Friday, September 14, 2012
Wine Country: Pennsylvania - O'Donnell Winery
Today, Pennsylvania’s wineries number over 160 and are largely family-owned outfits. It’s not a bad place to grow grapes, as the northern clime is mitigated by Lake Erie and the Gulf Stream waters of the Atlantic.
Pennsylvanians claim eighth place in wine production by state, although I’ve seen lists that had them looking up at the top ten.
Norbert O’Donnell, of O’Donnell Winery, fell in love with wine while living in Washington state. Upon his return to Pennsylvania, he missed the wines he grew to love. So, he decided to make his own.
The winery is located in Berwick, Pennsylvania, a little bit southwest of Wilkes-Barre. The grapes in the O’Donnell vineyard have not come in yet, so these wines are produced from grapes he sourced from the area near Erie, PA.
Snapper - This is a dry, oaked wine made from Corot Noir grapes. It’s deep red with an extremely earthy nose - blackberries and cherries figure into the aromas as well. The mouthfeel is medium weight with a crisp acidity, the kind of wine that takes a chill well. The easy tannins often found in cold-climate grapes are true to form here, actually taking a backseat to the acidity. O’Donnell recommends it with burgers on a picnic.
Banshee - This is an unusual Catawba wine. Bone dry and golden, instead of sweet and red, as that grape often appears in the glass. O'Donnell is particularly fond of this one, and it's not hard to see why. The aromatic nose shows an earthy herbal flair, while the palate is loaded with what he calls "the mineral notes of an old world Pinot Gris and a wonderful citrus finish." The acidity is racy and the wine feels clean in the mouth.
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