A night of East Coast wines, part 1

Last week The Wine School of Philadelphia held an East Coast Wine master class, introducing students to eight wines from four states that bump up the Atlantic Ocean. Two of the wines I've had before, six of them were new two me. All of them were shining examples of the quality that's happening on this side of the country.

Here's a quick introduction to the first four bottles that instructor Alana Zerbe introduced the class to.

Hermann J. Wiemer 2016 Reserve Dry Riesling, Seneca Lake (Finger Lakes, NY): More off-dry than dry, this riesling has aromas of citrus, apple, petrol and once Alana pointed it out, nougat and tasted of lemon and minerality. This is the type of riesling that bridges the gap between dry riesling drinkers and sweeter riesling drinkers - unless they're on either extreme side of the spectrum.

Keuka Lake Vineyards 2015 Vignoles (Finger Lakes, NY): Introducing a hybrid in a class like this can be risky - prejudices still abound. This acidic vignoles was both sweet and tart, with a bit of a sauvignon blanc edge to it. I liked it, and I was glad to try vignoles in a dryer style them I'm accustomed to.

Barboursville Vineyards 2015 Reserve Viognier (Monticello AVA, VA): Tropical fruit, mango, white flowers dominated this unoaked white. Dry, with a little spice at the end, this wine would be happy with food. It was my first Barboursville, a winery that I've been told over and over that I HAVE to visit every time I go to the Charlottesville region.

Chaddsford Winery 2017 Artisan Series Cabernet Franc (Chaddsford, PA): Cabernet Franc is arguably THE red grape of the East Coast, although as the region evolves another grape may rise to the top. Regardless, this traditional Bordeaux grape does really well up and down the coast and Chaddsford's has aromas of raspberry and violets with tastes of raisin and figs. An acidic, balanced, acidic dry red that's a good example of a quality East Coast cab franc. (I've had this wine before. It's one of the wines that placed in the top 10 at the PA Sommelier Judgment I helped judge last April.)

Have you ever had one of these wines, or any wines from these wineries? Tell me about it in the comments.

(I'll have part 2 of the East Coast wine master class for you next week.)

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