After a few hit-and-miss attempts at sampling some Pennsylvania wines during my visit to the Keystone State, I was eager to try a real winery tasting room. Our schedule did not permit any wine country excursions, unfortunately. My luck changed at the Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs in Wilkes Barre. Not only did I take some chips off the blackjack table, but I got to visit the Crossing Vineyards and WineryTasting Room, located in the shopping mall that encircles the gaming area.
The Crossing Vineyards winery is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, about 45 minutes from Philadelphia and an hour and a half from New York City. The estate is over 200 years old and is less than a mile from the place where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776. Established by the Carroll family in 2000, Crossing produced its first vintage in 2002. Winemaker Tom Carroll, Jr. envisioned the winery at age 10 when his family bought the property. He spent time in California and returned home with his acquired knowledge to see his dream realized. Carroll has a wide assortment of grape varieties at play and he does an admirable job with them. I was impressed with the overall quality of his wines.
The tasting room is modern and commercial, with plenty of bottles for sale along with some gourmet food items and wine paraphenalia. The $8 tasting fee buys samples of six wines or four wines and four cheeses.
The white wines and the blush I tried all have a nice acidity, with nary a flabby wine to be found. The reds are very bright and fresh on the nose and palate. Here are my tasting notes:
Blush - This pink wine is made from Stuben and Merlot grapes. Steuben is also known as Ambrosia, and is used in making jellies as well as sweet, floral wines. The sweet nose of honeysuckle no doubt comes from the Steuben, while the cherry soda flavor represents the Merlot. Despite the references to sweetness, this wine has a very nice acidity. It's one of my favorites of the tasting.
Vintner's Reserve White - A blend of Riesling and Chardonnay, this wine has a nose remeniscent of a Sauvignon Blanc. Grassy, funky aromas lead to a fruity taste of pears and tropical fruit.
Vintner's Select White - This blend of Vidal Blanc, Riesling and Viognier has an herbal nose and is very pale in the glass. Vidal Blanc is a French hybrid grape parented by Ugni Blanc and Seibel. Guava and apricot are the flavors I taste, but the wine is not too fruity.
Pinot Noir 2008 - This Pinot has a peppery, spicy nose that really intrigues, but it's thin on the palate with a raw raspberry flavor. It was not a favorite.
Cabernet Franc 2007 - I was surprised to find that even a Cab Franc doesn't go dark and brooding here. A bright red nose is matched by cranberry on the bright, fresh palate. Very different, but nice.
Vintner's Select Red - This red also has a bright and fruity nose. Raspberry, clove and leather show up on the palate, but the oak does not appear dominant in the profile. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Another favorite of the tasting.
Tomorrow on the Now And Zin Wine Blog, a New York state of Riesling.