Friday, November 27, 2009

A sale worth sampling: Manatawny marks down 2006 Meritage by 30 percent

Like the looks of a Meritage sale that's currently under way at Manatawny Creek Winery in Douglassville, Pa. Owner/winemaker Joanne Levengood makes a line of wines that represent the region and state very well. Always like to mention that it's the only place I've visited where we were offered the entire line to taste (not sure if that has changed) at no charge (I'm very sure THAT hasn't changed), both winery staples that are about as common as a Pennsylvania screwtop. In other words, good luck finding more than a handful of others that provide so much when you walk into the tasting room, in addition to the snacks they place on their bar.

Levengood reported in her December e-letter early Friday that she has around five cases left of the Meritage, something you can drink now or store for a few years down in your cellar. This 2006 vintage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot and normally sells for $21.95, on the lower end of the price scale when you compare it to other Meritages in the region. She's pushing it out the door by taking 30 percent off, knocking the price down to 16 dollars and change. Once those cases are sold, she'll roll out the 2007 vintage at the regular price.

Their Pinot Noir also is on sale, marked down 10 percent off the $14.95 price. As Levengood noted in her e-letter, this wine is aged in French oak and should be bound for your lips rather than your cellar. "This is not a wine for aging," she wrote. "It is wonderful with Christmas turkey -- we had some with our Thanksgiving turkey this year and it was a fabulous match."

More and more winemakers are using their e-letters or blogs or Facebook to chime in with answers to basic wine and wine pairing questions. This is Levengood's take on how to match up with holiday foods: "Which wine should you serve with your holiday dinner? Anyone who has ever been in our tasting room knows the answer to that question – serve what you like! The subjectivity of wine applies to wine pairing as well. Having said that, however, there are a few simple things to keep in mind. Don’t overpower the food with the wine and vice versa. If you are serving a turkey breast with a light glazing, serve it with a lighter wine like Pinot Grigio. If you are serving turkey with a full-flavored, hearty gravy, you may want to try an oaked Chardonnay. The addition of a sweet cranberry sauce may call for a wine with some sweetness to it, like a Riesling. Everyone thinks about white wine pairing well with turkey or ham, but a lighter-bodied red like Pinot Noir can work really well too. I very much like the idea of setting the table with two wine glasses at each place so everyone can try two different wines with each course. Different wines really make the food taste different!"