EAST MARLBOROUGH — Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery in Kennett Square Pennsylvania was awarded a Gold Medal for their 2015 Pinot Noir rosé and a Silver Medal for their 2015 Red Lion Chardonnay at the biggest wine competition in America, The 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
With well over 100 national awards and medals for their wines since opening five years ago, Galer Estate has proved once again that high quality wines can be produced from Chester County Pennsylvania, on par or better than the very best in California and the rest of the United States.
The San Francisco Wine Competition is an annual blinded wine competition and this year judged over 7,000 wines from 28 states. Galer Estate was one of only two wineries from Pennsylvania that medaled. This year’s competition had 62 judges, including Philadelphia’s famous wine and food critic Craig LaBan.
LaBan wrote with surprise and praise of Galer Estate’s gold medal winner: “An evocative rosé from sunny Kennett Square…full of bright raspberry-cherry notes with a squirt of natural residual sweetness” In Craig LaBan’s tasting notes he comments,” This coppery gold-colored rosé is classified as dry, and no sugar is added during a process of minimal intervention. But it nonetheless holds an undeniable hint of sweetness on the first sip due to the extraction of ripe pinot grapes, which also lend some darker shades of cocoa and cherry behind a dry finish that evokes tart bright berries and rose.”
Virginia Mitchell, Galer Estate Winemaker, explains her process for making this award winning rosé, “The hand-picked red grapes were whole cluster pressed and treated as if it was a white wine. The small amount of copper color in this rosé is from the natural extraction from the skins prior to fermentation. The fermentation lasted four weeks at a cool temperature, resulting in more flavors and complexity. ”
Making rosé is a particular passion for Virginia, “Rosés are a nice alternative for red grapes that don’t seem to have the flavor and sugar development that we would need to make an adequate red wine. Rosé can have the robustness of a red wine, but also be delicate and complex.”
Mitchell has received many awards and medals for her wines, but this year’s award was especially exciting, “I was ecstatic when I found out the Pinot Noir rosé won a gold medal and the Red Lion Chardonnay was awarded a silver! These were my two favorite wines that I made during the 2015 vintage, so it’s nice to have some recognition for the hard work done by the vineyard crew and the decision making and focus in the winery. ”
In the largest category with the most entries, Chardonnay, Galer Estate’s Red Lion Chardonnay took home a silver medal. Galer’s Red Lion Chardonnay is produced with fruit entirely from the Upper Red Lion Vineyard adjacent to their winery in Kennett Square at 700 Folly Hill Road.
Ever since their winemaker, Mitchell, has been making this wine “un-oaked”, it has been winning major US competitions, including Gold Medals at the International Women’s Wine Competition in Sonoma County California.
Mitchell’s skill and attention to wine making is matched by the personal attention and hands-on care by Galer Estate Vineyard Manager Jan Grimes. Jan has been with Galer Estate since the very start, when they planted their first vines in 2005. Grimes now also manages many other boutique vineyards in the county, under her company “Brandywine Vines”, including the pinot noir grapes from a private Chadds Ford Vineyard that helped to produce the gold medal Galer Rosé.
Owner Dr. Brad Galer says, “Lele and I are overwhelmed with these prestigious medals and thank our winemaker Virginia Mitchell and our vineyard manager Jan Grimes for their expertise, devotion, and passion- these awards are for them. And we are certainly proud to be part of the wine growing revolution here in Chester County.”
Joshua Towber, Galer Estate’s Sales and Marketing Manager, says “Galer Estate’s Rosé has always been one of our fastest sellers at the winery. Our Rosé is dry.. there is tons of fruit on the nose, but it is still a dry wine at the end of the day which appeals to all wine-enthusiasts. Time and time again our rosé is compared and even confused for rosé from France which with locally grown fruit is one of the greatest compliments we can receive.”
Among the thousands of wineries across the nation that produce Chardonnay, Galer Estate Chardonnay has been winning critical praise and countless awards from the start. The combination of the talents of Mitchell’s exceptional wine making skill, Grimes’ meticulous attention to the vineyards, and the owners own taste for dry, un-adulterated wines that “speak to the grape”, brings this Pennsylvania winery to the very top of the thousands of Chardonnay producing wineries in the country.
No matter how much the winery is pleased with the result, it is also very much about the customers, and Towber remarks, “The Red Lion Chardonnay is my favorite wine to give guests as a blind tasting when I hear, ‘I don’t drink Chardonnay.’ It never disappoints… Our Red Lion Chardonnay, un-oaked, is unlike any other. Having only touched stainless steel this wine is crisp, so bright and aromatic like you would never expect and great year-round. You go from California’s heavily oaked Chardonnay to our Red Lion and think, ‘They have to be pulling my leg, it is some other varietal.’ But it is a Chardonnay!” explains Joshua.
The last available bottles of Galer Estate’s Gold Medal rosé will be offered at the Valentine’s dinner at Galer Estate on Tuesday February 14th.
Red Lion Chardonnay is currently available at Galer Estate Winery for purchase or tasting, and the newest Galer Estate Rosé will be available in early Spring. To celebrate Valentine’s Weekend, and the Gold medal for the Galer Estate Rosé, Galer Estate has many fun events planned, including, A Sip and Shop artisan event, Lenore Dame Jewelry Event, and a romantic dinner pairing with Talula’s Table, that benefits The Oxford Arts Alliance. Galer Estate is located behind Longwood Gardens at 700 Folly Hill Road in Kennett Square Pennsylvania. It is open Fridays-Sundays, with live music Saturday 5-7pm. For more information, go to the website www.galerestate.com.