Old York Cellars hosted their quarterly #VirtualVines online tasting; this time featuring their Stagecoach Red & Blackberry wines along with everyone's favorite chocolate maker, Laurie Douglas from Laurie's Chocolates. Winemaker Scott Gares started the tasting by introducing the Stagecoach Red ($16), a part of their seconday Stagecoach label named to honor the transportation service which passed through the area on its route between Philadelphia and NYC. The Stagecoach Red is a blend of Malbec 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 25%, and Merlot 25%. It took his team seven iterations of different wines and percentages to create this final blend and the result is a fruit forward, very approachable wine. Besides being fruity, it has smooth tannins with a touch of spice (black pepper) on the finish. The suggested food pairing was tomato pizza and turkey burger and the chocolate pairing was dark chocolate with almonds. Laurie always recommends that the wine be sweeter than the chocolate and the little extra sea salt further mellowed the wine and reduced the bitterness in the chocolate and almonds.
Moving to the Blackberry ($12), it's marketed as a dessert wine, but at 4% RS isn't as sweet as you would think. Gares stops the fermentation a little early in order to keep some of the natural sugars in the berries and the result is a wine that tastes exactly like a blackberry. The initial flavor is sweet blackberry fruit, but the finish is more tart which acts like acidity to balance the sugar. This is quite a tasty wine - and with chocolate - Laurie paired this with the Venezuela Single Origin 65% - one of here many single origin chocolates. Once again, I find myself impressed with Old York Cellars - need to take a road trip soon with theCompass app and visit. Cheers.