Local. Fresh. White. Plus, the Celebrity Chef brunch survival guide and more.
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Simply put, it means that a wine has a lot of snappy fruit flavors and crisp finishing acidity. Such wines are ideal for celebrating spring, and the perfect spring wines are fresh whites made locally from locally grown grapes.
Some of the whites making their way to our retail shelves and restaurant lists come from last fall’s vintage. Others are from 2009.
“The 2010 vintage was an early one and a good year for all whites,” David Hoffman told me during the winter, as we went from tank to tank, glass in hand, at Paradocx Vineyard in Landenberg, Pa., where Hoffman is winemaker and co-owner. None of the four whites he was finishing before bottling would see any time in oak barrels, which makes them toasty and buttery. Most would not undergo a secondary fermentation that softens them.
So when you pull the cork on one of these Paradocx wines some fine spring day, the 2010 Pinot Blanc should be crisp, with lots of pear and apple flavors. The Haywagon Chardonnay will be full of tart apples. The Pinot Grigio will be quite juicy, with fresh apricot and apples. And the Viognier? A jungle of juicy tropical fruits.
Eric Miller has been making a slightly sweeter, fruit-forward Spring Wine for years at his Chaddsford Winery. The 2010 version is especially fruity, with lots of tropical aromas. “We had some botrytis this year,” Miller said, referring to a fungus that dries grapes and concentrates sugar. “The wine is almost all made from vignoles, a grape that grows particularly well in this region.”
Not all whites released this spring come from the 2010 vintage. Stargazers Vineyard’s 2009 Solar Celebration Chardonnay is very aromatic, with flavors leaning toward the fruitiness of apples, says owner-winemaker John Weygandt.
Anthony Vietri at Va La Vineyards in Avondale, Pa., has been attracting an avid following over the past few years for La Prima Donna, Weygandt’s unusual blend of aromatic grapes also grown in northern Italy and southern France. Those LPD fans should start lining up for the 2009 when it is released this spring, for it is one of the best American white wines I’ve ever tasted. Period. It is a lovely mélange of dried and tropical fruit flavors infused with lots of spicy, peppery notes, with a long, tight finish.
In its first year as a commercial winery, Galer Estate in Chester County, Pa., will release a Chardonnay that is well-balanced and floral.
Downstate, the wine choices are growing, with Fenwick Cellars and Pizzadili joining the venerable Nassau Valley Vineyard. All will be releasing new whites, though Adrian Mobilia says his 2010 Reflections of Fenwick will feature Vidal and Chardonnay from his father’s Lake Erie vineyards. “We’re so new that I’m waiting for our vines to grow,” he says.—Roger Morris
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