Monday, February 16, 2015

Maiolatesi Wine Cellars - Sal's Got Your Wine! And it Tastes Great! (PA)

 
 
 
First off, you need to understand something about Sal Maiolatesi. To gove you a better understanding, David Falchek recently wrote about Frank in The Times-Tribune in Scranton:
 
Frank Mazzarella and Sal Maiolatesi may have been low-level technicians at WEA Manufacturing, but it didn’t stop the two friends from dreaming.
 
Mr. Mazzarella wanted to open a chocolate shop.
 
Mr. Maiolatesi, a winery.
 
Their ambitions materialized in Maiolatesi Wine Cellars in Scott Twp. and Chocolate Creations in the Peckville section of Blakely.
 
When Mr. Mazzarella suffered a stroke last September, he tried to sell the business. Would-be buyers, perhaps sensing desperation, made low-ball offers. Mr. Mazzarella decided he might close the business rather than give it away.
 
That’s when Mr. Maiolatesi, his sister Lisa Maiolatesi, and his accountant, Brian T. Kelly, stepped in to buy it.
 
“We both followed the same path — starting with nothing and building great businesses,” Mr. Maiolatesi said. “I couldn’t allow Frank’s dream to be pulled from under him because of a physical issue.”
 
The new partnership purchased the business, which has three employees and a shop at 1520 Pennsylvania Ave. in Peckville, last week....

That's the kind of guy Sal is if you are his friend. Does Sal hope to profit from this business? Of course, but he also did it to help a friend.


My tour guide this day was none other than friend David Falchek.

David Falchek writes a weekly wine column for several newspapers in Pennsylvania, including the Scranton Times-Tribune. Like many wine drinkers who grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, David started out drinking Boone's Farms in abandoned coal breakers and sneaking sips of Riuniti at family picnics. He lived in the Finger Lakes wine region in the 1990s, discovered fine wine, and began regular coverage of the wine industry.

In addition to writing for Appellation America, David contributes regularly to trade publications such as Vineyard & Winery Management and Beverage Media and irregularly to several others. David has judged regional, national, and international wine competitions where he likes to think he lauds outstanding Seyval or Foch just as readily as Cabernet or Riesling. David is an active member of the American Wine Society.

Often asked his favorite wine, his reply is the same: "The one in my glass."

 
Sal is very proud of his wines. You might be surprised to learn that Sal did not always aspire to be a winemaker. Instead, as a young adult, he pursued and obtained a degree at Johnson Technical School and became an electromechanical technician for WEA (now Cinram International) in Olyphant, PA. At one point, Sal became a home winemaker, and so Sal‘s hobby became Sal's passion. In 1999, he opened his official winery and was one of the youngest sole proprietor winery owners in the state of Pennsylvania. By 2003, the business was growing and Sal decided to take a huge risk by leaving his full time job at WEA and focusing on the growth of his winery.

Fast forward to September 2007, tragedy struck and a fire destroyed Sal’s winery in Child’s, PA. He suffered a total loss and a major setback. The fire was devastating, but almost immediately he began making plans for a successful comeback.

 
In March 2009, Sal opened his brand new 10,000 square foot winemaking facility and tasting room in Scott Township, PA on 36 acres. The new building also includes 2,000 square feet of retail space. And a huge winemaking facility! Sal is a very good winemaker. And he hangs out with other goo winemakers, from Erie, to the Finger Lakes to Long Island. When Sal's place brunt down, people from throughout the Pennsylvania and New York winemaking community pitched in to help him make his comeback.
 
 
Today this is what the winemaking facilities look like.


 

 
In this facility Sal makes 30 different wines. Something to please every palate. It's a big, tough job, but Sal's strong enough to handle the load! Like many wineries in the region they have to have a little something for everyone. But don't let that fool you. Sale makes some great wines.
 
 
This is Maiolatesi Wine Cellar's banquet and wedding room. It's absolutely beautiful and with a tremendous view!


 
 
Love these light fixtures behind the bar above!

 
Fitted with beautiful gold ballroom chairs and gorgeous handmade tables (made by Sal's father, who is a master carpenter) made from barrels and old school desks from a local school, this room glitters. Absolutely fantastic!
 
 
Maiolatesi started a tradition of serving pizza every Friday night. Originally they had food trucks making the pizza. But it got so crazy, and Friday nights so busy, they put in their own brick over to make their own pizzas!
 
OK, so you're not planning a wedding, but you'd like to try the wines? Let's get to it!

 
Of course, one of my favorite wines of the tasting as the absolutely first one I tried. Maiolatesi White Label is a blend of five different varieties. Aromatic, bright, easy to drink, and refreshing, it smelled of green apple and tropical fruits, and is a perfect table white. I instantly loved this wine!

 
Maiolatesi Pinot Grigio 2013 is made from Pennsylvania grown fruit. tremendous fruit up front. Great balance. Nice complexity. Bright as a Pinot Grigio should be. Another one of my favorites from this tasting!!!

 
The Maiolatesi Meritage 2010 is a blend of Waltz Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc grown elsewhere. It's 100% Pennsylvania fruit. This was aged in Maiolatesi's cellars in oak for at least a year, maybe more. This was among my favorite reds of the tasting. Big. Bold. Impressive. 

 
The Maiolatesi Guilia's Reserve Merlot 2010 I made from Pennsylvania merlot grown at Waltz Vineyards. This was possibly one of the best wines of the tasting as well. Big cherry bomb up front, with nice structure, good tannins, and nice complexity. It featured dark cherry, mocha, and cassis. Terrific wine. Giulia's Reserve I the series of better wines from Maiolatesi, and is named after Sal's second daughter Giulia.

 
The Maiolatesi Syrah 2010 is an interesting, bi-coastal wine, made from 50% Chaddsford Syrah and 50%  California Syrah. A lovely wine, with deep plums, cherry, and a hint of prune. Very nice. Easy drinking.
 
 
The last wine I tried was the most memorable of the day! The Maiolatesi Sparkling Traminette was fantastic! This was an absolute shocker and I loved it! The Traminette is grown not far from Maiolatesi by highly regarded grower Stan Sowinki. So it's all Pennsylvania fruit! A fantastic wine, with a super nose, and a great sparkling body. It was like some of the best Prosecco I have ever tasted. An absolutely fun new find! 


 
Maiolatesi Wine Cellars is a great addition to the growing list of Pennsylvania wineries that are making great quality wines. Sal has a lot of different wines, to appeal to the many varied people who walk in the door. But don't be fooled, he's making some of the best quality wines in the region. Go to Maiolatesi Wine Cellars. You will be glad you did. And tell Sal I said, Hi!
 
THIS IS DAVID FALCHEK'S PIECE ON MAIOLATESI. YOU MUST READ THIS STORY: