PA Sommelier Judgment Day: Berwyn’s Nectar to Host Wine Tasting Event Featuring Top PA Wines Selected by Local Sommeliers

Tasting with Sommelier Panel and a Celebration of Local Foods to Take Place on Monday, June 19th

In April, the Pennsylvania Winery Association invited wineries from across the state to submit locally grown and produced vinifera wines for blind judgment by a panel of nine top sommeliers in the region. The top 10 wines will be revealed and celebrated during a tasting event open to the public on Monday, June 19th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Chef Patrick Feury’s Nectar, located at 1091 Lancaster Avenue in Berwyn, PA. The wines selected as Best of State, Best Red, and Best White will be announced at the event.

For the first time, Pennsylvania’s winemakers had top sommeliers judging their wines, rather than a standard competition panel. Notably, the winning wineries will have the opportunity to be picked up by the sommeliers’ respective wine programs.

“It’s a celebration of PA, and a toast to some really stellar wine making,” exclaimed Scott Zoccolillo, general manager and sommelier of Nectar. “This really is a cool event, and something that has never been done in this fashion in the state. We’re so excited to host this ‘taste around’ event featuring the best wines in the state, the top sommeliers in the region, and some delectable creations from Chef Feury.”

The sommelier panel judged more than 110 entries, exclusive to vinifera varietals and blends during a blind tasting that was held at Nectar on April 29th. The panel included Zoccolillo and Chris Marcus from Nectar; Alexandra Cherniavsky, formerly of Rarest, Amada and Striped Bass; Dan Rivas from Bank and Bourbon; Heather Curtis of Hollywood Casino; Michelle Konopi from Savona; Jamie Ruben from Davio’s King of Prussia; Tom Dean from Fred Magnotta Wines; and Jimmy Bartolino from Overbrook Country Club. The nine sommeliers will attend the Judgment Day event at Nectar on June 19th to announce the ranking of the top 10 wines, Best of State, Best Red and Best White.

The  top 10 wines selected by the sommelier panel represent nine different wineries and a diverse list of varietals including Cabernet Franc, Albariño, Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. The nine wineries who produced the top 10 wines, located across the state, are Briar Valley Vineyard and Winery (Bedford, PA); Chaddsford Winery (Chadds Ford, PA); Fero Vineyards and Winery (Lewisberg, PA); Maple Springs Vineyard, (Bechtelsville, PA); Nimble Hill Vineyard & Winery (Tunkhannock, PA); Rushland Ridge Vineyards (Rushland, PA); South Shore Wine Company/Mazza Wines (North East, PA); Tolino Vineyards (Bangor, PA); and The Vineyard at Grandview (Mount Joy, PA).

“The diversity of varietals submitted and the enthusiastically positive feedback from the sommeliers is a strong reinforcement that Pennsylvania wine can stand alongside — or stand out from — wines from the more familiar U.S. wine regions,” said Jennifer Eckinger, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Winery Association, which is an advocate for PA’s 200-plus wineries.

The sommeliers tasted more than 110 wines submitted from 31 wineries over two rounds, tasting whites before reds. All wines were scored on a 1-5 rating in categories of color, varietal correctness, nose, body and taste. All of the judges were told of the varietal and vintage for each wine except the blends. Price, winery and American Viticulture Area (AVA) were not disclosed. Collectively, the sommeliers felt the standout varietals were Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Albariño and Chardonnay. The wines range in price from $10.95 to $45 with an average bottle price of $21.74.

“I feel the lineup really shows the versatility of PA’s grapes,” said Zoccolillo. “All of the judges had their favorite wines, but we were pretty consistent overall. The group felt that the state was well represented in this tasting, and getting these wines in front of a consumer would help elevate the perception of the local wine scene. We also felt that Cabernet Franc can be ‘Pennsylvania’s grape’ with the wines being so consistent and highly received.” The top ten wines will be added to Nectar’s wine list.

Chef Feury’s menu will feature Foie Gras on Toast with apricot; Ramp and Yellow Springs Goat Cheese Quiche; Warm Cheese Gougeres; PeeKee Toe Fritters; Fried Sex on the Bay Oysters with a seaweed salad; Tea Smoked Duck Breast with True Leaf greens; House Smoked Salmon with crème Fraiche; Spicy Seared Tuna Canapé; and a Yellow Springs Farm Cheese Table hosted by proprietors and cheese makers Al and Catherine Renzi.

The price of the event is $65 per person (all inclusive), and all are welcome and encouraged to attend the event and see what the state of PA is offering. Reservations are suggested, but not required, and tickets can be purchased at the door.

Nectar, which is located at 1091 Lancaster Avenue in Berwyn, PA, is open for lunch Monday through Friday, and for dinner seven nights a week. Learn more by visiting http://tastenectar.com.

About the Pennsylvania Winery Association
The Pennsylvania Winery Association is a trade association representing more than 100 member wineries and an advocate on behalf of the state’s growing multibillion-dollar wine industry. With some of the most fertile grape-growing land on the east coast, Pennsylvania ranks fifth nationally in the amount of grapes grown, seventh in wine production, and seventh in the number of licensed wineries. To learn more about Pennsylvania wine or to plan a trip, http://pawineland.com.

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