If you have read this blog even once over the last few months, you likely know already that I will be moving to Texas this summer. While once I was certainly apprehensive about the move (Texas?), now I am at least resigned to the fact that my next driver’s license will be festooned with a Lone Star.
What is less certain is how I am going to approach my soon to be former home of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I have resided in this state longer than any of the eight others that I have called “home”, but I am not quite sure if it therefore qualifies as the answer to the question: “Where are you from?” (which I anticipate having to answer quite a bit in Houston).
I do know there are many aspects about this fair Commonwealth that I will miss: our wonderful friends, living in the Cradle of Liberty (that’s Philadelphia for the American History challenged among you), being close to New York but without paying to live there, and the fact that it is a much shorter flight to Europe than just about anywhere in the U.S.
There are also a number of aspects of living in Philadelphia that I will not miss: snow in April, the hostile attitude of many of the denizens, and the blatant disdain that the state exhibits toward wine lovers.
There is another factor that, until recently, I did not think I would miss: the state’s burgeoning wine making culture. When I first moved here in 2000, I really did not think much of the state’s wine industry, but that eventually changed a few years ago when I made it out to a relatively new winery, Galer Estate. The wines at Galer (particularly the Cabernet Franc) proved that quality wines could be made in the Commonwealth—at least to me.
Fast forward a couple of years as I once again loaded up the bike and made it out to the Brandywine Valley and visited Penns Woods Winery and Va La Vineyards last summer. The wines as well as the hospitality were top-notch, rivaling any experience one might have in any winery in Napa or Sonoma.
A few months ago, the kind people at Galen Glen in the Lehigh Valley AVA (which is a couple of hours north of Philadelphia for the geographically challenged out there). Outside a few bike races, I have not spent much time in the Lehigh Valley, but after tasting these wines, it is a must that I load up my bike and make a little road trip to tack one more Pennsylvania winery on my list of reasons I will fondly remember my time here in the Commonwealth.
2014 Galen Glen Stone Cellar Grüner Veltliner: Retail $16. A bit of stone fruit and Granny Smith apple on the nose, leading to a bit of honey and spice (and I guess everything nice) on the palate. A bit thin on the mid-palate, but this is a solid effort. A lot of pairing possibilities here from seafood, to light chicken, to pork. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2014 Galen Glen Stone Cellar Grüner Veltliner Cellar Reserve: Retail $24. Interestingly, not quite as dark as the standard Grüner, but a bit more honeyed on the nose, with many of the same characteristics. On the palate, though, more unctuous and rich with a more powerful mid-palate. A step up for sure from the other Grüner. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2014 Galen Glen Stone Cellar Gewürztraminer: $17. One of the most fragrant Gewürztraminers I have ever tried–and I have tried a ton–rose petals and white flowers with lychee a go-go. I could not find how much residual sugar was left in the wine, but there has to be some as those pungent floral notes are rounded out nicely by the sweetness. Don’t serve this too cold as it really is at its best as it warms a bit. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2014 Galen Glen Stone Cellar Riesling: Retail $16. Distinct orange peel on the nose and palate, including a bit of bitterness. Bracing acidity on the palate with considerable minerality. A solid expression of the variety, but it might benefit from just a bit of residual sugar. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.