Blogs > The Grapevine

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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wine Tip of the Week - Old Vine Zinfandel from Bogle

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

We hope everyone had a Happy New Year!  

This Week’s Wine Tips!

Mid-winter is a great time for hearty reds. 
One of our favorites is Old Vine Zinfandel from Bogle.  In fact, a wine-maker friend of ours told us that he's "never met a Bogle he didn't like" so during our New Year's celebrations with friends and family we tried several red Bogle's we had not tasted before.  We like ALL of them. 

Bogle's Old Vine Zinfandel is outstanding, is available in almost every PCLB Wine and Spirits store as a "regular" purchase for $12.99.  Product code is 5043.  You should be able to find this wine and purchase it regularly, but still check your local store for availability before driving there.

We agree with the winemaker's notes as provided below.

Head-trained, dry farmed old vines are again the source for Bogle’s Old Vine Zinfandel. These gnarly old vines produce concentrated fruit of unsurpassed quality and intensity.  This supple and mouth-filling vintage leads with juicy blueberry and ripe blackberry fruit. Black pepper and hints of chocolate notes integrate well with this soft, plush body. Subtle hints of spicy oak and pipe tobacco create structure, allowing this wine to stand up to a variety of fare.This is the perfect wine to pair with everything from rich sauces and unique dishes, to your favorite weeknight take-out.

To see a few other Wine Tips this week, go to our Vintage Connections Wine Info blog by clicking on the link on this page. 

Upcoming Wine Events in the Pottstown Tri-County Area
Saturday, February 13.
Wine after Five with Chocolate on the Side - Wine and Chocolate pairing seminar for Valentine's Day, at the Gallery School of Pottstown.  Begins promptly at 6:30 PM.  Snow date February 20.
$65 per person, $120 per couple, or $55 for Gallery School members.
Make reservations through the Gallery School website by clicking on the Gallery's link on this page.

Saturday and Sunday, February 13 and 14.
For more information, click on the Berks County Wine Trail link on this page.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Wine Tips of the Week - Blair Chardonnay and Marchesi di Barolo

Blair Vineyard Chardonnay

Blair Vineyards is a family-owned and operated vineyard and winery near Mertztown. Blair makes a variety of wines, mostly dry reds and whites including Chardonnay, in several styles. We could really taste the differences among the different styles and vintages, and truly liked them all.

We especially like the 2005 Chardonnay fermented and aged in both French and American oak. It is very fruit-forward with hints of melon and vanilla, with light toast flavors and a long finish. It has 12.5% alcohol so is not hot or harsh like some Chardonnays from California or Australia.

This wine was $15.99 and, like most of their wines, is available at the winery near Mertztown and at Frecon Farms near Boyertown.

Marchesi di Barolo, Maraia 2007 Barbera Monferrato

Marchesi de Barolo is a historic vineyard located in the Piedmont area of Italy. This is an easy-drinking red made with 100% Barbera grapes. This is a medium-bodied red wine with plenty of fruit and a pleasant dryness that unfolds to an attractively robust flavor and a long finish. It is splendid with red meats, but also goes well with pork, veal and even turkey. It has 13.5% alcohol by volume.

This wine is available only at selected Pa. Wine and Spirit stores for $11.99, so check with your local store for availability. PLCB product code is 08619.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Wine Tip of the Week - Manatawny Creek Cabernet Franc Port

Manatawny Creek Winery Cabernet Franc Port

We don't usually like port, but this one has become a favorite. It is lighter than many port and although it is sweet and high in alcohol (for a wine), it is not too sweet and the 18 to 20% alcohol content is easy to swallow.

This port is made from Cabernet Franc, one of the traditional Bordeaux varietals and one of Manatawny's consistently excellent grapes. While great for sipping alone, this wine is at its best paired with dark chocolate. Yummy!

The Manatawny Creek Winery is owned and operated by the Levengood family and is located just outside of Douglassville.

This is one of the several local Pa. wineries we highly recommend, not just for their wines, but for a wonderful wine tasting experience in their tasting room. They are open seven days a week and do not charge a tasting fee.

The staff is friendly, helpful, and they have a wide selection of wine, from bold dry reds to lighter, sweeter whites, to even a sparkling raspberry.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Wine Tips of the Week – Tariquet 2008 and Galen Glen Riesling

Tariquet 2008 - Sauvignon & Semillon Blend

Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are often blended together in many parts of the world and are labeled many different ways. The best-known blend of these two grapes may be French White Bordeaux.

Sauvignon Blanc often stands on its own and when it does, has distinctive aromas of freshly cut grass and minerals. When blended with Semillon, the sharpness of Sauvignon Blanc is softened, the aroma of the wine is a bit more floral, and the wine may have a touch of sweetness that, for many people, makes it easy to drink and more appealing than 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

Tariquet 2008 is a good, affordable example of the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend, and goes well with fish, poultry and a variety of cheeses. The 2008 vintage of Sauvignon and Semillon is made from 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon. This blend is a good example of how Semillon can create a more complex wine than Sauvignon Blanc alone. It is an easy drinking wine with very floral aromas and a slight mineral scent. It has a light taste of grass and grapefruit typical of sauvignon blancs, made more complex and fuller bodied by the additional 15% Semillon.

This wine is available for $9.99 at many Pennsylvania Specialty Wine and Spirits stores. The PLCB product code is 18312.

Galen Glen Stone Cellar Riesling 2008

Galen Glen Vineyard and Winery is family owned and operated and is located outside of Andreas, Pa. Sarah, the winemaker, has been perfecting several white wines in the German style.

Called "halbtrocken," which is German for half-dry, this lightly sweet Riesling is bursting with floral aromas. It has a pleasant minerality with grapefruit notes and hints of peaches and apricots. This Riesling is easy to drink on its own and is even better when paired with cheesecake or with a glazed pork entrée. This wine is available for $12 at the winery.

For more information on these two wines, go to the Vintage Connections blog site at

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wine Tip of the Week – Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir’s light tannins and berry flavors pair well with roasted pork, other light meats, and heavier fish like salmon.

There are many Pinot Noirs (and French Red Burgundies, made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes) for under $20, even many under $10. But finding a Pinot Noir that is representative of the variety for under $20 can be a challenge.

One of our favorite and affordable Pinot Noirs is by Sebastiani. From the Sonoma Coast, their 2007 is made from 100% Pinot Noir and is a multi-vineyard blend which creates fruit-forward wines “with richness and complexity”. It has fresh cherry flavors with hints of maraschino cherries and “hints of oriental spice, vanilla and mocha”. The color is rich crimson. The grapes were cold-soaked before crushing to prevent tearing, keeping the tannins low for early drinkability. It was aged in Hungarian and French oak barrels for 5 months, giving it hints of toasty oak flavors. Alcohol is 13.5% by volume.

The current PLCB sale price is $12.99, but supplies are running low so check the PLCB Web site or call your local store to check availability. When you find it, ask them to hold it for you and go now! The PLCB product code is 004985.

If you would prefer trying a Pennsylvania winery Pinot Noir, as we often do, Pinnacle Ridge Winery north of Kutztown, Manatawny Creek Winery outside of Douglassville, Vynecrest Winery near Breinigsville and Blair Vineyards outside of Mertztown all carry excellent Pinot Noirs at or under $20. And you can taste and make sure they suit your tastes before purchasing them.

For more information on Pinot Noir, go to the Vintage Connections blog site at

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