As a wine lover, we have visited most of Kentucky’s wineries. As a life-long Kentuckian, we have visited several of the state’s bourbon distilleries. But last weekend was a new experience for us. We visited Castle and Key Distillery just outside of Frankfort. Located on the grounds of the Old Taylor Distillery built in 1887, with its original castle and grounds restored, Castle and Key offers visitors several different spirits. Castle and Key distills three styles of gin and a vodka.
While tours have been stopped during the pandemic, you can still visit, taste, and enjoy the grounds. After tasting the spirits, either straight or in cocktails, visitors can buy the products or gift items in their gift shop. The historic buildings with outdoor tastings at Counter 17, the grounds with the Springhouse and Botanical Trail are very impressive. Castle and Key Distillery is an excellent place to visit. We enjoyed our visit and look forward to returning when tours resume. It is great way to spend an afternoon visiting a piece of Kentucky history. And they serve gin.
For those people who don’t enjoy wine (who could that be?) or those who also like to try different drinks sometimes I have an excellent recommendation. In Lexington, at the Farm, there is a Kentucky Mist Distillery tasting room. Visitors can sample Moonshine flights or buy a bottle to take home. They also have a nice selection of gift items. The distillery is located in Letcher County.
I have a weakness for the flavored Moonshines after trying one last year. So we stopped by for a tasting. I tried a few, but found myself buying their Caramel Apple. It’s delicious and perfect for the season!by admin
Visiting Gabriele Rausse Winery is an unusual experience. Unlike the other wineries around Charlottesville, the tasting room is a cozy, but more rustic building set in the woods. Somehow the feelings it inspires makes visitors feel they are at home sharing the wine with the winemaker, Tim Rausse.
Pours of excellent wines are served with homemade bread and olive oil. The wines are exceptionally well made and it’s hard to choose which ones you want to take home with you. This year, we chose Rosso, a dry red blend and a Malbec.
We got a chance to see the winery this visit with Tim and watch a bit of their bottling process. Along the drive up the mountain we were able to see some of the vineyard. The Nebbiolo grapes were gorgeous. Their beauty wasn’t diminished at all by the netting that protects them from the wildlife, birds, deer, and an occasional bear. Their dark beauty makes one think of the wonderful Nebbiolo wines to come.
For our trip to central Virginia this year, we wanted to stay somewhere different and unique and found just that in Afton Mountain Vineyards. The winery has cottages on the grounds that provide a lovely home away from home, with complete kitchens and living area, separate bedrooms and baths and back porches with rockers and lovely views.
During our stay, we enjoyed wine from the winery as well. I discovered an amazing Albariño, a dry white that is typically associated with Spain.
We were surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and enjoyed the views of the mountains with the goats and lots of deer. It was a quiet, relaxing, enjoyable place to stay.
Central Virginia is our favorite place to visit and our visit last week was enjoyable as always. We enjoyed some of the same places, revisited some places we hadn’t been to in years, and discovered some new places we enjoyed so much we’ll be sure to visit again.
A visit to Monticello is a must on our trips. Even though we have been there many, many times, we always enjoy the tour and learn something new each time. Our favorite tour is the Behind the Scenes Evening Tour. Visiting shops in Charlottesville and tasting at the region’s best wineries such as Barboursville Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards, and Gabriele Rausse Winery are the tops on our list.
This year included visits to DelFosse Vineyard and Winery and Afton Mountain Vineyards. We hadn’t visited either one in recent years because they are off the beaten path that we usually travel. There had been a lot of changes at both, and they were both excellent.
We made a few great discoveries this year. Bold Rock Hard Cider is a great spot to sit, relax, have lunch, and to sip ciders. Flying Fox Vineyard makes an excellent Vermouth. Ox-Eye Vineyards is a new must visit kind of place.
Check out future posts for a close look at our favorite experiences.
A visit to French Lick Winery, in Indiana, isn’t just for tasting wine. The winery is home to a café, a distillery, and a gift shop. While their wines are always great no matter what your tastes are, a visit to the café is a “must do”.
A couple of weeks ago, we decided that it had been too long since our last visit and made the trip one Friday. For us, it is about a three hour drive but it is really worth it. There were some changes since our last visit, such as the décor, the gift shop, and the variety of tastes offered by the Spirits of French Lick Distillery, but the wine and the food were still the same – excellent!
