Lancaster Pennsylvania is home to some great wineries that would entice any wine lover. If you’re planning a weekend getaway, I recommend spending a day in Lancaster and visiting Waltz Vineyards. Here I met Jan Waltz and Kim Waltz, a husband and wife team who own and operate this beautiful vineyard and winery.
The moment I met Jan, we hopped into his truck and took off into the vineyards! On the property, we passed rows and rows of vines with hanging chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, muscat, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon grapes; it’s incredibly beautiful. When we arrived back I was greeted by Lucy, the families adorable dog, who was playing ball with a few of the tasting room visitors.
Waltz Vineyards was established in 1997 and produces some pretty impressive wines! The tasting room is creative and inviting with pops of color, artwork, and a great view of the vineyard. I can honestly say that I fell in love with each wine I tasted in different ways, and the fact that the winery is “young” (for vineyard standards), just goes to show you that passion and experience really go a long way.
I was happy to see a blend and a Moscato on the wine list, because I wasn’t to sure what grapes really thrived in Lancaster, PA. The Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and dry with zesty lime and white peach flavors. This wine reminds me of the tank fermented California style, which is very pleasant and perfect for summer. The Fusion is a white blend produced with Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Chardonnay grapes. This wine is the perfect summer sipper because it’s semi-dry with striking notes of pear, lychee, and apples.
Jan also produces two types of Chardonnay, which spend eight months in French Oak and have warm vanilla notes. The Old Line Chardonnay is light and dry with citrus, vanilla, and apples, while the Reserve Chardonnay is fuller in body with cooked apple, butter, and vanilla notes. I find it so enjoyable to be able to meet, speak, and taste with winemakers because I can “wine geek” out and truly experience the wines with them. Jan pulled out a special bottle of the 2010 Reserve Chardonnay, which is sold out. He stashed a few away for special tastings, in which I felt very special he broke one out for me! This chardonnay is full of pear, apples, and has a very soft palate with mineral driven notes and a beautiful finish. The new vintages are great too, so if you get a chance to visit the winery and purchase some, save them… these wines will age wonderfully!
As many of you know, I am a big rosé fan, so when I saw Waltz produces this wine with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, I had to taste it. The rosé is dry with notes of tart cherry and strawberry and is absolutely beautiful! After some rosé, we moved onto the red wines. The 2013 Baron Red is aged 21 months in French Oak and consists of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. This wine is full bodied with notes of black cherry, currants, and spice, and is a great wine with cheese.
While tasting, I was very happy to notice a Merlot on the menu. The 2013 Cherry Tree Merlot is oaky and earthy with notes of blackcurrant and chocolate; it’s extremely attractive and impressive. I also had the honor of trying the 2010 Cherry Tree Merlot, which is not available anymore, however Jan has some bottles reserved and I am so grateful he opened them for my visit! The 2010 is 80% merlot and 20% cabernet sauvignon and has a striking nose of anise, baking spice, cranberry, and currants, with a seductive finish. 2010 was one of the best vintages for Waltz Vineyards, and they are wonderful!
Waltz also produces a Crow Woods Cabernet, which is comprised of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, aged 21 months in French oak, and is smooth, elegant, and extremely enticing. Jan surprised me once again and pulled out the 2009 and 2010 Crows Woods Cabernet, which was an amazing pleasure. The 2010 was earthy with a nose of game meat, cranberry, and sweet baking spice; I was in love. The 2009 has soft tannins, and opens up beautifully. If you’re fortunate enough to have purchased this vintage back in the day, it will show wonders when decanted!
To end the tasting on a sweeter note, I enjoyed a glass of the Moscato, which is made with 100% Muscat grapes, is semi-sweet, and has delicate notes of peach, orange blossom, and pineapple. This wine is very pretty and one I would drink all year round with cheeses and chocolate. The Moscato is seasonal however, so be sure to get it while you can!
When you visit Lancaster, I absolutely recommend stopping by Waltz Vineyards for a tasting. Here you can enjoy tastes of their wines in test tube carafes, which are great for sharing, and allow you the ability to try many wines. Make sure to pair the wines with some of their Lancaster cheeses and chocolates for a delicious experience. Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love…please pair responsibly.