Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Uncorking the Allegheny Spirit

The 4th Annual
"Uncork the Alleghenies"
March 8, 2014
Blair County Convention Center
Altoona, PA

IF you happen to like wine and cheese, you're in luck, because these two delicacies only get better with age.  Hopefully the same holds true for festivities that involve both?  On Saturday March 8th I attended the 4th Annual Uncork the Alleghenies, our area's wine tasting and buying extravaganza, and it really is all that!  It was almost overwhelming, but luckily my body was powered by delicious cheese samples and my nerves were calmed by the flowing samples of wine!

This event was similar to a tattoo convention or the Expo building at the County Fair, only I had a glass of wine and was encouraged to drink until tipsy.  For $25 (at the door) you are given a souvenir wine glass and a bag for all your goodies.  Immediately people start handing you brochures and flyers.  Right out of the gate you have to adjust yourself if you're going to make it without dropping your glass!

Immediately upon entering, we found Clearfield's Bee Kind Winery, a personal favorite, where we took advantage of their volume discount. I purchased a bottle of their Bee Berry Blue, which is blueberry wine sweetened with honey. My friend got the Bee Berry Red, which is raspberry. Both are quite sweet!

Farther meandering found us at the wine smoothies booth, where Nutten But Nuts offered samples of their various kinds of blended treats. I tried the Java and the Orange Creamcicle, and I ended up buying a pouch of the Orange. Just add white wine and ice, blend and enjoy! This booth also had bags of Green Bean Chips which i couldn't pass up. My friend and I also sampled one of their wasabi covered peanuts, which were interesting. I found a booth where a woman makes jewelry from vintage silverware. She calls her business At My Table. Remember the super cool vintage spoon rings fellas used to make for their sweethearts? She bends those out of spoons....and forks! I purchased a unique fork ring from her! She also had octopus pendants made from forks and all sorts of other neat pieces. There were artists and artisans everywhere you looked!

Another splendid enjoyment from the event was the food stuff. Samples upon samples of homemade chocolates, cheeses, dips and smoked meats surrounded us. It was hard to decide which was best. Thank goodness for the pretzels and crackers for cleansing our pallets, but sometimes a girl just wants something that sticks around. We tried Jalapeno chocolate from a candy man from Baltimore. It was such an interesting juxtaposition, but not as hot as you'd think it would be, but still pepper chocolate. I didn't try the Ghost Pepper flavor. Blame me? I ended up buying a box of Raspberry Cordials from DuBois' own Hockman Candies. They are the most delectable things I have perhaps ever tasted, and on a plus my husband doesn't like them! I also bought some cheese from Clover Creek Cheese Cellars, LLC located in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. It's all natural and farm fresh. Their Wild Mushroom was intriguingly different, and their take on Gouda was so pungent I had to buy a block of each. Their Uncle Joe blend and their Swiss, which I left behind, are well worth a mention.

To sum up, some of my favorites from the wine tastings were Happy Valley's Red Throat Rose, Juniata Valley's Summer Tanajer as well as their Cat's Eye Red and Cat's Eye White. I enjoyed Green House Winery's Hoe 'n the Garden and Tramp 'n the Weeds almost as much as their names! Wapiti Ridge Wine Cellars' Bobcat Blush, and Sophie Rose were delicious. I tend to like mid sweetness, and lean toward blushes, but I'll try anything once, twice if they're still pouring. I loved that this event exposed you to so many Pennsylvania based businesses, artists, and artisans! If you enjoy wine and cheese half as much as me, you would really dig Uncork the Alleghenies. It's definitely not something you do everyday!

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