Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wine, pizza pairing on Galen Glen schedule

Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery in Andreas currently is offering a sale on its Cellar White to its case club members, whose who purchase at least one case formt he winery. They're selling six bottles of the semi-dry white, which took a bronze at the 2008 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, for $42.

Also on tap is a St. Valentine's Day Weekend that will feature a pairing of truffles and raspberry wine. Their home-made truffles use Oreo cookies, cream cheese and chocolate. The following weekend, Feb. 21-22, will be a toast to Presidents Day and the new president. They will pair their red wine with pizza, Chicago style. On both weekends the winery, a member of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail, will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

While Obama began working, Sugarloaf rested

After writing several entries about the big to-do at Maryland's Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards, I sent an e-mail down to Jim McKenna this morning to ask how things went. One of the partners who also has been a good friend to this blog, McKenna quickly responded on how the four-day tasting room dedication and inauguration bash went at the winery, located at the border of Montgomery and Frederick counties. McKenna wrote the following:

"The weekend was a smashing success, especially on Sat and Tues, when we had a singer and an engraver for the bottles, glasses and/or just about anything else made of glass. She, Jennie, has become a real favorite and the concept of engraving the wine bottles as gifts has caught on. We had some snow on Monday and football on Sunday which tended to keep attendance down, although not nearly so much as we had feared. Tuesday (not a holiday everywhere) started fairly quickly before the inauguration speech, went quite quiet while the speech was on (we suspended all business while the new President was talking) and then hit a lull for a couple of hours. At about 3:30 or so, people started to pile in.

"My personal theory is that the people of America, after mulling over the speech and the activities for a few hours, became revitalized and then joy started to gallop back into our collective psyche, causing, at least for Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, an upsurge in hope (a familiar word these days) and a willingness to breath a collective sigh of relief. We sure had a joyous last couple of hours at our place, and people sure were willing to use the credit card weapon again. Many thanx for your continued interest in SMV."

March the month for hitting the trails

Received my tickets in the mail yesterday for the 2009 Tour de Tanks, which begins Feb. 28 and runs weekends through the end of March. That's the event that really opened my eyes to how many wineries had opened in the area. This is a chance, for a comparatively low passport ticket of $15, to spend time at all 12 wineries that make up Tour de Tanks, stretching from Lancaster County across York County and into Adams County, in addition to Cullari Vineyards & Winery in Hershey and West Hanover Winery outside Harrisburg. You can stop in, get your ticket stamped, sample the wines that are out, and generally nosh on a wide variety of foods. And, believe me, everyone has their own idea of what to pair with the wines. The times are noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets, which can be purchased online and at participating wineries, will get you 10 percent off any wine purchases and a chance to win prizes once the event ends.

Tour de Tanks is unusual in that its the one time each year these wineries all do something together as the Uncork York wine trail; they're not officially part of the same trail although it does make you wonder why they don't get together and plan other events. A few of the wineries are members of a Mason-Dixon trail with wineries in Maryland, but that relationship lost much of its vigor in the past couple of years.

Meanwhile, other trails do their own version of Tour de Tanks. The six members of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail, located in Philly's western burbs, will hold their successful Barrels on the Brandywine every weekend day in March. Tickets are $25 per person. Same with the nine members of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail, in and around Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, which charges $30 apiece for its March Madness passport program.

No matter where you go, you won't find a cheaper way to get acquainted with the wines of the region.

We interrupt this local programming ...

This IS a blog on regional wineries, after all, so I try to steer away from other wines in other parts of the country or world. But I do make exceptions for the right story. Deb Harkness, whoose daily smatterings of info, wisdom and wit make Good Wine Under $20 one of my favorite blogs on wine, posted yesterday on a Romanian wine made with Fetească Neagră grapes. As Deb is wont to do, she dived into some resource books and provided some history on the country, its wine making, and those particular grapes, and then added her comments on the wine itself. A good read, one worth sharing.

You can also find her writing about wine and food at