My apologies to Bill Oliver and the folks at Oliver Winery. Their excellent vineyard is named Creekbend. Some of their best wines come from the grapes from that vineyard, such as Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Doré, Chambourcin, Traminette, Vignoles, Crimson Cabernet, and Noir.
Sorry for my lack of editing.by admin
As we have many times in the past, we spent the last weekend in May celebrating our Anniversary (51, this year) at Nashville, Indiana. At the exact time of our anniversary, we were sharing a bottle of wine at a table under the trees by the lake at Oliver Winery.
Having visited Oliver the first time about twenty-five years ago, we’ve seen many changes. From the new winery building, to the new expanded tasting room, to the new wines from their Creekside Vineyard, Oliver winery has grown to be the largest winery in Indiana and one of the largest in the eastern United States. The winery was started in the 1960s by Bill Oliver’s father, but took off when Bill Oliver became the owner in the 1980s. When we visited first in early 1990s, the winery was still small and the tasting room a cozy building that still hosts special tastings on the grounds. What was the same was the beautiful lake next to the winery with the surrounding trees making it the perfect spot to picnic with a bottle of wine and the cheese and fresh baguette sold in the tasting room.
This visit we were treated to perfect weather that made sitting outside a great way to celebrate our special day. We did share a memory when we noticed the graveled walks that allow visitors to enjoy a walk down the hill to the lake. On one of our early visits, we were sitting by the lake and wanted to get a second glass of wine. I walked up to the tasting room, got our wine and started back down to our table. As you might be guessing there were no walkways then, it had rained a shower earlier, and I immediately slipped and slid down the hill on my bottom. Wearing white jeans that day, I was a mess but I’m proud to say not a drop of wine was spilled.
Oliver Winery should be on the to-do list of all wine lovers in the area. There’s wines to suit all tastes, from the driest to the sweetest. Their wines, the beauty of the grounds, the lovely tasting room, and the knowledgeable staff have made Oliver one of the east’s most popular wineries.
Yes, I realize that doesn’t sound like it’s wine related; and it’s not, except we had some really good wine on the way there and the way home. We visited Forest Edge Winery, in southern Bullitt County. An excellent start and end to a great weekend visiting Nashville, Tennessee.
While in Nashville, we did a little bar hopping on Broadway and visited the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. Our stops at Tootsie’s and Old Red were both enjoyable; and along with the regular exhibits that make the museum a must see, there were special exhibits on the Outlaws, Emmylou Harris, and Little Big Town.
But the highlight of our visit was the concert honoring Willie Nelson. Over twenty well-known entertainers were there to pay tribute to Willie, with performances by greats, such as: Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton, Emmylou Harris, George Strait, Vince Gill, Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett, Dave Matthews, Jimmy Buffett, Willie’s sons Lukas and Micah, Jamey Johnson and many more. Several were joined on the stage by Willie himself. The finale was the entire ensemble on stage to perform On the Road Again, but that wasn’t all. The all-star line up followed that up by Will the Circle be Unbroken, I’ll Fly Away, and Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die. It was an amazing concert!
For those wine lovers who are country music fans, like we are, keep an eye out. The show was taped and will be shown on A & E sometime this year. I can’t wait to see it again!
One of the best wineries in Central Virginia is very small and visitors are welcomed to an intimate tasting room with service from members of the family. Aromas of freshly baked bread fill the room as you walk in and you get to taste some of the bread along with your wines.
Gabriele Rausse Winery is set in the middle of a wooded area. One could miss finding it, if they are not careful. But take care because you certainly don’t want to miss it. Each wine you are poured in of great quality. It’s just a matter of finding the one you like to best. We love the red blend, Rosso. The flavors and aromas are perfectly suited to any Italian wine lovers tastes.
This visit as we were leaving I noticed a white called Malvasia Bianca. They were basically out of it but I was able to taste it. The wine has the aromas of tropical fruits and flowers. The flavors are tropical as well. Most wines made with Malvasia Bianca are done somewhat sweet, at the very least off dry. This one however was dry and delicious. I was able to purchase their last bottle, and opened it this week. My memories of how good the wine was were not exaggerated. Hopefully, there will be more in the future at the winery.