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Swirl, Sniff, and Taste Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   
Sand Castle Vineyards, Bucks County PA, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience Bucks County, Pennsylvania provides visitors with the opportunity to experience history from pre-Revolutionary times to the wine pioneers who established the Bucks County Wine Trail. Swirl, sniff, and taste Bucks County is an introduction to the wine and dine scene; eat, drink, and be merry! With its close proximity to New York City, (a 90 minute drive), and to Philadelphia, (a mere 45 minute drive), Bucks County is perfect as a pleasant day trip or for a getaway weekend.

The Wine Experience - Meet the Master Vintners of Bucks County

When one thinks of the state of Pennsylvania winemaking is not something that immediately comes to mind at least for most people; Benjamin Franklin, William Penn, and the Liberty Bell, yes, winemaking, no. However, winemaking is indeed a part of the new history of Bucks County, ever since Jerry Forest, founder of Buckingham Valley Vineyards, planted his first vines back in 1966. Since then, other intrepid pioneers have followed suit; today there are over 140 wineries in the state of Pennsylvania and 8 wineries that make up the Bucks County Wine Trail.

William Penn's First Walking Purchase - Photo by Luxury Experience
William Penn's First Walking Purchase 

As oenophiles, Edward and I have paid homage at wineries throughout Europe in Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Sicily, Switzerland, as well as in Canada. In the United States, we have journeyed to wineries in Arizona; to Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley in California; to Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, to the Finger Lakes region and to the Long Island wine region in New York, and even to wineries in Texas. We appreciate the art and science that takes the humble grape and transforms it into a work of beauty, and enjoy learning more about wine straight from the master vintners' mouth.

In late March 2010, Edward and I traveled to Bucks County to discover yet another wine region of the United States, and to have a better understanding and appreciation of winemaking in Pennsylvania, we visited four of the wineries on the Bucks County Wine Trail including meeting with Jerry Forest, master vintner and Bucks County pioneer at Buckingham Valley Vineyards, located in Buckingham Valley, who had just returned from Germany where he had been visiting wineries.

Jerry Forest, Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Jerry Forest of Buckingham Valley Vineyards

Jerry was one of the first winemakers in Pennsylvania, however his methods are anything but staid; his wines may be made with old world methods, yet he fully embraces technology, and if they gave a prize for boys with specialized toys, he would be at the top of the list. Think computer operated wine presses, an automatic 396-bottle champagne riddling machine, computerized stainless steel tanks, and a cross flow membrane filtration machine that can take a cloudy or fermenting wine and make it crystal clear without stripping it. In fact, he had the first cross flow membrane filtration machine in the United States in 1988 and is now on his third machine.

Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Buckingham Valley Vineyards Technology

Although he has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of Business his dream during college was to own a vineyard and to produce quality, approachable, and drinkable wines. He realized his dream planting 37 varietals in 1966 in a trial and error method, 10 or 12 of them actually worked well, and like the little engine that could, (I think I can, I think I can), indeed succeeded.

Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Training Young Vines

The 40-acre Buckingham Valley Vineyards is family owned and operated, and sells approximately 200,000 bottles, (18,000 cases) over the counter each year. Passion and hard work have paid off handsomely for Buckingham Valley Vineyards, which produces red wine, white wine, rose, fruit, and flavored wines, sparkling wines (Methode Champenoise) and their just released Ruby Port, which until now, was only produced for family consumption. In addition to the usual Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, they also produce some different wines that one does not often see such as Chambourcin, which is a dry oak-aged full-bodied red, Chancellor, which is a dry, medium-bodied red; and DeChaunac, which is a dry, full-bodied red.

Jerry Forest and Debra Argen - Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Jerry Forest Showing Debra Sparkling Wine

Buckingham Valley Vineyards is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm, Sunday from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm, and is closed on Monday. Visit their website for additional information.

Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA

Buckingham Valley Vineyards
1521 Durham Road (Route 413)
Buckingham, Pennsylvania 18912
United States
Telephone:
      +1-215-794-7188
Website:
           www.PAWine.com
  

Brothers Paul and Joseph Maxian own Sand Castle Winery, located in Erwinna, approximately 12 miles north of New Hope, where at the top of a large hill, there is indeed an impressive castle located on the 72-acre estate.

Sand Castle Winery, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Sand Castle Winery

We met with Joseph Maxian and his wife, Magdalene and learned that he was born and raised in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, and grew up surrounded by vineyards where his father often "volunteered" him and his brother to help out the neighbors during harvest time. It was not long before the seed and the passion for making wine started to firmly take root.

Joseph and Magdalene Maxian - Sand Castle Winery, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Joseph and Magdalene Maxian

Joseph and his brother Paul moved to the United States, purchased their property in 1974, planted their first vines in 1985, and sold their first vintage to the public in 1988. Joseph's approach to winemaking is to create old-world style wines, which includes three different styles of Johannisberg Rieslings, Chardonnay, Rosé, Claret, Cuvee Blush, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Alpine Spice.

