Wineries in Berks County got into the holiday spirit Saturday and Sunday pairing cookies and wine with Christmas gifts and charitable donations. Wine enthusiasts took advantage of the event to sample prized wines paired with select cookies for a sweet experience and for each bottle of featured wine purchased, the wineries donated $1 to a charity of its choice.
Blair Vineyards, Kutztown, paired its 2007 Merlot and its Metamorphosis, a Pinot Noir Blush, with raspberry ribbon cookies. The cookie is a shortbread cookie with raspberry jam and a drizzle of confectioners sugar that was mixed with a bit of milk. According to Missy Wilson-Blair, the jammy flavor of the cookie pops the fruit that comes across in the Metamorphosis.
“We’ve released a newer wine which is a little bit on the sweeter side, but its kind of fun. It’s called Metamorphosis and it’s a semi-sweet rose’ so it’s a nice fruitier kind of crisp refreshing chilled wine that works beautifully with the cookies. The cookies has some raspberry in it so the pairing has been working really well,” said Wilson-Blair.
Having spent time in Germany and touring the wineries over there, Stan Turner tends to like a lot of the European white wines. Although he selected Blair’s Metamorphosis for its sweetness, his wife, Rosemary, preferred the Wedding Cuvee.
“It [Wedding Cuvee] is really smooth so it’s a very nice dry wine; it doesn’t have any backbite,” said Rosemary Turner.
The Turners had accompanied their friends, Rich and Mary Anstett, Boyertown, and followed the trail from Manatawny up to Kutztown.
The Anstetts, liked the 2010 Pinot Noir Wadenswil.
“I like cherry and it’s got a hint of that in it and it’s not really sweet but it has just enough sweetness that it’s not really dry,” said Mary Anstett.
“This one [wadenswill] had an explosion of flavor. It smelled delicious and the flavors were huge. I knew I had to get this one as soon as I tasted it,” said Rich Anstett,
Blair’s charitable donation went to Friend, Inc. Community Services. For each bottle of featured wine sold, $1 was pledged in addition to a five percent discount off of wine purchased during the event with the donation of a non-perishable food item for Friend, Inc.
Before leaving Blair Vineyards, a bottle of the Metamorphosis just had to come with me along with a bottle of Riesling and a bag of peach mix for wine slushies. Located close to Blair, Pinnacle Ridge was the next logical stop along the wine trail.
“We are pouring either Merlot or Sweet Seduction and we’re donating one dollar for every bottle sold to the Berks Animal Rescue League,” said Mary Reed. “Our Merlot is from our 2012 vintage and Sweet Seduction we have added some mulling spices to keep it very holiday and festive.”
Attendees were given a choice of a Danish rolled cookie with a touch of cinnamon and walnuts or a gooey chocolate cookie with Merlot incorporated into it.
“I like the Niagara. It’s like drinking grape juice,” said Bill Oswald, Oley. “I’m looking for good flavor; drinkability.”
Pinnacle Ridge also offers a fine selection of specialty foods so before I left for the next winery on my list, a jar of chardonnay garlic stuffed olives, a jar of raspberry honey-mustard dip with a package of pretzel sticks, and a bag of trail mix was added to the purchases I made along the trail.
Although Pinnacle had only been open an hour and had already served 50 people, Reed said it was a slow start, but anticipated the numbers to pick up as people traveled the circuit.
“This is actually the first time we’ve had this event. Normally we have one in August. We moved it from the August timeframe to the Christmas timeframe trying to kind of excite people about the Christmas season as well as give it a little bit of a spin and helping charities,” said Wilson-Blair.
To learn more about the Berks County Wine Trail, go to http://www.berkscountywinetrail.com.