Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tim A. Jobe a Rising Star of Pennsylvania Wine

Tim A. Jobe is normally not to be found in a jacket and tie, he readily admits. And the joke when we came to visit, and when we photographed him, was that we'd need to send a copy of it to his mother, will attest to his love of vineyard work and winemaking. Like some accomplished athletes are referred to as gym-rats, hard workers, who constantly tinker and practice, honing their skills, Jobe is a cellar-rat in the same way.

Dominique and I were on our recent tour of Brandywine wineries, when we stumbled upon Tim, and his very friendly, gracious wife Melissa, and their children. We were almost immediately entranced. In that way that some southerners do, he was sometimes gruff, but charming and self-deprecating to a fault. He was witty, grumbling, and shuffling, but in a charming way that let you know you were welcomed to grumble and shuffle along with him. And all done with a soft southern lilt in his voice that is not cloying, but easy on the ear. One may look at him as the Shelby Foote of eastcoast wine, for he is a reconteur as well.

A Southerner by birth, Tim knocked around a number of east coast and southern wineries. He initially did a short stint at Twin Brooks many years ago, before moving back to his Southern roots. Tim served as winemaker at Feliciana Cellars Winery, in East Feliciana Parrish, in Jackson, Louisiana from 1994-2003 before moving to Twin Brook Winery in Gap, Pa. where he is the winery manager and winemaker. And he is doing some magical things out in the fields and down in the cellar.

His naked Chardonnay was wonderful, clean, and crisp. His Chancellor (an old eastcoast standby) was deep and wonderful - one of the better Chancellor's we've had, as well as a very nice, smooth, and well balanced Cabernet Franc.

But is was what was downstairs that convinced Dominique and myself, that we had discovered an heretofore unknown force to be reckoned with. Tim A . Jobe, of Twin Brooks Winery has got game - serious game - or should we say wine? He knows all the jargon, but does not use it to separate himself from you. Rather he lets you in on it. He will tell you what is wrong with his wine, but like a child he loves, he will brag on it as well. And he's got plenty to brag on.

A barrel tasting of his 2005 Cabernet Franc Reserve was delicious. Very cherry and vanilla up front. Clear, medium red color. He will tell you it's not dark enough. But the taste is big and there. It is smooth with a nice, dry pucker at the end.

And his 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium bodied red, delicious, dry and wonderful. It's got toasty aromas, with bright cherry flavors. A peppery touch. A tremendous medium bodied wine. Fantastic.

Tim said he would have liked to see his wines a little darker, but the seasons in Pennsylvania won't allow it. But the taste, balance, and flavors all more than made up for his medium ruby colored wines.

When I asked Tim what does he aim for with his wines, a benchmark that might aim for, he answers Bordeaux. Tim's feeling is that the growing seasons on the eastcoast are much more akin to France than to California, where the seasons are longer, dryer, hotter. Bordeaux has a much more similar season, and therefore provides the best possible benchmark.

He is a rising star to be reckoned with in Pennsylvania, and on the eastcoast. Everyone better watch out for the unassuming Southern gentleman, with the slight shuffle and a sarcastic aside. He may not be big on flash, but he's got game, and he will be bringing it to your court sometime soon.

p.s. Sorry, Tim, we tried a couple dozen times to load your photo...problem with the blog. When we can load photos again we'll put your picture up.