Touting "Fort Washington terroir" as a provenance for wine has never been an easy sell. But Karamoor Estate has done its part to permanently crush any preconceived stereotypes about the potential of Pennsylvania wine by consistently landing awards at national competitions.
Its most recent win — a gold for its 2015 chardonnay at the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition in Sonoma — is particularly impressive. This is the largest competition for American wines in the world, with more than 7,000 entries — and chardonnay is by far the largest category. As a frequent judge at this competition (though not this year), I've long felt $30 was the sweet spot for chardonnay quality and value, so it's no small feat for it to have landed in the upper tier of 40 competitors tasted blind in the $26-$29.99 category.
When I tasted this bottle recently, I realized why. It's luscious on the first sip, dynamic as it evolves on the palate with exotic notes and a crisp, appetite-inducing finish.
"Chardonnay is [Karamoor's] top wine," says Joey Campanella, general manager of a.kitchen, Fork, and High Street on Market, explaining why it was chosen to be the "a.vin" house wine for the restaurant group, as well as for all AKA properties. "It's richly textured with glossy tropical flavors of pineapple and guava. And it has great acidity that makes it a perfect food wine."
These venues offer a perfect by-the-glass opportunity for a test sip before taking the bottle plunge on what might understandably seem expensive for a Pennsylvania wine. But the quality is there. And perhaps even more compelling: $35 from every bottle sold at High Street Hospitality restaurants is donated to the Institute for Functional Restoration to help spinal cord injury research that could benefit people like the company's Eli Kulp, who was injured in the 2015 Amtrak crash. Cheers to that!
— Craig LaBan
Karamoor Estate 2015 chardonnay, $29.99. PLCB Item #49270. Also $29.99 at the winery's online store, Karamoorwines.com; and $16 a glass or $70 a bottle at a.kitchen, 135 S. 18th St., akitchenandbar.com, as well as at Fork and High Street on Market.