Sunday, October 27, 2013

Stop Number 13: Presque Isle Wine Cellars

Our next stop was Presque Isle Wine Cellars, also in North East, PA.
As you can see from just the sign alone, there's a lot going on at Presque Isle. There are two main places that visitors will want to see- the Isle House, which is where the tasting room is, and the creekside building that has wine and beermaking supplies for sale. The creekside building is close to a small waterfall where visitors can have a picnic- it's very scenic and very peaceful!

It was really crowded in the tasting room when we were at Presque Isle so we didn't get a chance to talk to our tasting server as much as we would have liked to. Regardless of the crowd, however, our experience here was mediocre. The gift shop has the same items most other wineries have, the decor wasn't anything over-the-top impressive like any of the wineries we visited earlier in the day (Mazza, South Shore, Courtyard), and while our tasting server was nice, she didn't seem to know much about wine. I would have liked to know more about the history of Presque Isle too, but she didn't seem to know much about that either.

The wine itself was so-so. The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon was decent. It had a hint of licorice and cocoa in the flavor but all around it didn't have the bold flavor a Cab should. The 2010 Syrah was similar in the fact that there wasn't a lot to be excited about. There was a little blackberry in the flavor and cherry cola in the finish but it wasn't full of flavor like you'd expect a Syrah to be. The Noiret was my favorite of the reds we tried since it was smooth and mild a Noiret should be, but there wasn't anything notable or overly exciting about it.

The whites we tried were a little better than the reds. The 2011 Chardonnay had a bright citrus flavor and a smooth finish, which would be good to pair with fish or a fresh salad for a summer dinner. The 2012 Gewurtztraminer had too many floral notes for me. A Gewurtz is supposed to have floral notes, yes, but drinking a glass full of fermented flowers wasn't going down easy. The non-vintage Pennsylvania Viognier was the best of the three. It's oaked for six months before it's bottled and has a light body with clear notes of oak in the finish. It reminded me an oaked Chardonnay with a lighter body. This would be a good wine to pair with heavier winter dinners, such as a lobster bisque or any pasta with a creme-based sauce.  This is the bottle that ended up coming home with us.

For those who like sweet wines and fruit wines, there are plenty of them here that we didn't try, so this may be a good place for you! If you don't bring your own picnic, Presque Isle offers small plates to pair with tastings. Be mindful that the prices here are a little on the high side, at least for the wines we tried. If you can't make it out to visit or want to taste a few wines before your trip to North East, Presque Isle's wines are available for purchase in their online store- check it out to see if they can ship to you! 

Overall, Presque Isle Wine Cellars didn't wow us. Presque Isle's scenic setting is very nice. As I mentioned, there are a lot of sweeter wines and fruit selections here; those are more common given the climate of the area. They aren't for The Bear and me, but for those who like sweet wines and fruit wines, this might be a new favorite. The dry selections weren't bad by any means, but they didn't stand out to us as something unique or special. This is a place that any group of wine drinkers can go and everyone can find something that will be suitable for their tastes. If we lived closer, I could see us meeting our coworkers here on a Friday after work like we do at John Christ Winery in Avon Lake, OH; we go mostly for the atmosphere. It might not be a go-to winery for those of us who like dry wines, but it's a decent place with passable options and nice scenery. I wouldn't say this is a must-go for dry drinkers, but it's worth a shot if you're in the area and you can fit it in. 

Next up, we go back to Ohio and visit Markko Vineyard, which is one winery I've been excited to write about since our trip in August. See you soon, enjoy your grapes responsibly! Cheers!

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