No, I haven’t given up on talking about wine. Christmas shopping, giving and grading finals, and going to basketball games has taken up most of my spare time this month. Of course, I have had some very good wine. A glass of wine (or more) is always relaxing after shopping and grading; and the Elk Creek Kentucky Proud Store next to Rupp Arena and Chrisman Mill Winery at Hamburg offer a chance to combine two of my loves on game days.
There are a couple of wines I’ve enjoyed this month that I would recommend, especially for those of you who love the big reds in cold weather. Prodigy’s Lemberger is a dark, dry wine with a plummy taste. Chrisman Mill’s Norton is garnet colored dry wine that has a spicy taste.
Enjoy the season and have a happy holiday with family, friends, and wine.
I’ve discovered a couple new wineries that have recently opened that I’m looking forward to getting to in the next few months.
The Little Kentucky River Winery has opened in Bedford. They are open on Saturdays and by appointment. They offer several sweet wines in bottles with names like Smokehouse Red. We stopped briefly weren’t able to spend much time so I’ll wait to review it.
Verona Vineyards opened earlier this year. While I haven’t had a chance to visit, I have heard good things about them and their wines. They are closing for the winter months.
The Grimes Mill Winery has opened in Lexington. Their winter hours are limited and they plan to close in January and February, so it may be a while before we visit. After looking at their website, I’m looking forward to visiting and tasting their Italian style wines.
The Cincinnati Enquirer recently reported a market opening in May next year located on Mt. Zion Road just south of Florence, in Northern Kentucky. Several Kentucky wineries will be available there for tasting and buying.
The wine industry in Kentucky is constantly changing. New wineries have been opening and people have been discovering Kentucky wine. I hope you are enjoying the wines as much as I do.by admin
My husband and I have had a Thanksgiving tradition for several years. After dinner on Thursday, we travel to Brown County Indiana, for the weekend. We spend Friday shopping, but it involves casually strolling around Nashville rather than pushing and shoving to get the best prices at stores like Best Buy.
For those who have never visited Nashville, the town is full of unique shops full of one of a kind items, artisan crafts, and unusual gifts. Our Christmas cards come from a lovely little shop named the Totem Post, that sells Leanin’ Tree cards. As someone who loves to cook, I also enjoy a stop at a gift shop called Kiss the Cook. The Nashville House and the Nashville General Store and Bakery offer a wide variety of local jams, jellies and spices. Dining in Brown County offers many choices, from the Brown County Inn and the Ordinary featuring old fashioned country cooking to restaurants with more modern cuisine.
Fine wine is also to be found at several local wineries. Our stops include Brown County Winery, Chateau Thomas Winery, and nearby Oliver Winery just north of Bloomington. Oliver Winery, the largest in Indiana, offers tastes of a large variety of wines from drys to sweets. They also have many flavors of hard cider. Chateau Thomas, while offering some sweeter choices, have many varietals of dry reds. If you love dry reds (and I do), I recommend a visit. Brown County Winery has many lighter reds and fruit wines that are quite popular with visitors.
Each season in Brown County offers a panoramic vista of the hills in southern Indiana. The change of seasons provide visitors with many opportunities to enjoy the area. We find it a lovely, relaxing way to spend Black Friday.
With the varieties of foods in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, many hostesses have difficulty choosing a wine. With turkey, it is best to have a lighter wine with lots of flavor. My personal choice would be Gewurztraminer, such as Elk Creek’s. Another wonderful choice is Cranberry wine, such as Chateau du Vioux Corbeau’s. If you prefer red wines, I’d recommend a Beaujolais Nouveau. I always look forward to that third week in November, when those great wines are released.
Truthfully, choose a wine you enjoy. Thanksgiving is for relaxing, enjoying family and friends, and being thankful for what you have. Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday.by admin
When you visit a winery fifteen minutes before closing, you might think you wouldn’t be welcomed. But the people at Prodigy couldn’t have been more hospitable. We were driving across the state on our way home and as we were nearing Frankfort, we decided to see if they were still open. They were and we had a lovely visit.
