Believe it or not, these photos were taken in the mountains in eastern North Carolina. The villa, the décor, the grapes in the vineyard, and the wine, would all be right at home in the wine regions of Italy. Villa Raffaldini, a 6,000 square foot tasting room is inspired by the villas in the Lombardy region of Italy; a slogan of the winery is Chianti in the Carolinas. We discovered this gem of a winery three years ago and have visited each year since then.
Italy is reflected in the choice of the grapes grown and the wines they produce. Montepulciano and Sangiovese are the predominant grapes featured on their wine list. Many visitors to the tasting room are somewhat familiar with these varietals due to the popularity of Italian restaurants, where these full-bodied reds are paired with pastas and other Italian dishes. Whites, such as, Pinot Grigio and Vermentino are also regularly enjoyed by many Americans. What visitors may not be accustomed to is the quality and depth of wine that these varietals produce in North Carolina. Every wine at this winery is exceptional. Our favorite is possibly a red blend, called Bella Misto. Italian for beautiful mix, this wine is a blend of those wonderful Italian grapes Montepulciano and Sangiovese with Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Pinot Noir. The result is a medium-bodied red with savory aromas and flavors of dark fruits. For those who enjoy a dry Rosé, their Girasole (Italian for sunflower) is made from the free run juice, skins for only 24 hours, from Montepulciano and Sangiovese. This wine has earthy aromas and flavors of red cherries.
Off the beaten bath, on many side roads after you leave I-77, it is worth finding. Use their directions map on the website (check my link) or use a GPS. I definitely recommend a visit. Any wine lover will find a lot to enjoy and want to return over and over. I certainly do!
For over twenty years, we’ve been enjoying visiting Barboursville Vineyards. We only get there once a year, so we look forward to the visit and have never been disappointed. Our visit last month was memorable because we experienced a unique tasting. The winery has created a library tasting room and offer tastings on the weekends of their reserve wines. Visitors to the library tasting room are treated to a walk through the Octagon Room, where the barrels of that special wine reside. When you enter the tasting room, the first thing you notice is the impressive view through the many windows overlooking rows of Cabernet Franc vines with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Guests are given tastes while seated at tables. Special foods are offered along with the reserve wines. After a flight of tastings that include some of the most amazing vintages of Octagon, you can purchase a glass of wine, relax, and enjoy the ambiance.
Barboursville Vineyards is one of those special wineries where the high quality of every wine is evident, even those you don’t particularly enjoy. Personally I don’t like Viognier (a white) or Merlot (a red) wines, because I don’t like the flavor of the grapes. Barboursville’s Viognier Reserve and Merlot Reserve are both exceptionally well-made and I can recognize and recommend them to someone who enjoy those varietals. I would actually recommend any of their wines, but my favorites are the Octagon, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, and Vermentino. My husband also loves the Petit Verdot.
A visit to Barboursville Vineyards is always great, can’t wait till next year!
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Some good news for wine lovers in Northern Kentucky, the annual Wine Festival at MainStrasse is only two weeks away. MainStrasse is a community in the west side of Covington, that is noted for events such as Oktoberfest, the Carroll Clock Tower, and the Goose Girl Fountain at the Sixth Street Promenade. In recent years, it has also been known for one of the state’s premier wine festivals. With regional wineries, as well as some from other regions of the state, pouring tastes from their award-winning wines, artisans selling specialty items, local foods, and entertainment, the festival attracts thousands of visitors each year. Those visitors have always been rewarded with a good time and lots of good wine.
This years festival will be on October 15, from 3 to 10 PM, rain or shine. For a $10 admission, wine lovers get a souvenir glass and 4 sample tickets. Additional tickets for more samples and glasses of wine can be purchased. Visitors can also buy bottles of wine to take home to enjoy later. The festival is open to those over 21. Parking is available in the 5th Street Parking Lot and the nearby IRS lot.
MainStrasse Village, a historic neighborhood with homes, shops, taverns, and restaurants, is located just off the 5th Street exit off of I-75, in Covington, just south of Cincinnati.
We’ve attended many years and enjoyed ourselves. MainStrasse is a lovely place for a festival and Kentucky has many good wineries. How could you not have fun.
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A couple of years ago, we were able to taste a really good wine from a new winery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. We kept promising ourselves that we would visit the winery and kept that promise this summer.
