Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Patone, the 8th member of Brandywine Valley trail, to pour at Harvest Festival's second weekend

Patone Cellars will be open for visitors during this second weekend of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail's Harvest Festival. The official opening is probably a good six months off. Patone said by phone on Tuesday that various obstacles have pushed back the opening of the winery to next spring. But doing what they can to participate with their partners as one of the newest members of the eight-winery trail, they will be pouring a few samples out of what amounts to a garage where the winery and tasting room will be built at 646 S. Guernsey Road in West Grove, Pa.

That room was a bit too cramped for any business last weekend, but the grapes that occupied that space have been moved out and the boutique winery will be open during the afternoon of both days to serve visitors. "We're going to pour some of the '08 stuff we made last year," Patone said, noting that includes some Merlot out of the barrel and a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. The latter is a white, he said, that has been "real nice, real clean, real crisp . . . it's been a real big hit so far."

Patone said they made around 1,000 gallons of wine last year and expect to make a little more than that this year. Maybe the winery isn't open, but he's plenty busy between making wine out of the grapes he's importing, focusing on the plans for the building project that's just about ready to grow, and, oh yeah, working his regular job.

I forgot about that part of his life he had to juggle, I told him.

He began to laugh. "Unfortunately, I don't," he said.

Frederick Cellars adds bistro to downtown facility

Frederick (Md.) Cellars has just opened a bistro with a casual dining menu that allows for a chance to try one of its wines with a salad, wrap, melt or gourmet pizza. They'll serve that wine as a tasting, by the glass or as a group in a flight. You can purchase lunch or dinner, and expect either live jazz or blues if you stop by on a Friday or Saturday night. Check out the menu at this link.

Even if you've never been to the area, the winery shouldn't be difficult for you to find, located on one of the main streets at 221 N. East St. It's among a handful of wineries in the region located in the downtown district. As for the wines, they're a mix of red and white, a few getting merit from state Governor's Cup competitions in 2008 and 2009. We wound up taking home a bottle of City Lights, a semi-dry, something that normally doesn't appeal to me as much as the dry reds and whites. But that one did. And the line goes drier and sweeter than that one. They've been lauded the most for their Merlot and Riesling, but give them all a try and see what you think.