Happy New Year!
2018 was quite a year for Karamoor Estate! We are buzzing with change, honors, growth and exciting plans for the future!
Let me begin with our fall harvest. It was a difficult year with the terrible weather. I think the sun was on a hiatus!
Grapes are not created equally. The different varietals have different qualities, shape of leaves, shape and size of berries and even how tight the berries are in the clusters. The tighter the clusters, the more difficult it is to prevent them from rot and mold because the air doesn’t move freely through to help them dry. Developing a good balance of canopy management is also critical. Too much sun and air can be as damaging as not enough. All of the rain made this very difficult. Joe Rienzi, our viticulturist was quite diligent keeping up with the leaf pulling, so the grape clusters receive better exposure to the sun and to airflow. This and other techniques are key in preventing rot, mold and diseases. It also helps promote optimum ripening and sugar levels in the grapes. So as we moved through harvest, our winemaker, Kevin Robinson and Joe would go through the vineyards, each day checking the progress and quality of the grapes. They would watch the weather forecasts intently. If the grapes were close but not quite ready for harvest, they would evaluate if the grapes would withstand the torrential downpours and wind. I think Kevin referred to it as, “picking before the next deluge”. It’s better to take them down a little early than lose them to the rot, mold or falling to the ground. As the berries mature, their skins become much thinner and delicate so it is better to “use it than lose it”. Hurricane Florence destroyed many of Virginia's vineyards in September. There will be very few red wines from Virginia in 2018. The rain at the end of the season, in combination with a cold snap late in late March, killing many of the new buds ready to pop open, made our season not only difficult but yielded about 40% less than our usual harvest. Because it was necessary to get the grapes off of the vines much sooner than usual, harvest 2018 was complete two weeks early.
Another distraction from the usual harvest practices was being on constant watch for the nasty and invasive bad bug, the spotted lanternfly, aka; SLF (Lycorma delicatula) . The SLF are destroying vineyards, orchards and taking over all around our area, especially Berks County. If you see them…kill them and notify the Department of Agriculture. Though they were “spotted” near our vineyards but with swift and proper protocol, we hopefully eliminated future issues.
Lot’s of great material in 2018 for my book, “Making Wine Isn’t For Whiners”!!
Moving onward and upward, some fantastic news on our vines…we’ve had quite a few exciting visitors, been in the news and added some very prestigious accolades to our trophy case!
It started off with a full day visit from Don Winkler, Editor & Mike Potashnik, Publisher of The International Wine Review along with six other, highly regarded Pennsylvania Vineyards and Wineries including; Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery, Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery, Grandview Vineyard, Maple Springs Vineyard, Pennswoods Winery and Pinnacle Ridge Winery. Don and Mike tasted through approximately 30 wines and are writing an article about wines in the northeast and Pennsylvania. Coming soon!!
We then had another fantastic visit with Anne and Brian Yost of Wine Tourist Magazine and the The Virginia Grape. We toured the property, tasted through some wines and then they continued on to a few of the Pennsyvania and NJ vineyards. They wrote a great article and took some nice photos. I will include all links at the end of this blog.
The next honor and surprise was Karamoor Estate’s 2013 Merlot Reserve, being named Forbes Wine of the Week!! Followed by medals from the San Francisco International Wine Competition!
SILVER MEDAL, Karamoor Estate 2015 Merlot
SILVER MEDAL, Karamoor Estate 2016 Petit Verdot
SILVER MEDAL, Karamoor Estate 2017 Sauvignon Blanc
BRONZE MEDAL, Karamoor Estate 2015 Cabernet Franc
On the heels of these awards came the announcement of James Suckling’s American Wine Revolution reviews with Karamoor receiving 88, 89 and 90 points!
This past weekend we received the announcement from the largest competion of American wines in the world: The San Francisco Chronicle Competition, Karamoor Estate received 5 medals! One gold and four silver!!! Up against the biggest and the best with over 7000 entries...we are quite proud!! Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Karabots for their vision, making the commitment and the hard work to produce world class wines AND to Kevin Robinson, Joe Rienzi and the rest of the team for their hard work and excellent viticultural and winemaking skills!
