Wednesday, August 20, 2008

At Galen Glen, a chance to warm up to rose

It was a bottling day yesterday at Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery in northeast Pennsylvania, so I snagged proprietor Sarah Troxell between tasks and sneaked in a brief phone conversation that will provide the fodder for a couple of postings.

Depending on your tastes, you could be jumping for joy at the raspberry wine that was emerging yesterday from the end of the bottling line. “We just got fresh raspberries so we take one of our white wines and blend in raspberry juice as a sweetner,” says Troxell, who directs the winery along husband Galen. "So it's our winter sort of dessert offering." A family farm that according to their Web site is “nestled between the Appalachian and Mahoning mountains,” they’ve been going full bore since planting their first two acres of vines in May 1995. It's a member of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail.

She admits that while other wines on their list rev up her taste buds and palate more than this particular offering, “we live in a Pennsylvania German area, so fruit is big. We don’t do any fruit wines. [This] is a wine with fruit juice added, I call it the faux fruit wine. So, living here, it’s very popular.”

There was a time I’d avoid anything that wasn’t dry, but that’s changing. Exhibit A is that peach wine from Georgia that my wife and I opened last week and then wrote about. Skeptical, we were won over in one sip. And I've had my share of rose alongside the array of foods placed down on the Thanksgiving table.

Galen Glen makes several roses. One is called Win Gris, a dry rose that Troxell says has sold out this season. They plan on making more after this coming harvest. “And then we do a semi sweet and a sweet, more what I’d call blushes; they’re more fruity and fragrant. In the summer, those combined with whites do really well. We’ve had such a [demand]. We didn’t think our dry rose would be as popular as it was.”

Troxell says she sees roses in America gaining popularity, although still lagging behind the large following they have in Europe, particularly the dry roses. In general, she says, it’s a wine that looks far more comfy in the summer atop a blanket spread out under a grove of trees than alongside a midwinter fire. It's definitely picnic friendly.

"The Win Gris we do with our dry red wine grapes, whereas our [semi sweet] Noah’s Blush and [sweet] Galah are made with Steuben grapes, which are big fragrant hybrids, so if you’ve looking for a little dryer tasting [wine] we have something a little more serious and then the other funs are just fun, summery, sort of big bouquet.”

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