My lovely & demure wife Kim said it best, “There’s no f@*&ing way these wines came from Pennsylvania!” We’ve been hearing about Va La vineyards producing some good wines & finally got around to checking them out over the 4th of July holiday.
Locally grown & produced wines come out of a surprising number of our nations states besides the usual suspects of California, Oregon, Washington, & the finger lakes of NY. Winemakers from Texas to NJ toil away in small wineries making all types of fermented bottlings. Regardless of where the grapes are grown, to create quality wine you need the right climate, site & selection, that and meticulous winemaking gets you tasty wine, miss on any one and you’ll know once it hits your lips.
Va La is the culmination of 4th generation winemaker/farmer Tony Vetri. A “Microwinery” as he likes to call it, produces 750 cases total, of mostly Italian based varietals from a 7 acre property in the southern Chester county, Pa. town of Avondale, and named for his ancestral village of Giusvalla, located 40 miles east of Genova, Italy.
The tasting room is suggestive of Napa or Oregon, wines are served in “V” etched Riedel crystal and paired with locally made cheese & fine chocolates. In addition, wood fired pizza & live jazz awaited us on the outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard.
La Prima Donna 2008 $38 Aromatic, pineapple, peach, & licorice, all kitchen sink blends should smell & taste this good! A wonderful white. (Tocai Fruiliano, Malvasia Bianco, Petite Manseng, Pinot Grigio, Viognier) Paired with Shellbark Hollow Farm Fresh Goat Chèvre with Honey.
Silk 2008 $25 Earth, stink, perfume, strawberry, a red wine drinkers rosato, think lighter Burgundy, Langhe, very nice. Paired with Oakshade Farm Chester County Wax Aged Cheddar. (Barbera, Corvina, Carmine, Merlot, Petit Verdot, & Nebbiolo)
Siranetta Batch II 2007 $30 Bubblegum Shiraz as opposed to earthy Syrah, sweet candy, oak is prevalent but not overpowering. Paired with Shellbark Hollow Farm Sharp Chèvre. (Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon).
Cinderbox 2008 $35 Very earthy, with fruit in the background, tannins and acidity balance out nicely. Unusual in a good way. Made from Carmine, a UC Davis creation. paired with Green Valley Dairy Pennsylvania Noble
Cedar 2007 $45 Lots on the nose, could smell this all day, sour fruit, vanilla, perfect color not too dark, too light, red or purple, just right. Ample tannins and acidity make me want to try this in 5 years, no question my favorite wine, and will be an addition to my cellar. Five clones of Nebbiolo & Corvina. Paired with the Oakshade Farm Wax aged Cheddar.
Mahogany 2007 $45 Eucalyptus, earth, cinnamon, floral, blackberry, lots going on here, nice balance of earth & fruit. Paired with Green Valley Dairy Pennsylvania Noble & Neuchatel Truffles.
If the tasting/cheese pairing was not enough, we then proceeded outside on the patio to make some new friends, listen to the Glenn Williams Jazz Trio, while enjoying a Matt Hans wood fired pizza that complimented the of glasses of Prima Donna and Cedar. Every single wine we tasted made us look at each other knowing we were thinking the same thing, “No f@#*&ing way”. Until I taste different, Va La makes the best wines in Pennsylvania!