We’ve been big fans of Stargazers for a while now. Jet’s very first menu – in November of 2010 – featured their magical, 2008 Cabernet Franc. It was a customer favorite then, and our appreciation for John’s wines has only grown since.
Stargazers is found in the rolling hills of Chester County, an hours drive out of Philly to Coatesville. John Weygandt – with his late-wife Alice – planted the first vines in 1979 before creating wines under the Stargazers’ label in 1996. John and Alice were pioneers in many ways, by championing solar energy and sustainable agriculture, coordinating the efforts of the growing, PA wine-community and, above all, visualizing the potential for high-quality wines from grapes grown in the local soils.
The name, Stargazers, is a nod to the Mason-Dixon line, and the observation tower that was used to survey the land and create the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania. The location of the tower – the Star Gazers tower – is today marked by a stone.
This month at Jet you can look forward to:
Rose Gold – an approachable rosé of Pinot Noir, with minty/nutty start and a soft cherry and white-pepper finish
Arneis – The piemontese grape does very well here, and this Arneis is creamy (it spends ample time sur lies) fruity, and well-balanced with acid.
Warp Drive – Petit Verdot is one of our favorite grapes, and this PV blend has all of its dusty, lavender, white-flower charms.
Sarah and Galen Troxell own and operate Galen Glen. The vineyards are ideally situated on glacially deposited, fosilliferous shale at cooler, higher altitude amidst mountains. This land used to be underwater, as evidenced by the Crinoid (sea creatures) fossils that litter the ground. According to Sarah, “no one noticed (them) until I started pointing them out. It’s overwhelming to touch something 360 million years old and think about the vastness of time.” The couple took over Galen’s family estate in 1995, and started planting vines. Sarah’s wine-making skills have been well-recognized, and are especially apparent in her structured, mineral driven, German-influenced offerings. Experimentation with german grapes has paid off for the couple. Sarah famously planted Grüner Veltliner in the vineyards not after tasting the grape, but after reading about it and the food with which it pairs well; Galen Glen’s Grüner now garners numerous awards.
Vinology Rosé – this easy drinker is off-dry, fruity, and zippy, with a looong finish.
Stone Cellar Gewurztraminer – a beautiful, minerally wine with tropical fruit undertones and good citrus-y zest.
Stone Cellar Zweigelt – a little spice, earth, and bright berries.
Va La is the youngest of our featured wineries; the first vines were planted in 1999 and the winery doors opened in 2002. Anthony and Karen Vietri own the small – but storied – Avondale vineyard on land that has been in Anthony’s family since 1928. Growing up, his family bought wine grapes from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, not realizing the land’s grape potential. Coincidentally, while on a trip to California, Anthony and Karen stumbled upon the very-same vineyard that supplied grapes to Anthony’s parents and grandparents; the couple subsequently used grapes from that vineyard to make wine for their wedding.
Today, the Vietris no longer need to purchase grapes. They grow numerous – mainly Italian – grapes on their small property (under 10 acres), which they craft into field blends. For their efforts, Va La has been named among the 101 Best Wineries in America for 4 years running.
Try these wines during October at Jet:
Silk – a juicy, fruit forward, lightly-spiced dry rosato. Pleasing to the palate.
La Prima Donna – a field-blend “orange” wine (extended skin-contact) that is mead-y, fruity, nutty, complex, and wholly delicious.
Castana – Only made occasionally, the name is an homage to the “chestnut” treasure of Vietri family-lore. Dark, rich, and complex.