2015 Karamoor Estate Cabernet Franc silver
2016 Karamoor Estate Chardonnay gold
2015 Karamoor Estate Meritage silver
2015 Karamoor Estate Merlot silver
2017 Karamoor Estate Sauvignon Blanc silver
All of these honors took each of us back to a quote made last year by Philadelphia’s famous food and wine critique - Craig LaBan, "Still surprised that good wine is made in Philly's suburbs? I'm not, especially from Karamoor, the passion project of Nick and Athena Karabots, who have done everything right to get the most out of their Montgomery County terroir, with impressively drinkable wines from the first vintage."
A couple of additions to our programs at Karamoor, if you are a Wine Club member. In addition to the list of perks as a member we have added “pick up parties” which will take place and be an option when it’s time for your club releases. We introduced the idea last October and received favorable responses! We will let you know when the next release and pick up party will be taking place!!
Even more exciting is the view of the tasting room located on Butler Pike!! The cement has been poured and the timbers will be up in the next few weeks!!!! Woot! Woot!! I think we’ll be seeing you in the Tasting Room this summer!!!
A couple of dates have been posted for the upcoming week Tasting &Tours! There are always some good wine specials during our tours. If you’re not a Wine Club member, you may want to check it out! The perks and the fun that go with the membership keep getting better!!
Like a new season for our vines, our goal is to learn, grow, establish and be stronger every year with everything we do! We are thrilled you enjoy being a part of our growth and success!
Cheers! To a Happy and Healthy New Year from all of us at Karamoor Estate!!
See you in the vineyard!
#JAMESSUCKLING #BRIANFREEDMAN #BRIANYOST #FORBES #WINETOURISTMAGAZINE #PHILADELPHIAMAGAZINE #MIDATLANTICEVENTS #PHILLYINSIDER #CRAIGLABAN #KARAMOORESTATE #JERICHONATIONALGOLFCLUB #WINEENTHUSIAST
Another week is coming to a close. Only 5 full weeks left in 2015...that sounds so crazy to say out loud. I am so excited for next week, though. My favorite brother and my favorite sister-in-law-to-be fly in on Wednesday! Yay!! I cannot wait. Not only does Thanksgiving happen next week, but we also are having an engagement party for Zacky and Steph. Mom and Dad are having it at their house and it is going to be catered by our favorite BYO restaurant in Skippack, 19 Bella. 19 Bella does small plates. I love small plate restaurants because you can just order a huge amount of dishes and share all those delicious flavors amongst the family (or friends!) at your table. Anyway, to say that I am excited for the party is an extreme understatement. Mom asked me to bake some of my famous cookies and I will also be helping to put together some centerpieces (I don't know if I told you this, but I took a flower arranging class in college (1 day a week for like 3 hours for a total of about 6 weeks), so I am pretty much a pro). Can't wait to see all the family and friends come together to celebrate an awesome couple.
Before this party, though, is Thanksgiving! My most favorite holiday (as I explained in last week's blog). I wasn't totally sure what I was going to write about this week, but after chatting with Casey for a bit, I came to the conclusion that I would make some recommendations for pairing our wines (and some other grape varieties that you would have to look elsewhere for) with dishes that you may find on your Thanksgiving table.
For the pre-dinner appetizers:
I am a big fan of cheese trays. If you do it right, it is the only thing you need during appetizer time (in my opinion, anyway). Stinky, unique, smooth, pungent, strong, mild, nutty, or...as you can see, I do not discriminate on the cheeses that I enjoy... Then you have all the cheese board accoutrements; crackers, marcona almonds, dried fruit crisps, duck prosciutto, etc. Finding a wine that can stand up to a lot of cheeses can be tough. I LOVE a Gewurtztraminer with a cheese tray. Like...hands down, my favorite type of wine with cheeses. I especially love it with cheeses made from goat milk, but I think it goes pretty well with most cheeses. It is a bummer, but Gewurtz doesn't grow well at all here and we will never plant it :(.