On Friday evenings until 9PM, Prodigy serves food and has live entertainment. Even though they were about to close when we arrived, we were offered a menu of grilled food or appetizers and a chance to taste the wine. We chose to have a glass of wine and listen to the music. The musical artist was Thomas Hood playing guitar.
We did taste a couple of new wines, the barrel fermented Chardonel and a new Zinfandel. We chose Lemberger, our favorite, to drink. While there, we were invited to join their new wine club. Members get three bottles of wine four times a year, either of your choice or the winemakers, as well as discounts and special members only events.
Our choice to stop was definitely a good one. We had an enjoyable time. Chad Peach, the owner and winemaker, is doing a great job.by admin
Anyone growing up in rural Kentucky will have memories of picking blackberries, or of drying black walnuts to crack in the fall. Most Kentuckians have always put those memories in the closets of our minds of times with our grandmothers and cherish each and everyone. I decided to create a cake that would tie those memories of my childhood with my love of wine. Hope you enjoy it as well. I combined some of the best ingredients from a number of jam cake recipes and added some of my own.
Cream together 1 cup of slightly melted butter and 2 cups of sugar, add 4 eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 and 1/2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, and eggs mixture gradually alternating with 1 cup of Walnut Ridge Wine (from Millanova in Bullitt County, KY). Mix, then add the following spices: 1 t. vanilla, 1 t. nutmeg, 1 t. ground cloves, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. ground ginger, and 1 t. allspice. Blend in 1 cup of seedless blackberry jam. (I used jam made by Sunflower Sundries, Mt. Olivet, KY.) Add 1 cup of black walnuts. (Mine were purchased at the Kountry Kupboard in Harrodsburg, KY.) I recommend a bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 1 hour in a greased and floured pan.
For a glaze, stir together 1/2 cup fresh blackberries, 1/2 cup black walnuts, and 1 cup of blackberry wine (I used the Blackberry from Chrisman Mill, Nicholasville, KY.), reduce until the liquid is somewhat thick. Pour over the cake. Arrange a few fresh blackberries on the plate.
You might also want to serve it with ice cream or with a sauce. I served it without those, and it was a hit.by admin
If you are ever near Owenton during the day, I really recommend a stop at Elk Creek Vineyards. They offer lunch and wine tastings in some of the most beautiful surroundings you’ll find in northcentral Kentucky. Located just an hour from Lexington, Louisville, and Cincinnati, the vineyards are worth the visit. I had a friend visiting from Florida and took her to lunch at the Elk Creek Café. Even though the weather was damp and gloomy, the view was still spectacular. Inside the beautiful tasting room a fire was burning in the fireplace to warm us and make for a cozy lunch.
After a drive through country roads, first-time visitors arriving at Elk Creek Vineyards are impressed by the vineyards on the rolling hills of Owen County, the winery set on a hill in a wooden and rock building, with a view of the Lodge across the vineyards on another hilltop. Once inside, the beauty of the tasting room, the impressive gallery filled with the art of local artists, and the hospitality of the employees will make anyone want to come back.
We were offered tastings of two new wines, made by the winemaker, Brandon O’Daniel, which features the art of Carey Chen on the label. I purchased the Cabernet Sauvignon, a very good red wine. After lunch, we walked around outside a bit, but not for long, as it was cold. We went inside and toured the gallery where my friend purchased a pottery dish.
Though I have been a fan of Elk Creek for quite some time (love their Gewurztraminer), my friend was quite impressed that Kentucky could offer visitors such a destination.by admin
Sunday, after visiting Huber’s, we drove west to have dinner and taste wine at French Lick Winery in French Lick, Indiana. It’s about an hour and a half from Louisville and definitely worth the drive. French Lick is attracting a lot of visitors now since the remodeling of the French Lick Resort. The West Baden Springs Hotel, the French Lick Springs Hotel and the French Lick Casino have become destinations for many people in the region. While I do recommend the hotels, especially the domed one in West Baden, we visit for the winery.
