It’s January and I have been wracking the brain in my little yellow, fuzzy head about a blog topic. Since I started my blog in 2013, I’ve had a few periods of writers block but this tenacious canine kept thinking. I came up with “First.” You may ask, “why first Clemens?” It simply started with January being the first month of the calendar year. That inspired other thoughts of “first.” As many of you know as we head into 2015 we are celebrating our 20th anniversary as a winery. Did you know we were the first winery in Schuylkill County? Store that in your trivia arsenal; it may come in handy if you end up in a cash cab or sitting in front of Cedric the Entertainer on Who Wants to Be Millionaire. I think of my mom and dad as pioneers, leaving traditional career paths to blaze a trail that others would follow.
Mom and Dad (or Sarah & Galen as you call them) have continued on a path of firsts and I plan to highlight them more in future posts. The first wine listed on our tasting list is Grüner Veltliner. While it is one of the most historic and widely-grown varieties in Austria, it’s only in the past few decades that Americans have caught on to this varietal’s virtues. Another “first” was in 2003 when we planted 25 vines, followed by 500 in 2004. We were the first winery in Pennsylvania to plant this varietal. Mom was inspired and driven to have Dad plant Grüner after reading an article by Lettie Teague in Food & Wine back in 2000. I love reading Food & Wine. Recently, I found myself pawing through the July 2014 issue again. Ray Isle was interviewing F&W’s Best New Chef of 2013, Chris Shepherd. The question was, “You’ve said that Grüner is the ultimate ‘insider’ wine—why?” Chef Shepherd answered, “Because if you order Grüner, you get street cred! Seriously. If you walk into a restaurant and look at the wine list and say, ‘This bottle of Grüner would be fantastic,’ then you are automatically cool. The sommelier will look at you and then give you a little wink and the secret handshake.” While we don’t have any secret hand (or paw) shakes in the tasting room, we strongly encourage you to be one of the ‘cool kids’ and try our Grüner Veltliner, the next time you visit. After visiting with Clark Smith, Craig LaBan of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, “Believed to be the best Grüner in America … powerfully expressive of grapefruit, mandarin oranges and honeysuckle.” So next time you visit, if you haven’t already, make it a “first” and try the Grüner Veltliner.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one other “first” this week. On Saturday we held our 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off. I didn’t get to try any of the contestant’s chili, however, about 300 humans did. After tasting they voted for their favorite. Our First Place winner was Brian Eager of Bethlehem with his smoked brisket chili. If you were unable to attend the chili cook off, don’t worry, you will have the opportunity to try Brian’s Chili recipe during Chambourcin Weekend, October 17 & 18, 2015.
Until next time…