This weekend, we decided we were due for a stress-free sipping splurge and opted to attend Wine Chill Weekend of the Berks County Wine Tour. There are eight wineries scattered throughout the countryside of this county, however, being that each are over twenty minutes apart from one another, we suggest you stay of a time-structured track if you would like to sample each and every one. (We um, were bombarded with goodness from the get-go and by close, we only made it to four.)
First stop: Blair Vineyards. Traveling back rocky, dirt roads under a wooded canopy, we arrived at the adorable home of Richard Blair where he and his family maintain an up-and-coming wine business that is slated to move soon to the Kutztown area. Specializing in stainless steel-and-oak-barrel made blends, including exceptional Pinot Noirs, Charonnays and Merlots (I can't recall actually appreciating any dry wines as these, in the past). With a decent taste of their handful of whites and reds, we both gushed over their Rockland Red, which mixes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir into one corked bottle. In addition to their generous sips, the family also offered us a slice of their summery fruit pizza, which was plopped with fresh berries that had been dosed in a Cabernet Franc reduction sauce.
Fourth/final stop: Bashore & Stoudt Country Winery. Honestly, I was still squealing in disbelief from Long Trout that we could have ended our tour there. But, what's a tour with three stops? We made a brief detour to Bashore, which was conveniently located in Shartlesville off the interstate. Quaint, serious and proud of their locavorism, their berry-blended wines were likeable, especially the strawberry and the elderberry. Opting to grow most of their fruit themselves, and if not, selecting it from local PA-based farms, the winery is small, but successfully striving and always adding new fruits to their ever-expanding inventory.
Although only half of the area wineries were tackled on our "serious" sipping adventure, I hope to soon retrace my steps and do it all again--plus more.