Friday, September 4, 2009

Pinnacle Ridge winemaker says three's 'a lot of interest' in The Trio

Mentioned several weeks ago about a wine called The Trio, which combined the talents and grapes from winemakers and friends Brad Knapp at Pinnacle Ridge, Joanne Levengood at Manatawny Creek and Carl Helrich at Allegro Vineyards, all Pennsylvania wineries.

They define it as an artisan blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, one that is well balanced, with soft tannins and a medium dry finish. The individual grape varietals were aged in French, Hungarian and Pennsylvania oak before blending. What makes it interesting is the collaboration, something that's rare in this mid-Atlantic wine-making area.

Knapp was asked Thursday how the wine, available at all three wineries, was selling. He replied in an e-mail that "The Trio is doing very well. It is considerably more expensive than our other wines [$20 for Pinot and Veritas vs. $29 for Trio] but it doesn't seem to be a big issue. Not selling cases of it but there is a lot of interest and folks are buying 1-3 bottles at a clip pretty regularly. The wine is quite good and the story certainly doesn't hurt either."

Considering what other blends across the region can cost, which is upwards of $50, this one offers a mouthful of yummy flavors at a comparatively inexpensive price. Rather than letting my bottle of The Trio age, I opened it late Thursday night and had a chance to sip it. Definitely worth a try, especially knowing these are grapes from the 2007 vintage, one of the best-ever across the entire region.

Helrich provided some background on the idea on his blog, which he has managed to build into a wonderful collection of stories about what he does and why. Really good stuff in there. On The Trio, he wrote:

This wine came about because I had what I called a “dumb marketing idea.” We always taste each other’s wines each spring, and in 2008, we all realized that we were each sitting on too much great wine. I suggested this collaboration, and it worked out really well. After getting together a couple times to work on the blend, we settled on a distinctive trio of grapes: Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Each winery kicked in four barrels. I donated 2 Merlot and 2 Cab Franc barrels to the cause; Joanne added 2 Syrah and 2 Cab Franc; and Brad threw in 2 Syrah and 2 Merlot. We blended the wine up at Joanne’s winery and bottled it there as well. This wine had a good core of dark fruit with light yet firm tannins. It was aged 18 months in French, Pennsylvania, and Hungarian oak barrels—another “three.” It should age nicely through 2012-2014.

1 comment:

Brian said...

I love the idea/concept behind Trio. I'd love to see more collaborative efforts in other states (Virginia comes to mind). I'll definitely have to buy a bottle online and sample myself. Cheers!