sparkling
Blanc de Blanc is made with all white grapes, usually with a lot of Chardonnay, but not always as you read in our last newsletter about Pinnacle Ridge. 

Blanc de Noir is usually all Pinot Noir, a red grape. But since the juice is removed from the skins with a minimum of time to absorb color, Blanc de Noir is sometimes still a white wine, but often is pink like Pinnacle Ridge's Brut Rose. 

Of course, sparkling wine can be made from any grape and we have had sparkling Syrah, even thought we thought it was a bit heavy for a sparkling and won't buy it again.  But, when modeled after Champagne, sparklings are made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or some combination of them.  Adding some juice from other grapes, like in Trapiche, provides an interesting variety of sparklings to be enjoyed.

(click on the highlighted links)

Pottstown Hometown Holiday Celebration
including our
Wine Tasting
Saturday, December 10

6-8 PM,
$45 per person

Click here for more details.

Contact us to schedule an event in your home, at your business, or for your organization.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wine Tips for Thanksgiving - Sparklings and Nouveau Beaujolais

Happy Thanksgiving from Vintage Connections!

Last November, we posted Wine Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner  to our Wine Friends through our Vintage Connections Wine Info newsletter last week and Vintage Connections Wine Info blog.
Since we have many new readers since November 2009, we are repeating that information below, with a few updates, including some updated wine recommendations.

Recommended for Thanksgiving - "affordable" sparklings. Sparklings add a touch of class to any Holiday.  The clean acidity, bright fruit and yeasty aromas pair well with just about everything on the Thanksgiving table. The only hold out will be the cranberry sauce and dessert. But as long as you don’t take a big bite of cranberry sauce and wash it down with a hearty swig of sparkling, things should turn out all right.

If you like your sparklings with a touch of sweetness, we recommend Blanc de Blanc from Pinnacle Ridge Winery. This wine is made from 100% Cayuga grapes, has 2.5% residual sugar, and is $14. This sparkling won a Gold Medal and was judged the Best Sparkling at the 2010 PA Farm Show.

 If you like your sparkling on the drier side, Pinnacle Ridge produces Brut Reserve, made from 100% Pinot Noir and is $18. This sparkling won a Gold Medal at the 2010 PA Wine Competition and a Silver Medal at the 2010 PA Farm Show.
Both wines, plus many more wonderful wines, are available at the winery just north of Kutztown, PA.

If you want the convenience of your local Wine and Spirits store, we've started drinking and had great feedback from others about Trapiche Sparkling Extra Brut from Mendoza, Argentina.  It is widely available in PLCB stores, produce code 7724, and is only $13.99. 

We've also recently tried and like Ehrhart Cremant D'Alsace (from the Alsace region of France).  This sparkling is available at some PLCB specialty stores, so do a product search for item number 30929 and see if a local store has a few bottles. It's a Chairman's Select and is only $14.99.  Both wine are well worth their price. 

Not a big fan of sparklings?  Then go with whites in general, especially those with higher acidity and no oak. Sauvignon Blanc or white Bordeaux/Meritage (blends usually including Sauvignon Blanc) go really well with butternut squash soup and lends a pleasant flavor to salad, turkey, stuffing (not spicy) and vegetables. If you are having a creamy vegetable try “naked” (un-oaked) chardonnay. Excellent choices also include Gerwurtztraminer and Riesling which pair well with all parts of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner except the cranberry sauce and pumpkin or butternut squash soups.

Really a fan of reds? Then you have two good choices: Pinot Noir or Beaujolais (made from the gamay grape, which is a cousin to Pinot Noir). Pinot Noir usually has more body and tannins than Beaujolais, so if you like bolder reds it may be the better choice. If you want a very light red this Thanksgiving, try Beaujolais.

The smooth fruit and low tannins of Pinot Noir and Beaujolais work well with most of the holiday servings.

Note: Nouveau Beaujolais is a variation of Beaujolais and is a freshly pressed and fermented, low tannic wine. The Wine and Spirits stores have a new supply, released on November 18th.  Georges Deboeuf's is widely available in PLCB stores for $12.99 (produce code 5877).  We are buying a bottle today and will let you know what we think early next week, in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

If you buy the French Nouveau Beaujolais, drink it soon. Without tannins or aging like other red wines, it could easily go bad by New Year's.

