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!
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Anyone who knows me or has read my blog knows that I am not a fan of sweet wines. But this summer I have been a fan of some of Kentucky’s sweet wines. You might wonder why and the answer is Sangria. This is a season for fresh fruit and refreshing drinks – that means Sangria to me.
Our favorite is peach sangria made with a mix of peach juice and peach wine and fresh peaches, blueberries, and lime slices. We did add a bit of grappa, peach nectar, and sparkling water. The result is an excellent refreshing drink to enjoy on a hot July day. We have also tried using blueberries and blackberries.
Wineries, such as Prodigy Vineyards and Winery and Purple Toad offer a variety of fruit wines. Kentucky’s farms offer fresh blueberries (which I’ve picked several times recently) and blackberries. I must confess to buying peaches from South Carolina and the Grappa and Peach Nectar come from Huber Vineyards and Winery in Indiana. Summer offers a variety of fresh fruits to create a wonderful Sangria, choose your favorites.by admin with No Comments
Compliments to the planners of 2019’s Kentucky Wine and Vine Festival. The festival was the best we’ve attended for several years and by far the best Wine and Vine Festival ever. Part of the reason was its new location at the R. J. Corman property. The grounds are gorgeous and the part of the property devoted to the tents and festival goers was perfect. Mother Nature cooperated and the weather was good.
As we arrived at the property, there were people directing parking. With so many visitors, we were a bit far away but were immediately picked by a cart that took us to the entrance. There was an inviting walkway through a tunnel to the festival itself. After paying admission and getting our glasses and tickets for tasting, we began our walk through the booths. There was a large number of vendors with a variety of wares. A few of the notable booths were hot sauces, olive oils and balsamic vinegars, cork gifts, handmade jewelry, hand painted signs, and of course wineries. Food trucks provided food choices throughout the day and musicians entertained providing a musical background for the day. We were just there for a few hours, so we missed the evening festivities, but really enjoyed the day.
We enjoyed the wineries that we visited with, touching base with Rose Hill Farm Winery, meeting the people from Bluegrass Vineyards and having a glass of old vine Zinfandel from Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery. There were other wineries from around the state as well. My only suggestion to improve the festival in the future would be to have more wineries and a wider variety of wines to taste.
With the change of venue, the larger number of vendors, the food choices, and the entertainment, the festival was a good one. Looking forward to next year!
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Saturday is a good day for wine lovers in Kentucky. On June 15, the annual Wine and Vine Fest will be held in Jessamine County. (For those who don’t know the history of wine, the first commercial winery in the United States was established in Jessamine County over 200 years ago by Jean Jacques Dufour.) Kentucky has celebrated the states’ wine industry with a Wine and Vine Festival for nearly two decades. The biggest difference this year is the location. For years, the festival was held in downtown Nicholasville. This year the festival will be held at the RJ Corman Grounds, a beautiful site for a wine festival.
From 1 PM to 9 PM, there will be vendors featuring local artists, food vendors and trucks, live music, and wineries from around the state pouring tastes for visitors. The festival ends with a balloon show and fireworks. You can get your tickets at the gate on Saturday.
We’ve attended the festival for years and are looking forward to the new venue. Saturday is a great day to celebrate Kentucky wine. Hope to see you there!
Check the link at http://www.kywinefest.com/ for information on the wineries and the event schedule.
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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.
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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.
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We visit Brianza often, but are especially glad to visit for the special wine events that they host. This month we were lucky to experience two special tastings of their excellent wines.
A couple of weeks ago, winemaker Tony Parnigoni, hosted a marketing tasting where visitors were able to try several vintages of his red wines and compare them, and also try their hand at blending some varietals and taste the results. For true wine lovers, it was an interesting experience.
This past weekend, library wines were brought out for tasting. Library wines are old vintages of the same wine. Vintages are the year the grapes were grown. Each vintage differs just a bit due to the differences in the weather and the changes that makes to the growing season. For instance, dry summers make for great red wines. As a relatively new winery the library wines are not very old, but there are still subtle distinct vintages. Brianza’s library wines were fun to try. Again, true wine lovers enjoy experiences such as this as they are always looking for new ways to learn about their favorite wines. Tony’s Cabernet Sauvignon is our favorite and has had several great vintages. The day was made even more enjoyable by the musical entertainment of Jeff Blackburn and Steve Maynard.
It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!by admin with No Comments
Chrisman Mill Vineyard and Winery is one of the oldest wineries opened in Kentucky. They planted their first vines in 1997, released their first vintage in 1999, sold their wines at a tasting room in Lexington, and opened the vineyard tasting room to visitors in 2003. Since then, they have served tastings, had events, hosted special Tuscan dinners as well as other dinners, taken part in a number of festivals around the state, and have developed a tradition of fine wine.
For those who have not visited Chrisman Mill for a while, changes have arrived. There’s still a vineyard and winery, but now a distillery and a restaurant are there as well.
The vineyard itself is also changing. Old vines coming out and new ones being planted. Some new wines will be coming as well. Just released is an Old Vine Zinfandel. The grapes came from Lodi, California and were well worth it. The wine is a dry red with flavors of blueberry, raspberry, and spicy oak. It is a lovely addition to the menu. The décor is new as well but retains the welcoming ambiance that fans of the winery have come to expect.
The distillery, Hummingbird Ridge, is in the beginning stages with only one offering (for now). A Jamaican style small batch pot-stilled rum that retains the flavors and characteristics of the sugar can and blackstrap molasses. Tastings as well as a selection of mixed drinks are available and are delicious.
The restaurant, Fuego, features wood-fired dining in a Latin American and Argentinian style, but hand prepared with local all natural ingredients. A large grill in an outdoor kitchen is where most of the foods are prepared. Lunches and four-course dinners are available on the weekends. Check their website for times. We tried lunch and enjoyed it and are looking forward to trying dinner soon.
The Nelsons have made lots of changes over the years but one thing has remained the same – Chrisman Mill is one of the best examples of the wine industry in Kentucky. Chris has from the beginning crafted fine wines and now has added distiller to his repertoire. Denise is an amazing chef who has never created a dish that wasn’t well-prepared and flavorful.
The weather is good, summer is on its way. It would be a great time to become reacquainted with or to try out Chrisman Mill. My advice, make plans for a visit to Nicholasville. You’ll be glad you did!by admin with No Comments
Every year since 2013 Jane’s Saddlebag, in Union, has hosted a wine festival in Boone County. This year’s festival takes place on June 18 and 19, from 11 to 6.
Lots of people in Northern Kentucky have discovered Jane’s Saddlebag over the years. It is a lovely spot to visit, explore, and relax for an interesting afternoon. There are shops, food, wine, a petting zoo, and they are making a bourbon. This pastoral location is a perfect spot for a wine festival. Visitors can stroll around the grounds, relax on the lawn, enjoy the music, and especially try some wines.
Check out their Facebook page for ticket information.
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