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

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Commuting Toll: How Much Do We Waste Stuck in Traffic?

Commuting Toll: How Much Do We Waste Stuck in Traffic?

Pittsburgh gridlock not only frays nerves — it dings the wallet.
Breeding Success: Alpaca Farming is Booming in Western Pa.

Breeding Success: Alpaca Farming is Booming in Western Pa.

Our rolling hills are good for more than vegetable gardens and chicken coops. Dozens of alpaca farms are located in the region.
Head North to Find the Comfiest Place in the Pittsburgh Area

Head North to Find the Comfiest Place in the Pittsburgh Area

Cranberry Township was the only western Pa. area mentioned in a nationwide list of most comfortable cities.
'We Are Family Matters' Pirates Mashup is Brilliant

'We Are Family Matters' Pirates Mashup is Brilliant

Pittsburgh viral video genius Benstonium creates another winner.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
 A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

Pitt Girl explains her change of heart on what should be done with the large, decaying billboard on Mount Washington.
Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Locally and nationally, college and university students are flocking to programs they perceive to be pathways to jobs while they forego studies of languages, history, art and philosophy. But at what cost?
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module