Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tasting Notes and Winery Reviews: Brandywine Valley, PA, Day Two

Day Two:

Breakfast at the Kennett Square B&B on Sunday morning: French toast and turkey sausage. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've recently rediscovered a love of French toast, so it's our usual Sunday breakfast. It was nice to have someone else make it for me and clean up afterward, and I enjoyed her take on it.

We started the day not with wine, but with flowers. We hadn't originally planned to visit Longwood Gardens, but the B&B innkeeper Ms. Gilja Kusano was insistent that we go. They should seriously give her a kickback on her guests' admission. No, she didn't check up on us as far as I know, but she's also the kind of lady you don't say no to, and she made it sound like we shouldn't miss it.

Thankfully we'd both taken our allergy medicine that morning. The main attraction at Longwood Gardens was the Orchid Extravaganza in the Conservatory, which seriously took us an hour and a half to go through. Yes, it's well worth the $16 admission. See my writing blog for more thoughts on the gardens.

Then it was back to wine tasting!

Our first stop was Twin Brook Winery, which is in a lovely wooden farmhouse. We were able to pick out eight wines from their list of fourteen to taste. We love Cabernet Franc and found their 2008 to be very good with bright red fruit, some tannin, and enough acidity to make sure you know it's a Cab Franc but not overpowering We got to barrel taste the 2010 Cab Franc, and it's going to be worth a trip back. We enjoyed talking to winemaker Tim Jobe, who's from Mississippi, and it was nice to hear a Southern accent after two days of Yankee.

On our way to lunch, we encountered a traffic hazard we'd never seen before: an Amish horse and buggy. No, he wasn't aggressive.

We had lunch at Rocco & Anna's Ristorante in Parkesburg, where the "small" calzones are bigger than the plates. We put the alcohol-soaking properties of dough and cheese to good use at Black Walnut Winery, where they "crush innocent grapes to make wine."

At Black Walnut, we got to try the whole list as well as the barrels. We particularly liked the 2007 Blanc Franc, a wine that's somewhere between white and rosé that has soft fruit but isn't too dry or sweet. Other highlights that we liked but didn't purchase were the 2006 Black Tie Optional, which would be a great barbecue wine, and 2006 Chambourcin, which is earthy but has a nice, tart finish.

We once again went off-trail to finish our tastings at Stargazers Vineyard, which is remarkable for its sustainable practices including use of solar energy (for the buildings, not just for the grapes). We particularly liked the unoaked 2008 Solar Celebration Chardonnay, which has a leading edge of vanilla over nice citrus. They have a Gruner Veltliner, which had the GruVe floral nose, but more tartness. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc) had deep, rich blackberry and currant fruit with nice body. We bought bottles of the Solar Celebration and Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

We were amused by what they used for their doorbell and impressed by their sloping vineyards, which were still pretty in spite of the vines still being asleep for the winter (note the lavender garden at the bottom right):

I have to say that, in spite of the rumored aggressiveness and attitude, everyone was friendly, and they usually got even friendlier when they found out we're from Georgia. No, I didn't play the wine blogger card at most of them. Black Walnut and Stargazer win for most welcoming and congenial. To be fair, it was also Sunday, and they weren't nearly as slammed as the places had been on Saturday. Even so, both days were some of the most relaxed wine tasting Hubby and I had ever done, and we look forward to returning to the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail to see how the 2010's turned out.

Final Bottle Count:

Reds: 4
Whites: 4
Rosé: 2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. I am a PA local and a huge fan of Stargazers Wines. Nice place to relax and enjoy a tasting. The staff are also friendy and provide quite a wealth of knowledge.