Rising Sons Farm Winery is a charming farm winery, owned and operated by Francine and Joe Sloan. Rising Sons has a cozy tasting room and many good wines, some that are not the varietals you might expect. They do offer wines made from Norton, Chambourcin, and Vidal Blanc, those standard Kentucky grapes. But you’ll also find a Vignoles, a Baco Noir, and a St. Vincent.
The St. Vincent is not very well known. Though it is often grown in Missouri, even there it is described as an orphan grape, with a mystery of its parentage and growth. It is agreed that it is a French-American hybrid, but that’s where the agreement seems to end. Francine referred to it as a problem child in the vineyard. But Rising Sons uses it to make a very interesting wine, with an interesting name and label – Crazy Llama Red, with a Barnyard Collection label.
Other labels feature their Italian heritage, such as Cataldo’s Salute, an aged Norton, Maria’s Dolce Rosato, and Bellissimo Bianco, a Cayuga. Visitors there to taste wine also get to taste a yummy Norton wine jelly.
You might want to visit their website (check my links) and blog. I found the recipes on the blog especially interesting. If you find yourself near Lawrenceburg, you’ll want to stop at this appealing winery.
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The farm, therapy, exercises, and catching up with things that had been neglected since my accident has kept us busy this summer, but we were able to get out and visit a few wineries. Now its time to get caught up with writing and organizing some photos. Hard to believe that fall is just a few weeks away; time has certainly flown by. Let’s look at some news that Kentucky wine lovers might be interested in learning.
The Kentucky Wineries Association will be hosting its 5th Annual Wine Fest on September 9 and 10, 4 to 10, on the 9th and Noon to 10, on the 10th. The fest will be at the Bullitt County Fairgrounds. For just $25, visitors will get a wine glass and 12 tastes. Look for information at http://bestkywineries.com Look for the wineries that are on the Best Kentucky Wineries Wine Trail to be there pouring their wines.
The Northern Kentucky Wine Festival and MainStrasse Village will be October 15, from 3 to 10. Kentucky wines, artisans, food, and entertainment will delight visiting wine lovers. I will post more information as it’s available, or you can check the website of the MainStrasse Village at http://www.mainstrasse.org/
Verona Vineyards is now open on Thursdays, as well as the weekend. Wine lovers can taste some of their favorite wines and enjoy some food and events. A Taste of Behle Street by Sheli at Verona Vineyards is available at a food truck at the winery. Special events from a Thursday steak night to Sunday brunch are enjoyed by those visiting. Check their website for reservations and other events at http://www.veronavineyards.com/
Denise and I are still “cooking with wine” and have made some decisions that we think readers will be interested in. Our planned title is Vineyard to Table – Cooking with Kentucky Wines. As more news is available, we’ll let you know.
Hope your summer has been a good one and that you have been enjoying some Kentucky wine.
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Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery has always had a tasting room in Lexington, even before the Vineyard was able to open to the public. For the last few years, the tasting room was at Hamburg. For a lot of reasons, they decided to move. The Winery of Chrisman Mill opened in June, on the outside of Fayette Mall, just a couple of doors from the Cheesecake Factory and next door to Chipotle. The Winery at Fayette Mall is a welcome addition to one of central Kentucky’s favorite shopping sites. The décor is unique with beautifully displayed wine gifts, wine racks, an antique cork collection display, an arrangement of old vines on one wall, and a long tasting bar with a mood feature. What’s that, you ask. A section of the bar allows you to rest your hand and find out your current mood. Just like the old mood rings, you can find out if you are happy or anxious. After tasting, you might want to buy a glass, or a bottle, and relax at a table or on the sofa in a corner that just sends out a welcoming message. The winery offers a selection of truffles created and made by Denise. They are yummy. Other snacks are also available.
The setting is just perfect for relaxing in the midst of a busy day shopping or making a special trip to experience a fun day at the Winery.
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We made a trip to Nashville, in Brown County Indiana in May, did some shopping, relaxing, and wine tasting. Within just a few miles, wine lovers can visit three wonderful Indiana wineries. Each one is special in its own way and worth a visit.
Our first stop while driving into town is at Brown County Winery. The winery itself is just outside of Nashville and a good way to start your visit. They have a lovely tasting room with a view of the wine making operation. If you like wine gift items, this is a great place to stop. From coasters and dish towels to a cute pair of wine socks, they have a lot to choose from. Our favorites here are Old Barrel Port (perfect for a nightcap), Chateau Gnaw Bone Black Raspberry (a black Raspberry wine, blended with Grape brandy), and a Chateau Gnaw Bone Cranberry Apple (makes you think of a fall evening). In case you’re wondering Gnaw Bone is a unincorporated community in Brown County that is popular with tourists because of the unusual name.
