Nick and Athena Karabots decided to transform their 250 acre Ft Washington estate into vineyards beginning in 2003 and ending in 2013. The estate’s 27 acres of high density (1600-2000 vines/acre) vineyards were planted with the advice of Lucie Morton. Joe Rienzi is vineyard manager, and Kevin Robinson is the winemaker. Kevin is a UC Davis graduate who was head winemaker at Rutherford Hill and other California wineries before joining Karamoor in 2011. Read more about Karamoor and other Pennsylvania wineries in our recently published Report # 74: THE WINES OF PENNSYLVANIA.
The Karamoor wines reviewed here are of excellent quality, confirming once again that East Coast wineries can produce red wines that exhibit ripe fruit flavors, good concentration and finesse with a hint of earthiness and low alcohol levels. All three reds are first-class.
Karamoor Estate 2018 Viognier Pennsylvania 90 They say that a difficult vintage is the true test of a winemaker. The disastrous 2018 vintage with its torrential rainfall was then the test of Karamoor’s winemaker who passes with flying colors. This is a very soft, lightly perfumed wine with the white pear and stone fruit typical of the variety. Given the vintage, it is surprisingly, lacking a bit in acidity, but overall it’s delicious.
Karamoor Estate 2017 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon Pennsylvania 92 Saturated ruby. This is an excellent American Cabernet Sauvignon. Spicy dark red plum fruit with herbal notes on the nose gives way to a silky palate of expansive, dark red fruit with sweet herbal notes and perfectly integrated oak and fruit. Long, rich finish.
Karamoor Estate 2016 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon Pennsylvania 91 This is a delicious, albeit more rustic, Cabernet Sauvignon when compared to the outstanding 2017 vintage. The nose shows fragrant dark red and black berries and currants with a smoky, earthy nuance. On the palate, the texture is silky, and the oak is beautifully integrated, as with the 2017. Resembles a California mountain wine with firm tannins on the finish and lingering earthy notes. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13.6% alcohol.
Karamoor Estate 2014 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon Pennsylvania 91 The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon has good balance and freshness, but it doesn’t have the intensity of ripe fruit we found in the 2017 vintage. The nose is spicy and toasty with dark red fruit notes, while the palate reveals cedar and red currant with an overall sense of sweetness and freshness. Pair this wine with grilled sausages or other smoky cuisine.
Karamoor Estate 2015 Meritage Pennsylvania ($35) 92 Perhaps our favorite wine from this excellent domaine. The 2015 Meritage reveals smoky dark plum aromas and an impressively smooth and elegant palate. A beautifully blended wine with a silky mouth feel and an abundance of delicious, smoky black cherry fruit. Astounding value!
Karamoor Estate 2017 Petit Verdot Pennsylvania 92 This 100% Petit Verdot is one of the best we’ve had from the East Coast. It offers a complex, nuanced bouquet of blackberries and slate. The palate is silky and nicely concentrated with blackberry, blueberry and chocolate notes that persist on a long finish. A great wine for grilled ribs. Alc 13%.
Karamoor Estate 2016 Barrel Select Petit Verdot Pennsylvania ($55) 91 Not quite up to the lofty standards of the 2017 vintage but delicious nonetheless, the 2016 Petit Verdot reveals a spicy, toasty nose with dark red fruit. There’s an overall sense of sweetness on the palate with red currant fruit and prominent cedar notes. Pair with smoky, grilled meats. 13.6% alc.
Karamoor Estate 2014 Petit Verdot Pennsylvania 91+ Revealing an enticing nose of dark fruit, herbs and toasty oak, the 2014 vintage is a big, well balanced wine that’s richer on the palate than the 2016 vintage. Finishes with round tannins and lingering rich, dark red fruit. 13.9% alc.
Karamoor Estate 2013 Petit Verdot Pennsylvania 92 An absolutely delicious Petit Verdot, revealing rich dark fruit aromas and flavors of plum and black cherry. There’s excellent concentration and an attractive firm grip on the finish. A lovely wine. Buy it if you can find it.