Owner(s): Anthony Vietri
Winemaker: Anthony Vietri
Open to Public
Fri 12 to 5:30; Sat-Sun 12 to 6
8820 Gap Newport Pike, Avondale, PA 19311
phone: (610) 268-2702
email: No available email
Va La Vineyards Profile
Written by—Brian Jun 4, 2018
Just south of Philadelphia, the Brandywine Valley contains a disproportionate number of Pennsylvania’s wineries of note. Va La Vineyards is one of those and can certainly be counted among the very top tier of the region’s producers.
The farm near Avondale has been in Anthony Vietri’s family since 1928, but the property was part of the original William Penn estate dating back to the colonial era. The stonework in the building that currently houses the tasting room dates back to that period and is believed to be nearly three centuries old.
The Vietri roots are Italian. Grape growing and winemaking were parts of that heritage. As the story was related, there were always some grapes grown on the farm and wine was made for personal consumption. It was Anthony who began planting for commercial production in 1999.
Today there are eight acres under vine and Va La is using exclusively estate fruit, so production levels are low. Bottling only 750 cases annually, it is technically a micro winery. Since quantity is not the objective, it appears that Vietri is pouring all of his energy into quality with dramatic results.
Italian varieties like Tocai, Malvasia Bianco, Fiano and Pinot Grigio are the basis of Va La’s white blends. Extended skin contact gives the whites a copper color and adds a complexity that lends well to food pairing. The Zafferano revealed hints of stone fruit and baked apple. The other white blend, La Prima Donna, displayed tropical notes with a touch of citrus. Both were exceptional.
I believe that the real superstars of the lineup, however, are the big, elegant and complex red blends. For these Vietri is growing Petit Verdot along with Italian grapes like Carmine, Barbera, Lagrein, Sagrantino and the list goes on. They are wines meant for aging and need to be cellared at least four years before opening.
Two reds were being poured during my visit. Featuring Carmine as the main blending variety, Castana is not produced every year. Dark fruit, coffee and a hint of spice make this a wine that seems destined for pairing with grilled meat. Mahogany is one of Va La’s “signature” reds and it was the standout of the tasting. There was just a lot going on in this wine and every taste revealed something different. I picked up a range of dark fruit, cocoa, spice and hints of tobacco. It is a great wine by any measure.
If you are exploring Pennsylvania wine and you have a list of wineries you are meaning to visit, move Va La to the top. If you don’t have a list, just make a point to drop in. I am surprised to learn that people don’t know about Va La Vineyards, but I only recently discovered them myself. This is one venue that is truly worthy of your time and after you stop in I am very curious to hear your reaction.