For the main event:
Soup: Dad usually covers the soup area. Typically we do something with at least a bit of cream in it. My personal favorite of his is called Zippy Corn Chowder (this recipe looks similar: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/zippy-corn-chowder). It is exactly what it sounds like and it is awesome. I think I would like to drink this alongside of our 2013 Chardonnay. There is a nice balance of acid in that wine that would cut through the richness of the soup.
Turkey: Typically at our dinner, we have 2 turkeys; one is a traditional turkey that is stuffed with onions and carrots and herbs, etc, and one is a deboned, pounded turkey breast that is rolled and stuffed with chopped chestnuts, sage, mushrooms, and sausage. I would want to drink our 2012/2013 Cabernet Franc with either of these turkeys.
Stuffing: Since we do not stuff our turkeys with bread stuffing, we make a stuffing side dish, and usually that stuffing has some kind of sausage (because..pork) that has been cooked up with some sage, finely chopped mushrooms, carrots, onions, and thyme. I would pair this with our 2012/2013 Cabernet Franc as well.
Lasagna: I am not sure if we are the only family that makes lasagna on Thanksgiving, but Mom started that tradition about 20 years ago and it stuck. My mom's lasagna is pretty epic. I would love it alongside of our 2010 Reserve Merlot.
Vegetables: We usually have brussels sprouts sometimes au gratin, sometimes with gruyere and bacon. We also always have Dad's famous stringbeans with carrots, garlic, and 1lb of bacon (are you recognizing a theme with the vegetables?). Mashed sweet potatoes with butter and salt (we don't do the marshmallows or brown sugar...or bacon...surpisingly). I would probably do our 2012/2013 Cabernet Franc here as well.
Dessert (my favorite): My motto with dessert is, "go big or go home". We do a caramel apple cheesecake (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/caramel-apple-cheesecake-recipe.html). Enough said. This is the recipe we have used in the past and it is amazing. Drink it with a tawny port. We also always have Mom's famous wet chocolate cake topped with cream cheese frosting. FAMOUS. Requested by all. It's a secret recipe, so don't even ask, but this recipe looks somewhat similar: http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/03/chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/. Drink with coffee and cream topped with a bit of Frangelico.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Make it a safe and happy one! Please be on the lookout for a special email next week regarding a Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend Karamoor sale. You won't want to miss it. Until next time...
Halloween and daylight savings happens this weekend. The fall daylight savings is not nearly as bad as spring (where you lose an hour of sleep!), but it means that the days get dark at like 5PM. Does/did it really help farmers all that much? I just don't really get the point of daylight savings. At least this year we are lucky to have an extra hour of sleep on the day after Halloween...which will really help with productivity on Sunday... I am going to a Halloween party on Saturday night, and I am dressing up as a monkey. Hopefully my friends do not read this blog, or I will have ruined the big reveal. It's one of those fluffy costumes. Like a 1 piece pajama set but with monkey parts attached to it. I don't think Mom would be proud of this costume. She used to make all of our costumes by hand when we were kids. This was ordered off of Amazon. The homemade costumes were awesome! One year, I was Glenda the Good Witch of the North, one year I was Raggedy Ann, one year I was Cruella Deville...the list goes on. Not one of the parts of those costumes came from a plastic pouch from the store. Every year, after Halloween comes and goes, I make a promise to myself that "next year will be the year where I make my own costume, and it is going to be awesome!". Maybe 2016. ...
So, as the title of this blog post leads you to believe, we have indeed released some new products. Just in time for the holidays! I will list these items one at a time, so that I may draw out the suspense. The first product that I want to tell you about is actually Karamoor's first PRODUCT (not wine). It is an electronic gift card! They are so easy too. All you have to do is choose the amount, enter the payment information, decide if you want to send the gift directly to the person or print it out to wrap it up, and voila! Done. Redeeming it couldn't be easier either. At the point of check out, just enter the code that is sent in the email, and the amount due will be updated to reflect what was applied from the card. Simple simple.
