In addition to winning several awards, Crossing Vineyards and Winery's 2006 merlot has been named the best red wine in Pennsylvania for 2013 by the Pennsylvania Wine Society. The merlot was tasted by a panel of judges during the 11th annual Pennsylvania Wine Excellence tasting Jan. 20 and it received the Excellence Award for the year.
"We were especially proud of our wine winning the award," Crossing Vineyards and Winery co-owner Christine Carroll said. "It's really encouraging to use that [our wines are] developing with age."
Along with the Excellence Award, the '06 merlot has received three other awards. In 2009 it received the gold medal in the Keystone Wine Competition, the bronze medal in the International Eastern Wine Competition and the platinum medal for the San Diego Sommelier Challenge.
"This is a very decorated wine," Carroll said. "It's very encouraging. After 10 years of really working hard... We have made our statement about making quality wine in Pennsylvania."
Crossing Vineyards and Winery winemaker Tom Carroll Jr. said he credits the movie 2004 "Sideways" for the honors the '06 merlot has received. He said after the movie was released, Merlot fell out of fashion after the main character, played by Paul Giamatti, rejects the varietal in favor of pinot noir.
For several years, he said, many people were selecting pinot noir over merlot. This left the '06 merlot on the shelf when typically the winery would have sold out. Because of the reserved supply years later, Tom Carroll, Jr. said they were able to enter the wine into the competition and win the award.
The '06 merlot is part of the reserved collection at the winery that has been put up for sale. Carroll said the Merlot runs about $35, which has been the price it was before the wine was named the best red in the state. It can be purchased online or at the winery.
Carroll said whenever she opens the '06 merlot, she is always struck by both the color and the scent of the wine before she even tastes it. She describes it as an "almost purple" color and having the scent of berries and, after a moment, chocolate. Sometimes, she said, there is the aroma of licorice or anise. The taste, she said, is "balanced, complex and rich."
"I can really understand why it was selected," Carroll said. "All the things judges look for in a bottle of wine, it has going on."
The winery is located in Washington Crossing. More information can be found at www.crossingvineyards.com.
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