Monday, December 15, 2008

'Study session' brings us to Chaddsford

Among the photos: Eric and Ronnie, a shot in the cellar, the table in the library, and a lens full of those big, big bottles.

Brought Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky out to Chaddsford Winery last week and we both enjoyed the hospitality of owners Lee and Eric Miller. Oh? Ronnie? She was off. I’m a few days from leaving for the Harrisburg Patriot-News, so I’m basking in the farewell tour. That’s a lovely limbo to occupy for a bit.

Eric took us out back and then through the cellar, where we tasted a couple of Cab Francs, if my memory serves me. Showing us the storage area, he mentioned that the price of French oak barrels has started to come down. Certainly those in the industry know the numbers, but learning that those barrels now cost $800 apiece, down from a higher of about $1000 because the euro has lost some value, made me appreciate why some of those wines cost what they do. A grand??!! Talk about being over a barrel …

From there, along with Lee, we headed into what they call their library, located downstairs at the base of the steps. Lee said they use the room for special tastings when “there are between two and six people and we want an intimate, friendly atmosphere.” She said they get in there a couple of times a month. A table sits in the middle of the room, with shelves lining all the walls and laden with what the Millers call vanity bottles. There are definitely not something you bring to dinner. They are a mixture of 3 liters, 5 liters, 9 liters and 12 liters, she said. Some fill a lot of glasses at parties, while others are donated for auctions and other charity events.

For someone like me who comes home and has a half-glass or full glass of wine, that 12-liter bottle would take weeks to drain.