Va La Vineyards “La Prima Donna”//Photo by Joel Plankin.
1. Paradocx Vineyard Traminette 2013 ($18). Traminette—a cross of hybrid Seyval Blanc and Gewürztraminer—has recently become a darling of local winemakers. Here it is at its best, with lots of spicy, floral notes of honeysuckle, a nice body and a dry finish.
2. Stargazers Vineyard Arneis 2014 ($20). Veteran winemaker John Weygandt pioneered Grüner Veltliner in this region, and he has now come up with another winner with Arneis, a little-known white grape originating from Piedmont, Italy. It has rich fruitiness, with notes of sour cream and lots of stony, minerally content.
3. Patone Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($15). Whatever obstacles and delays Mario Patone may have faced in opening his Landenberg, Pa., tasting room, there is no doubting his winemaking skills. Most of his releases are Californian in style, including this smooth, creamy Sauvignon, with lots of mellow apple to go with the grapefruit.
4. Va La Vineyards “La Prima Donna” White Blend 2012 ($42). Anthony Vietri has become a cult winemaker without trying by making a small number of terroir-driven blends. His reds are always great, but this multicultural white blend stands out for its full-bodied flavors of honey and tropical fruits which is nonetheless dry, with edges of prickly apple peel.
5. Penns Woods Winery Cabernet Franc 2012 ($32). Trained in Italy as a winemaker and quite successful as a wine importer, Gino Razzi allows his wines plenty of time to age in the barrel and bottle before release. This Franc has evolved with rounded cherry flavors, a hint of mint and well integrated, savory barrel notes.