Penns Woods has remained active during the pandemic, with curbside pickup, local delivery, virtual events, socially distanced in person events, and, of course, producing the next vintage of their excellent wine.

We here at PAVC awarded PW with our coveted “Essential Winery” designation in 2020, and have previously covered the PW story extensively in Serious Wine with Notes of Mineral, Youth, so those unfamiliar might want to give that a read. Otherwise, I checked in recently with a few acclaimed PW releases — a couple of which scored highly at the 2020 Philly Somm Judgement. Here’s what I thought:

Note: Media samples were provided to PAVC by the winery.

Penns Woods Chardonnay Reserve 2019

A lot going on here! Citrus fruit with hints of lusher, sweeter melon and even herbs. Oak shows with a touch of marzipan or crème brûlée, but it is quite restrained and well-integrated. Lovely mineral-tinged acidity on the crazy long finish. Simply fantastic stuff… an early contender for my PA wine of year. “Top Wines” award at the 2020 PA Sommelier Judgment

Penns Woods Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Aggressive fruit as well as herbal notes, alongside a touch of that east coast twang. Trending more towards new world (Cali/NZ) style SB, which isn’t my personal favorite style, but it’s a decent effort nonetheless.

Penns Woods Merlot Reserve 2016

Another fantastic effort and a lovely example of PA Merlot. Tons of complexity; flavors include violet, sweet cherry, menthol, cola, earth, warm spice, and there’s just right amount of structure. The oak influence is also less aggressive than with the 2015 vintage, which I appreciate. Just superbly balanced and damn delicious stuff! “Best Red” at the 2020 PA Sommelier Judgment

Penns Woods Pinot Noir 2017

Unfortunately, this one fails to show — especially compared to the Chard and Merlot — what PW is capable of. Pinot Noir is certainly a tough grape to master.

Photo courtesy Penns Woods