Back in January I put together a list of things in or around the Lehigh Valley that I’ve always wanted to do but never got around to doing. My goal is to get as many of these crossed off the list as possible in 2011.
I crossed number 10 off of my list this past Valentine’s weekend. I went on the Berks Wine Trail Chocolate and Wine tour and not only visited one local winery but six! Although at one of them, Calvaresi, we didn’t get a chance to actually taste anything, because everyone was hogging the tasting area and we left, but it was all good.
What a great day! Friends, Wine, Chocolate, and I didn’t have to drive. How could it not have been?
We started off at Pinnacle Ridge, which to me was most like a traditional winery. It’s in an old stone barn and the wines were closest to what I would normally drink at home. I brought home a bottle of Veritas which they describe as “A unique blend of our Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon — only produced in finest vintages. This is filled with aromas of toasty oak, vanilla, & black fruits; aged 16 months in American Oak.”
Next we went to Blair. My favorite part about this place was that you drive through the vineyard to get to the winery. I think this was the only place where I actually noticed the vines, you couldn’t miss them if you tried. Their wines weren’t my taste, but I did pick up a bottle of Pinot Gris and this freezer bag contraption to make frozen Peach Bellini’s. I can’t wait for summer!
Then we were off to Long Trout Winery. I could have stayed here all day. They have a combination of grape wines and fruit wines, and surprisingly, as more of a dry red person, I kept trying mostly the fruit wines-they were soooo delicious. The place is a hippie haven and the tasting room looks like a cross between someone’s basement bar and a college bar like Shorty’s in Kutztown before they remodeled. The place is covered floor to ceiling in 60’s memorabilia, about 75% of it Beatles. I was in heaven! The people are friendly and it’s a really laid back atmosphere, even when the place was so packed you couldn’t move. The visitors even helped each other find the bottles of wine they were looking for and passed them across the crowd to the requester. They had three chocolate wines for the wine and chocolate pairing, countless berry wines, including a Bell Bottom Blueberry that was rather dry for a berry wine. The wine names are cute and creative (ie. Instant “O”, Forever Strawberry Fields, Yellow Snow) and the bottlenecks are tye dyed. They even have a disc golf field! They are also working on an addition that is more modern that the basement bar room, yet it should still match the vibe with its double doors that form a peace sign when closed and the wooden loft area. Hopefully people like the spaciousness of the new room and that will leave me more elbow room in the hippie bar! I left this place with 7 bottles, and I’m not even a sweet wine person!
Next was Bashore & Stoudt. They specialize in fruit wines as the fruit comes from Stoudt Orchards. This place was pretty crowded and there was a long wait in line before you could taste anything. I’m not a fan of sweet fruit wines, and they were all very typical sweet fruit wines. I actually had to turn away samples because I was getting queasy from the sweetness. I saw other people enjoying them so if sweet is your thing, give it a try.
Next was Calvaresi, the inside was kind of cool because you could see the stainless tanks. I’m more of an oak wine person so I was not disappointed when we left before tasting anything because the visitors were hogging the wine tasting area.
The final stop was Clover Hill. They had a really nice gift shop and tasting area and a wider range of wine styles, which was welcome after all the sweet wines. They were having a big sale on their wine racks as well, up to 70% off. I believe it is still going on.
The only winery I was compelled to take pictures of was Long Trout. And most of them were of the memorabilia rather than the wine. The John Lennon picture is actually the wall paper…on the entire ceiling! If you want to check out more pictures click on the pictures posted here to go to my Flickr page.
I would absolutely go back to both Long Trout and Pinnacle Ridge. I’d also like to try some of the wineries on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail (Pinnacle and Clover Hill are on both the Lehigh Valley and Berks Wine Trails).