Taste: Sacre Cru!

A Bucks winery offers a last chance to sip the local chardonnay that bested the world.

In 2005, the Starwine International Wine Competition awarded top honors in the chardonnay category to the 2002 1st Cru Puligny-Montrachet for Domaine Jacques Prieur — from France. Of course.

But when the 45 sommeliers judging the 2006 competition tallied their scores, an unexpected winner emerged. The “Best in Class” distinction was bestowed on the 2005 Crossing Vineyards chardonnay — from Pennsylvania. Somehow, Pennsylvania-grown grapes and — mon dieu! — Pennsylvania-oak aging had produced a chardonnay that beat out those from far more respected wine regions, including California, New Zealand and, yes, France.

“I don't know who was more surprised: us when we found out we won or the judges when they pulled our wine out of the brown bag,” says Crossing Vineyards winemaker Tom Carroll Jr., who credits 2005's warm, dry growing season for the wine's intense flavor.

The judges described Crossing Vineyard's European-style 2005 chardonnay, just the fourth vintage the Bucks County winery has produced, as “fruity with hints of citrus and green apple.” But most PA wine lovers will have to take their word for it. At $17 a bottle, the chard, available only from the winery, sold out almost immediately after it became award-winning wine.

Well, maybe there are a few cases left for special winery events, Carroll admits. He plans to pour the coveted chardonnay at Crossing Vineyard's next reservation-only dinner on March 17th.

Meet the Winemakers Dinner. $85 (plus tax and gratuity). Crossing Vineyards and Winery, 1853 Wrightstown Road, Washington Crossing, 215-493-6500; crossingvineyards.com.