Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Black Walnut gets mileage out of Bank Barn Red

Owners Lance and Vicki Castle and Jack and Karen Kuhn, a picture taken off the winery's Web site. They've been pouring wines for tasting under a tent that has been set up for the month while work on the winery building continues.

You have one more weekend to do a drive-by at the Black Walnut Winery in Sadsburysville. Where is that? As one who drove 10 years to Philly from Central Pennsylvania, it's located a couple miles past the point where Route 30 (heading east) changes from a two-lane road into a four-lane elevated highway that heads toward Philly.

After this coming weekend ends, after the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail's Barrels on the Brandywine finishes for another year, work will resume on the almost 200-year-old barn that will open for business as the winery/tasting room sometime in June. Maybe early June. Maybe late. They're not sure yet. But at least they feel like they're honing in on the specific month now.

The four owners have been working on restoring the barn for a couple of years now. One of those owners, Lance Castle, said by phone on Monday that things are coming along rather well. “We just put the hardwood floors in the special events room and in the tasting room,” he said, “and they look very nice. We’ve gotten some building inspections done and gotten some good responses from the building inspectors, saying things look good.” Left to decide is whether they can hook directly to the sewer line or go to Plan B, which is put in a septic system.

Castle said that the response from folks who have stopped by as part of the Barrels tour has been positive. Some have taken advantage of the opportunity to fill out comment cards, which has helped bulk up the winery’s e-mail list to send out blasts regarding the opening and any events to follow.

The wines, he said, “have been getting some very good feedback. I’ve had a couple people tell me that, ‘Wow, you know, I don’t go to a lot of Pennsylvania wineries, but I didn’t expect this kind of quality.’ I said, great, we strive to get you to say this is a great wine, and not have the little words after it that say ‘for a Pennsylvania winery.’

“Obviously we always know there’s room to grow but we absolutely are working real hard to know there is some quality stuff and people were very accepting of it. They enjoyed a lot of them.”

Perhaps the surprise hit has been what Castle called a Bank Barn Red, what he called “a little bit of a sweet big red wine. It was four grapes from two different seasons, ’06 and ’07 that I even ages in French and American oaks. It had a lot of flavors going on in there, a lot of complexities. I was thinking it was going to be too much for people, but it has been the surprise hit of the tastings.”

It includes Cabernet Sauvignon,
Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot from 2006 and the first three from 2007. “[I] left some residual sweetness in the second year and blended it into the first to get a softer, slightly sweet red wine, and they’ve really stepped up and said, ‘Wow, this is great.’”

Here's the specs on the Bank Barn Red:
This wine has the largest concentration of Cabernet Franc (59.16%) of our blended red wines. This red blend presents the strongest strawberry and fruit flavors while being unbelievably smooth. With a small change in blending, you can appreciate the greater influence of the flavors and structures of our two Cabernet wines.


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