Angela Corrado, 2012
A glass of welcome wine was placed in our hands. Greeted with the warmest smile and a Sauvignon Blanc, Kristie Sheppard, co-owner of Kieran Robinson Wines, treated my significant other and I as if we were the close friends and family who arrived before us. I’m quick to notice, and sample, a display of local cheese from Birchrun Hills, September Farm, and Amazing Acres.Amani’s is known to utilize these local ingredients when constructing items on their dynamic menu.
The white wine’s tropical aroma demanded my taste bud’s attention and they quickly obeyed. I am fond of the rich palate from Jericho Vineyards, where Kieran is the Assistant Winemaker. It is a refreshing way to start the event but the real reason this group has gathered is to enjoy Kieran Robinson’s Bennett Valley Syrah from the 2009 Vivio Vineyard.
Just as the greatest things in life are worth the wait, Kieran’s journey to reach this admirable time in his life was not a short one. His passion formed in the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York while attending Ithaca College. Kieran worked at small production wineries. After school, he still possessed a strong love for the then hobby, now profession, and neglecting those feelings was not an option.
His next opportunity came when he returned home to the Philadelphia countryside at Chaddsford Winery. It was there that Kieran learned a lot about working in a non-traditional wine region of Pennsylvania. He explained, “there is much more to account for than just temperatures and weather,” which I foolishly assumed were the largest concerns. “The soils are also very different.”
Chaddsford Winery of Chester County proved to be more than just an educational spot for Kieran. It was also the location where he met Chester County local, Kristie, his business partner and soon to be wife.
“I was there with my parents for an event and he was working. Our relationship came full circle,” she told us in reference to the wine business they now run together.
I inquired about their wedding in three weeks, as I was slightly surprised when a friendly couple in attendance informed me they have not yet tied the not. “We pretend that we’re already married,” and it’s quite fitting since they have been together for ten years, living in France for some time and now residing in California. I’m sure the guest list for their upcoming wedding includes plenty of the 2009 Syrah. Should you have a special event or even just a social gathering where you’re looking to impress, I’d recommend adding the Syrah as a featured guest as well.
Best described by the winemaker himself, “the first sniff reveals a spicy red fruit, but as it sits in the glass the aromas turn to orange peel and smoky pork fat with a hint of bay leaf and lavender.” Kieran held onto a bottle the entire event, proud of his multi–leveled creation, and explained, “refined tannins grip your tongue and allow the well structured wine to last long after the sip.”
There is a smoothness to the Syrah I am extremely fond of and it pairs nicely with Amani’smouthwatering hors d’oeuvres, which are hard to say no to.
Duck Confit Panini with a Truffle Balsamic drizzle approached me first, followed by Flank Steak with Cherry Pesto and Short Rib Flatbread with Aged Cheddar, a Truffle Horseradish and Exotic Mushroom. The open kitchen concept allowed me to examine Jonathan Amann, owner and recent winner of Best Chef in Chester County, while he prepared a tray of Lamb Lollipops with Cherry Gastrique. My all time favorite, which I discovered others were also fond of when the wait staff couldn’t make it 3 feet before returning empty-handed, was the Gruyere Fig Tart with Toasted Onions, Scallions and Tomatoes in a Phyllo Cup.
The Syrah, being the greatest I have ever tasted to date, coupled with food performing off the charts made this Wine Tasting very special. Like the wine, Kieran’s generous friends and family were truly memorable. We spoke casually with his mother, Pat, who exuded a jolly pride for her son while she snapped a surprising candid photo of Alex and I. With momentum rolling from the 2009 release and support from this group, there is no doubt in my mind that Kieran’s tremendous talent will present more amazing products in the near future.