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Wines with Italian and Spanish Flair

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Although most wineries in PA Wine Land concentrate on growing two groups of wine grapes referred to as French varieties and French-American hybrids, many are experimenting with grapes more noted as the source for wines made in Italy, Spain, Germany and even Austria.

Perhaps the most common are two white wine grapes normally grown in northern Italy and which have large sales in wines-by-the glass programs in American restaurants and bars – Pinot Grigio and Moscato.  Pinot Grigio is grown widely in the area between Venice and Verona, and its wines have in recent years been widely imported into the United States.  Interest in Moscato has blossomed over the past two or three years.

Both are becoming prominent in Pennsylvania vineyards, as well, particularly in the Chester County area where they compete for prominence with standbys Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  Moscato is the newer addition to Pennsylvania wineries, and its wines are noted for their fragrant aromas and fruity flavors.  An advantage that Pennsylvania winemakers have is that grapes grown locally generally have good acidity to balance the fruitiness.  A large number of wineries already offer Pinot Grigio.

For years, Eric Miller, the founder and former winemaker at Chadds Ford Winery, also had great success in growing a lovely northern Italian red grape, Barbera, as has Anthony Vietri at Va La Vineyard in Avondale, who specializes in Italian varieties including the hard-to-grow Nebbiolo.  In fact, most of Va La’s white and red blends are mainly crafted from Italian grapes.  Paradocx Winery in Landenberg has made a varietal from Sangiovese, the main grape of Chianti and other Tuscan wines, but now use it mainly as a blending grape.

From Germany (and France’s Alsace region) come Riesling and Gewurztraminer, both noted for growing well in chillier climates, such as along the shores of Lake Erie in Northern Pennsylvania.  And a popular grape from Austria – Gruner Veltliner – is also showing its ability to grow well in the state and to make refreshing wines.

Galer Estate in Kennett Square has started winning awards with Spain’s most popular white wine grape, Albariño.  A very few wineries grow Spain’s highly regarded red grape, Tempranillo.

To find out more about individual wineries and the 12 wine trails located throughout Pennsylvania, log onto www.PAWineLand.com.  The site also has maps and contact information for the more than 150 wineries spread across the state as well as wine tips and wine information.  And if you’re on the road, find nearby wineries by using the mobile responsive website at m.pennsylvaniawine.com.