Odds are good you've also never checked this one out besides seeing it in passing.
The reason for this is because Dreadnought Wines is not a winery, but rather a specialty wine importer that serves many restaurants, wine shops, and other businesses in the state. But their sister business, Palate Partners, is for the public- and this one holds wine tasting events and classes at the same location.
We recently visited for one of their informal First and Third Friday wine tastings events and wondered why it took us this long to go in the first place.
Palate Partners Wine Tasting – Six Samples for Cheap
I could preach the glory of the first and third Friday tastings for a long time in a post, but to be honest, I want to keep it simple.
Why? The tasting and talk cost just $12 per person (as of early 2019).
Yes, you read that right.
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For just $12 you get six generous samples of high-end wines you may not see anywhere else, snacks, and a lecture with expert tasting notes of the wines (plus more about the regions at large) which starts between 6 and 6:30pm (so we don't recommend arriving much later).
And the thing that really got us about this one? It is fun.
The team makes the experience about as informal as you can be with explanations of the wine that even a new wine drinker can appreciate.
While the wines will vary from tasting to tasting, they often consisted of three whites and three reds. During our first visit we were on a European tasting with the following gems (* denotes favorites):
- Villa Locatelli Pinot Bianco (Italy)
- Domaine Marion Pral Beaujolais Blanc (France)
- Gaudo al Melo L'Airone Vermentino (Italy)*
- Monmousseau Chinon (France)
- Domaine Mireille & Vincent Cotes du Rhone Rogue (France)*
- Pares Balta Camino Romano (Spain)
The thing about this spread of wines is that, while we were not fond of all of them, we can appreciate how they were selected for being unique. I can't say that we've ever had a Beaujolais Blanc or a Vermentino before (the latter being a favorite we kind of want to buy a few bottles of), and likewise we've never heard nor seen any of the vineyards in stores in the state.
This is the real selling point of the wine tasting because you're going to taste a curated wine list of vineyards, vintages, and perhaps even grapes you've never tried before.
As far as wine tastings are concernced, we dare anyone else to top it.
Even Better? All Bottles Are Available for Purchase (Affordably!)
Now you may expect that at the end of the tasting the team will remind you that bottles are available for purchase (in a no-pressure way, which we fully appreciate). But in true Pennsylvania fashion revolving around anything alcohol, it can't be easy.
Sadly, you have to wait 24 hours from buying from them so you have to return to pick up (most often wait until the next wine tasting to pick up their case, which we think is genius and plan to do ourselves).
That being said, what really impressed us was that most every bottle we tried was priced between $16-$20 per bottle. A good price for a modest bottle at a store, and a stellar price for a high-end bottle of wine you may find only at restaurants and wine bars (places that, we suspect, source most of their products from Dreadnought Wines in the first place).
Good luck finding any decent bottle of wine for < $20 at those spots, as restaurants and wine bars are notorious for over-pricing wines whereas importers like Dreadnought can make a solid profit by offering wines for substantially less.
In fact, the tasting at the First and Third Fridays is such a deal that we are having trouble hitting up any traditional wine bar anymore purely due to the large price disparity. Sure, you don't get to pick your wines when you go, but if you go enough times you'll eventually try a spread of everything all the same.
Now it is time to get started on building our wine cellar.
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