The French Lick Winery and Vintage Café features award-winning wine and amazing Italian food. We discovered them several years ago and continue to return as often as we can. For those who enjoy wine gifts, I personally recommend the gift shop and never leave without some new wine decor items. My favorite wine is the Norton, but all of the wines, whites, reds, and those made from fruits are very good. Also, you can’t go wrong with any of the dishes from the café, but we usually can’t pass up the pizzas. I have to suggest an order of the all natural pan Bigio, an Italian crusty bread.
If you find yourself traveling in Southern Indiana, I recommend a visit to the towns of French Lick and West Baden. They are lovely little towns that were famous for the hot springs in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In recent years, they were noted as the hometown of Larry Bird and are now known for the resort, but wine lovers visit for the French Lick Winery.by admin
Many Kentuckians are familiar with Huber’s as a destination. Just a short drive from Louisville, there’s a farm store, a u-pick farm, petting animals, a play ground, a restaurant, a gift shop, a cheese and ice cream shop, another restaurant, a winery and a wine shop. Families and couples find their way there seven days a week. It is a nice way to spend an afternoon.
We enjoy tasting the wine and the wine gift shop. They are the only winery locally that is also a distiller. They make brandies and grappa. Their gift shop on two levels at the winery has some of the most unusual wine gift items one will find. The farm store is a must stop for us. Their packaged soup mixes, the fresh produce, the jams and jellies, and the bakery items are worth a visit all on their own. Down the road, the family restaurant serves delicious food.
If you want a quiet visit, you will want to check ahead to see if they are having an event. We stopped by on Sunday and hoped for a relaxing visit, but it was u-pick apples and pumpkins. There were people everywhere. We ended up making a very short visit, just buying what we wanted and left.
Saturday’s weather was perfect for an outdoor festival. Fall foliage and Kentucky wines were an excellent combination for visitors to MainStrasse yesterday. Whether strolling down the Sixth Street Promanade from wine booth to wine booth or sitting enjoying a glass of wine, it was a great way to relax and enjoy the day. Fifteen of Kentucky’s wineries provided wine for tasting and purchase, artisans displayed crafts from jewelry to artwork, and food vendors were available with a wide choice of treats.
Several of the wineries were well-known to wine lovers in Northern Kentucky. StoneBrook Winery, Atwood Hill Winery, Seven Wells Winery, and Baker-Bird Winery are all well-established local wineries. Many visitors have enjoyed the Back Woods Wine Tour featuring stops at each. Elk Creek Vineyards and Winery also has a local presence at the vineyards in Owenton, as well as the shops at Florence Mall, Crestview Towne Center and Rabbit Hash. Redman’s Farm Winery has been open for a year and has had a booth at several festivals locally. Others were also known to festival goers, such as, Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery, Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery, Horseshoe Bend Vineyards and Winery, Wildside Winery and Vineyard, Generation Hill Winery, and Black Barn Winery.
Some wineries might have been a bit of a surprise to local visitors. Though one of Kentucky’s most popular wineries, Smith-Berry Vineyard and Winery, from New Castle, made its first appearance at the wine festival. Purple Toad Winery also made a somewhat rare appearance in this region. Western Kentucky wine lovers have been familiar with this Paducah winery for quite some time. A new winery, Rose Hill Farm Winery in Pendleton County, made its first appearance at the festival offering wines not yet available for tasting at their winery.
Whether enjoying new wines from an old favorite, such as StoneBrook’s Black Knight, or trying wines from wineries new to the festival such as Smith-Berry’s Brother John, visitors were enthusiastic about their tasting experience. We got there early and the crowds were already gathering. When we left after a couple of hours of tastings, relaxing with a glass of wine and a brick oven pizza, it was getting crowded. The Sixth Annual Northern Kentucky Wine Festival was a success and a perfect way to spend a fall afternoon.by admin