Friday, October 9, 2009

Grapes coming in, wines going out at Pinnacle

Passing along a couple of notes off the Pinnacle Ridge Winery's October newsletter. Like Eric Miller at Chaddsford and Carl Helrich at Allegro, among others, owner and winemaker Brad Knapp is as much about sharing what he does and why as producing the wine for consumption. Have mentioned before that the winery is a must-stop, right off the Krumsville exit of I-78 about 30 minutes or so west of Allentown.
The final portion of the newsletter deals with the harvest. Have a read:

"It is early in the morning. There is a pleasant and comforting stillness in the air. One hears the faint murmur of voices; conversations held through the vines. There is the constant click, click, click sound of shears cutting clusters followed by the plopping sound of one grape luster after another falling into containers. Hand harvesting is hard work, but also satisfying. Sometimes, when harvesting an exceptionally gorgeous cluster, one has to pause for a moment to admire, holding the cluster in one's hand.
The days can be glorious. Mornings are damp but by mid-morning the dew is gone and the sun warms the pickers. The view in the vineyard is 360 degrees of beauty. The leaves are starting to turn color. Friendships develop among the pickers. Some have known each other for years. It is a great time to connect again.
The 2009 season has put growers and winemakers to task. The relationship between grape growers and wine makers has never been more important. In other years, fruit has been cleaner. Easier to pick. At our Estate Vineyard and at Round Ridge Farm the goal is the same. Pick the best fruit. Cut out any problems. Make great wines out of a difficult growing season. It makes this writer proud to get up early and head out in to the field with my co-pickers. Aching back, tired arms, and all.

It's a busy month at Pinnacle Ridge, a member of two wines trails. It will be open noon to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday for the Berks County Wine Trail's Artisan Cheese and Wine Pairing, then 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, and noon to 5 p.m. on the 18th for the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail's Chambourcin Weekend. The newsletter also contained info on two new releases this month, a Chambourcin Reserve and a red blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon called Veritas. Here's the skinny on those.

We started making a CHAMBOURCIN RESERVE with the 2004 vintage, making this our fourth edition of the wine. The Reserve version of Chambourcin is sourced from either our Estate Vineyard or our vineyards at Round Ridge Farms in Kempton . We evaluate the fruit in the field to determine what we believe will result in the most intense wine. This usually is defined by low yields and a good canopy on the vine towards the end of October.

Another defining feature of our Chambourcin Reserve is the barrel-aging program is carried out in Hungarian Oak Barrels. 2007 was a FABULOUS VINTAGE and has resulted in an intense 2007 Chambourcin Reserve. The color is an intense ruby while aromas of sandalwood, vanilla, and blackberries jump from the glass. On the palate our reserve is medium bodied, with soft tannins and acid. The flavors follow the nose with black fruits and wood influences being dominate. This is a beautifully balance red wine that will reward aging for several to eight years.

The 2007 represents our seventh release of the VERITAS. We consider VERITAS to be on of our FINEST WINES and we only will produce it in the best vintages. This vintage is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the traditional blend of grapes in the making of fine Bordeaux. The wine was grown primarily at Round Ridge Farms in Kempton. Our Veritas was aged for 16 months in Pennsylvania Oak barrels. The color is a medium ruby with aromas of cassis, tobacco, forest floor, and vanilla. The mouth displays soft tannins and flavors that follow the nose. This is the wine for roasts and rich, savory dishes. Our customers are welcome to come to our winery to sample and purchase these two beautiful dry reds. Our release date for our CHAMBOURCIN RESERVE is October 17th 2009 (Chambourcin Weekend). Our release date for VERITAS is October 24th 2009.

The Chambourcin Reserve, according to the Web site, will sell for $16, with the Veritas going for 20 bucks.

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