Though the Kentucky spring weather was not so inviting, the wineries were. Bluegrass wineries welcomed many visitors last Saturday to taste wine from the barrel and ask questions about the winemaking process. Seventeen of Kentucky’s wineries opened their doors to wine lovers who chose to spend a rainy spring day indoors drinking wine. The seventeen participating wineries were scattered across the Bluegrass region, with tastings from 11 AM to 5 PM. The four wineries we decided to visit make some of our favorite wines.
We started our day at Grimes Mill Winery. Philip DeSimone, the owner and winemaker welcomed visitors to his winemaking facilities, offering tastes, as well as a lesson in recognizing the sugar content in the wines as they ferment. Tasting were given of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Both wines show promise. My husband and I were also given the privilege of trying the long awaited Malbec that is to be bottled soon, can’t wait for that one. While there, we also spent some time in the tasting room. Grimes Mill is offering a Sauvignon Blanc (Kentucky) with grapes from their vineyard that have created an unusual aroma of butterscotch, while the flavors remain similar to other Sauvignon Blancs.
Following Kentucky back roads, our next stop was Chrisman Mill Vineyards. We were offered tastings of a Chambourcin from an oak barrel. Chris Nelson, owner and winemaker, uses this wine for his First Vineyard Reserve, a popular wine with their visitors. Visitors were also treated to a sampling of foods and wine pairings. Denise Nelson always has the tastiest munchies. We enjoyed some Norton Reserve with our food.
We decided to make Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery our next tasting experience. Brian Sivinski, the owner, was providing tastes of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines show signs of being very good. Brian also shared with us a taste of his Norton from the barrel, which will be a good vintage. We enjoyed a lovely visit and took home a couple of bottles of the current Cabernet Sauvignon. We’ve been toasting the Cats with this wine during March Madness and don’t want to break the good luck.
Our last visit of the day was at Prodigy Vineyards and Winery in Frankfort. Chad Peach chose a Chambourcin for tastings; it seemed to be a popular choice. The tasting room was overflowing with visitors as the McConnell Springs Barrel Tasting was winding down. We had sandwiches and some Lemberger wine.
Once again, the McConnell Barrel Tasting was a success. We enjoyed ourselves and from the conversations we heard, so did everyone else. Rainy spring afternoons offer a great chance to enjoy a day, of wine tasting.
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Just across the bridge from Kentucky, in the town of Madison, Indiana is home to one of our favorite places to just kick back and relax. Walking into the winery, located in what was an 1850′s stable and carriage house, visitors are greeted by Steve and Elizabeth Thomas and made to feel at home. The handcrafted oak bar with its bar stools are inviting and folks just want to spend the afternoon.
Thomas Family Winery has an assortment of wines, both reds and whites; but my personal favorites are their old world ciders. Gale’s Hard Ciders are crafted and fermented in the old style that is a Celtic tradition.
Whether you’re interested in ciders, or want an intense, complex Zinfandel, you’ll find something to enjoy. The ambiance of the historic building and the friendly welcome of the Thomas family will give you a reason to stay for a while.
The weather last week gave us a tempting glimpse of spring. We took that opportunity to take a drive to southern Indiana. No trip to southern Indiana is complete without a stop at French Lick Winery. Wine lovers will, of course, find some excellent wine; but you can also enjoy a little shopping and an amazing lunch. Their building offers a tasting bar and windows overlooking the winemaking process, a shopping area featuring everything from wine shirts to gift items, and a Vintage Café with an inviting décor.
French Lick Winery makes one of the best Norton wines we have tried, and as Norton lovers, that is definitely a compliment. Their Norton has a balance of tart black cherry and toasted oak. The result is a wine that is pleasing from the aroma to the final taste. Wine lovers who enjoy shopping for wine gifts will be delighted with the gift shop area. French Lick Winery offers the best selection of wine gifts of any winery we’ve visited in the last few years. Be sure when you visit, that you’re hungry. The Vintage Café offers diners a wide selection of old country, fresh, homemade Italian choices. From appetizers such as Stuffed Mushrooms, to a variety of pasta entrees, and specialty desserts, every choice is excellent. Our personal favorites are the authentic Italian pizzas and the Bigio bread and oil.
A visit to French Lick Winery is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy fine wine, great food, and a fun shopping experience.
Each spring, McConnell Springs sponsors a wine barrel tasting in the Bluegrass. The sponsoring wineries offer visitors an opportunity to taste one of their wines from the barrel. For those who enjoy the tasting experience; this allows tasters to enjoy the nuances of flavor that change over the aging process, especially in their favorite wines. The 7th Annual Wine Barrel Tasting for the Springs will take place from 11 am to 5 pm, on March 29, 2014. Seventeen Bluegrass area wineries will participate this year. Visitors will travel on their own, pay a $20 donation at their first stop, and visit whatever number of wineries they choose. Wineries will offer a one-ounce taste of a wine of their choice.