In addition to the gift card, we released some of our new vintages! These wines will be available on our website (through the winery) only and will not be available to our resturant or wholesale accounts for a few months. You will find 3 new wines on the website. The first is our 2014 Chardonnay. The 2014 Chardonnay is really very nice. It is crisp and lively with a nice mouth feel and a touch of oak. The full tasting notes on it can be found here: http://www.karamoorwines.com/product/2014-Chardonnay?pageID=082DD581-AC21-2E53-EFED-FB8173D35439&sortBy=DisplayOrder&maxRows=10&.
We also released the 2013 Meritage and the 2013 Cabernet Franc. The Meritage is velvety. When we were doing the tasting notes, all I could keep saying was "it's like velvet!"...but like, well-structured velvet with nice tannins. It obviously has some other really great characteristics, like a nose of dark fruit and dusty leather. Full tasting notes can be found here: http://www.karamoorwines.com/product/2013-Meritage?pageID=082DD581-AC21-2E53-EFED-FB8173D35439&sortBy=DisplayOrder&maxRows=10&. The Cabernet Franc is delicious as always. You get a nose full of bing cherry and black trumpet mushroom which leads to flavors that are dominated by black cherry. Those full tasting notes can be found here: http://www.karamoorwines.com/product/2013-Cabernet-Franc?pageID=082DD581-AC21-2E53-EFED-FB8173D35439&sortBy=DisplayOrder&maxRows=10&.
We are gearing up for what we anticipate to be a busy holiday season! I will be at the Flourtown liquor store this evening from 4-6PM with their wine specialist, Marianne. If you have been looking for a good time to sample some Karamoor wines, wait no longer, this is it! Hopefully you are not busy and I will get to meet you tonight. If you can't make it, I hope that you all have a safe and happy Halloween! Until next time...
There is a new blog post, so it must be Friday! I hope everyone has enjoyed their week. I cannot believe how fast summer is flying by. I live for these three months because...no schoolbusses. Next week or the week after (I am not sure exactly, but I know it is right around the corner), I just know that my lower stress summertime commute to work will now be coated in flashing red and yellow lights. I feel like 2 things have happened since I have occupied a green pleather seat on one of those yellow schoolbusses: 1. Kids have become A LOT more brazen. I cannot tell you how many times I have been behind a schoolbus with these little kids making faces and using choice fingers, and I mean, what can you do? I am an adult. They are children. You can't be the adult that makes faces back... 2. The schoolbusses stop at EVERY house on a road. There don't seem to be school bus "stops" anymore. You know, where a bunch of kids stand in a line waiting to get on the bus. As a kid, our street was probably about a quarter mile (equivalent of walking to school uphill both ways? maybe), and I remember seeing that yellow bus and having to run, back pack jostling filled with books covered in brown paper grocery bags. Kids these days...they really have it easy. Boy, do I sound like Mom.
Anyway, onto wine! 2013 Merlot, to be exact. I prefer this Merlot to our older vintages, and I will tell you why. It is very easy drinking. It doesn't need food, or breathing, or decanting. You can drink it right out of the bottle...with a glass of course because college is over. It was bottled in March of 2015, so it is drinking well now, but if you want to lay it down for a while, you can do that too. It has been very well received by our restaurant accounts, which means it is being well received by their customers (aka the people reading this blog). Here are the tasting notes that we came up with here: A generous offering of cherry-pie fruit and toasted vanilla are accompanied by hints of fennel, cinnamon, and clove notes. Very soft tannins with good acidity and balance invite sip after sip of this supple, medium-bodied Merlot.
