Winery Off Beaten Path Well Worth a Visit

In Cabot, PA, 3.5 miles off of Route 356, John Ricchuito makes wine from purchased juice. His Winfield Winery is only a couple of years old, but the quality of his wines makes his operation well worth a visit.

Less than an hour from Pittsburgh, Winfield Winery has an unassuming facade. Truth be told, I rolled my eyes as I drove up the gravel drive that leads to the winery’s rear entrance. I felt like I was approaching somebody’s basement, and I expected that perhaps this would be one of those awkward winery tastings where, at the end of it, I purchased a bottle out of embarrassment in order to avoid telling the vintner what I really thought of their work.

Instead, I was intrigued from my first sip. The Traminette is pleasantly crisp, striking your tongue front and center and rolling toward the back of the mouth with hints of citrus. Its full body and bold flazor would make it a natural accompaniment to roasted pork, especially if the pork were finished with a fruit sauce. The Pinot Grigio was somewhat more subtle, but was dry and refreshing; I expect that it would match nicely with poultry or white fish. The Seyval was a bit sweet for my tastes, but offered a hint of peaches that I can see how some people would enjoy.

The Cabernet Franc was the best of the red wines that I tasted. A hint of pepper in the finish would make it a natural choice for beef or lamb. Mrs. Ricchuito, who was pouring the wine, said she prefers their Noiret as a steak wine, proclaiming that she tastes pepper in it. I found the Noiret to be more tanniny than peppery, but thought it was sufficiently complex to buy a bottle. Their Chambourcin was soft and fruity with hints of black raspberry. Though quite pleasant, it tasted a bit young to me. I have a feeling that it will improve with the benefit of a little bit of time in the bottle. Of all the wines I tasted, there was only one that I did not prefer. the Merlot finished with a strong and detrimental acidity that erased any sort of pleasantness it offered on the front half.

Though small of stature, Winfield Winery has more offerings than many larger places. Their full list of offerings includes 10 reds, 9 whites, 3 blush wines, and 9 fruit wines. The obvious competence with which the wines I tasted were crafted bodes well for the rest of their offerings; and the breadth of choices means that they should have something to everyone’s liking… except for champagne drinkers.

6 Responses to “Winery Off Beaten Path Well Worth a Visit”

  1. Chuck Says:

    Hey Jesse — Been a long time since I delurked to pester you with any questions, but as a wine geek, I’m interested in the source of the fruit. Do they give any clues where it came from?

  2. jim Says:

    Same question - I remember Walter Taylor, in the ’70’s, preaching about the evils of “tank car wine.” He felt that it was OK to buy grapes from a local vineyard but not to buy juice that was shipped long distances. From a May, 2001 article in the New York Times, following his death: “He once had a railroad tank car hauled up to his vineyard to show visitors how many local winemakers, rather than using hybrid grapes, shipped in California wine and blended it with their product. “

  3. jwsharrard Says:

    The juice comes from Erie, PA–within a couple hours’ drive of where the winery is located.

  4. Fillippelli Says:

    I have also heard very good things about the Narcisi winery in Gibsonia, but have not had a chance to try it.

    We went to an inaugural wine dinner at Enrico’s in the Strip last Friday night. It was sort of an official launch of their Carlo’s Garage line of wines. It was a nice event. Am hoping to post something about it on my blog later this week, but first priority is to harvest some basil from the garden and get some pesto made and into the freezer for the winter.

    Grapes from Erie. Buffalo meat from Erie. Who knew Erie was such a culinary mecca?! :D

  5. Farmer Troy Says:

    Speaking of Walter Taylor, his winery in the “Fingerlakes” of New York’s Lake Keauka (spell that right?), “BULLY HILL,” makes some fine wines and champagnes for people like me on a budget. It’s a rebellion against the big wine makers, hence the name, and I like it because they are supporting the small grape growers in their region. They are a few hours drive from my farm, and I enjoyed going there. Their grape juice in the winter is superb also (which they will ship (PA law doesn’t allow them to ship us their wines though-bah!!!)). I am a member of Bully Hill’s “Happy Herd.”

    For a more local wine . . . I liked Conneaut Cellars, here local, not too far South of Meadville, PA.

  6. susan welborn Says:

    We had a wonderful visit at this winery!

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