Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stopped in Hershey, but bypassed the chocolate

Working on a story for a publication that took me Friday to the tasting room at Cullari Vineyards & Winery in Hershey. It's just one of many buildiungs that pop up along Route 422 between Harrisburg and Annville, where I've been teaching as an adjunct at Lebanon Valley College. Probably ridden by it 25 times and finally had a chance to nose around the comfy surroundings.

Owner Salvatore Cullari, who formally taught at LVC and served as head of the psychology department there, has a bar set up on the main floor where he handles most of his tastings. The room is open Thursdays through Sundays. A few steps lead up to a small dining room where Cullari can hold parties; indeed, he and his brother were getting set up for one yesterday.

Cullari hails from Calabria in Italy and talks about having been associated with wine-making since he was a kid. His 25-acre lot in suburban Harrisburg, Pa., holds two vineyards with around a dozen types of grape, including Zinfandel, Barbera and Sangiovese.

While admittedly someone who favors dry reds, his wine list caters some to those who prefer their wine with some sweetness. His biggest seller, called White on White, is a blend of white grapes that has the aroma of Traminette. I also sample something he calls Pomegranate Splash, a tasty sipper that blends some whites and pomegranate juice. And I sampled a few of his red blends, all with good structure and flush with color and aroma and -- much to my satisfaction -- generally priced in the $10 to $15 range.

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