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.