There's more to Avondale than mushrooms and Mexican food. Perhaps Pennsylvania's best winemaker is crafting at Va La some of the most unconventional and refined bottles of East Coast vino I've tasted. Oh yes - the prices have scared many away, at $25 to $45. But fedora-topped Anthony Vietri, who enters no competitions and resists mail-order, sells every drop of his quirky "field blends" (some produced in batches of less than 300) to fans who visit the converted-barn tasting room on his family's old farm.
Available Thursday through Sunday by the glass ($7-$11) or flight ($10-$20), wines made from rarely seen grapes such as malvasia bianco (in aromatic La Prima Donna) or barbera and charbono (in powerful Mahogany) are paired with local ingredients (honeyed Shellbark goat cheese or roasted chestnuts from the family's century-old trees.) I loved them all. But pay attention to my new favorite, the Italian-styled Cedar, whose 2007 blend of nebbiolo clones and corvina veronese debuts in a couple of weeks.
- Craig LaBan