Friday, March 14, 2014

Late Harvest Vidal Blanc debuts at Pinnacle Ridge this month

First Fridays - Case Club Members evenings in March

The first two Fridays in March, 3/7 & 3/14 from 6 - 7:30 pm, are special event evenings for our Case Club Members. We have special food and wine pairing evening that will feature each of our new Vidal Blancs along with some special snacks to pair with them.

We also are introducing our newest sparkling wine, as the Blanc de Blanc returns to the line up. This crisp, refreshing bubbly is made from 100% Cayuga grapes and in the traditional method champenoise. This sparkling wine is slightly sweet and the perfect start or finish to any event.

Reservations are required as space is limited. Call (610) 756-4481 for more details.

Everyday Oenophile: A Winemaker Uncorked  
This month we are discussing a unique and special part of the wine experience with our winemaker,  Brad Knapp - dessert wines. We are doing so in honor of our soon-to-be-released Late Harvest Vidal Blanc. In our discussion, Brad points out an important distinction when it comes to what are tradtional dessert wines and what are simply sweet wines.

The Late Harvest Vidal Blanc is produced in a traditional method. The grapes are hung until December, the time of year during which the grapes begin to raisin. The leaves of the vine fall off in October and the process of photosynthesis and natural growth cease. The grapes begin to lose water and the concentration of the juice, sugars and acidity begin to increase. The result of picking these grapes at this point is a wine that only has natural sugar left behind after fermentation (it is illegal to call a wine "Late Harvest" if you add sugar post-fermentation). New and unique flavors and aromas come forth as well, like tropical pineapple and honey.    
At Pinnacle Ridge we use the Vidal Blanc varietal to make our Late Harvest wine. We have also just released our 2013 Dry Vidal Blanc and are about to release our 2013 Vidal Blanc, a white table wine featuring notes of fresh peach and pear.

I asked Brad - "Why the Vidal Blanc?" The thick-skinned and late ripening grape is a French-American hybrid that was developed in the 1930s by French breeder Jean Louis Vidal to combine the flavor and complexity of Trebbiano (or Ugni Blanc) and the cold-hardiness and overall reliability of Rayon d’Or. "It holds up well," says Brad. "A lot of other fruit would rot and fall apart in our climate. Other varities in this area go to a very bad place if you let them hang. You will start to pick up a 'diesel' quality in them."
When asked about what he found enjoyable in making a wine in this style, Brad laughs and says, "They taste good! It's taking a lowly, easy to grow and robust grape then making something special."

How does Brad like to serve his dessert wines, like the Late Harvest? "If you've gone through the effort to really go all out on a meal, it's a great way to end the meal when you do pairings for each course." Brad goes on to say that he likes to begin with sparkling wines, like our newly released Blanc de Blanc, while pairing them alongside crunchy, salty or seafood-driven appetizers like calamari, sushi, or just some simple popcorn and nuts. To finish off the meal in style, Brad will occasionally pair the Late Harvest Vidal Blanc with something sweet, but not sweeter than the wine itself. As the Late Harvest wines age, they begin to brown in the bottle from a slow and controlled oxidization and develop more honey and caramel notes and a unique nuttiness, too. These qualities make for great pairings of baked peaches, crème brûlée, or flan.                  

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