All for now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wine Tips - Joseph Drouhin Red Burgundy and Manatawny Creek Winter Warmth

Welcome to Vintage Connections Wine Info Blog and this week's Wine Tips!

Joseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune-Villages 2007

From Beaune, France, this excellent example of a French Burgundy is a medium-bodied light red wine.  It has aromas of fresh cherries and strawberries  and flavors of cherries, blueberries and a light earthiness typical of a good Pinot Noir.  

At first sip, we didn't like this wine, maybe because we are used to more fruit-forward, bolder US (and other) Pinot Noirs.  But it grew on us and we think it is a good and very affordable example of a red Burgundy.  There are surely better, more typical examples of red Burgundy available in PA, but this one is so affordable at $15 in PLCB stores that it is worth a try, even if only to taste the difference between this lighter, less fruity Pinot and what you may be used to.  PLCB code 16005.  It is certainly much better than other French Red Burgundies in this price range.

Manatawny Creek Winery Winter Warmth, NV

From Berks County, PA, near Douglassville.  This slightly sweet red wine is gently spiced and has aromas of cloves and cherries with flavors of spice, cherries and red jams.  Great chilled or warm, but we prefer it warm.  We hesitated serving a sweeter wine but thought it would pair well with lighter desserts. 

Our guests and we were happily surprised.  Only available at the winery and for a short period of time, and only $10.95.

Fun Fact
So here's a twist.  Submit a Fun Fact of your own and we will pick one or more to use in the following few weeks!  There will be another quiz someday!
(click on the highlighted links)

Nouveau Weekend
 November 20-21 on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail

Visit Lehigh Valley wineries including Pinnacle Ridge, recently listed in Opus One, a compendium of the BEST 4,000 wineries in the world!  Brad Knapp and Pinnacle Ridge were listed as a RISING STAR, and outstanding honor!  Congratulations Brad!!

PLCB stores will release Nouveau Beajolais on November 18.  Read about Nouveau Beajolais here soon.

Pottstown Hometown Holiday Celebration
Wine Tasting, Saturday, December 10.  Time and cost TBD.

Contact us to schedule an event in your home, at your business, or for your organization.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Cheers" from Vintage Connections
Dean and Lisa Foster, Wine Educators and Consultants


Please send a link to this blog to your friends and family who may enjoy reading and learning about wine.

 Galen Glen Winery Gewurtztraminer 2009

This crisp, refreshing gewurtztraminer has aromas of honeysuckle and spice with delicious flavors of fresh fruits.  It is pale yellow in color and has a long and pleasant finish.  Great when paired with spicy foods. 

Bogle Phantom 2007 

This excellent dark ruby red dry wine is a blend of petite sirah, old vine zinfandel and old vine mourvedre.  It has rich aromas of black pepper, dark red berries and spice with aromas of blackberries and blueberries.  Richly complex, it will only get  better with age, but wonderful to drink now.  Great when paired with hearty foods like beef and lamb.  

(click on the highlighted links)

Annual soup day at Manatawny Creek Winery
Saturday, November 6th.  
Apple onion soup made and paired with Vidal Blanc, on the deck from 12-5.  
Bob Sica, a wonderful guitarist and singer, will be performing 2-5 that day. 
Nouveau Weekend
 November 20-21 on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail

Visit Lehigh Valley wineries including Pinnacle Ridge, recently listed in Opus One, a compendium of the BEST 4,000 wineries in the world!  Brad Knapp and Pinnacle Ridge were listed as a RISING STAR, and outstanding honor!  Congratulations Brad!!

Pottstown Hometown Holiday Celebration
Wine Tasting, Saturday, December 10.  Time and cost TBD.

Fun FactThough Gewurtztraminer is a white wine the grapes themselves are pale rosy pink in color.
There will be another quiz someday!

Contact us to schedule an event in your home, at your business, or for your organization.