Sunday, February 15, 2009

Woodhall gets its barrel tasting weekends rolling

Wanted to give a public shout-out to the folks at Woodhall Wine Cellars in Parkton, Md., where we stopped Saturday on the first day of their barrel tasting. That's free for case club members, who also get a chance to walk back out of the cellar and enjoy a glass of wine with five chocolates from Kirchmayr Chocolates in Timonium, Md. The cost for noncase-club members is $15 per person.

Winemaker Chris Kent reported a couple of weeks ago that his yield from suppliers in 2008 was less than in previous years. That reduced the number of wines to sample by a few, to 12. But that didn't impinge on the quality, in our view. The Gunpowder Falls red and white both show a lot of promise, as did the Golden Run Reserve Vidal Blanc. And the two 2007s, the Copernica Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Parkton Prestige, will be wines worth cellaring for a few years, if you'd like. This is the sixth Copernica Reserve in the history of the winery, produced out of special vintages, and that vintage is as special as they get. In fact, wherever you go this spring and summer, grab those 2007s that you see are left over. It was a great year throughout the region that produced outstanding red and white wines. Indeed, we took with us a mixed case of 2007s that Woodhall still had in its inventory. As for the barrel tasting, we ordered two more cases and put 50 percent down; the rest is paid after the wine is bottled
and available for pickup. What we ordered likely will be ready to be taken by summer.

Woodhall's barrel tasting, by the way, will continue on weekends well into March.

There was one big group in the tasting room as we arrived, obviously what had spilled out of a stretch limo that was parked in the lot. Calls to a few wineries today revealed that business was bustling yesterday and today, especially at those places that were offering wine and chocolate as part of a Valentine's Weekend celebration. A perfect example was a response I received by e-mail from Brad Knapp of Pinnacle Ridge Winery in Kutztown, Pa.: "We just had our Berks County Wine Trail wine and chocolate event yesterday and it was huge. We probably had over 500 folks through the winery. It was nuts and more to come today."

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