Next winery stop was Chateau Thomas Winery’s Nashville tasting room. The winery, located in Indianapolis, gives Brown County visitors the treat of tasting their great wines while enjoying the shops in town. They make some exceptional wines; but our favorite here is Teroldego (look for a review in the blog’s section on wines), with flavors of dark berries and spice, and floral aromas. This is a good spot to taste wine or relax and enjoy a glass.
No trip to Brown County is complete without driving north to Oliver Winery. Oliver is located just north of Bloomington and is worth the drive. The grounds and building are beautiful and the wines are fantastic. It’s hard to choose our favorite here because there are so many. Oliver is Indiana’s largest winery and the wine selection menu is extensive. A couple of our favorite choices would be the Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, but wine lovers will find many to enjoy. From very dry to very sweet, they are all popular with visitors.
Visiting Nashville is always a treat. On our trip back to Kentucky, the car just seems to find its own way to Huber’s in Borden, Indiana. Just north of Louisville, Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards is so much more than the name implies. Visitors will find the winery with a large gift shop, the orchard with pick your own fruit days, the vineyards full of grapes just waiting to become wine; but they will also find a cheese shop, an ice cream shop, and a farm store full of fresh produce as well as a variety of packaged items and a bakery. Just down the road is Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant. It’s a great place to visit, but be sure you have time because you will want to be there for several hours.
As many of you have noted, I’ve not been keeping up with the wine news lately. After injury, surgery, recovery, and physical therapy for three long months, I’m back. I’ll try to catch up with all that’s been happening. I’ve even been able to visit a few wineries and attend a couple of events. I’ll write about those later. Check back soon.
Elk Creek Vineyards is under new ownership. The Papina family, with over a hundred years of wine making experience, are the new owners. Originally from California, they are introducing new wines and new ideas to Kentucky wine lovers. The winery is now open seven days a week, with the Café opening 1 hour after the 10 AM opening of the winery. Events are planned all summer long. Check out their website for more information at http://www.elkcreekvineyards.com
Brianza Gardens and Winery is now open 6 days a week. Their new hours are Tuesday to Friday 11 to 5, Saturday 11 to 8, Sunday 1 to 5, or by appointment. Many scheduled special events are planned. Check out their website at http://brianzagardens.com
Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery has opened a new tasting room. The Fayette Mall Tasting Room is located just in front of the mall, next to Chipotle’s. The hours there are Monday to Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM and 1 to 6 on Sundays. The tasting room at the vineyard hosts special events and is available for private parties. For more information, visit https://www.chrismanmill.com/
If your last visit to Verona Vineyards has been a couple of years, you might not know that they have a tasting room in the town of Rabbit Hash in the old iron works building. Both sites are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Check their website for the hours at http://www.veronavineyards.com
Just a few bits of news for those wine lovers that are looking for a place to visit and try some Kentucky wines.by admin with 2 Comments
Wine lovers near Northern Kentucky will want to make plans to visit Jane’s Saddlebag this weekend (May 21 and 22) for their annual wine festival. From 11 AM to 6 PM, visitors will be able to wander through the booths filled with Kentucky wines and artisan crafts. Local wineries as well as wineries from other regions of the state will be pouring tastes and selling bottles of their many wines.
Located in Boone County, minutes from Big Bone, on Ryle Road, in Union, Jane’s Saddlebag is easily accessible from both I 75 and I 71. This wine festival is one of the best in the state. Visitors are able to enjoy music, food, wine, and crafts while relaxing in a beautiful country setting.
This year, I’ll be enjoying the festival as a wine loving visitor; hope to see you there.
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An injured right arm has kept me from both writing and from enjoying winery visits, just wanted to get some news out.
Like most other things, Kentucky’s vineyards and wineries are welcoming spring. Many are having events, while others are just opening their doors to the warm weather. Check the websites of your favorite wineries for events. Many are also changing to their summer hours. If you don’t have their web addresses, go to the kentucky wine link on this site for a winery directory.
Mark your calendars, Jane’s Saddlebag’s annual wine festival is just weeks away, on May 21 and 22. This has become a premiere wine festival, plus a visit to the 35 acre site is an interesting experience. Jane’s Saddlebag is located in Boone County, minutes from Big Bone, on Ryle Road, in Union. Wineries from around the state and craft vendors will be welcoming visitors.
Won’t be at a booth this year, but will be a visitor. Hope to see you there.
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