Owner(s): Nick and Athena Karabots
Winemaker: Kevin Robinson
Not Open to Public
Tasting room coming in 2019
Fort Washington, PA 19034
phone: (215) 641-0233
Karamoor Estate Profile
Written by Brian—Oct 19, 2018
The area around Philadelphia is home to some of the Quaker State’s best wineries. While most are clustered to the south at least one leading producer is just north of the city. Karamoor Estate Wines does not get the attention they deserve, but I suspect that will change over the next few years. This may indeed be one of the best wineries you’ve never heard of.
First of all, Karamoor has no public tasting room. There are plans to build one from a historic 19th Century, stone bank barn on the edge of the property, but that idea is only slowly coming to fruition. The truth is that things do not happen quickly at Karamoor, they evolve to perfection before being revealed to the public. Owners Nick and Athena Karabots have a vision and they will not compromise.
From the road, there are few signs that Karamoor exists. The address is not advertised. It is possible to join a public tour or groups can schedule a visit, but it is not possible to drop in unannounced. We called in advance and met with Sales and Marketing Director Cheri Morrison, who gave us a grand tour and let us taste a few of the wines. The property is absolutely stunning and it is easy to understand why the Karabots are unwilling to move quickly and potentially corrupt the small paradise they have created.
Of the estate’s 250 acres, only 27 are currently under vine. Lucy Morton was retained to supervise the three-year planting process that began in 2003. More will eventually be planted, but the existing acreage produced its first vintage in 2007. Today the winery is bottling between 4000 and 5000 cases annually. There are no hybrids or native grapes used in the Karamoor wines. Only French varieties are grown and only estate fruit is processed.
To oversee production, the Karabots hired veteran winemaker Kevin Robinson. A native of California and U.C. Davis graduate, Robinson came to Karamoor from Rutherford Hill and 26 years of experience in Napa and Lake County, California. It is safe to say that Robinson has come to understand local conditions and has helped the Karamoor program evolve into one that is truly world class. There is nothing bottled by Robinson that is less than stellar.
We had tasted Karamoor wines previously, but never had an opportunity to work through more than a couple offerings. We tried about a half dozen of the Karamoor wines during our stop and we were not disappointed. The estate Viognier was full of pear and apple notes with bright acidity. The Sauvignon Blanc was a real standout and my favorite among the whites. It was perfectly balanced with rich citrus and grapefruit notes.
The wine that totally took me by surprise was the estate single-varietal Petit Verdot. I’m accustomed to finding good ones in Virginia, but the Karamoor example was easily as good as any I’ve experienced in the Mid Atlantic (which is the same as saying the best you’ll find anywhere). Hints of tobacco, dark fruit and structured tannins stood out in this big wine. It is a contender in any competition and a brilliant example of what can be done with PV.
So, you can find the Karamoor wines at some retailers or, even better, join the wine club. You might also try to find space in one of the group tours. As things develop with the tasting room, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you do happen to make it out to the Karamoor Estate, please let me know your thoughts.