As a Kentucky wine lover, my resolution is simple this year — visit more Kentucky wineries. Since interviewing all the owners and wine makers for my book A Wine Lover’s Odyssey Across Kentucky, the state has had a winery boom. The book featured the 32 wineries in the state in 2011 that had tasting rooms and regular hours for visitors. My premise was that most people would be more likely to visit those wineries rather than plan and call ahead. Boy, has that number changed!
Looking at the most recent Kentucky winery guide which we picked up at the end of 2018, there are around 70 wineries in the state now. Most of them have tasting rooms. So my resolution will be challenging. I will let you know how we are doing!by admin
You always read about Governors and wine writers choosing their favorite wines that would fill a case. Governors, of course, choose from their state’s wineries; while writers are choosing wines from anywhere to recommend to their readers. As a self-proclaimed wine lover, I’ve wanted to select twelve wines to recommend for quite a while. My Kentucky Wine Lover’s case will be a selection of reds, whites, fruits, and dessert wines from across the state.
Dry Red Wines
Dry White Wines
Sweet Dessert Wines
For the wine lovers who love a good dry Rosé and thought that the only Rosés to be found in Kentucky were sweet, I have found just the thing for you. Wight-Meyer Vineyards and Winery in Bullitt County has a Rosé made with a whole cluster press of the Zinthiana grape. The flavors and aromas are reminiscent of dried strawberries with an aftertaste of cranberries.
For those who are not familiar with Zinthiana, it is a relatively new grape species resulting from a cross of “Zinfandel” and “Norton” made in 2001 in California. Combining characteristics of both its parents, it has a hardiness to cold weather, is disease resistant, and has high productivity. It produces a dark grape that is suitable for red wines.
Jim Wight, winemaker at Wight-Meyer, has used this grapes to create an exceptional Rosé that is sure to please the most discerning Rosé lover.by admin
Summer is a great time for events at your local winery, usually including food, music, and lots of wine. This past weekend, Brianza Gardens and Winery hosted such an event. Along with Tony’s spaghetti and meatball dinner and his wonderful wines, visitors were treated to the music of Holly Spears.
Holly Spears is a local singer, musician, and songwriter. She has recorded several CDs of a mix of music, including country, pop, and Christian. We’ve had the opportunity of hearing her before and have enjoyed listening to her.
Check your favorite winery’s website for upcoming events. Music at a winery is a great way to spend a warm, summer evening!
Wine lovers often go into liquor stores, both large party style stores and small neighborhood shops and wish for a better wine selection. In some, wine even seems like an after thought. Wine shops are popping up, but are generally small and the choices are limited. Kentucky wine lovers have now joined a group of wine connoisseurs in other states and have a new place to go. Both Lexington and Louisville are home to a Total Wine & More, a liquor superstore chain that focus on fine wine.
The company originated in Delaware in 1991, as a small independent store and according to their website, has grown into the country’s largest independent retailer of wine, with each superstore featuring more than 8,000 wines (along with over 2,500 beers and 3,000 spirits). Total Wine & More can be found in over 20 states, and more outlets are opening.
Conveniently located, off Nicholasville Road, in Lexington Green, Lexington’s new Total Wine & More opened in the spring. We visited first in May on a day that unfortunately experienced a power outage. In an effort to console the many customers that were turned away, the management met visitors at the door with a gift of stemless wine glasses. We went again this month and were glad we went back. For a wine lover, the selections are exceptional. Kentucky wines, regional wines, domestic and foreign wines of just about every varietal. If that isn’t enough, the prices are better than most places we’ve shopped.
We just discovered Total Wine & More, with the opening in Lexington. But other wine lovers in Kentucky have known about it for a while now. Louisville has had a Total Wine & More in the Paddock Shops, on the corner of Brownsboro Road and N. Hurstbourne Parkway since 2016. Some sources in Louisville are saying that a second store is coming soon.
I recommend a visit to one of these superstores; it’s worth a drive. Or maybe a stop while vacationing to one of their other more than 175 superstores. Check out Total Wine & More online to find out more about it.by admin
Some of Kentucky’s best wineries are in Bullitt County, but unfortunately we live far enough away that we don’t often get to visit them. As luck would have it, we needed to pick up a purchase we had made at a furniture store in the county last week. Of course, we planned the day around visits to some of our favorite wineries.
Our first stop (after picking up our purchase) was at Brooks Hill Winery. It had been a while since we had visited and did a full tasting. We were pleased to find that they have a red blend that is both unique and great. The full-body dry wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Lemberger, that has been aged for 14 months in Kentucky white oak barrels. There are tastes of spice and blackberries with a wonderful aroma and aftertaste. Needless to say, we had to have some to take home. If you are a fan of dry red blends, you will want to give it a try.
Next, we traveled a bit south to Forest Edge Winery. The wine here is always going to please visitors, from the somewhat exotic Java Vino to the very traditional Cabernet Sauvignon. Our favorite, as you might guess, is the Cab. It has lush flavors of dark fruit. There’s also a really great dry Riesling for the white wine lovers. For those with a taste for the more unusual wines, the Java Vino is a dessert red wine with coffee flavors that will give you a boost.
Our last stop of the day was at Wight-Meyer Vineyard and Winery. Jim Wight, one of the state’s finest wine makers, always has a wine ready for visitors no matter what style of wine they enjoy. He makes a great dry red Norton. Possibly his most unique wine is a dry white called Cabernet Doré, a hybrid grape varietal using Cabernet Sauvignon and Norton grapes. Great grapes varietals are often cross bred using two other varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon was created from the Sauvignon Blanc and the Cabernet Franc grapevines. Cabernet Doré wine shows it direct link to its grandparent, Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is crisp and perfect for a hot summer day.by admin
Just a reminder, Jane’s Saddlebag’s Wine Festival is this weekend. From 11 to 6, on June 9 and 10, wine lovers can enjoy a festival with wine, artisans, music, and food.
Jane’s Saddlebag is just a couple of miles from Big Bone Lick Park in Boone County. The grounds are a great spot for a festival. Check their website, in my links, for more information.by admin
On Memorial Day Weekend, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary with a relaxing day at Lovers Leap Vineyard and Winery. We shared a bottle of one of our favorite Kentucky wines, a Cabernet Franc Reserve. This vintage has aged well and is a fantastic example of a great vinifera wine made in the state.by admin
Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region is home to some excellent wineries. Over Memorial Day, we were able to visit our three favorites, Prodigy Vineyards and Winery, Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery, and the Chrisman Mill Winery at Fayette Mall.
Prodigy Vineyards and Winery is just off I-64, between Frankfort and Versailles, in one of Kentucky’s loveliest regions. Beautiful farms dot the countryside. Prodigy is one of those wineries with wines for every taste bud and they are all very well made. Our favorite is Lemberger, a dry red with spicy undertones. This wine is of German origin and is sometimes called Blaufrankisch.
Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery is off the beaten path outside of Lawrenceburg. The winery is one of Kentucky’s oldest but has undergone changes in ownership. Today the winery has set a standard for its fine wines. Cabernet Franc Reserve and Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve are our definite favorites here.
The Winery at Fayette Mall has closed and Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery will be open weekends at the vineyard. This has long been one of our favorites wineries in the state and we will be looking forward to visiting the vineyard soon. They make an excellent Norton Reserve.
All in all, for a wine lover it was an enjoyable weekend!by admin