Chaddsford Winery Review
Address: 632 Baltimore Pike Chadds Ford,Pennsylvania 19317.
Phone Number: 610-388-6221
Tasting Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00-6:00, Sat 11:00-7:00, Sun 11:00-6:00
Reviewer: Jen Fromal
Review Date: 4/28/2012
Reviewer: Jen Fromal
A mammoth among the Brandywine Valley wineries, Chaddsford Winery offers an impressive selection of sweet wines that enliven the palette.
The Place:  As one of the larger wineries on the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail, Chaddsford Winery is impressive at first glance. Though nothing about the buildings denotes old world charm or antiquity, there is still a sense of serenity and calm surrounding this vineyard estate. Outside, ample patio seating hosts picnickers who nosh on sandwiches and crackers and cheese while sipping a newly purchased bottle of wine. Inside, two separate tasting rooms and aging barrels fill the space.
The Experience:  Upon entering the tasting room at Chaddsford, greeters present you with the tasting options before you make your way to one of the two tasting rooms. Four of the sweet wines are available for tastings upstairs, free of charge. Downstairs, guests can sample six red and white wines for $10 per person, which includes a keepsake Chaddsford Winery wine glass. Opting for the complete tasting package, I made my way downstairs into a somewhat claustrophobic space. Huge stainless steel tanks and oak barrels take up most of the room, leaving little space for guests to crowd around a somewhat small tasting counter. The experience was fine, but not worth doing again.
Upstairs at the sweet wine tasting room, the atmosphere and space is completely different from the cellar-like downstairs room. A large counter, fondue station, natural light and plenty of room to move about make this tasting room a considerable upgrade, which is odd since this part of the tasting is free. Unlike the downstairs tasing, the sweet wine tasting experience was pleasant and relaxing.
The Wines:  Chaddsford Winery takes great pride in their sweet wines, which was somewhat evident when tasting the dry white wines and dry red wines. None of the red wines stood out or garnered much praise, aside from possibly the 2010 Proprietors Reserve Red. The complexity of the 2007 Merican blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot was interesting, but lacked depth of flavor. The real star of the tasting was the 2009 Naked Chardonnay. Perfectly balanced and fermented in stainless steel, rather than oak, this Chardonnay was clean and crisp. Bottles of the dry whites and dry reds sell at the winery for $13.99-$50.00 per bottle.
The sweet wines at Chaddsford steal the show with their fresh and fruity finishes and equally cheery labels. The Niagara is just the right amount of sweet and tart and was even described as a breakfast wine by one employee. Also of note is the Spiced Apple Wine, perfect for a chilly fall day and enjoyable served both hot or cold. Chaddsford provides recipes for spritzers and punches using their sweet wines, which could be the perfect remedy for those that normally pucker at the taste of sweet wines.
Insiders Tip:  Chaddsford holds a number of events throughout the year, including the popular Nights Under the Stars Outdoor Concert Series during the summer. You can also enjoy picnic lunches and a bottle of wine on the property when the weather is nice. Check Chaddsford’s website often for upcoming events and special winery offerings.