Monday, May 11, 2015

Pennsylvania Wine & Beer near Longwood Gardens

theCompass view of
Longwood Gardens
This Mother's Day, we headed to eastern Pennsylvania and the former DuPont estate, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Yes, the estate is a gardeners and landscapers dream destination and well worth a visit. The gardens are located southwest of Philadelphia, within the Brandywine Valley, home to many wineries plus a small wine trail. Breweries are also abundant, with my favorite, Victory Brewing Company located due north of the gardens in Downingtown. You can begin your tour of this brewery at The Cafe, Longwood Garden's popular eatery, with their excellent Prima Pils. Sadly, that's the only local option within the garden complex. However, within Kennett Square proper there are two local options for a quick side trip, the Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery and soon to open Kennett Brewing Company. I will update the post once the brewery opens, but beware that Galer Estate has an over 21 only policy. Families, like us, must choose other options.

Thus, at the conclusion of our garden visit, we took a beeline to Chaddsford Winery, one of the oldest in Pennsylvania by opening in 1982. Today, the winery is the largest in the Keystone State, producing over 25,000 cases annually. Many of these are festival styled sweet wines to satisfy local tastes, but there are several wines more suitable to drier palettes. One of these is evidently their Blaufränkisch, sadly not on the tasting menu, but a persistent medal winner.  Three on the tasting menu that I did enjoy were the Proprietors Reserve White ($15), the Barrel Select Chardonnay ($22), and the Pinot Noir ($25). The first was a rather tasty 50-50 blend of Seyval and Vidal with plenty of acids to compensate for the slight RS. The Chardonnay was my favorite, with a slight creamy middle, accentuated by partial oak treatment. And the Pinot was light bodied with tart cherry flavors and slightly spicy finish. These were solid local wines.

theCompass Winery, Brewery, Distillery Locator Mobile App displayed many other wineries and breweries that we couldn't visit due to time constraints. Ten Gallon Hat Winery is right down the road from Chaddsford with Penns Woods Winery and McKenzie Brew House - Chadds Ford not far away. West Chester is home to three breweries (Boxcar Brewing Co., Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, and Levante Brewing) and make sure you check out the four wineries in the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail. Next time. Cheers. 
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