Joseph Maxian - Sand Castle Winery, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA
Sand Castle Barrels

Sand Castle Winery is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, and on Sunday from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm. Visit their website for additional information. 

Sand Castle Winery, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience

Sand Castle Winery
755 River Road
P.O. Box 177
Erwinna, Pennsylvania 18920
United States
Toll Free:
         +1-800-722-9463
Fax:
                  +1-610-294-9174
Email:
               This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it        
Website:
          www.SandCastleWinery.com

The Carroll family, Tom, wife Christine, and son, Tom Carroll, Jr. of Crossing Vineyards are relative newcomers to the wine industry having purchased their 200-year old property in 1985, established their vineyard in 2000, produced their first vintage in 2002, and opened the vineyard to the public in October 2003, which had been a dream of Tom Jr. since the age of 10.

he Carroll Family, Christine, Tom Sr, Tom Jr. - Crossing Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience
The Carrolls, Christine, Tom Sr., and Tom Jr. 

Tom Jr. is the passionate master vintner whose wines have already received many medals in international competitions, and who modestly describes himself as, "I am a professional janitor who maintains the quality of the fruit, as the quality of the fruit dictates 95% of the result of the wine."

Crossing Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience
Crossing Vineyards Awards

Although his parents are involved in other aspects of the wine business, there is perhaps another budding winemaker in the family, Tom and his wife, Kate, have a daughter, who at the tender age of 4½ is already swirling and nosing wine, picking out aromas, and letting her likes and dislikes be known judging the wine solely by the nose; as for their son, age 1½, it is still too early to tell.

Crossing Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA
Crossing Vineyards Barrel Room

Crossing Vineyards produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Chambourcin, as well as Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling, Late Harvest Vidal Blanc, and specialty wines such as Wild Berry, Le Nouveau, and Brut Rose wines.

Crossing Vineyards is open daily from 12:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Visit their website for additional information.

Crossing Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA

Crossing Vineyards
1853 Wrightstown Road
P.O. Box 866
Washington, Crossing, Pennsylvania 18977
United States
Telephone:
      +1-215-493-6500
Website:
           www.CrossingVineyards.com

Richard and Deborah Fraser established Wycombe Vineyards in 2005, which is the youngest of the vineyards that we visited. Although the vineyard is a new endeavor, the 65-acre estate has been in the family since 1925.

Richard Fraser, Wycombe Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience
Richard Fraser

Richard and Deborah planted their first vines in 1999, classic Vitas Vinifera. Their approach is to create fine wines using handpicked estate grown grapes and using Bordeaux style pruning. Richard explained that the American soil is so rich that you can get volume, however without pruning there is uneven ripening of the grapes, and with pruning, you get a lower quantity of grapes, but the quality is better.

Wycombe Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA
Wycombe Vineyards

Wycombe Vineyards produces red wines that include Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and white wines that include Traminette, Riesling, Vidal Blanc, Naked Chardonnay, and Just Married. Family photo album labels distinguish this up-and-coming vineyard.

Wycombe Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA
Tasting Room

Wycombe Vineyards is open Wednesday through Friday from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm, Saturday from 12:00 pm until 6:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm. Visit their website for additional information.

Wycombe Vineyards, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA

Wycombe Vineyards
1391 Forest Grove Road
Furlong, Pennsylvania 18925
United States
Telephone:
      +1-215-598-WINE (9463)
Website:
           www.WycombeVineyards.com

The Dining Experience - The Restaurants and Chefs of Bucks County  

The Bridgetown Mill House in Langhorne was built as a private mansion in 1791. In 1998, this stunning Federal style building was transformed into a tiny luxury inn, and in 2003, the owners added an elegant fine dining restaurant. Chef Michael Sujansky, a Bucks County native, has been creating inspired recipes since the restaurant opened.

The Bridgetown Mill House, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA
The Bridgetown Mill House Dining Room

We had a wonderful dinner at the restaurant dining on first courses of Roasted Quail with Chipotle and Cranberry Flavored Risotto, and Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Lobster Bisque with Parsley and Thyme Oil.

Quail - The Bridgetown Mill House, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience  Lobster Bisque - The Bridgetown Mill House, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Roasted Quail                        Lobster Bisque

Other dining highlights included Pan Seared Pork Chop with Cranberry and Blue Cheese flavored Risotto, Braised Red Cabbage, Haricot Verts, and Port Wine Sauce; and Sautéed Atlantic Salmon with Basil Flavored Whipped Potatoes, Buttered Asparagus, and Bordelaise Sauce.

Pan Seared Pork Chop - The Bridgetown Mill House, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience  Salmon - The Bridgetown Mill House, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Pan Seared Pork Chop           Sautéed Atlantic Salmon

The Bridgetown Mill House is open for Dinner from Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 pm.

Read more about The Bridgetown Mill House in the Restaurants section and in the Chefs' Recipes section where Chef Michael Sujansky shares a delicious taste of the restaurant with his recipe for Lobster Bisque .

