Pennsylvania Wines 101

A sampling of eight mid-palate wines made in Pennsylvania.

I am a newbie when it comes to Pennsylvania wines. Unfortunately, like most of my friends, I rarely use the words “Pennsylvania” and “wine” in the same sentence. Why? Our soils are different, our growing season short and the varietals limited. The industry is still in its infancy, isn’t all that organized and, due to the restrictive nature of the state controls, the product is somewhat inaccessible.

So, for this, our first wine issue, we contacted the 30-odd wineries located west of the Alleghenies and requested samples from each. Surprisingly, we received about as many bottles in response. Many were variations of a theme, some yielded unexpected results and others were totally off the wall.

For the sake of brevity, I decided to focus on the mid-palate whites, which seem to be the “sweet spot” for Pennsylvania wines. Here are some of the standouts:

Greenhouse Winery, Pinot Grigio: Crisp, light, fruit-forward with hints of apple and pear and a lovely color of pale straw

Kavic Winery, Traminette: Deep gold hue, pleasant floral notes, off-dry

Mazza Winery, Pinot Grigio: Crisp, off dry and approachable, traditionally styled with a short finish

Conneaut Cellars, Gewürztraminer: Off-dry, pleasant minerality with a surprisingly long finish

Narcisi Winery, Riesling: fruit-forward, off-dry, in the traditional styling

Foxburg Wine Cellars, Seyval Blanc: Sweet, highly perfumed, mild acidity, no wallflower

Winfield Winery, Yellow Raspberry: Sweet, fruity, syrupy, more of a cordial or aperitif

Greenhouse Winery, Hoe in the Garden: Attractive rose color, fun, grapey, would be best over crushed ice or in a spritzer

It was a fun exercise—one I would encourage you to participate in. Grab a few bottles, have some friends over and give some of these wines a try. You might be pleasantly surprised. 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Best Restaurants 2015

Pittsburgh's Best Restaurants 2015

Which 33 establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
The Right Recipe: Spy Inside 5 Killer Kitchens

The Right Recipe: Spy Inside 5 Killer Kitchens

Executive chefs often are given much of the credit for their restaurants’ success, but that praise would be hard to bestow if each did not lead an outstanding kitchen brigade.
The Beginner's Garden: How to Easily Create a Summer Eden

The Beginner's Garden: How to Easily Create a Summer Eden

From ferns to forsythia, there are ample growth opportunities for creating a gorgeous, low-maintenance garden this year in your own backyard.
PittGirl Believes She is Totally Right about the Pittsburgh Left

PittGirl Believes She is Totally Right about the Pittsburgh Left

In this case, as in most others, it's better to give than take.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Sponsored by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the contest recognizes excellence in magazine, newspaper, broadcast and online journalism.
Got Tickets? Pittsburgh's Best, Biggest Food Event Is Weeks Away

Got Tickets? Pittsburgh's Best, Biggest Food Event Is Weeks Away

Join us on June 8 at Heinz Field for the 26th annual Best Restaurants Party.
Bow Wow: Pittsburgh Gets Props for Dog Parks

Bow Wow: Pittsburgh Gets Props for Dog Parks

The city earned a No. 1 ranking for giving our four-legged friends plenty of room to roam.
Idlewild Park Opening with New Ride

Idlewild Park Opening with New Ride

The park begins its 138th season this weekend.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Best Restaurants 2015

Pittsburgh's Best Restaurants 2015

Which 33 establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
The Right Recipe: Spy Inside 5 Killer Kitchens

The Right Recipe: Spy Inside 5 Killer Kitchens

Executive chefs often are given much of the credit for their restaurants’ success, but that praise would be hard to bestow if each did not lead an outstanding kitchen brigade.
The Beginner's Garden: How to Easily Create a Summer Eden

The Beginner's Garden: How to Easily Create a Summer Eden

From ferns to forsythia, there are ample growth opportunities for creating a gorgeous, low-maintenance garden this year in your own backyard.
PittGirl Believes She is Totally Right about the Pittsburgh Left

PittGirl Believes She is Totally Right about the Pittsburgh Left

In this case, as in most others, it's better to give than take.
On Par with Arnie, She is America's 'Queen of Golf'

On Par with Arnie, She is America's 'Queen of Golf'

The world of golf may have been slow to embrace women, but Sewickley amateur Carol Semple Thompson always has found her way into the club.
Last in the Water But First at the Finish Line

Last in the Water But First at the Finish Line

Penn State Behrend swimmer Mia Pietropola’s deafness may give her competitors an advantage at the starting blocks. She beats them anyway.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module