McConnell Springs, a National Historic Site, is the location where William McConnell and a group of explorers camped in 1775. While there, news reached them of a victory at Lexington. They named that future settlement Lexington. Today, visitors can visit the site with its natural landscape and historical remains of that early settlement. Proceeds from the Barrel Tasting will help fund improvements at McConnell Springs.
A list of participating wineries, a map , and a downloadable brochure are available at the McConnell Springs website. Go to www.mcconnellsprings.org and check out Events and Activities.
Most people are looking forward to the coming of Spring. What better way to celebrate spring, than a celebration of Kentucky’s wineries. Hope to see you there.
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National Drink Wine Day is February 18, 2014. This day is a celebration of wine, its benefits, and its versatility. As I’ve written many times, wine is a celebration and an event. In moderation, wine can be beneficial to your health. Wine has been around for over 6,000 years and has been the focal point of special occasions for most of that time.
Whether your choice is red, white, or rosé, sweet or dry, wine is the preferred drink of people around the world. Americans consume approximately 13% of the wine made in the world, making us the top country in wine consumption. Recently, wine news reported that Americans were drinking more Italian wines than Italians were. Though some states are not as far along in their development, all fifty states make wine. Americans are planning vacations to various wine regions of the United States every year. Wine should be celebrated on National Drink Wine Day, as well as the other 364 days.
From one wine lover to another, Cheers!by admin with No Comments
“3 Reds by Wight” is a blend of 50% Petite Syrah, 20 % Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30 % Cabernet Franc and is 100% Kentucky Proud. Jim Wight has proved, with this exquisite red wine, that Kentucky can grow quality varietals and produce quality wine.
The wine is a dry red with aromas of berries and spices. While the wine will benefit from aging, today it is a lovely dry meritage styled wine. There is a dry, tannic structure with flavors that remind one of an old fashioned blackberry jam cake. The first taste is one of berries and dark fruit, while the finish has blackberry and spice flavors.
We saved our first bottle for a Valentine’s celebration and it made for a memorable evening. We toasted the day with crystal wine glasses engraved with “3 Reds by Wight”. Now we look forward to the next special occasion.by admin with No Comments
Thoughts of wine and romance seem to go hand in hand. With Valentine’s Day nearing, wine lovers are looking for ways to show their love to a special someone. Celebrating your love at a Kentucky winery has become an annual event for many. Many of the wineries, such as Horseshoe Bend Vineyard and Winery, Equus Run Vineyard and Winery, Talon Vineyard and Winery, and Prodigy Vineyard and Winery, have scheduled special events.
Whether you choose one of these, or would like to go to another winery, I suggest that you go to the Kentucky Wine website (check my links), and visit the website of the winery of your choice.
If you celebrate with your loved one at home, look for one of Kentucky’s fine wines at wine shops and liquor stores around the state. My husband and I are looking forward to celebrating our love with our first bottle of 3 Reds by Wight, produced by Jim Wight at Wight-Meyer Vineyard and Winery.
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!by admin with No Comments
A wine’s vintage is the year when the grapes were grown or the wine was produced. Most wineries release new vintages each year of their most popular varietals. Unfortunately, some years have a bad growing season and a vintage is not released. A specific year might also produce a wonderful crop and the vintage is one of the best. If you especially love a wine, you always look forward to the new release.
Recently, Chrisman Mill Vineyard and Winery released the newest vintage of their Norton Reserve, one of my favorite wines. While each vintage of the Norton Reserve has been good, they have been slightly different. Norton Reserve is made with the choicest grapes of the year, fermented separately, then aged for 12 to 16 months in French oak barrels. The wine is deep purple in color with the flavors and aromas of spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The 2011 vintage is quite exceptional.
Norton wines are always big reds, so keep that in mind when you try them. Norton Reserve is a really big red, with big tannins and a smooth finish. If you enjoy Norton wine, be sure to give the Norton Reserve a try – you’ll be glad you did.by admin with No Comments
For those of you who visited Jane’s Saddlebag in Boone County last summer for their first annual wine festival and are hoping for a second one, you’re in luck. They will be hosting another festival this year, a two-day festival on Saturday, May 31, and Sunday, June 1. Last year’s festival was so successful that they are expanding to two days from noon to six both days. Jane’s Saddlebag is perfect for an afternoon of relaxing and drinking wine.
If you were unable to visit Jane’s Saddlebag last summer, I recommend that you visit. Many wine lovers who attended last year have asked me whether there would be another festival this year so I’m sure they will be looking forward to it.
They will also be hosting a Fall Festival on September 20, with crafts and wines. You can check back for more information.
I’ll be there and hope to see you there.by admin with No Comments
Thanks to all of you who have visited my blog; 2013 was a good year. There were over 2500 visitors to the site and while most were from the United States, there were many from other countries as well. 11 visitors from Pakistan was especially surprising.
While the current weather is good for sitting by the fire with a glass of wine, the cold doesn’t exactly suggest visiting vineyards. Hopefully, we’ll begin to see an end to the cold weather and an early spring of visiting wineries and trying new wines.by admin with No Comments