Chef Michael Sujansky - The Bridgetown Mill House, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Michael Sujansky

The Bridgetown Mill House
Lodging & Dining
760 Langhorne-Newtown Road, Route 413
Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047
United States
Telephone:
       +1-215-752-8996
Fax:
                  +1-215-741-1668
Email:
               This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:
          www.BridgetownMillHouse.com

The historic Logan Inn, located in the village of New Hope has proudly upheld the tradition of hospitality since it opened as a tavern in 1722, and as The Ferry Inn in 1727. It is the oldest building in New Hope, is the oldest continuously operating inn in Bucks County, and is one of the fifth oldest inns in the United States. Chef/Owner Pete Gialias purchased this unique part of American history in 2007 and is clearly making his mark on the restaurant scene.

Chef Pete Gialias, Logan Inn, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience
Chef Pete Gialias

We had an excellent lunch at the restaurant enjoying Braised Short Ribs served with mashed potatoes, boiled and braised white onions, sliced carrots, and broccoli crowns in a rich and hearty gravy, and the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Sandwich, the restaurant's signature dish, that was served on a housemade onion roll accompanied with lettuce, tomatoes, Bermuda onions, a pickle spear, golden steak fries, and fried asparagus spears.

Braised Short Ribs - Logan Inn, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience     Crab Cake Sandwich, Logan Inn, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience
              Braised Short Ribs          Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Sandwich

The Logan Inn is open for Lunch Sunday through Monday from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm, for Dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm; and for Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. There is live music in the evening, check their website for the schedule.

Logan Inn, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA
Logan Inn Dining Room

Read about the Logan Inn in the Restaurants section and in the Chefs' Recipes section where Chef Pete Gialias shares his classic Greek recipes for Lemon Olive Oil Sauce and Moussaka .

Logan Inn, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience

Logan Inn
10 West Ferry Street
New Hope, Pennsylvania 18938
United States
Telephone:
       +1-215-862-2300
Fax:
                  +1-215-862-3931
Email:
               This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:
           www.LoganInn.com  

New Hope has an abundance of interesting antique and boutique shops that have found new life in former residences; however, perhaps the most interesting transformation is that of the Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge, which is housed in a former Methodist church.

Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge, New Hope, PA, USA
Marsha Brown Dining Room

The exterior features large fork and spoon sculptures affixed to the building, while the interior features beautiful stained-glass windows. Chef/General Manager Caleb Lentchner is the man in charge of the kitchen who brings a taste of Creole cuisine to New Hope featuring authentic Creole cuisine using many of Marsha Brown's Louisiana family recipes.

Chef Caleb Lentchner - Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge, New Hope, PA, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Caleb Lentchner

We had an enjoyable dinner at the restaurant recalling fond memories of time in New Orleans, where a few of the many highlights of our dinner included starters of Lobster and Shrimp Bisque, which was a rich and hearty stew with a hint of cayenne and sherry; Crawfish Spring Rolls with Mardi Gras slaw and remoulade sauce; and Mamére's Crab Cheese Cake which combined jumbo lump crab meat and smoky Gouda cheese into a delectable savory tart.

Mameres Crab Cheese Cake - Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge, New Hope, PA, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience  Lobster and Shrimp Bisque - Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge, New Hope, PA, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Mamére's Crab Cheese Cake       Lobster and Shrimp Bisque

Main course highlights included Jambalaya made with crabmeat, shrimp, duck, and andouille sausage; Eggplant Ophelia, a shrimp and eggplant casserole; and the 20-ounce bone-in Cowboy Ribeye that was rubbed with a mixture of 22 spices and sugar mixture, and then broiled in a 1500° F oven to create a crème brûlée crust, and was finished with a generous amount of sautéed mushrooms and onions.

Cowboy Ribeye - Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge, New Hope, PA, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience    Eggplant Ophelia - Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge, New Hope, PA, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Cowboy Ribeye                       Eggplant Ophelia

Read about the Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge in the Restaurants and Chefs' Recipes section where Chef Caleb Lentchner shares his recipe for Seafood Court B ouillon - Creole Style Bouillabaisse

Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge, New Hope, PA, USA

Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge
15 South Main Street
New Hope, Pennsylvania 18938
United States
Telephone:
       +1-215-862-7044
Fax:
                  +1-215-862-7077
Website:
           www.MarshaBrownRestaurant.com

Come and discover Bucks County for yourself, as you swirl, sniff, and taste the goodness of the region. Eat, drink, and be merry!

Read about Bucks County in the Restaurants and Chefs' Recipes sections.

For information on Bucks County please visit the website: www.VisitBucksCounty.com.

Sand Castle Winery, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience
Bucks County Wine Trail Awaits
Sand Castle Winery

For information on the Bucks County Wine Trail please visit the website: www.BucksCountyWineTrail.com.

© April 2010. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.

 
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