I would recommend this wine for cocktail hour. It would do very well alongside a fabulous platter of Charcuterie, inclusive of a nice pate, toasted breads, and a Beaufort cheese. If you wanted to pair it with a main dish, I think that I would love to drink it alongside of a grill fired pizza (or wood fired!); for me, it would be Gruyere, pancetta, carmelized onions, with some properly fried mushrooms and a sprig of fresh rosemary. You can find a similar recipe here: http://main.colavita.com/caramelized-onion-and-gruyere-pizza-2/. They leave out some of the things I mention, but you can easily add them! I would also recommend this wine with a great big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. Maybe with a side of garlic bread. I am pretty lucky because I get homemade tomato sauce from my grandmother via the garden here, but if you are looking for a nice recipe, here is something similar to the one that I make (when grandma's sauce is gone): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/basic-tomato-sauce-recipe12.html.
Enjoy your weekend. The weather looks like it is going to be pretty glorious, perfect for some backyard enjoyment...which coincidentally goes very well with our 2013 Merlot! Next week, I will be bringing you another vineyard and winery update. There will be plenty to tell as we get closer and closer to our first harvest of the 2015 season. As always, remember that shipping is free on purchases of 3 bottles or more! Until next time...
Hello! It is almost the weekend! I hope that everyone has some great plans. Maybe those plans involve a bottle of Karamoor Estate wine? I know mine do!
I am going to tell you a secret...OK, maybe not a secret, but a little known fact: We bottled a 100% Petit Verdot from our 100% estate grown Petit Verdot. It was a super small amount that we bottled, only 50 cases to be precise (down to 47 now). Here's how it happened: One day, Kevin and I were walking through the barrel room down at the winery, doing some sampling (job perk!). We had tried the Meritage, the Merlots (Reserve Merlot and Merlot), the Cab Franc - I was BLOWN AWAY by the quality of all these wines. We were passing some barrels on our way out that we hadn't tasted, so I asked Kevin what was in them. He said, "That's the 2013 Petit Verdot. Do you want to try that?", to which I said, "Ummm...obviously, yes.". As soon as I took my first smell, I was just taken with it. First sip, it was all over. I had to have it bottled. I didn't care how much or how little we would have after blending, I needed it! Our PV in years past has been good, great color, nice flavor profile, good structure, but the 2013 was different. I told Kevin we had to bottle it..kind of begged him. When he went through the wines that he planned to bottle with my grandparents, he brought along the 2013 Petit Verdot, explaining that I had been a thorn in his side about wanting it bottled. It was my grandmother's favorite! I didn't even have to plant the seed beforehand, and she still helped seal the deal. So, now, you have the ability to try the wine that we are calling the "best wine we have produced to date", words straight from Kevin's mouth just a few weeks ago!
The tasting notes as written by us here are: This unfined and unfiltered rarity is recognized more as a blending Bordeaux varietal than as a stand-alone bottling. Intense aromas of black currants along with nuances of cigar box, cedar and lilacs are an enticement to the concentrated flavors of wild blackberries and new leather on a multi-layered and concentrated fruit palate. This muscular and opaque wine is remarkably silky in texture with enough velvety tannins to allow for great aging potential.
If you are going to buy 1 bottle, do yourself a favor and buy 2 (or 10). Drink one as soon as you can, and then, if you are able to resist temptation, lay the other one down for a few years. I would recommend that you have this wine alongside of big dishes, like a grilled porterhouse, braised shortribs, elk, or venison. If you are looking for some cheese to enjoy with it, I would recommend an aged Stilton, Pecorino-Ramano, Manchego Seco, or any other cheese that is bold and aged to perfection (I love cheese)!
I thought that this braised shortrib recipe looked particulary good: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/red-wine-braised-shortribs-367736. It should highlight the wine perfectly. I also thought that this elk chop recipe would go well: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/elk-chop-in-blackberry-port-sauce-recipe.html (in the elk chop recipe, brown sauce is a demi glace).
If you have any questions about this wine or any other wine, feel free to give me a shout. As always, shipping is free with a purchase of 3 bottles or more. If $55 is looking pretty steep, join our Reserve Wine Club to recieve 10% off this wine every time you buy it. You can check out all the perks of our wine clubs here: http://www.karamoorwines.com/Wine-Clubs.
Until next time...
Karamoor Estate 2013 Chardonnay: "Like after a spring rain, this expresses aromas of wet stone, quince, and ripe tangerine. A crisp wine with a medium body, the palate offers a spritzy sense of citrus along with white pepper, saline and a long finish of juniper.". This is how Julie Albin, Editor-in-Chief of Drink Me Magazine (San Francisco, CA), described our delicious Chardonnay.
Our 2013 Chardonnay is the younger sister of the 2012 Chardonnay that we sold entirely to the Union League of Philadelphia under their own private label. Both of these wines reflect the styling of Kevin Robinson which is more in line with a Chablis than an oaky or buttery Chardonnay. He aged 50% of this Chardonnay in oak (of which 15% was new) and 50% in stainless steel, it was sur lie aged for 8 months with lees stirring every 2 weeks.
This style of Chardonnay goes particularly well with shellfish like shrimp, scallops, and lobster, it goes well with creamy cow's milk cheeses, pastas with cream based sauces, chicken or fish with buerre blanc or cream based sauces. If I were you, I would try it with crispy chicken thighs finished in a mushroom cream sauce! Happened to find a great looking recipe right here: http://damndelicious.net/2015/01/09/chicken-creamy-mushroom-sauce/. If you are more of a seafood person, this bay scallop pasta with a butter lemon sauce could be just the ticket: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/taglierini-with-bay-scallops-and-meyer-lemon.
As always, shipping is free with purchases of 3 bottles or more on Karamoor's website!
My name is Alecia Duloc, I work for Karamoor Estate as the Sales & Marketing Manager and I am looking forward to sharing fun and informative blog posts with you! Since this is Karamoor's first blog post ever, I feel like I should maybe introduce you to who we really are. Karamoor started as, and continues to be, a passion project for Nicholas and Athena Karabots (my grandparents). Though neither of them are farmers or winemakers, they do (probably like many of you) enjoy a great bottle of wine! So, that's why we are here today. To make great wine. Wines that you would be proud to have on your dinner table no matter the company. Wines that are grown, produced, bottled, and labeled here on our Estate.
The way we started this project is not in the normal sequence that most wineries begin (but then, Mr. and Mrs. Karabots didn't get to where they are today by going with the grain...). We bottled our first wines from our 2007 crop, from vines that we planted in 2006... We won the Governor's Cup (translates to Best wine in the State of PA) with our 2008 Meritage, which was the first vintage that we made available to the public. We didn't sell our first bottle of wine until the beginning of 2012, and it was to a wholesale account. We don't have a tasting room and won't have one until 2016. Over 85% of our business comes from wholesale accounts (restaurants, private clubs, PLCB...).
Most wineries make their first vintage, open a tasting room, and try to get some retail sales running right out of the gate. We have taken the past three years to build a wholesale base of high end restaurants and clubs within the Philadelphia area (now stretching out to Harrisburg) which has allowed Karamoor to help facilitate the thinking that Pennsylvania can make some pretty great wines (reaffirmation here: http://www.drinkmemag.com/yes-pennsylvania-does-have-good-wine-discovering-karamoor-estate/). We have had the opportunity to work with some of the best Sommeliers in Philadelphia (Steve Widly & Jeff Benjamin (Vetri), Carl Etcheverry (The Union League of Philadelphia), Henry Greenly (formerly at Del Frisco's), and Keith Wallace (Wine School of Philadelphia)) which is a tremendous honor! The fact that they got behind our products was truly awesome.
Our plan is to continue to make dry vinifera wines that can hold their own on the world stage. Hopefully, with each passing year, we only continue to improve. As our newcomers get to know us, or our loyal customers get to know us better, we hope that you will share your opinions with us. We hope that you see the value in our products, and we hope that the care that we take in our Estate vineyards is reflected in each bottle you drink.
Until next time!